Biggest military wastes of money

by Mary Ann McGivern

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There’s a website called that ranks games, movies, famous people, animals, probably thousands of categories. I stumbled upon “Biggest Military Wastes of Money.”

Number one, to my dismay but not to my surprise, is the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. I’ve written about this fighter plane before. The idea was to develop a stealth plane that could win Air Force dogfights, that the Navy could land on carriers, that the Marines could land and take off vertically, that could carry bombs and fly low strafing missions in support of Army ground troops. In short, its one size was imagined to fit all. But it doesn’t meet any of its goals very well, some not at all, nobody likes it, and it is projected to cost $1.5 trillion.

Second biggest waste -- at a lot less money -- is Hitler’s Atlantic Wall which cost about $200 billion. Still a lot of money.

Star Wars is third at $150 billion and the B-1 bomber is fourth at a $1 billion per plane.

The list goes on. One of the saddest entries, number 15, is the 750,000 bunkers built by Albania for civilian defense against its neighbors between 1967 and 1986. It’s yet one ore example of preparing for the last war, in Albania’s case, World War II. I couldn’t find a dollar figure but the Wikipedia entry reports that each bunker cost the equivalent of a two-room apartment, not to mention the people killed in building them, the diversion of cement and other materials and the occupation of arable farm land.

Fourteen of the items on the list are US weapons and gear, all canceled in this century except the F-35.  I’m writing on October 4. As Tom Fox reported, quoting extensively, it’s the anniversary of Pope Paul VI speaking to the United Nation. He said, “If you wish to be brothers. Let the weapons fall from your hands.” 

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