THE MORE THINGS CHANGE

Immediately after announcing my intention to dip into the archives on account of my schedule this week, CNN provided me with the headline, "Air Force Osprey crashes at Florida base."

The very first Ginandtacos piece that ever received a large number of hits – and, not coincidentally, the first ever linked from Crooks & Liars – was about the $20,000,000,000+ Osprey boondoggle program and the aircraft's lamentable habit of plummeting from the sky. In hindsight, I can see that the combination of references to Transformers and Ministry made it work.

Little has changed, obviously, and the military remains saddled with an inferior, dangerous symbol of the overwhelming influence of military contractors on the DoD's decision-making and Congressional appropriations. Congress is bought off easily and, shockingly enough, people at the bottom of the ladder – in this case, enlisted men and women – end up paying the price. Stop me if you've heard this one before.

16 thoughts on “THE MORE THINGS CHANGE”

  • c u n d gulag says:

    Too bad Ike, by the time he warned us about it on his way out the door, was President for 8 years, and did nothing, while the Military Industrial Complex stuck its claws into almost every Congressional district in the country, to make sure that EVERY politician had some skin (jobs) in the game of its expansion.

    There was a time when most ships and their parts were built in Brooklyn, NY, San Diego, CA, or Connecticut.
    And when most planes were built in Long Island, NY, around Detroit, MI, and California.
    And tanks and jeeps, around Detroit.

    Not anymore.
    Now, if you want to cut some idiotic military program, from planes, to ships, to tanks, to personnel carriers, it'll affect many districts in many different states, and not just a couple in one state.

    And THAT'S how the MIC keeps Congress in line – threatening them with job losses in their districts and states – and less donations for reelection.

    And Osprey's may plummet out of the sky every month, but that doesn't mean they won't still be built – 'cause you need to replace the ones that plummeted out of the sky, because… JOBS – THAT'S WHY!!!

  • Hey look, as I learned on the Military Channel last night, more Messerschmidt 109s were destroyed on takeoffs and landings than in combat. To quote Doris Lessing, ya gotta break some eggs.

  • I live near a base and see them 'flying' often. The osprey has not just broken eggs, it has killed Marines by crashing….Never should have been built. System is broken…

  • Ah yes, the Blackhawk. And to think I thought it was the only aircraft with acrophobia written into the core of its programming. That or they have serious identity issues and aren't sure if they're supposed to be aircraft or rocks. So this seems to be the future for military aircraft?

  • This is the first litmus test for any Congress critter who bemoans government spending: a military program that is both wasteful and dangerous for our hallowed troops. So powerful are the entrenched interests that even the reliable rhetoric of "Do you hate our brave heroes in uniform?" will not even overcome it.

  • mel in oregon says:

    not just the osprey is no good, half our jets are too slow, lack manuverability, are too heavy & cost way too much. remember when our two billion dollar nuclear carrier was approached undetected within 500 meters by a chinese sub costing about 100 million. or how much is the total cost of "star wars" started by the ninny reagan & still wasting tons of money today? the money we have wasted on the cozy relationship between the pentagon, it's armament makers & congress would be enough to keep medicare & social security going forever, rebuild our infrastrucuture, transform our educational system & give good cost effective healthcare for everyone. but, you see, the koch brothers, grover norquist & peter peterson wouldn't like that, so it aint gonna happen.

  • The Bf109 was a high performance aircraft, and the narrow landing gear configuration was considered critical to the design to achieve that performance; the tendency to ground-loop was considered worth the risk.

    The V-22 is a VSTOL transport – in effect, a sort of quasi-helicopter. The only real advantage is has over the current USMC tactical A/C, the CH-53, is the in-flight speed. IMO the in-flight speed requirement has never really been proven to be critical to the design – i.e., the USMC has never really explained why the 100-knot increase in maximum speed over the CH-53 is that important. Supposedly it's because it allows the V-22 to keep pace with fast movers, but since when in the past sixty-some years have our transport aircraft required fighter escorts? ISTM that this has always been a macguffin.

    I think the other issue about this A/C that's going to bite the USMC in the ass is that the tilt-rotors are going to prove to be a maintenance nightmare that will become a monster as these airframes age. Mission capable rate is already low – below 60% between FY09 and FY12 , and combat equipment gets used hard, and fiddly bits like the tilt-rotors tend to age poorly. The maint. estimates for the V-22 fleet has just been bumped up over 60%, and IMO this is waaaayyyyy too optimistic.

    This isn't an awful machine – I ran M782 GAMA Goats in the Army so I recognize a truly awful POS acquisition when I see it – but it a) has some serious flaws in both operational performance and long-term costs, and b) has never to my mind been fully explained as a "Ohmifuckinggawd we MUST have these!" compared to the existing rotary-wing type of A/C. To my mind the depth of fucktardry isn't that the USMC and their contractors are jonesing for these things, it's that nobody in Congress seemed or seems willing to question the USMC about the need for them vs. an upgraded CH-53…

  • I remember when I was at the VA hospital, a disabled veteran with whom I was working commented, at the end of our conversation, "I'm sorry to be costing the government all this money." My response was, "sir, when you were being sent overseas into harm's way, nobody cared about how much THAT cost. I do not care how much THIS costs."

    that's the only thing keeping me from chewing the carpet right now.

  • ConcernedCitizen says:

    To the V-22's credit – that is, to the credit of everyone involved with its production and cultural diffusion, e.g. the USMC, Congress, Michael Bay, etc. – it starred in one of the few memorable scenes in Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Make no mistake, that movie was a steaming maelstrom of CGI-driven inanity. I'll be damned if Michael Bay receives another dollar of my money.

    But I can't forget when the troops fly into Chicago on Ospreys and jump out the back wearing squirrel suits, beginning their plummet amidst explosions and midair destruction and skyscrapers. Everything else aside… that was a pretty cool scene.

  • Thanks for the re-post. This came at a time prior to my G&T readership (a time I often refer to in casual conversation as BGT), and it was good to get a historic look at the site.

    Sadly, so sadly, I have a feeling that many of your reposts from years past will be highly relevant to current events.

  • Hey, don't forget the pilot-suffocating F-22…another glorious piece of overpriced military technology that doesn't work as advertised (and why are we still building a military ready to fight the Red hordes–who never did show up?).

    But hey, no matter–it's all about "FREEDOM!" Right? Right?

  • Wow, our system is fucked up. Monetarily, electorally, fucked up. Whether or not it is Fucked Up Beyond All Repair remains to be seen.

  • I remember building a plastic model of the Osprey back in the mid-60s. You'd think it would be obsolete by now.

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