Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Arsenal of kleptocracy

Last night Brian Williams had a dying-fall, end-of-an-era item about the Ford Motor Company, where the automotive industry was born a century ago, being eclipsed right here in the Homeland by Toyota. This was followed by a filmed report on a third-generation family Ford dealership struggling to survive. No mention of the thousands of additional layoffs which will almost certainly occur in the next few months -- worrying about Joe Lunchbox is so twentieth century.

No consumer is surprised Americans can't make a car or truck that Americans want to buy. We also can't make an aspirin bottle which can be opened by an adult with mild arthritis, because everything has to be kiddie-proofed. We can't make toilet paper that doesn't shred and dissolve before it gets the job done. And lest you think our incompetence is confined to the bathroom, we now learn that we can't make (or at any rate, have yet to make) a system for intercepting and destroying rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) before they kill American troops. This is a significant failure, because the RPG is the weapon of choice for guerrillas fighting against invaders with jeeps, tanks and helicopters.

The Israelis have a very good system, but the Pentagon refuses to consider buying it because this would jeopardize billions of dollars in future contracts for companies like Raytheon, which expects to have a prototype ready to test within two years (and where procurement officers look forward to opulent employment when their government service ends). At last, the Bush "surge" makes sense: he's been told to keep the war going until they're ready. "We have to fight! I've already paid six months' rent on the battlefield!" (I find it helps to think of George W. Bush as Rufus T. Firefly without the claw-hammer coat and lancing wit.)

Two Americans were killed last week in Iraq by RPGs. At least two will be killed this week. Let's see, fifty-two weeks in a year...carry the four...oh, well, there are three hundred million of us. Failure is not an option.


Blogger little green said...

I saw Williams' piece, too, and thought as you did: you won't buy this from the Israelis? Why not? They buy lots of our war machinery (or do we give it to them?) Can't we work out a deal? Say, a bushel of fighter aircraft for a bushel of anti-RPG systems? *winks* Wasn't one of the reasons for invading Iraq to make Israel safer or was that just the neo-cons? Maybe, we could make our soldiers safer, too? Hmmm... yeah, we could bring them home...

p.s. you've got mail :-)

12:09 PM  

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