Saturday, January 29, 2005

The Payoff

Here's the problem:

Bush needs a few European allies to legitimize his preemptive, optional, poorly-planned war with Iraq.

Here's the deal:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Navy on Friday gave a transatlantic team led by Lockheed Martin Corp. a $1.7 billion contract to build a new fleet of 23 U.S. presidential helicopters, a deal valued at up to $6.1 billion.

The decision was a stunning setback for Connecticut-based United Technologies Corp.'s Sikorsky Aircraft unit — which for nearly 50 years has built and maintained the green and white "Marine One" helicopters that fly the president.

[. . .]

Here's the payoff:

[. . .]

The deal attracted international attention, with Prime Ministers Tony Blair of Britain and Silvio Berlusconi of Italy personally pressing President Bush on behalf of Lockheed's British-Italian design.

[. . .]

Lockheed Vice President Stephen Ramsey said 65 percent of the US101 would be built in the United States, with the remaining 35 percent to be split between Britain and Italy.

[. . .]

This is the bone Bush is throwing his two little poodles. Blair and Berlusconi jumped on the Iraq bandwagon from the get-go and they're being rewarded for their oral talents. A bit better than Monica was, huh?

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