WASHINGTON — In a move intended to shore up both national security and spur job creation, Republican congressman Jim Jordan this week proposed allocating $436 million for improvements to the 70-ton Abrams tank, despite the fact that the Pentagon does not, in fact, want the tank.
“If we had our choice, we would use that money in a different way,” said General Ray Odierno, the Army’s chief of staff.
When reminded of the Pentagon’s position, Jordan scoffed. “Who do you think knows what’s better for America’s national security,” asked the former Ohio State University assistant wrestling coach, who has never served time in the military. “Some schmuck with a rank and some ribbons or the sitting congressman from the only district in the United States that still makes Abrams tanks?”
Emboldened by Jordan’s bold announcement, other congressmen quickly jumped in to propose similarly unwanted military-related pork projects. Republican representative Gus Bilirakis from Florida’s 12th Congressional District introduced a $2.2 billion bill to purchase over 1.5 million Zombie 350 crossbows, which are made by Barnett Outdoors LLC, coincidentally located in Florida’s 12th Congressional District.
“There is a serious dearth of crossbow firepower in our military,” said Bilirakis after watching an episode of Game of Thrones. “Luckily, Barnett sells the top of its Zombie line of crossbows for only $650 a pop, though I’m sure the Pentagon can get them in bulk for only $1400 each.”
The tradition of Congress spending taxpayer money for weapons the Pentagon neither wants nor needs is nothing new. Back in 2009, Congress passed a defense-spending bill containing $6.9 billion in programs and projects that then Defense Secretary Robert Gates specifically said were not needed.
“Every year, the Pentagon comes to Congress, begging us not to spend money to defend this country,” said House Appropriations Committee Chair Hal Rogers (R-KY), who has become so good at stuffing unnecessary military projects into various bills that he’s earned the nickname The Prince of Pork. ”Why just last year, folks came to us trying to convince us that we should buy helicopter drippans for $2,500 each instead of the $17,000 each we currently pay. It’s like they want the terrorists to win.”
Other projects recently put forward by Congress in the name of national security include $13 million for a rifle with a ‘kick-ass’ lightning strike etched along the barrel, $7 million for a rose petal-scented hand grenade, and $1.5 million for the Department of Defense to develop its own beef jerky.