(THE AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE) — Congressman Paul Ryan’s laudable if sometimes misguided efforts to trim the federal deficit deserve support. So here’s an idea for him. Want to lose a trillion dollars in ugly budget fat? Cut off the F-35 fighter/bomber.
$1 trillion is now the estimated life-cycle cost of the F-35. Some calculations place the figure even higher, closer to $1.5 trillion.
How could the president and Congress contemplate spending that much for an airplane? The answer goes back to the futility and vast casualty count of World War I on the Western Front. Even before that bloodbath ended, men were searching for a better way to make war, one that would collapse an opponent quickly with comparatively small losses. Air power seemed to offer the answer. While strategic bombing had failed in World War I, General Giulio Douhet in Italy and General Billy Mitchell in the U.S., among others, thought it was the key to rapid victory.
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