Tag Archives: military-industrial complex

Will Special Interests Allow America’s ‘Longest War’ to Finally End? by Ron Paul

Special interests is a nice way of saying the defense and intelligence contractors and their bought and paid for bureaucrats, lobbyists, and politicians who have been on the Afghanistan gravy train for the last twenty years. From Ron Paul at ronpaulinstitutute.org:

Even if “won,” endless wars like our 20 year assault on Afghanistan would not benefit our actual national interest in the slightest. So why do these wars continue endlessly? Because they are so profitable to powerful and well-connected special interests. In fact, the worst news possible for the Beltway military contractor/think tank complex would be that the United States actually won a war. That would signal the end of the welfare-for-the-rich gravy train.

In contrast to the end of declared wars, like World War II when the entire country rejoiced at the return home of soldiers where they belonged, an end to any of Washington’s global military deployments would result in wailing and gnashing of the teeth among the military-industrial complex which gets rich from other people’s misery and sacrifice.

Would a single American feel less safe if we brought home our thousands of troops currently bombing and shooting at Africans?

As Orwell famously said, “the war is not meant to be won, it is meant to be continuous.” Nowhere is this more true than among those whose living depends on the US military machine constantly bombing people overseas.

How many Americans, if asked, could answer the question, “why have we been bombing Afghanistan for an entire generation?” The Taliban never attacked the United States and Osama bin Laden, who temporarily called Afghanistan his home, is long dead and gone. The longest war in US history has dragged on because…it has just dragged on.

So why did we stay? As neocons like Max Boot tell it, we are still bombing and killing Afghans so that Afghan girls can go to school. It’s a pretty flimsy and cynical explanation. My guess is that if asked, most Afghan girls would prefer to not have their country bombed.

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Who Are the Ultimate War Profiteers? U.S. Air Force Veteran Removes the Veil, by Christian Sorenson

We hear all the time about the military-industrial-complex, but what is it, and who’s in it? From Christian Sorenson at covertactionmagazine.com:

While war corporations, or so-called “defense contractors,” make billions in profits, Wall Street is the ultimate beneficiary of today’s nonstop wars. The prosaic nature of war profiteering—far from the work of a shadowy cabal—is precisely why the collusion is so destructive and should be outlawed.

The U.S. ruling class deploys the military for three main reasons: (1) to forcibly open up countries to foreign investment, (2) to ensure the free flow of natural resources from the global south into the hands of multinational corporations, and (3) because war is profitable. The third of these reasons, the profitability of war, is often lacking detail in analyses of U.S. imperialism: The financial industry, including investment banks and private equity firms, is an insatiable force seeking profit via military activity.

The war industry is composed of corporations that sell goods and services to the U.S. government and allied capitalist regimes around the world. Investment banks and asset management firms hold most shares of every major public war corporation.

The best-known financial firms holding the stock of war corporations include: Vanguard Group, BlackRock, State Street, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and Wellington Management.

Consider Parsons, a corporation that sells goods and services pertaining to construction, command and control, espionage, and day-to-day military operations. Parsons’ initial public offering in May 2019, valued at roughly $3 billion, earned it an industry Corporate Growth Award. The top holders of Parsons stock are investment banks and asset management firms—including the familiar Vanguard Group, BlackRock, and State Street.

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ELECTION 2020: What President Biden Won’t Touch, by Danny Sjursen

Joe Biden’s no threat to the warfare state. From Danny Sjursen at consortiumnews.com:

Considering the think-tank imperialists in the bunch Biden is naming to direct U.S. foreign policy, Danny Sjursen expects little to change in the essence of the war-state.

Military aircraft streaming red, white and blue during the welcoming ceremony for President Donald Trump, May 2017, King Khalid International Airport, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (White House, Andrea Hanks)

In this mystifying moment, the post-electoral sentiments of most Americans can be summed up either as “Ding dong! The witch is dead!” or “We got robbed!” Both are problematic, not because the two candidates were intellectually indistinguishable or ethically equivalent, but because each jingle is laden with a dubious assumption: that President Donald Trump’s demise would provide either decisive deliverance or prove an utter disaster.

While there were indeed areas where his ability to cause disastrous harm lent truth to such a belief — race relations, climate change, and the courts come to mind — in others, it was distinctly (to use a dangerous phrase) overkill. Nowhere was that more true than with America’s expeditionary version of militarism, its forever wars of this century, and the venal system that continues to feed it.

For nearly two years, We the People were coached to believe that the 2020 election would mean everything, that Nov. 3 would be democracy’s ultimate judgment day. What if, however, when it comes to issues of war, peace, and empire, “Decision 2020” proves barely meaningful?

After all, in the election campaign just past, Donald Trump’s sweeping war-peace rhetoric and Joe Biden’s hedging aside, neither nuclear-code aspirant bothered to broach the most uncomfortable questions about America’s uniquely intrusive global role. Neither dared dissent from normative notions about America’s posture and policy “over there,” nor challenge the essence of the war-state, a sacred cow if ever there was one.

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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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