(PHOTO: Coming To A Forward Operating Base Near You, if you are unfortunate enough to be in Iraq.)
Marine-Killing V-22 Osprey Aircraft Sent To Iraq
Time Magazine is reporting that the V-22 Osprey is being deployed to western Iraq for use by Marines there. The V-22, for those of you who haven't been following the unfolding tragedy for as long as we have, is an aircraft that, much like one of the Transformers of movie fiction, can transform from a helicopter-like rotary-wing aircraft into a fixed wing aircraft, and back again. Except this transformer also turns into, with alarming frequency, a flaming pile of
twisted metal splintered carbon fiber and dead Marines.
If you have even the slightest confidence in the wisdom or utility of this, please read here, or here, or, watch this clip from CBS, then tell us with a straight face that you believe this is a good idea.
If this is anybody's notion of how we should be "supporting the troops" I would have sincere doubts as to that person's real intentions.
One of the prime movers of the program since its inception was Congresscritter Curt Weldon (R, Boeing Vertol) representing the district in Southeastern PA we all grew up in, who horse-traded and threatened his colleagues in order to get part of the aircraft built in the Boeing facility that dominated his district (in his mind, anyway).
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the estimable congressman Weldon, here’s a shot of him participating in a Washington D.C. ceremony where the Reverend Sun Myung Moon had himself declared the Messiah, complete with an apparent Orthodox Rabbi blowing the Shofar to announce it to the assembled politicians (Moon, er, moonlights as publisher of the Washington Times, an erratically conservative newspaper and neocon propaganda outlet).
Weldon wrangled a key part of the project into the fading Boeing plant at the behest of the unions in exchange for political support. Even though the evil Weldon’s lengthy congressional career was subsequently slain by his own greed (a probe into shady deals involving his daughter's "consulting company") as well as reformer-cum-"Bizarro Weldon" Joe "Sleestak" Sestak, Weldon's pet project V-22 Osprey, aka the flying pig that wouldn't die, wouldn't, well, die.
The "program", as a protracted expenditure of pelf of this nature without successful production of a working piece of ordnance is called, was abandoned long ago by the Army, which was to have shared the cost of it with the much-smaller Marine Corps. Since that time, this flying deathtrap has grown to consume 90% of the Marines' aircraft procurement budget. We are told that the helicopter it is replacing, the venerable CH-46 (not the also-deadly Hawker Harrier, as some erroneously report, is well past its service life and must be retired, along with 40+ years of experience, improvements, and development. So why then has the army continued to upgrade its fleet of CH-47 Chinooks (sister design to the Sea Knight) rather than replace them?