The U.S. military industrial complex, at times a bloated and wasteful bureaucracy more interested in dollar signs than the American taxpayer, has once again reared its ugly head.
Nearly two-thirds of the U.S. Navy's F-18 strike fighters are unable to perform their primary function -- fly.
Whether it be maintenance problems, bookkeeping mishaps, or financial restraints, the 40-year-old fleet produced by McDonnell Douglas is officially grounded.
Navy fighter planes are not the only weapons eroding before our eyes. Submarines are out of service for prolonged periods as well, sometimes four years or more. The USS Boise, a Los Angeles-class attack submarine, has lost its diving certification and will not deploy until critical ship work is complete. If immediate action isn't taken, five more submarines will be grounded by the end of this year as well, according to the report.
The F-18 has been scheduled to be replaced by the new F-35, a program that is long overdue and over budget.
Dwight D. Eisenhower, a man who knows a thing or two about military power and deterrence, once warned of the unintended repercussions of the military complex.
During his farewell address, Eisenhower foresaw these eventualities:
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together...
The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded.
Financial accountability, along with arms and men, are equally important for an independent nation to thrive and defend itself.