On Wednesday, InsiderDefense reported that "Senate defense appropriators have fully funded the Pentagon's $6.4 billion request to procure 29 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters in the upcoming fiscal year..." At that price, we're paying $226.8 million per plane. The full Senate committee is marking up the request bill even as I write this.
At the same time, InsiderDefense is reporting that "Afghan forces are not fielding nearly enough units to counter improvised explosive devices [IEDs], the leading cause of deaths and injuries to coalition and Afghan troops and civilians in Afghanistan..."
We've agreed to pay $226.8 million on planes that have not yet been approved for service while the Taliban is spending a couple of hundred dollars on IEDs that "caused 2,500 civilian casualties and more than 4,100 casualties among Afghan forces in 2012" and are the principal cause of the withdrawal of our troops from Afghanistan next year. Al Qaeda and the Taliban, with Iran's help, have developed a weapon that has forced us to withdraw our forces from both Iraq and now Afghanistan.
We are in the process of developing a new, high-tech, semi-invisible airplane that we may someday have to use against some other force that will have developed a weapon that is better than any of the other war planes we are now flying -- that is better than the F-16, which currently dominates air warfare. That's $226.8 million against a $200 weapon that's beating us right now.
It seems to me the military is existing in its own cocoon -- a dream world, preparing for a war that will be won in the air while we are still losing real wars fought on the ground. In other words, the military is playing with itself while real life NATO soldiers, Afghan civilians and troops and all sorts of Iraqis are dying in real wars, to say nothing of Syrians. It's time for reality to seep into the Pentagon.