News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Nov. 30, 2012: How weak a President is Barack Obama?
It is difficult to count all the ways. But I will try week after week in these commentaries to continue detailing them. I’m sure I will not run out of material over the next 4 years.
Last week it was the Middle East. This week the dysfunctional U.S. military Obama is doing nothing to fix – an ever more pathetic U.S. military leadership that leads Obama around by the nose.
Witness Afghanistan and how Obama bought their surge Kool Aid which resulted in many U.S. deaths, the loss of hundreds and hundreds of billions of U.S. dollars while we reinforce one of the most corrupt regimes on Earth.
The abuse stories about Afghanistan are endless. They involve every aspect of that country especially it’s so called “leadership.” Once again, most recently, a small group of Afghani insiders led by relatives of Hamid Karzai, the President of Afghanistan, looted the Bank of Kabul for almost $1 Billion in bogus loans that were never repaid and used for their personal use to buy villas, jewelry, jets and anything else that American money can buy. Actually both how weak and stupid is Barack Obama?
But let’s forget about Afghanistan if only we could. The mess in Afghanistan is just one element in the broken U.S. military story. This over funded behemoth is guilty of endless excess and abuse that they cover up from the clueless U.S. public by running around since 2001 yelling: terrorism! Terrorism! If 9/11 never happened, the U.S. military would have had to have invented it.
Things have never been so good for the U.S. military since 9/11, except for all the foot soldiers who have died and been maimed in Iraq and Afghanistan for no good reason, or the trillions in total dollars wasted here and around the world.
Let’s talk more specifically about the latest and greatest boondoggle – otherwise known as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and better known as the most expensive wasteful U.S. military project in American history, which is rolling right along with Barack Obama as President rather than cancelled completely as it should.
The amount of tax dollars this one plane has already cost and will cost is staggering beyond belief, but why should that bother anyone? What the military wants the military gets.
A little perspective can be found in a NY Times article published on November 28, 2012:“The ambitious aircraft illustrates how the Pentagon can let huge and complex programs veer out of control and then have a hard time reining them in. The program nearly doubled in cost as Lockheed and the military’s own bureaucracy failed to deliver on the most basic promise of a three-in-one jet that would save taxpayers money and be served up speedily.”
Let’s continue quoting The Times …
“The jets would cost taxpayers $396 billion, including research and development, if the Pentagon sticks to its plan to build 2,443 by the late 2030s. That would be nearly four times as much as any other weapons system and two-thirds of the $589 billion the United States has spent on the war in Afghanistan. The military is also desperately trying to figure out how to reduce the long-term costs of operating the planes, now projected at $1.1 trillion.”
That’s on top of the cost of each plane, which is now estimated to cost almost $140 million EACH, but is sure to climb and who knows, might in fact reach $200 MILLION each when all is said and done.
That’s right; it is going to cost over $1 TRILLION just to maintain these jets that are already outdated before they even fly regularly, but which the government claims will serve us well. Or as Winslow Wheeler an analysis at the Project on Government Oversight states in the article: “the plane is unaffordable.”
As bad as all this is, it gets far worse. The plane is projected to be the main U.S. military fighter plane for the next 30 years! Are you kidding? It is hard to imagine just how obsolete this plane will be in 30 years. If you make long range bets, you can be guaranteed the F-35 will be nowhere to be seen in 30 years, except in a museum.
How bad was the decision to build the F-35?
The plane is not considered usable for most conflicts; they are too small and the plane too big and sophisticated and far too expensive to use in such skirmishes. It is also believe it or not very well equipped for battling any enemy fighters and destroying them in the air.
The F-35 is only well designed to do long range bombing missions. Let’s see – where has the U.S. done long range bombing in recent times? That’s right just Iraq and a little bit in Afghanistan.
It gets worse. What has been proven already is superior for bombing missions – unmanned drones. Now imagine how much more sophisticated those relatively “cheap” aircraft are going to become year after year and the F-35 even more useless.
And how drones will also soon be able to track and shoot down any F-35. Yet it is not useless in operations in places like Afghanistan. No the BIG problem at the heart of the U.S. military, the worst problem of all, is the lack of real leadership in the U.S. military today.
That mega-problem which leads to all the other problems with the U.S. military is very well detailed in an important new book by Thomas Ricks titled “The Generals.” I would recommend it to President Obama for this year’s long Hawaii Christmas vacation but why bother.
Still it should be important to you so let me quote from some of the book’s reviews: “The overall thesis for this book is, I think, an accurate one – that generals of today are often not relieved for their failures of leadership or actions, and instead allowed to finish their careers at the expense of the nation’s objectives.”
To continue ….
“Part of this is the corporate culture, born in the 1950s, of the military that Ricks describes. Like all corporations, it became the interests of the leaders to protect their peers. Sure, junior officers could be relieved with no issues, but once a general was in the club, it was easier to let them ride out a career – as Ricks writes, LTG Ricardo Sanchez thought about relieving Abu Ghraib’s failed BG Janis Karpinski, but decided not to, since her rotation was almost up. That’s a terrible reason to let a leader remain.”
Another reviewer wrote about “The Generals” … “ Central to Ricks’ critique of our current military leaders is that while they are well trained in tactics, they have little strategic vision. They are not trained in critical thinking – they can win battles but not wars. Military leadership, in Ricks’ view, has traded leadership skills for management expertise.”
How about this? “Absolutely fearful view of command level in our military. Comparison of consequences of poor leadership in WWII vs Korea, Vietnam, and the Persian gulf. WWII generals got “fired”, today they are rarely held accountable. Too much civilian influence in field leadership decisions. Let’s be good little officers, advance in rank to the level of ineptitude and subsequently lose winable battles, get soldiers killed and get medals for it. Really pretty scary if correct.”
Ricks may not say it directly in his insightful book nor may any of the many reviews but I will we are witnessing a level of institutional corruption that is as bad or worse than it has been at other troubled times in American history. The U.S. military at senior levels just like the rest of our government bureaucracy is out of touch with reality most of all because doing so is good for them.
And who is at the pinnacle of this out of touch but all powerful pyramid? None other than our Weak President Barack Obama!
God help us for the next 4 years. It is a strange troubling world in which re-electing Barack Obama was the lesser of two clowns.
About The Writer: Arthur Piccolo is a professional writer and commentator and often writes about Latin America for New Americas.