Tag Archives: Lloyd J. Austin

Biden’s Choice For Pentagon Chief Further Erodes a Key U.S. Norm: Civilian Control, by Glenn Greenwald

It’s been a long time since civilians actually controlled the US military. From Glenn Greenwald at greenwald.substack.com:

Gen. Lloyd Austin, on the Raytheon Board, is yet another high-level Biden nominee enmeshed in D.C.’s corporatist “revolving door” of legalized influence-peddling.

Then-Commander of US Central Command Gen. Lloyd Austin III conducts a media briefing on Operation Inherent Resolve, the international military effort against (IS) Islamic State group, on October 17, 2014, at the Pentagon (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP via Getty Images)

 

Joe Biden’s pick to be the next Secretary of Defense, according to reports on Monday night, is recently retired Gen. Lloyd J. Austin, III. The choice of Gen. Austin further erodes the once-sacred American norm that military officials will be barred from exercising control over the Pentagon until substantial time has passed after leaving active-duty military service.

Before Gen. Austin can be confirmed, Biden will need a special waiver from Congress under the National Security Act of 1947. That law, a cornerstone of the post-World War II national security state, provides that “a person who has within ten years been on active duty as a commissioned officer in a Regular component of the armed services shall not be eligible for appointment as Secretary of Defense.” Enactment of the law after the war, explained the Congressional Research Service, was imperative to “preserve the principle of civilian control of the military at a time when the United States was departing from its century-and-a-half long tradition of a small standing military.” A 2008 law reduced that waiting period to seven years, but Gen. Austin, who retired from the U.S. Army only four years ago, in 2016, still falls well within its prohibition.

Biden’s choice of Gen. Austin was somewhat surprising in light of the widespread expectation that he would instead tap long-time Pentagon operative Michèle Flournoy, who would have made history as the first woman to run the Defense Department after serving as Obama’s Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, the Pentagon’s highest-ranking woman in history.

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Biden Picks Raytheon Board Member To Lead The US War Machine, by Caitlin Johnstone

But he’ll be the first black Secretary of Defense! From Caitlin Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:

The mass media are reporting that the Biden camp has selected former general Lloyd J. Austin III to be the next secretary of defense, assuaging fears among antiwar activists that the position would go to bloodthirsty psychopath Michele Flournoy as commonly predicted.

As has become the standard ritual for Biden’s cabinet picks, the mass media are holding a parade to celebrate the fact that Austin would be the first Black chief of the US war machine while virtually ignoring the murderous agendas he has facilitated throughout his career. As head of Central Command Austin actively campaigned to resurrect the Pentagon’s spectacularly failed program of trying to arm “rebels” in Syria to fight ISIS, and in 2014 he backed immunity for US troops from war crimes prosecutions by the government of Afghanistan. He helped spearhead the Iraq invasion, and he is a member of the same private equity fund which invests in defense contractors as Flournoy and Biden’s warmongering pick for Secretary of State Tony Blinken.

Austin is also a member of the board of directors for the war profiteering corporation Raytheon, where he went immediately after his military career. Raytheon spends millions of dollars a year actively lobbying the US government to advance policies which are beneficial to the multibillion-dollar arms manufacturing giant, which of course means lobbying for military expansionism and interventionism. The previous Secretary of Defense Mark Esper also worked for Raytheon, working for years as one of the top corporate lobbyists in DC under the position “Vice President for Government Relations“.

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