One Small Step Toward Dealing With Obscene Military Waste
Ten days ago, a diplomatic crisis erupted when an American fighter jet shot down a Syrian government military plane. It was a big deal because American military planes almost never engage in air-to-air fighting. They almost always simply drop bombs onto people on the ground, and then fly away. The last time an American warplane shot down an enemy plane was over eight years ago.
The truth is that the USA doesn’t really need many jet fighters. The ones it already has are doing the job quite well, and more. The American military spends a huge amount of money on upkeep and training for air-to-air combat that almost never takes place, and is tiny in scale on the rare occasion that it does occur.
Donald Trump is increasing spending on the F-35 boondoggle, a plane that’s been in development for over two decades with trillions of dollars of investment but still doesn’t work. This kind of waste is the rule, not the exception, at the Pentagon, which has become as much a machine for funneling public money into the bank accounts of politically-connected defense contractors as it is a machine of war.
Yet, even with the U.S. military’s remarkable track record of extravagance and corruption, spending at the Department of Defense doesn’t face an independent audit of its finances in the way that domestic departments do.
Yesterday, U.S. Representative Barbara Lee of California sought to put an end to the Pentagon’s evasion of accountability. She introduced H.R. 3079, a bill that would reduce the budget of the military for every year that it goes without an independent external audit of its finances in order to reduce waste. The bill has 33 co-sponsors already. It won’t complete the job of ending corruption in military spending, but it’s a good step in the right direction.
Is your U.S. Representative supporting this anti-waste legislation?