Atlantic Monthly

Hagatna, Mayday

Over a billion dollars, and all that’s left is a pit of ashes.  Defense appropriations is tricky, and there are hidden costs to funding — or not funding — programs.  Will the B-2 prove indispensable in a war with Iran?  Is the US edge over its competitors in an air war too slim to permit slacking off in our quest for the most fearsome, and fearsomely expensive, plane the world has ever seen?

Here’s a guess: the US would do just fine without the B-2.  Our air edge is massive, comparable to our sea edge, which is overwhelming enough that our navy is larger than those of all our major competitors and allies combined.  And the price of just one of these contraptions would go a long way in financing smaller-scale initiatives much more likely to improve our safety, like incentivizing defections, and placing bounties on the heads of our enemies.  A billion dollars buys a lot of heads.

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