Actually, that post title's a bit disingenuous--I'm glad Ken Silverstein used Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz as an example of how the military-industrial complex makes sure to keep unnecessary defense systems on the books, because it shows just how bought and sold everyone is on this topic.
Here’s an interesting small-scale example of how the system works, involving Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Florida Democrat, and General Dynamics:Silverstein has links to all the steps, in case you want to check his work. Here's what Silverstein didn't mention--Wasserman-Schultz is actually fairly progressive, especially on social issues. She's definitely no Jack Murtha when it comes to defense spending, and yet she's compromised on this, especially in a bad economy. No way is she going to take a chance and let General Dynamics leave her district, no matter how useless the project is, and to be fair, I don't know if the project is useless or not. I just tend to start with that assumption when it comes to weapons systems and wait to be proven wrong. Doesn't happen all that often.
Step 1, April 23, 2008: General Dynamics makes a $4,000 contribution to Wasserman’s personal Leadership PAC, Democrats Win Seats (and it kicks in another $1,500 in early 2009).
Step 2, May 22, 2008: General Dynamics opens a small office in Wasserman’s district.
Step 3, September 20, 2008: General Dynamics makes a $5,000 PAC contribution to Wasserman.
Step 4, Wasserman announces her fiscal year 2010 appropriations requests, which includes $9.7 million for a General Dynamics project at the company’s new Florida office.
Multiply that process 535 times and you get a defense budget.