The ultra-costly, underwhelming F-35 Fighter

From Tomgram, the site that comments on the  defence industry:

“Lockheed Martin Remains Top Gun in the Pentagon’s Cockpit

“How are you with numbers? I can deal with $1.5 million. I think I can even imagine $1.5 billion, a sum a thousand times greater. But how about a million times greater: $1.5 trillion? That happens to be the estimated cost of the Pentagon’s program to build, deploy, and maintain the no-longer-so-new F-35 jet fighter over its lifetime. How can any people invest so much in a technology whose fundamental purpose is dominance through destruction — and which, according to reports, doesn’t even work particularly well?

“The Egyptians had pyramids. The Romans had roads, aqueducts, and coliseums. The medieval Europeans had castles and cathedrals. These days, America’s pyramids, aqueducts, and cathedrals are those warplanes, among other deadly weapons programs, including a $1.7 trillion one to “modernize” the U.S. nuclear arsenal. Unlike the massive projects of ancient history, which still endure and in some fashion represent the triumph of the human spirit, America’s massive spending on military weaponry has been for totems of power that will prove either ephemeral or make our very existence ephemeral, while casting a long shadow over our moment, thanks to the sheer extravagance and colossal waste they embody.  

“As ephemeral as the F-35 stealth fighter may prove in historical terms, it’s already a classic symbol of America’s ever more fruitless forever wars. Like them, the F-35 program has proven staggeringly expensive, incredibly wasteful, and impossible to stop, no matter the woeful results.  It has come to symbolize the too-big-to-fail, too-sacrosanct-to-reject part of America’s militarized culture of technological violence.   (William J. Astore,  16 Sep 2019 in Tomgram)

Meanwhile, the cost of these weapons falls increasingly upon those least able to afford the taxes, while the really rich now have considerably more pocket money to spend.  There is something very wrong with this whole story.  One reason  for the fall of the Roman Empire was the huge cost of guarding the over-extended frontiers and the “bases” needed to do so   Over the course of centuries other empires have met similar fates.  But in the modern world the study of history doesn’t get you a job, does it?  (pathetic, but there you are!)

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