By Bill Maher
Due to the sequester - remember that? - the Pentagon had to make some cuts, so after many reviews and the recommendations of four independent think tanks, they decided to retire the nuclear aircraft carrier USS George Washington, reducing our carrier fleet from 11 down to 10.
Mothballing the USS George Washington before its upcoming $4.7 billion midlife refueling and refurbishing (and you thought you paid a lot for a gas-up and a wash) would save us $3.5 billion on the spot and then billions more in the saved costs of having it not in operation moving forward.
This seemed like a no-brainer solution to honoring the mandated sequester cuts. There's been a growing consensus among top military minds that we don't need the current 11 aircraft carriers and that we could, in fact, get along fine with just eight or nine, which would still leave us more carriers than the rest of the world combined.
But this is America where you don't cut military spending; you write blank checks and sing "America the Beautiful." In English. Damn the torpedoes - full speed ahead. So a bunch - okay 11 - congressmen wrote Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel a letter echoing the sentiments of one of the letter's signers, Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA), that, "It is unacceptable to pretend that the United States lives in anything less than an 11 carrier world."
And, of course, President Obama blinked, promised to find the money to keep the USS George Washington refurbished and in service, and said he'd look for places to cut military spending elsewhere. And here's the kicker: the deal to keep the carrier in service will actually increase defense spending.