Thursday, December 11, 2008

Role of the Military Industrial Complex

While I firmly believe that the main problem and cause of our imperialism is American culture itself Bob in Pacifica makes a valid point on the role of the military industrial complex. Chalmers Johnson wrote about it over at Tom Dispatch and is worth a read.


With this book, Stephen Holmes largely succeeds in elevating criticism of contemporary American imperialism in the Middle East to a new level. In my opinion, however, he underplays the roles of American imperialism and militarism in exploiting the 9/11 crisis to serve vested interests in the military-industrial complex, the petroleum industry, and the military establishment. Holmes leaves the false impression that the political system of the United States is capable of a successful course correction. But, as Andrew Bacevich, author of The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War, puts it: "None of the Democrats vying to replace President Bush is doing so with the promise of reviving the system of checks and balances…. The aim of the party out of power is not to cut the presidency down to size but to seize it, not to reduce the prerogatives of the executive branch but to regain them."

“The aim of the party out of power is not to cut the presidency down to size but to seize it, not to reduce the prerogatives of the executive branch but to regain them."

I believe that is an important point to keep in mind and cannot be overstated for if you believe it then it explains much and will give you a good indicator as to where we are headed under the Obama regime. Indeed, according to the Guardian Obama is already planning the first stage of a lengthy military assault in Afghanistan which should be no surprise to anyone.


Hard-pressed British soldiers in southern Afghanistan will be reinforced by thousands of American troops early next year, under plans being drawn up by Nato and US commanders.
Alarmed by a resurgence of the Taliban, Washington is to send up to 10,000 troops to Helmand province, a force large enough to outnumber the 8,000-strong struggling British contingent.
The US defence secretary, Robert Gates, who will keep his job in Barack Obama's administration, confirmed the move onboard a flight to a Nato base in southern Afghanistan.
Asked about a request for more troops from the US general David McKieran, Nato's top commander in Afghanistan, Gates said: "We're going to try and get two additional brigade combat teams, in response to his request, into Afghanistan by summertime."
A further 10,000 American troops will be deployed elsewhere in southern and south-western Afghanistan, according to senior Pentagon officials. Commanders refer to the plan as a long-term troop "uplift", as opposed to a short-term "surge", such as that in Iraq last year.

The key phrase in the Guardian article is “Long-term troop uplift, as opposed to a short term surge.” That about says it all, more war, more lives wasted , and with every step of the way the U.S. is digging itself into a hole it will not be able to pull itself out of.

Sometimes it is good to sit down and look at the design of manufactured wars especially when it comes to the paths we took that led us to the insanity of the U.S. invasion of the Middle East. In the year 1961 Dwight D. Eisenhower made his famous military industrial complex speech where Eisenhower warned of the dangers that were inherent in the post WWII development of the military industrial complex.


Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

No matter your opinion of Eisenhower there is no doubt that he was quite correct and that his warnings were not frivolous. Today there have been 3,018 publicly reported defense contracts totaling at over a staggering 216 billion dollars since October of 2006. Some of the major players are Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Boeing, and McDonnell Douglas.

This is hardly chump change so the stakes are high. This would be a good time to review the history of the Department of Defense which in actuality is the Department of War especially when you consider U.S. history since the end of the cold war. The Department of War was created in 1789 which was renamed as the Department of Defense in 1949, so it would be good to keep in mind that when we say defense, we mean war. And indeed we have not been attacked since WWII unless you consider 9/11 but that was not an attack by any nation state which of course is why Bush must tell us we are waging a war against terror, there is no nation called terror on any global map.

The energy industry has also played a role in our path to the Middle East. Indeed most of Bush’s cabinet has some connection to the energy industry, so much so that it might not be too much of a stretch to infer that the energy industry along with so-called defense industry (war industry) is in charge of our foreign policy if it can thusly be dignified with that name. For really you could say that when we say foreign policy what we really mean is the use of brute force or the threat of brute force. From East Timor to the Middle East it has been a bloody path, and one that is paved with enormous amounts of cash for the war industry and energy industries.


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