The Air Force is like the Navy. We always spend a lot on both in the hopes we'll never have to use them.
It also makes those counter-insurgencies easier on the Strategic and Grand Strategic level, because Poland is a lot more likely to contribute boots on the ground to an effort led by the guys who can definitely keep Russia out of their skies then they would contribute to a country that had 350k in light infantry sitting around just in case Iraq needed to be invaded.
In many ways things like this (and most of the Navy) are prestige purchases in the sense that they cost a lot of money that will only be useful under extremely unusual circumstances, but in the real world a hegemon has to make a lot of those or the non-hegemon states will be like "Dude, I don't need you for light infantry and 40-year-old-planes. I have light infantry and 40-year-old-planes and I can barely afford to educate my people to the 10th grade level."
On a somewhat related note, perhaps if the last guy had gone through that course you're talking about (which was presumably given by a bunch of Light Infantry/Spec Ops guys) perhaps he would not have fallen for Rummy's (paraphrasing, because I can't find the exact quote) "it beggars belief that it will take more men to hold Iraq then take it" line.