Dry Run for the B-2
Only a fool would buy these flawed products. So, why are you buying the B-2 Stealth Bomber?
Believe it or not, the General Accounting Office reports that this boondoggle of a bomber, this prodigious piece of Pentagon pork, can't go out in the rain! Also, the thing can't be exposed to heat or humidity! It turns out that even a little dab of nature destroys the thermopIastic "skin" of the plane, which is what makes it "stealthy," capable of not showing up on enemy radar.
I would laugh, but it costs too much. In 1981, the Pentagon said that its contractor, Northrop Grumman, would build 132 B-s for $22 billion. A decade (and 22 billion bucks) later, one plane had been built. One! And it failed its flight tests. The cost of this plane is roughly equal to three times its weight in gold.
Meanwhile, the Soviet Union collapsed, which was the target the B-2 was designed to bomb, so the need for the bomber literally disappeared. Nonetheless, Congress promptly handed another $44 billion to Northrop Grumman to build twenty-one more B-2s. Now we know what "B-2" stands for: two billion dollars apiece!
These are the twenty-one stealth planes the GAO now reports are too fragile to tolelate precipitation, heat or humidity. Since there are no climate controlled facilities abroad for the weather-sensitive bomber, it can't be stationed overseas.
So the military now is sheltering twenty-one stealth bombers at a cost of $2 billion a pop that have no enemy to bomb, that couldn"t reach the enemy if there were one, and that can't be allowed to get wet. Did I mention that Congress wants to build nine more of these dodo birds?
Jim Hightower is the straight-shootinest Texan ever to hold statewide elected office. His remarks appeared in the Texas Observer, October 24, 1997.