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Late Night: We Pay for What We Want

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We never question the price tag on this type of stuff, do we: 

The US Army Corps of Engineers plans to supervise construction of a five-story underground facility for an Israel Defense Forces complex, oddly named “Site 911,” at an Israeli Air Force base near Tel Aviv.

Expected to take more than two years to build, at a cost of up to $100 million, the facility is to have classrooms on Level 1, an auditorium on Level 3, a laboratory, shock-resistant doors, protection from nonionizing radiation and very tight security. Clearances will be required for all construction workers, guards will be at the fence and barriers will separate it from the rest of the base.

Only U.S. construction firms are being allowed to bid on the contract, and proposals are due Dec. 3, according to the latest Corps of Engineers notice.

Time and treasure are always available. US resources — public and private — are always available. The “no we can’t” spirit so prevalent in government and private industry these days only seems to apply when we feel like it. This isn’t me making a value judgment on Israel paying some private company to build whatever this is, by the way. It’s me pointing out that we tend to talk about choices as if they’re inevitabilities and not things we’ve decided to do on purpose. If we can choose to do this, we can choose to do something else, too: 

Now, please take the time to watch this meeting of the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authoritythat took place immediately following Hurricane Isaac where Col. Edward R. Fleming explains to the board that COE simply doesn’t have the money or resources to address the levee system that flooded Braithwaite, East Plaquemines Parish and Laplace.

We choose to do and not do things, and this isn’t semantics. How we talk about our spending priorities is how we understand them, and we seem to understand that protecting ourselves is impossible, and blowing shit up elsewhere in the world is inevitable, and anybody pointing out that neither of those is true is crazy.


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Allison Hantschel

Allison Hantschel

Allison Hantschel is a 10-year veteran of the newspaper business. She publishes First Draft, a writing and politics blog, with her partners Holden, Jude and Scout. She is the author of the books Chicago's Historic Irish Pubs (2011, Arcadia Publishing, with Mike Danahey) and It Doesn’t End With Us: The Story of the Daily Cardinal, about a great liberal journalism institution (2007, Heritage Books). She also edited the anthology “Special Plans: The Blogs on Douglas Feith and the Faulty Intelligence That Led to War” (2005, William, James & Co.) Her work has appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the Daily Southtown, Sirens Magazine, and Alternet. She lives in Chicago with her husband, two ferrets, and approximately 60 tons of books.