How to Waste a Trillion Dollars

What America could have had for the cost of Lockheed Martin's F-35. 
by Tony Cartalucci

October 17, 2012 - Already possessing the largest, most advanced air force and air defense capability on the planet, the United States has recently developed at the cost of 323 billion dollars, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) produced by Lockheed Martin. It is the most expensive defense program in human history. The US plans to buy a total of 2,443 of these aircraft, utilize them for approximately 50 years at the total program cost of 1.5 trillion dollars. The Pentagon has already begun a public relations campaign to endear Americans to this latest unnecessary waste of trillions of taxpayer dollars.

Image: For the cost of bombing third world nations for another half-century with the astronomically expensive F-35 program, the US could have permanently colonized the planet Mars, and still had hundreds of millions to subsidize healthcare and education back on Earth. The corporate-financiers of the Fortune 500 and the military-industrial complex have run roughshod over America's destiny, irrevocably staining our generation's page in history.

The United States has never fought a major air battle over its continental territory, and for good reason. It is separated by oceans and allies on all sides from any potential enemy, and possesses more than adequate air defense capabilities along with the largest navy on Earth protecting the water and air along its coasts. The F-35 was not built to protect the United States. It was built to protect "American interests," or in other words, take and hold what belongs to others. This includes operations like those against Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and possibly in the near future, Syria, Iran, and beyond - wars all admittedly fought to advance corporate-financier and geopolitical interests, not for self-defense.

The total estimated costs of America's last 3 imperial adventures include 3.7 trillion dollars for the invasions and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, and around 900 million for the bombardment of Libya, not counting the cost of 30 years of covert operations to instigate the violence that finally led to military intervention.

What can be bought for the sort of money needed for planes we don't need, to fight unnecessary wars we should never fight?

What trillions can buy.

For the cost of the most expensive defense program in human history, we could have funded several manned missions to Mars - or essentially - permanently colonize another planet. So for the cost of jets that will, for 50 years, be used to bomb third world nations into submission, we could have funded the greatest achievement ever in human history.

Colonizing Mars and making humanity multi-planetary would be akin to evolutionary leaps, such as life emerging from the oceans, or human consciousness, says SpaceX founder Elon Musk, whose company has developed and successfully launched rockets now resupplying the International Space Station, before Lockheed with billions of taxpayer dollars managed to test a single rocket in its Orion program.   

Video: Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX, explains the importance and significance of making human life "multi-planetary." 

Even by the highest estimates, the cost of a manned mission to Mars, which would include shipping habitats and a power station ahead of astronauts in stages, would fall well short of the F-35's 1 trillion dollar price tag.  The benefits to Americans, not to mention humanity, would greatly dwarf whatever "achievements" the F-35 may accomplish in its 50 year operational lifespan. The landing and permanent settlement by humans on Mars would echo through the ages, open up an entire planet to development and exploration, and serve as a springboard for projecting human civilization yet further. 

Video: Details of Robert Zubrin's "Mars Direct" mission, proposed as a viable means of both initially landing on Mars, and subsequently colonizing it. The mission could be accomplished well under the cost of corporate-financier driven defense programs and the trillion-dollar wars of hegemony they are developed to fight.  

And for the cost of of Lockheed Martin's F-35, not only could humanity permanently colonize Mars, but there would be hundreds of millions left over to subsidize whatever programs skeptics might claim are being neglected on Earth to fund space exploration, such as healthcare and education. The F-35 program truly is amongst the biggest wastes of money in human history, an unforgivable crime against humanity, as are the conflicts it will enable Western corporate-financier interests to fight, well into the 21st century.