"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."
~ President Dwight D. Eisenhower, January, 1961.
~ President Dwight D. Eisenhower, January, 1961.
It seems like more people are taking notice of military spending by the US government lately and the lucrative permanent state of war known as the War on Terror, Inc. that's enriching the elites and screwing everyone else. There's a discussion of this subject in an interview with Anthony Gregory at Stress (Runtime: 40 minutes) and there's a discussion of how ridiculous the War on Terror, Inc. really is, at the same blog, in an interview with John Mueller, a political science professor from Ohio State University (Runtime: just shy of an hour).
Stress was also the blog that did the great interview with Richard Cummings on his great Lockheed article back in January.
Warning: Those interviews contain a heavy does of history, which is good for you anyway so just suck it up and listen.
Additionally, in browsing the news this morning, I came across this little gem from Counterpunch. How's military spending these days? Take a look:
The Pentagon budget for the current fiscal year (2007) is about $456 billion. President Bush's proposed increase of 10% for next year will raise this figure to over half a trillion dollars, that is, $501.6 billion for fiscal year 2008. A proposed supplemental appropriation to pay for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq "brings proposed military spending for FY 2008 to $647.2 billion, the highest level of military spending since the end of World War II-higher than Vietnam, higher than Korea, higher than the peak of the Reagan buildup."
[ . . . ]
Although the official military budget already eats up the lion's share of the public money (crowding out vital domestic needs), it nonetheless grossly understates the true magnitude of military spending. The real national defense budget, according to Robert Higgs of the Independent Institute, is nearly twice as much as the official budget. The reason for this understatement is that the official Department of Defense budget excludes not only the cost of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also a number of other major cost items.
[ . . . ]
After adding these camouflaged and misplaced expenses to the official Department of Defense budget, Higgs concludes: "I propose that in considering future defense budgetary costs, a well-founded rule of thumb is to take the Pentagon's (always well publicized) basic budget total and double it. You may overstate the truth, but if so, you'll not do so by much."
Who benefits, you ask? All our old favorites:
Giant arms manufacturers such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Northrop Grumman have been the main beneficiaries of the Pentagon's spending bonanza. This is clearly reflected in the continuing rise of the value of their shares in the stock market: "Shares of U.S. defense companies, which have nearly trebled since the beginning of the occupation of Iraq, show no signs of slowing down. . . . The feeling that makers of ships, planes and weapons are just getting into their stride has driven shares of leading Pentagon contractors Lockheed Martin Corp., Northrop Grumman Corp., and General Dynamics Corp. to all-time highs."
Who bears the brunt of all this--besides the overseas victims of the War on Terror, Inc., that is? The ordinary people in the US, that's who, and the author of the piece, Ismail Hossein-Zadeh, makes the case that the elites of the Military-Industrial Complex are redistributing the wealth by taking it away from the ordinary people and putting it in their own pockets. Read the article for the details on that.
These ideas are not entirely new. Some were warning of these things back in 2001 but, then, they were Marxists so why bother to pay attention?
Now, if you listen to the Anthony Gregory interview in particular (Don't be such a gundî; Listen to it!), you'll get an idea of how this particular system works. The thing is, this system has a name: military Keynesianism. I don't see any "Neutrality Disputed" signs over at Wikipedia, so let's go with their definition:
Military Keynesianism is a government economic policy in which the government devotes large amounts of spending to the military in an effort to increase economic growth. This is a specific variation on Keynesian economics, developed by English economist John Maynard Keynes. Instances commonly supplied as examples of such policies are Germany in the 1930s and the United States in the 1980s, although whether these assessments are accurate is the subject of vigorous debate.
Germany in the 1930s? How appropriate.
Not only does military Keynesianism characterize the policies of Nazi Germany and the US under the Reagan years, but it's continued into the new century, as Chalmers Johnson has made the argument this year for policies of military Keynesianism as characterized by the current US administration. Of course, one could argue that the current administration is merely a continuation of the Reagan administration as it was passed on by the Clinton administration (Remember all the weapons that Clinton's gang sold to Turkey during the Dirty War?)
Think about it: Is this what you want for the future of Kurdistan, because we know that unending low-intensity conflict is what THEY plan for Kurdistan? If not, maybe you should read that Marxist article from 2001 again, focusing on what a proper response to the MIC elites should be.
There was something else I noticed while reading the Hossein-Zadeh article at Counterpunch, and this is something that I haven't really seen in the mainstream US media: Ralph Nader asking the question, "Where are the cries of outrage over military rapes?" This news started to leak a little bit last year, when a US Army female colonel mentioned it at some commission in New York, but the news sure as hell didn't take off. You would think the fact that American female soldiers are being raped by their comrades-at-arms would be a subject for intense public debate, if not scrutiny. But no. The media elites would rather distract everyone with Anna Nicole "Call Girl" Smith's death and the huge mystery of whom the father of her baby might be, or with Britney "The Freak" Spears shaving her head, or, as Ralph Nader points out, with the Don "Nappy-Headed Ho" Imus sacking.
Why is that?
Well, for one thing, the media only reports on what it really cares about, and it really only cares about other media or Hollywood types--the kind all the scumbag talking heads hang out with. For another thing, it just doesn't fit the wholesome, egalitarian, democratic, OFFICIAL bullshit that the MIC elites want the ordinary people to believe.
Some journalists and researchers have done their homework on the fact that US soldiers rape their own, at places like Truthout, AlterNet, Salon, or MediaWatch.
There's nothing, however, from the mainstream US media or others on the reactionary right. If Americans can do that to their own, and the American military and elite establishment can guarantee that the news isn't discussed by the public, then what do you think these same predators do to ordinary, foreign women?
And the last question you should ask yourself is this: Do you want these same predators "protecting" Kurdistan? Think long and hard about your answer to that, hevals, because if the US covers up what it does to its own, what do you think it will do when it brings this behavior to Kurdistan? They don't give a damn about you.
And you might want to bear in mind the military Keynesian aspects of that so-called protection as well.
Hey, do you think if the US coughed up those Iranians it kidnapped in Hewlêr that Iran might cough up the American ex-FBI guy that went missing from Kish Island?