Death of the A-12

No more blank checks, insists Defense Secretary Cheney as he shoots down a $57 billion Navy attack bomber

With the U.S. poised on the brink of war, it seemed an odd moment to shake up the nation's military-industrial complex. But that did not deter Defense Secretary Dick Cheney last week from canceling the Navy's A-12 Avenger attack bomber and sending military contractors the clearest signal yet that the Reagan-era good times are over. The old buddy-buddy relationship between the Pentagon and arms makers who blithely exceed contract costs and expect taxpayers to pick up the tab has ended.

As the tough-minded Cheney shot down a program that had been expected to produce 620 of the high-tech stealth aircraft at...

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