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Taking aim at ourselves

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Oh, good, there's a new toy on the market. This is not the latest "Tickle Me Elmo," but a war toy, and you're just going to be tickled pink to hear this story. It's about the F-22, a state-of-the-art, double-winged, fighter jet that combines stealth technology with supersonic speed, agility and power. This baby comes in both your one-seat version and as a two-seater. Sticker price: $160 million. Each. The Air Force has ordered 438 of them, for a total tab of $70 billion, plus change. Before we shell-out 70 billion of our hard-earned tax dollars shouldn't we ask whether we can afford it and whether we even need it? For example, Washington says we must whack some $180 billion out of our Medicare benefits to balance the federal budget, but I say we should cut the F-22, not Medicare. We already have two powerhouse stealth fighters -- the F-15 and the F-117 -- that are far better than anything any potential enemy can put up in the skies against us. The F-117, for example, did just fine against the Iraqis in the Gulf War. Now get this: The F-22 was designed to counter a new fighter the Soviets were developing. Hello. The Soviet Union has disappeared, and so did their plane. But our Pentagon, in collusion with the huge contractor Lockheed Martin, still plans to spend billions on an F-22 that will have no one to fight. The Pentagon, though, says other countries now have the F-15, so we need this new plane to combat them. How did other countries get F-15s? We sold the planes to them -- at discount prices, too, subsidized by us taxpayers. Guess what? We're in an arms race with ourselves! To help stop this stupidity, call the Campaign for New Priorities: 202-544-8222.

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