COLD WAR TOYS EAT UP PENTAGON BUCKS

For the last two years -- and for the forseeable future -- the U.S. troops have become into terrorist-hunters, peace-keepers, fighters of messy, dirty little wars.But the Pentagon is still spending its money like it's about to duke it out with the Russians in eastern Europe, Army Times alleges.

While American infantrymen hunt guerrillas in the back alleys of Iraq and Special Forces foot soldiers track terrorists in Afghanistan and Indonesia, the Pentagon is spending billions on supersonic jets like the new F/A-22 Raptor, which moves too fast to identify ground targets...As Thomas White, former secretary of the Army, observed, 'None of the big programs have been perturbed, and we continue to pour money into them..."In the Pentagon budget, three of every four dollars are spent on precisely the same things as in August 2001, according to a study by former Pentagon budget analyst Chuck Spinney...Much of that money is for fixed manpower costs, but the weapons-buying accounts are heavily skewed toward high-tech and high-cost weapons systems, Spinney and other analysts said.These include $3 billion for F-18 Super Hornet attack fighters, $3.5 billion for F/A-22 air superiority fighters and $4.4 billion toward development of another high-performance airplane, the Joint Strike Fighter.Congress wrote a $100 million check for the Air Force to study a potential new bomber, money for which the Pentagon didnt ask.Also in the budget: $1.5 billion for a Virginia-class attack submarine designed to hunt 1980s-era Soviet missile subs, $3.2 billion for three new Navy destroyers and $1.2 billion to begin buying parts for a new aircraft carrier.
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