Tag Archives: military-industrial complex

When George W. Bush Aides Back Joe Biden, You Know the Presidential Campaign is Getting Ugly, by Doug Bandow

The War Party has both Democrats and Republicans, and so it’s not surprising that some Republicans, who’ve never liked Trump but like war, are backing Joe Biden. From Doug Bandow at antiwar.com:

The 2020 election campaign is likely to get much uglier before November 3rd. Both parties face internal wars that will shape future U.S. foreign policy.

In Democratic primaries younger progressive candidates continue to challenge establishment paladins. And leading members of the bipartisan War Party continue to fall. The latest Bigfoot loss appears to be Eliot Engel, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Out will go a reliable hawk and Israel ally, replaced by a younger member critical of endless war and lawmaking for foreign interests. Engel’s loss also could result in a committee leader more skeptical of reflexive intervention.

Unfortunately, no such ferment is happening within the more reliably hawkish GOP congressional caucus. Other than a few outliers such as Sen. Rand Paul, Republicans are not just avowed interventionists but genuine warmongers. For instance, in 2017 Sen. Lindsey Graham lightheartedly dismissed the possibility of nuclear war on the Korean peninsula as being “over there” rather than “over here.”

However, insufficient enthusiasm for war might cost President Donald Trump some traditional GOP support. Although John Bolton said he is not prepared to vote for Joe Biden – apparently economic and social issues matter too much to Bolton – some Republican hawks are turning to the presumptive Democratic nominee. Indeed, a new SuperPAC, “43 Alumni for Biden,” is set to launch, supposedly backed by “hundreds” of George W. Bush (the 43rd president) appointees. They emphasize foreign policy.

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Trump’s Record on Foreign Policy: Lost Wars, New Conflicts, and Broken Promises, by Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J. S. Davies

President Trump’s war and foreign policy record is nothing to be proud of. From Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J. S. Davies at antiwar.com:

On June 13, President Donald Trump told the graduating class at West Point, “We are ending the era of endless wars.” That is what Trump has promised since 2016, but the “endless” wars have not ended. Trump has dropped more bombs and missiles than George W. Bush or Barack Obama did in their first terms, and there are still roughly as many US bases and troops overseas as when he was elected.

Trump routinely talks up both sides of every issue, and the corporate media still judge him more by what he says (and tweets) than by his actual policies. So it isn’t surprising that he is still trying to confuse the public about his aggressive war policy. But Trump has been in office for nearly three and a half years, and he now has a record on war and peace that we can examine.

Such an examination makes one thing very clear: Trump has come closer to starting new wars with North Korea, Venezuela, and Iran than to ending any of the wars he inherited from Obama. His first-term record shows Trump to be just another warmonger in chief.

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How the Military-Industrial Complex Is Using the Coronavirus, by William D. Hartung and Ben Freeman

The military-industrial complex’s biggest fear about the coronavirus is that it might awaken a sufficient number of people to how much money is wasted on the complex and motivate them to do something about it. From William D. Hartung and Ben Freeman at thenation.com:

Arms industry lobbyists are addressing this pandemic and preparing for the next by pushing weapons sales.

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Government Money Corrupted Science and Technology, by Doug Casey

When the government’s paying the bills it calls the tune and the recipients dance, especially those who receive the most: the big high tech firms and defense contractors. From Doug Casey at caseyresearch.com:


Editor’s note: In yesterday’s Dispatch, we spoke to Casey Research founder Doug Casey about his outlook on green energy, and how endless bureaucracy and government “funny money” are destroying the sector.

Today, we continue our Conversations With Casey, as Doug explains the threat of the scientific technological elite amid a growing tech bubble.

Read on to hear why this problem isn’t going away, and why he “wouldn’t touch tech stocks with a 10-foot pole”…


Daily Dispatch: Now that we’ve come full circle back to technology, we’d like your take on something that President Dwight D. Eisenhower said in his farewell address in 1960. Most people remember his warning about the “military-industrial complex.”

But he gave another warning, too, about how the “public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific technological elite.” What did he mean by that?

Doug Casey: Yes, that was a wonderful speech. He made two points that people have forgotten. Everyone knows and quotes his sage comments on the military-industrial complex. Those were spot on.

But nobody mentions the point he made about the threat of the “scientific technological elite.” Eisenhower points out, quite correctly, that it was no longer a question of a genius working solo in his laboratory to make discoveries.

Even in his day, which is to say over 60 years ago, there was a huge amount of government money flowing into science and technology. Now it’s almost all government money, directly or indirectly.

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The War in Questions: Making Sense of the Age of Carnage, by Tom Engelhardt

Several obvious, pointed, and unanswered questions about the US’s many wars. From Tom Englehardt at tomdispatch.com:

My first question is simple enough: After 18-plus years of our forever wars, where are all the questions?

Almost two decades of failing American wars across a startlingly large part of the planet and I’d like to know, for instance, who’s been fired for them? Who’s been impeached? Who’s even paying attention?

I mean, if another great power had been so fruitlessly fighting a largely undeclared set of conflicts under the label of “the war on terror” for so long, if it had wasted trillions of taxpayer dollars with no end in sight and next to no one in that land was spending much time debating or discussing the matter, what would you think? If nothing else, you’d have a few questions about that, right?

Well, so many years later, I do have a few that continue to haunt me, even if I see them asked practically nowhere and, to my frustration, can’t really answer them myself, not to my satisfaction anyway. In fact, since 2001 — with the exception of the months leading up to the invasion of Iraq when America’s streets suddenly filled with hundreds of thousands of demonstrators asking a range of questions (“How did USA’s oil get under Iraq’s sand?” was a typical protest sign of that moment) — our never-ending wars have seldom been questioned in this country. So think of what follows not as my thoughts on the war in question but on the war in questions.

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Two Different Americas, by Jacob G. Hornberger

There have been two different Americas, and the big split came in 1913. From Jacob G. Hornberger at fff.org:

There have been two completely different Americas in U.S. history. Let’s examine twelve ways in which they differ.

1. For more than a century after the United States came into existence, there was no income taxation or IRS. People were free to keep everything they earned and decide for themselves what to do with it.

Today, income taxation and the IRS are a core feature of American life. The government essentially owns everyone’s income and decides how much people will be permitted to keep, much as a parent permits his children to have an allowance.

2. No Social Security. Earlier Americans rejected the concept of mandatory charity. People were left free to decide for themselves whether to help out their parents and others.

Today, Social Security is a core feature of American life. The federal government forces younger people to help out seniors by forcibly taking their money from them and giving it to seniors. Social Security is a classic example of a socialist program, one in which the government forcibly takes money from people to whom it belongs and gives it to people to whom it does not belong.

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Never the Pentagon, by Mandy Smithberger

In Washington, nothing succeeds quite like failure, and the military-industrial complex is the prime example. From Mandy Smithberger at tomdispatch.com:

How The Military-Industrial Complex Gets Away With Murder in Contract After Contract

Call it a colossal victory for a Pentagon that hasn’t won a war in this century, but not for the rest of us. Congress only recently passed and the president approved one of the largest Pentagon budgets ever. It will surpass spending at the peaks of both the Korean and Vietnam wars. As last year ended, as if to highlight the strangeness of all this, the Washington Post broke a story about a “confidential trove of government documents” — interviews with key figures involved in the Afghan War by the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction — revealing the degree to which senior Pentagon leaders and military commanders understood that the war was failing. Yet, year after year, they provided “rosy pronouncements they knew to be false,” while “hiding unmistakable evidence that the war had become unwinnable.”

However, as the latest Pentagon budget shows, no matter the revelations, there will be no reckoning when it comes to this country’s endless wars or its military establishment — not at a moment when President Donald Trump is sending yet more U.S. military personnel into the Middle East and has picked a new fight with Iran. No less troubling: how few in either party in Congress are willing to hold the president and the Pentagon accountable for runaway defense spending or the poor performance that has gone with it.

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Ike Was Right, by Eric Margolis

Ike’s famous “Military-Industrial Complex” was right as far as it went, but it’s become the military-industrial-intelligence-academia-media complex. From Eric Margolis at ericmargolis.com:

“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.
Now 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 Statehouse, 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.”

General Dwight D Eisenhower
Farewell address 1961

Congress just passed a near trillion dollar military budget at a time when the United States faces no evident state threats at home or abroad. Ike was right.

Illustrating Ike’s prescient warning, Brown University’s respected Watson Institute just released a major study which found that the so-called ‘wars on terror’ in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Pakistan have cost US taxpayers $6.4 trillion since they began in 2001.

The extensive study found that over 800,000 people have died as a result of these military operations, a third of them civilians. An additional 21 million civilians have been displaced by US military operations. According to the Pentagon, these US wars have so far cost each American taxpayer $7,623 – and that’s a very conservative estimate.

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The Deep State: The Headless Fourth Branch of Government, by Ryan McMaken

The national security bureaucracy that many people think of as the Deep State is part of the administrative state, never contemplated by the Constitution, that combines executive, legislative, and judicial functions. From Ryan McMaken at mises.org:

School children learn that there are three branches of government: the legislative, executive, and judicial. In actual practice, however, there are four branches of government.

The fourth is what for decades now has been called a “headless fourth branch of government,” the administrative state.

As early as 1937, in a “Report of the President’s Committee on Administrative Management,” the authors write:

Without plan or intent, there has grown up a headless “fourth branch” of the Government, responsible to no one, and impossible of coordination with the general policies and work of the Government as determined by the people through their duly elected representatives.

The problem of waste and lack of accountability in this fourth branch, the report notes, has “been clearly recognized for a generations and ha[s] been growing steadily worse decade by decade.”

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How the US Went from America First to Empire First, by David Stockman

America has acquired an empire because there is a lot of money in it for a select group of people. From David Stockman at internationalman.com:

International Man: In a broad sense, how would you describe the foreign policy of the US?

David Stockman: Well, in two words: Empire First. I contrast that with what Donald Trump thought he wanted to seek as a candidate, America First.

Now these are obviously simplifications and slogans, but there is an underlying substance that’s really important.

I think the basic idea behind “America First” is reaching way back to Robert Taft in the 1950s. He said that we cannot have a permanent warfare state in America, because our foreign policy doesn’t require it and our fiscal capacities can’t afford it.

What Taft basically said is the US sits between these two great ocean moats in a nuclear age, where the number-one threat is a nuclear threat, not an invasion of conventional forces. The way you deal with that is to have overwhelming retaliatory capacity, to keep the other side at bay.

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