Money Well Spent? image

I just finished reading an online Popular Science article about the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber that can “sneak past enemy air defenses with the same radar signature as a small bird.” The article was about being able to “see” the bomber using Google Earth, but I was more interested in some of the information about the bomber itself and how it was recently used.

For those unfamiliar — this stealth bomber was designed during the Cold War (it would cost nearly $2 billion in today’s dollars), and is capable of deploying both conventional and thermonuclear weapons. As one person put it, “It is made to defeat the world’s most advanced air-defense systems.”

What most interested me in the Popular Science article, was their reference to a 2018 article for The Atlantic, in which the writer pointed out that the bomber was used to bomb no more than 100 men camped in the desert in a country that does not even have air defenses (my emphasis). He noted the following:

Bombing ignorant gunmen camped out in a desert of a non-country is a far cry from launching an attack against a modern military adversary. But the high cost of the mission was perhaps an attraction by bureaucratic if not military logic—you may lose money if you don’t spend it—or the B-2s might have just needed some work to do.

(Like preparing for a possible war with China or Russia?)

He goes on to say that it costs $44.27 million per year to maintain the bomber (2018 figures), making it the most expensive aircraft to maintain in the Air Force inventory.

He then notes that the Air Force is now considering the development of the B-21 Raider — “a new flying wing strategic stealth bomber that closely resembles the B-2 and is designed to replace the older aircraft” — for a an estimated cost of $203 billion. According to Air Force sources, the B-21 Raider is “designed to operate in tomorrow’s high-end threat environment” … and will “play a critical role in ensuring America’s enduring airpower capability.”

All this information was particularly interesting to me based on a recently expressed “need” by certain members of Congress to increase the Military Budget — yet those same individuals seem unable to justify the (considerably less) expenses connected with the Build Back Better plan.

Of course there is no argument that the defense of the United States against pernicious foreign powers is vital. Yet denying the people of this country the (minimal by comparison) funds they need to simply survive and/or live meaningful lives is, IMO, without excuse.

34 thoughts on “Money Well Spent?

  1. I recently bitched somewhere about the $10billion Webb Telescope recently launched that will supposedly see light from the Big Bang beginning of the Universe. WHY? We need the money here and now, not 38 billion years ago, or whatever. All it takes is one design flaw or unexpected collision event in space, and those $10billion go up in smoke. The possibility of that risk is so high I do not know how they could justify taking such a chance of throwing away that much money is mind boggling.
    Spending $203BILLION on ONE weapon of war is so ridiculous as to be beyond human comprehension. How much will it cost annually to maintain this piece of junk that is obviously not needed EXCEPT by hawks who have lost all concept of what war with such a weapon would cost, financially, AND IN USELESS DEATHS.
    If they agree to make this expenditure, and refuse to fund the BBB, then they have gone so insane it would be much cheaper to execute those voting for it and turn the future of humanity towards more peaceful endeavors.
    ANYONE who thinks this endeavor is necessary to the defense of any nation should be locked away in a prison in Antarctica, and left to survive on their own dimes.

    Liked by 7 people

  2. Many pro-militant, pro-aggressive, pro-arrogant U.S. political parties, groups, organizations, foundations, etc, use a tried-n-true tactic of fear-mongering on the general gullible public—not to mention the tactic often maintains the Protagonist’s or Antagonist’s (whichever role is most suitable) control of power/authority; a secondary motive. Nan, these recent tactics made by the Congressmen & women you reference are no different in actual unspoken motive. To this, to them, to our gullible, easily frightened public & tax-payers I say only this:

    Did these billions upon billions of dollars spent on the world’s most advanced, most lethal military in all of human history… save us on 9/11?

    Same question again, but in reference to the Afghan War, which lasted an astounding 20-years!? Did we win? Monies well spent? Then, where technological advantages are falsely perceived…

    Same question again, in reference to the Iraq War where the U.S. military machine was far and away eons more superior; is Iraq fully liberated today and enjoying democracy? Was it total victory there? Money well spent?

    Same question again, in reference to the Vietnam War, where the U.S. military machine was far more superior than the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong? Did we win? Monies well spent?

    Same question again, in reference to the Korean War; same technological advantages perceived by the U.S. military and its fooled citizens: Did we win? Monies well spent?

    The smartest of enemies against the U.S. military know full well they cannot go Toe-to-Toe in traditional warfare/combat and expect to win. Guerilla tactics always do and always will FORCE massive, complex military Bullies, e.g. China, Russia, and the USA, into close-combat, boots-on-the-ground, IEDs, booby-traps, and human to human. If the “Big Bully Boys” don’t play that way, then we fall into the trap of War Crimes Against Humanity using our hyper-sophisticated machines on “innocent women, children, and unarmed civilians.”

    Money spent doesn’t win a nation, a people a war or conflict. It is and always will be the HUMAN SOLDIERS—who risk the most—who must ultimately win it, or lose it.

    Liked by 6 people

    • But of course, all that you mention is pushed under the rug in favor of newer and more lethal (and more expensive) “superior” weapons to protect this Great Nation from those really dangerous countries that, as you point out, will never go Toe-to-Toe with the U.S.

      EXCELLENT comment!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Thank you Ma’am. You are kind.

        Here’s a super NOVEL idea America, you voters, and our government officials—who SERVE the people (not money! 🙄) who many decades ago used to vote them into Congress, one person, one vote rather than their position/office bought for them—

        Since conflict and wars are only won by PEOPLE, by the soldiers who operate within the military and are put there ultimately by THEIR citizens and family members (along with their voluntary consent) …

        Let’s spend on the HUMAN ELEMENT!!! Let’s “spend tons of resources” for all the facets which involve diplomacy, conflict-resolution, and the higher/highest educations for these HUMANS put in those positions of preserving life, improving life, sustaining life… rather than in destroying it, dismantling it, or pushing it to extinction? That seems I much, MUCH better investment in the end.

        Anyone care to compare the options, to assess or quote the grand total cost of wars, both for the dead, the living, and the materials spent, built, and wasted… over 2, 3, 4 generations? 🤔

        Liked by 3 people

        • When the Soviet Union attacked Finland in the so called Winter War, Finland would have fallen right away, if not for the social reforms made here after our civil war. The socialists of Finland decided to fight the Communist Russians – and so they did, even though the right-wing propaganda and fear had been they would not. The Finnish army was ill equipped, but well trained and the nation wanted to fight and it did, not just the rich, but the poor too. Because the old system that little more than enslaved the poor had been abolished and wealth had started to be divided equally between people. Because unlike just a few decades before, the poor could get to a doctor, could have education and did not have to fear of starving to death. They had something to fight for. We lost – of course – but Finland remained indipendend and the effort had brought the different economic elements of the nation much more closely together.

          Liked by 2 people

        • A great story and example Rautakyy. Thank you for also expressing how prosperity, spread and shared (close to?) equally, evenly… benefits EVERYONE… even the perceived wealthiest of the populous. 🙂

          Liked by 3 people

    • The biggest threat to this nation comes from within…

      Indeed Jill. To carry your excellent point to its further explicit end, the USA has a demonstrated its frailty from within since at least the mid-19th century, if not sooner. From the 1849 San Francisco Coal Miners Massacre up to this year’s Jan. 6th attack on the U.S. Capital Bldg incited by former orangutan Prez, Donald tRump, there exists a long, long list* of “threats” or Domestic Terrorists/Killers. Here are only a few names on our 172-yr old list—and it will continue getting longer as long as our sacred founding papers/documents, designed & written by our Six Core Founding Fathers, are constantly maligned, ignored, broken, distorted, and misinterpreted:

      • 1849 San Francisco Coal Miners Massacre

      • 1921 Tulsa race massacre

      • 1963 16th Street Baptist Church bombing

      • 1995 Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols Oklahoma City bombing

      • 1992 Randy Weaver (Ruby Ridge)

      • 1993 David Koresh with Steven Schneider & Wayne Martin (Waco, TX)

      • 2008 Barack Obama assassination plot in Tennessee by neo-Nazi skinheads

      • 2015 Curtis Culwell Center attack at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, Texas

      • 2015 Charleston church shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina

      • 2019 Escondido mosque fire and Poway synagogue shooting at Dar-ul-Arqam mosque and Chabad of Poway in Escondido, California

      • And the tRump-supported attack on the Capital Jan. 6, 2021 that killed five.


      * – Source:

      Liked by 3 people

      • Thanks for this, Professor! With the exception of the first two, I well remember the rest and it is notable that racism was the root of most, if not all! So, most have happened during my 70-year lifetime, which makes me think the domestic terrorist attacks are increasing in number as the years go by. What will 2024 bring? I shudder to think of it.

        Liked by 3 people

        • You are most welcome Ma’am.

          Yes, most all of the latest “attacks” have happened during both our lifetimes. Race was most certainly a motivating factor/influence in the hate manifested—all of which is TAUGHT, we’re not born with it in our DNA that is an undeniable given!—and if not race-related, certainly prejudice, abhorrent preconceived discrimination, or one specific demographic desperately clinging to its diminishing control, power, and authority to segregate groups, a behavior that is the sheer antithesis of our nation’s founding principles!

          2024? That is certainly a very real serious concern for the applied livelihood and survival of our basic Constitutional laws, principles, concepts, and implicit spirit, if you will, designed by the six Core Founding Fathers. 2017 thru Jan. 2021 saw by far the MOST degradation of our country’s founding precepts. The culmination of this terrible decline and division of the U.S. was Jan. 6, 2021 at the Capital Bldg.

          Here’s to a dire do-or-die hope that the House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack completely ruins the orange orangutan’s chances of ever holding a federal office again. So far it seems the compounding findings from the proceedings against the orange Monster should accomplish this—thanks to the exceptional courage that Liz Cheney (R) has nobly exhibited along with 1 or 2 more!—and we normal, sane Americans can move on, move PAST those shameful, despicable four years and hopeful REPAIR the deep chasm that Monster created. Yes? Fingers and toes crossed!

          Liked by 2 people

        • My fondest hope right now is that the former guy is either dead or in an orange jumpsuit by the time 2024 rolls around, for that is the only thing, I think, that would keep his name off the ballot. And if his name is on the ballot, we are in for times of trouble, win or lose, the likes of which we have never seen before. The members of the Republican Party would rather see this nation go down in flames than to listen to their conscience and do what is right for the people of this nation. Greed and arrogance together make for evil actions by people who have no conscience. Like you, I still have hope for a restoration of values among the people of this nation, but with each passing day that hope fades just a bit more. Still, I am keeping fingers and toes crossed! Methinks they will need to be surgically separated when all this is over … if it ever is.

          Liked by 3 people

        • PT, you mention Liz Cheney … to me, she’s a much more accurate representation of what a congressperson should be. She supports the CORE values of the (true) Republican party, but she is able to see through the lies and propaganda that CERTAIN members of that party have propagated and promoted. If more Republicans were like her, would we not have a much more balanced government? I think so.

          Liked by 5 people

        • Agreed, Nan! Cheney and Kinzinger seem to remember those oaths they took, whereas the jerks like McConnell, Gaetz, McCarthy, Greene, Boebert, Gosar and many more shredded their oaths 30 seconds after they swore them.

          Liked by 2 people

        • In complete agreement with you Nan! Totally different opposing parties and yes… much more balanced and more importantly, MUCH MORE SANE! Jebus H. Christmas, did someone spike the Republican punch-bowl with crystal-meth!? 😬🥴

          Liked by 1 person

  3. There is no country on earth that stands a chance against the US military in any type of conventional war, but that doesn’t stop companies like Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, and Raytheon, from needing to deliver continuing profits to their shareholders. They give a lot in campaign contributions and thus expect that the defense budget will deliver them what they need, even if the United States doesn’t need what they deliver.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Did not the US just lose a “conventional” war in Afghanishtan? One of many similar cases? Or is war “conventional” only if both sides follow some arbitrary rules set by the US? Often enough, by conventional warfare we refer to the sort of war of attrition of manpower and equipment, that best suits those who produce the equipment for profit and do not care about the manpower.

      To me the US military looks ineffective and poorly equipped. It is expensive, but the equipment is in great part just costly crap. When something is good, then the unit cost is absolutely ridiculous. The propaganda and advertizing are on steroids, but the performance on the field is not convincing. Why send diver special forces on missions in a land locked country? If that is not wasting their specialized training, then I do not know what is. The US is the only western military, that does not even have proper APC’s for the infantry, while most of the other modern armies in the world have had that need fulfilled for decades.

      Liked by 1 person

      • “Did not the US just lose a “conventional” war in Afghanishtan?”

        Not really – at least not in the sense that I mean. The US military is good at fighting the armies of other countries. The nature of the wars it’s fought since WW2 have changed significantly. If another country decided to try and invade and the US it would lose – very badly. If the US decided it wanted to topple another government, that government will almost certainly fall if the entire weight of the US military was mobilized.

        We “won” in Afghanistan 20 years ago, but wasted the next 20 years. We didn’t setup the critical infrastructure so that the Afghan government would become anywhere close to self-sufficient. The fact is that the US never wanted Afghanistan to be self-sufficient, because then they might align with China. Apparently keeping them dependent served the US’s ends better. It was just incredibly short-sighted.

        I think a big part of the US’s problem is that they still think they’re fighting wars like they were almost 80 years ago. That’s just not true today.

        “To me the US military looks ineffective and poorly equipped.”

        At fighting armies and other countries, I think you’re dead wrong. At building up other countries so that they’re self-sufficient I’d completely agree. At fighting guerrilla’s and insurgents I’d also tend to agree.

        “The propaganda and advertizing are on steroids”

        I suspect that’s to help justify spending nearly a trillion per year on the defense budget. If people stop loving the military they may want that money spent elsewhere. I know I’d certainly be happy if they did. US defense spending is ridiculous.

        “Why send diver special forces on missions in a land locked country?”

        Dunno. I can’t speak to the specific of what you’re talking about, but those people tend to be some of the very best, and are likely adaptable to other tasks.

        “The US is the only western military, that does not even have proper APC’s for the infantry, while most of the other modern armies in the world have had that need fulfilled for decades.”

        I suspect that part of the reason is that the US doesn’t really fight with ground soldiers as much as other countries. A big part of the US strategy is air domination.

        Liked by 2 people

        • The air domination doctrine actually showed it’s obvious weakness in Afghanishtan. At the early stages of the war the US ground forces had been deployed without artillery, as the doctrine was that it could be supported from the air. This was – of course – nonsense, as the guerillas could strike at the US ground forces from hilltops with light mortars and heavy machine guns and leave long before the airstrike from the aircraft carrier could reach the location.

          The US never “won” and only lost in Afghanishtan on almost any terms of warfare. Simply declaring, that you have won the war after taking the enemy capital does not mean you won the war, or otherwise we could claim that Napoleon won the war against Russia. Or that Soviet Union won their war in Afghanishtan. They did not. Wars are only won after the enemy has been defeated and has surrendered. That never happened in Afghanishtan – not to the Russians and not to the Americans and their international allies.

          To me it seems the lack of APC’s is due to some group of capitalists making a great deal with taxpayer money in selling the US military a ton of the “Humwees”, that are arguably great of-road vehicles (in comparrisont to civillian cars), but not APC’s and in that totally lacking as military transport. The US has been at the forefront of moving troops by helicopter (a nother great way of milking the taxpayers), but the problem with that is, that you actually can not get helicopters too close to the actual combat zone, or they simply will be shot down. They are expensive and voulnerable and DO have their uses in recovering the wounded, but as a combat vehicles go, they and the Humwees are at best lacking. Not money well spent…

          Liked by 2 people

        • “Not money well spent…”

          Considering just how much the US spends on their military, I think that they pay for an incredible amount of waste, both in terms of human lives and misery, along with the inefficiencies of what they’re doing. It’s unfortunate that they spend so much on their military yet have so many people who can barely afford to keep a roof over their head, or go bankrupt because of medical debt.

          What saddens me even more is that the US looks at their “defense” spending and never questions it. Make plans to spend a few hundred billion to repair aging infrastructure and the immediate question is “how are we going to pay for it?” Nobody ever questions how to pay for the massive military expenses, but they always find a way. I guess the lobbyists for the defense companies have more clout than the companies for repairing infrastructure.

          Liked by 2 people

        • Agreed. I think one of the problems behind this might be nationalism in patriotic disguise. In that mind set, it seems, questioning defence spending is equalled with unpatriotic values. Any defence spending is good, even if money is spent ridiculous amounts to buy crap. In my view, that is not patriotic, but the opposite. It is an appeal to one of the most basic emotions – fear. When people are motivated by such strong emotion, reason plays no part and that makes people voulnerable to manipulation and exploitation.

          Liked by 2 people

  4. The list of useless weapons programs in the US is lengthy. Look at the navy’s littoral ship program. They sunk over $30 billion into that boondoggle before admitting that the whole program was a failure. The ships cost three times what the original estimates were and the whole system started having problems before the first ones were even delivered. Engine failures, structural failures, electronic systems failures… Of the 30 or so ships delivered at a cost of over $600 – $700 million each, only about 15 are apparently functional, most of those being used for training and aren’t combat ready. Only five or six of the ships are functional enough to actually functional enough to be deployable as combat ships.

    The whole program was doomed from the start and pretty much everyone who knew what was going on realized that from the beginning. It got rammed through anyway because in large part it was sold as a jobs program that would bail out failing ship builders in Wisconsin and the other state where they were made.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I tend not to flinch so much on these type of programs. We really do need to stay ahead of the technology curve with our military weapons if we intend to remain a superpower in the future. And the reality is, the DoD spends a LOT more money on routine bullshit than they do on a single pet project. The aptly-named “military industrial complex” is a treasure trove of waste that could easily be curtailed if we had policies that favored a more subtle US presence around the world.

    Mango Golfenfuhrer increased the DoD budget by over $200 billion per year for seemingly no reason whatsoever, it should be pretty easy to cut it by the same amount. And then we would have the money for nice things.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’ve wondered that as well. With the autonomous drones and cruise missile systems, air to air, ground to air missiles, why do we need piloted planes at all for most applications? With modern technology the pilot is actually the weakest link in the whole system. Pilots are fragile. They can’t deal with G-forces greater than about 8G for more than a very short period of time which curtails the maneuverability of the aircraft.

      Liked by 3 people

  6. War makes a lot of money for a few people and shareholders of some of these companies. You know they really don’t care about young boys who lose their lives, citizens with no axe to grind in these other countries..our nation is a control freak! War becomes a means also of keeping the population under control, in their eyes. There is no morality in this. Except with the common man’s views.

    I like cosmology and wondering about the universe, so the new telescope and what it may discover does interest me and I know it really doesn’t gain anything for humanity because most people aren’t interested in that, but it may be useful in the future..who knows. Hubble certainly did discover alot of fascinating stuff…to me anyhow.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I used to be VERY interested in cosmology, but over the years, my interest has waned. Perhaps it comes with age … getting closer to your ultimate demise.

      Having said that, I can/do understand the drive to understand “the heavens” and perhaps to get a bit closer to finding out about the genesis of the universe, so … I imagine I will probably follow the news of whatever discoveries are made. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Finland just made a deal to buy 64 jet planes (F-35 stealth fighter) from the USA. In comparrison Russia is planning to build 75 stealth fighers. Finland has more tanks and artillery than either France or Germany. Our wartime army is bigger than either of the armies of those countries, because we can put up to 900 000 trained men into service in just a couple of days. Russia is our neighbour, and has just recently once again flexed it’s muscles by threatening the neighbouring Ukraine, but it is sometimes ridiculous what we offer to the altar of war. We shall have to make a lot of debt to cover the expenses for the fighters alone. Our conservatives are well pleased with the purchase, but often complain about how much money we spent on wellfare.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. And by the way, the “no more than 100 men camped in the desert in a country that does not even have air defenses” ultimately won that war, despite these ultra expensive bombers. What does that tell us?

    Why did those men go to war in the first place?

    Liked by 1 person

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