General Schwartz, Air Force Chief of Staff:
All right, all right — some people have to play little games. You play yours. So let’s just say that you’ll give me 60 more F-22s because it is in your interest to give them to me. But I want your answer and the planes by noon tomorrow. And one more thing: don’t you contact me again — ever. From now on you deal with Lockheed.
Uh, General — you can have my answer now if you like. My offer is this — nothing. Not even the reimbursement for the public relations campaign, which I would appreciate if you would put up personally.
In other news, James Inhofe has gone plainly apoplectic. It’s worth noting that the cuts announced thus far have to make their way through Congress, and that Democrats normally in sympathy with the Obama administration may find the prospect of defense cuts in their own states and districts too much to bear. However, Noah makes the argument that the prospect of Congressional opposition may have encouraged Gates to go for broke:
But this parochial opposition may have actually encouraged the Pentagon and the White House to be more sweeping in its plans, one key Congressional staffer suggests. Previous administrations have tried to cut bloated, poor-performing defense projects onesy-twosy — only to be rejected by the Hill. Going after a whole range of weak programs at once makes it more likely that at least some of the Pentagon’s sickliest weapons projects will be amputated.
Finally, I think the question of whether or not keeping Robert Gates on as Secretary of Defense was a good idea has been decisively answered.