Wednesday morning Inskeep talks with Retired Major General Tom Wilkerson, CEO of the U.S. Naval Institute - a "think tank" as Inskeep describes it. A pro-militarism institute housed on the grounds of the US Naval Academy (by the way).
Inskeep noting that more sailors and airforce personnel are training to be on the ground in Iraq asks, "Is that something each branch of service finds to be rather important for its own interests as well as necessary for the national interest?" What national interest in God's name? I think he means the Bush-save-my-political-ass interest in Iraq and the US imperial adventure in Iraq.
In the course of the interview the figure of $20 billion is bandied about as the cost for a new aircraft carrier - the "crown jewel" and the "the symbol of American military might" as Wilkerson points out. Proving he's sensitive to so much money being poured into just one floating temple to Mars, Inkseep goes out on a limb and wonders, "Are there people inside the Pentagon who are asking if maybe you can build ten smaller ships for a billion dollars each that are more flexible and do a lot of things for you and save you money over all?” (Oh, the humanity).
Not one question raised about why our nation needs to squander so much for war. No analysis of what such spending really means for the national (and global) interest. I did a little calculating and here's how just one billion dollars breaks down for Urbana, IL and our public schools. Our town has about 40,000 souls and our school district spent about $50 million this year. So one - yes one - of Inskeep's billion-dollar-boats would float 20 school districts of our size - 20! No wonder politicians want to hold teachers strictly accountable to performance - after all, they are just throwing money at them.