Even the US Army Isn't Into Tanks, But Who Cares?
Years ago, during a drill weekend for the National Guard, myself and some other soldiers were tasked with driving a convoy of Humvees down to the coast. Once we got there, we were to immediately drive back. Since Humvees aren't especially fast, this took a little over four hours. I slept the whole way back. You'd be surprised how easy it is to fall asleep in a Humvee.
The question you may be asking as a taxpayer is, "Why?" Why drive all that way simply to drive back?
The answer was that in order to keep the Humvees as part of our unit, we had to drive them a certain number of miles. If we didn't have the Humvees, our unit's transportation would be provided by contracted buses. The ones with bathrooms. So instead of just doing what was easier and cheaper for the Oregon taxpayer, we took a road trip.
I mention this story whenever I hear people complain about government waste, because the people who usually complain about government waste often ignore defense spending, as if no tax dollar spent on protecting our nation from North Korea's imminent invasion could possibly be spent in vain.
But as this recent ABC News piece explains, defense pork isn't even necessarily the military's fault. In the past two years, a bipartisan effort has resulted in $436 million dollars spent on improved versions of the M-1 Abrams tank, a weapon that isn't particularly effective in fighting the sort of unconventional wars the US has fought over the last few decades. The Army keeps saying, "Whoa, hey, we don't need any more tanks! Let's spend that money elsewhere!" But politicians are all, "Oh, yeah, you do. Don't worry! We got it!" because they want jobs in their congressional districts because then they get re-elected by people who make a living building superfluous armored vehicles.
With that, I'll leave you with the final speech Dwight Eisenhower, one of history's greatest Republicans, gave before he left office.
H/T Larry Wilson