Thanks, but no tanks

No nation on earth has an armored vehicle capable of standing up to the U.S. Abrams tank. On conventional battlefields, it is virtually unbeatable. Yet the Army doesn’t want any more of the deadly behemoths. It has plenty and, besides, the generals understand they need to put more emphasis on unconventional warfare.

But the Army will be getting $436 million worth of new Abrams tanks, Congress has decreed.

Why? Because producing tanks provides jobs and some lawmakers don’t want to have to explain closed armaments factories to their constituents.

“If we had our choice, we would use that money in a different way,” Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno told The Associated Press last week.

The Abrams is far from the only case of military spending dictated by politics. Some taxpayers still have not forgotten the hundreds of millions of dollars wasted on designing two engines instead of one for a new jet fighter plane.

Political spending for the military not only wastes taxpayers’ dollars, but also diverts resources for more important armed service needs. U.S. Sens. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, would do an enormous service for the military by leading a move to kill the plan to waste $436 million on new tanks.