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Photo of USAF C27J cargo plane.
The U.S. Air Force neither wants nor needs to keep its fleet of C-27J cargo planes flying, but the military-industrial complex has decided otherwise.
As some 800,000 civilian Defense Department employees brace for furloughs, industry players say there’s plenty of blame to go around. Factors include defense contractors’ tendency to fight among themselves for federal dollars instead of rallying behind a unified message, as well as the 2010 ban on congressional earmarks — the line items for pet projects, often defense-related, that once gave defense lobbyists leverage during budget negotiations.

The sequester, which President Barack Obama said in October “will not happen,” comes on the heels of a record $27 million in defense industry campaign giving in 2012, Center for Responsive Politics data show, mostly to Republicans.

Yet the GOP’s fiscal conservatives are now edging out the party’s defense champions. The upshot may be fewer political action committee contributions the next time around, said one defense lobbyist who asked not to be named.

"There’s a sense among [the] industry that the system is completely broken, completely dysfunctional," the lobbyist said. "And a lot of them are asking: Why should they be giving political contributions anymore?"

It takes a particular level of chutzpah to whine about a "broken" system when you're part of an industry that has gorged itself at the federal trough precisely because of long-running dysfunction.

The Pentagon has hundreds of billions in equipment it neither wanted nor needed, yet were forced upon them by lawmakers eager to reward those defense industry lobbyists and campaign contributors (here's a recent example). So fuck you. You don't get to cry about a dysfunctional system after you've spent millions rigging it in your favor.

If defense contractors take a well-deserved hit and decide to sit out the next election, then that's a real silver lining in this entire mess. They've been spared any dose of reality for far too long.

Originally posted to kos on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 08:32 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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