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Monday, March 2

Dumbness in Uniform

Admiral Mike Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was on one of the Sunday chat shows yesterday where he apparently chose to backtrack to the fear-based Bush Regime's press model.

He stated that Iran "likely" had enough uranium processed to make an atomic bomb.

Of course, that's only part of the story. Iran has processed uranium, but only to about 14% - nowhere near the purity you require for a bomb (you need about 90% enrichment for that). You try to make a bomb with only 14% enriched uranium, all you're going to get is a mess.

Mullen and the rest of the Joint Chiefs (who might be smoking joints, you can't tell) are only reluctantly on board with the Iraq withdrawal plan. Too bad, assholes. There's a new Commander-in-Chief in town.

***

The President's helicopter, Marine One, has a teensy problem.

It's about thirty years old.

So the Bush White House and the Pentagon whipped up a set of design specifications (including "hardening" against some nuclear weapon effects) and handed it to the Navy. The Navy inexplicably gave the contract to Lockheed-Martin, which hasn't built a helicopter in its recent history.

The project is now well behind schedule and well over budget, but you can hear lobbyists screeching like harpies over the prospect of it being canceled.

Which might happen (I hope it does - my philosophy regarding defense spending is "a wild beast must be stopped of its provender").

***

The F-22 Raptor is a beautiful plane - sleek, fast, powerful and heavily armed.

Unfortunately it's already obsolete. Designed for a battlefield environment where it would be required to contest airspace over the combat zone, the Raptor is an air superiority fighter designed for a Soviet threat that no longer exists. And it can't perform in a desert environment, which puts it somewhat on the level of Fucking Useless for Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Air Force (which can't see itself evolving beyond the Cold War mission) doesn't want to let the Raptor program stop at its current level of 184 planes. It wants 64 more, and it has allies - defense contractors, lobbyists and politicians.

But if money has to be saved, the Raptor's a good place to look. If the Air Force wants an alternative, it could concentrate on unmanned aircraft.

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