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F-22 fight shows power of parochialism

Kansas Sens. Sam Brownback and Pat Roberts voted Tuesday for an amendment to continue production of F-22 fighter planes. That put them at odds not only with the Democratic president but also Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who is a Republican. The vote was a perfect demonstration of how, when it comes to defense spending, parochialism trumps partisanship and deficit concerns. The nation already has 187 F-22s, which haven't been used in any recent wars. The Joint Chiefs of Staff and top Air Force leaders support Gates on the F-22. But the plane's contracts extend to companies in 46 states. In successfully arguing against building more jets, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., suggested President Eisenhower's warning of the "military-industrial complex" be updated to "military-industrial-congressional complex." Still, the Senate position must be reconciled with a House bill with $369 million toward building 12 more F-22s.