Congress Gives Itself a Hand

How to win votes by fattening up the defense budget

"The A-10 Thunderbolt 11 is a most unsophisticated plane. Pilots joke about being struck from behind by birds." That harsh assessment of an Air Force attack plane designed to provide close air support for battlefield troops comes from a top general of the Tactical Air Command. Why, then, is there $357 million in the Pentagon's fiscal 1983 budget for 20 more of the aircraft, each of which is $1.6 million costlier than the more sophisticated F-16 Fighting Falcon? The answer, insists the general: "We...

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