DEFENDING AMERICA
David H. Hackworth
23 April 1996

PRESIDENTIAL PORK TWINS: CLINTON & DOLE

Commander-in-Chief Bill Clinton and wannabe Commander-in-Chief Bob Dole are hot to buy more B-2 long range bombers.

Both presidential contenders say our national security demands more of these exotic and mindblowingly expensive weapons.

Pentagon chiefs disagree. They say the 20 B-2s they have on the books will do the job of defending America nicely, while buying more would blow out other needed weapon systems and also cause more troop cuts.

The chiefs know the spend-up-big Reagan days are over. They're at post cold war reality of squeezing every nickel to give us the biggest bang for the defense buck, and they resent presidential vote-buying that will destroy their carefully crafted military plans.

Clinton wouldn't know a bomber from a blooper or national security from social security -- as he has well proven to informed citizens by his sputtering Somalia, Haiti, Bosnian et cetera misadventures -- but he just loves the made-in-California strategic bombers. He's so wild about them he just sprung $500 million to keep the B-2 plant door open and to refurbish an early test model of the plane that was headed for Wonder Weapon Retirement Park.

Dole has done him one better in their B-2 bomber poker game. He called Clinton's one bomber raise by bumping him 19 more when he recently told California defense workers he's not only for building more bombers, he's for bringing the fleet up to 40 under his administration, exactly double what the chiefs want.

Dole claims we need more radar-eluding B-2s to deal with such probable bad guys as "Cuba, Iraq and Iran." Yes. folks, I kid you not! He said we need to spend big for more bombers to deal with "potential security problems" from these three flea states.

During the Gulf War, our fly boys shut down Iraqi in the first week of the air war without one B-1 or it's stealth cousin, the B-2 bomber, in the sky. I reckon right now our post Desert Storm air power could swat down all three of Dole's bogeymen in one night without one B-2 leaving its hanger.

Obviously, the Clinton/Dole agenda here is to try to buy the California vote, which, with its 54 electoral ballots, would be a giant step towards the Oval office for either of these self-serving politicians. After all, the B-2 means about 25,000 defense jobs to the Sunshine State and accounts for nearly one-third of the defense bucks spent there.

But $30 billion dollars for 25,000 jobs?

The victims of this pork game are our military's future combat readiness, our warriors who will be flung into slugging contests with hollow bats and you and me, our children and their kids.

$30 billion is more money then our nation spends on education or veteran benefits. What could your district or state do with its share of this $30 billion rip-off? What could you do with a B-2 tax refund?

Where did we ever get such lousy candidates for our commander in chief position? Haven't these two guys figured out the nation is broke and they cannot play the old defense dollars-for-votes game anymore? Haven't they worked out the defense welfare program is all over? Do they think American taxpayers are braindead?

This kind of pork barreling may have worked in the dark ages, but it shouldn't wash in the Information Age. Buying votes so blatantly is an insult to every citizen in this land. The number one question these two candidates must answer is: why are they both asking for more B-2s when their service chiefs say they've got enough.

General of the Armies and President of the United States Dwight Eisenhower said: "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those that hunger and are not fed, from those that are cold and are not clothed." For sure this includes unneeded bombers!

In 1961, Ike said only an alert citizenry can stop this nonsense. Sadly we slept through his call, but let's wake up this time around for our nation's sake and our kid's future.