Cal  Thomas

Another anonymous earmark for $250,000,000 was added, "For advance procurement of components for the two DDG-51 destroyers planned in fiscal year 2011. According to a Sept. 29, 2009 Associated Press article, the DDG-51 destroyer is "to be built in Pascagoula, Miss., home to Republican Sen. Thad Cochran," Ranking Member on the Appropriations Committee. "Sens. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), John Kerry (D-Mass.), (former senator) Paul Kirk (D-Mass.) and Rep. Travis Childers (D-Miss.) added $8,100,000 for a hybrid drive system for the DDG-51 destroyer."

Spending may be Washington's last bipartisan activity.

Again anonymously, $2,500,000,000 was earmarked for "10 additional C-17 aircraft. In a floor statement posted on his website, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) voiced his opposition to the C-17 funding: 'what we would do in this bill is effectively fund the purchase of new aircraft that we neither need nor can afford with critical sustainment money. That would have a significant impact on our ability to provide the day-to-day operational funding that our servicemen and women and their families deserve.' "

It will take more than spending reductions to make the Pentagon -- and the American economy -- healthy again. Ultimately, the political leadership must develop a policy about the proper role of the United States in the world and what weapons are necessary to fight modern wars against terrorists.

President Obama has said (and so have his predecessors) that he doesn't like the pork in defense bills, but he has to sign what Congress sends him. The least he could do is to shame those members who won't attach their names to spending measures, or who support spending for weapons the Pentagon neither wants, nor needs.

Wasting money on the Department of Defense may strengthen the political careers of politicians, but it weakens our defenses.

Cal Thomas

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Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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