Saturday, April 17, 2010

The high cost of high-tech war

The high cost of high-tech war

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In southeastern Afghanistan on April 8, a United States Air Force V-22 Osprey went down, killing three Air Force service members and a civilian contractor. This was the first time the multimission, tilt-rotor aircraft has crashed in military operations since being introduced in June 2007.

The program to develop the Osprey cost $40 billion. Each aircraft costs $70-75 million, making this an expensive loss to the military. Ospreys have a rotor that can be moved to either lift the aircraft up or propel it forward. However, if the rotor fails, the Osprey simply falls from the sky, which is why the machine has been controversial since its development began in the 1980s.

Since 2005, reportedly 11 Ospreys have been manufactured each year. Plans exist to increase production to at least 24 and possibly 48 per year beginning in 2012, that is, from $1.8 to $3.6 billion in one year alone. (Congressional Research Reports, 12-2009)

While jobs are becoming scarcer daily, as public education and infrastructure crumble and thousands needlessly die each year due to inadequate medical care, billions of dollars are being thrown at the military-industrial-financial complex to continue imperialist plunder overseas.

Politicians cry about the huge expense of health care for poor people here. Meanwhile, they eagerly approve pouring taxpayer dollars into building newer and more efficient technology to kill innocents and topple governments. Financial corporations exert enormous influence over Congress and the White House, as there is a virtual revolving door between Pentagon positions and corporate boards.

The authorities manipulate youth here into becoming their murderous agents, who are sent overseas to kill and occupy countries. Many end up with their lives shattered — if they survive. All of this is happening to increase corporate control worldwide. Lives by the millions and dollars by the trillions are simply part of the cost in the view of the capitalist establishment, a horrendous but inevitable fact of life under the capitalist system.

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