I read a piece in the New York Times the other day that stirred out of my subconscious reflections on the wasteful stupidity that is our so-called "defense" posture in the world. Timothy Egan was reflecting on the surfacing in Puget Sound of a gigantic Trident submarine. The kind that carries two dozen multi-warhead nuclear missiles. The destructive power on one of these boats is enough to just about destroy the world single-handedly. Egan asks, with a good deal more calm than I, just what is the purpose of these damn things? They epitomize (and fossilize) the Cold War doctrine of MAD, mutually assured destruction, that kept the entire world under a blanket of terror for almost 50 years. Since the fall of the Soviet Union and the subsequent restoration of more or less normal relations between the US and Russia, it would seem that the need for these behemoths--560 feet long--would be gone. Egan spends a lot of time talking about their being relics of a bygone era. But he doesn't get really pissed, more just puzzled.
Not the way I approach the story . . . it's just ridiculous that the taxpayers of this country still pay billions of dollars every year for weapon systems that are only existing to provide millions of dollars to the people who build them. Think these missiles, think the ungodly number of fighters and bombers the Air Force has, the number of tanks the Army's got. How many people's unemployment benefits could be extended for the money we pay to operate just one of these frigging things? How many good things could we do for people? How many lives could we save in hospitals? And on and on and on.
No, we have to have four of these nuclear armed subs. And further, plans are already made to replace these Ohio-class boats with a whole new class of subs which will cost about $8.2 billion each. This is the everyday insanity we endure in this country.