War is Hell and Weapons Ain’t Cheap

The reigning Commander in Chief just ordered his first military action in which a highly trained Navy Seal was killed along with possibly 20 Yemeni children, one a US citizen. The Trump administration, denying what many military people are saying, is claiming the missions goals were entirely reached and the effort a total success.

For the moment I’ll let people who know better than me to sort it all out. One thing that did catch my attention, however, was the cost of the V-22 Osprey that was lost. Years ago I took my history students to the Air Force Museum in Dayton and noticed that each example of military plane carried a notation about what the government paid for each of those planes. The Wright Flyer was the first and it may have cost $1.98 each. The last plane I recall was the F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter which the government paid over $400 million each for the first ones it purchased. Walking through this history of escalating cost provided a number of lessons for my students.

Today the average cost of a F-117 approaches $120 million. The cost of the V-22 Osprey that we lost last week was $75 million. War may be hell but hell doesn’t come cheap. Just to bring this up to date the F-22 Raptor runs about $138 million, the new F-35 Lightning will run well over $100 million a copy, and the B-2 Spirit cost a whopping $2 billion each. They are so expensive they are rarely used.

While none of this outweighs the loss of humans the American people need to become more aware of just what “bomb them” really means. How many of our social and economic ills could be addressed if we slowed down the development and purchase of more of these weapons systems we need?  What could be accomplished if Highland County, Ohio received the cost of an Osprey to revitalize its infrastructure?

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