The River

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Creating a market

At bottom, the War on Terror is nothing more than a scheme to keep the military industrial complex from decline.

The seminal document Rebuilding America's Defenses, a product of the Project for the New American Century , begins like this:

The Project for the New American
Century was established in the spring of
1997. From its inception, the Project has
been concerned with the decline in the
strength of America’s defenses, and in the
problems this would create for the exercise
of American leadership around the globe
and, ultimately, for the preservation of

Our concerns were reinforced by the
two congressionally-mandated defense
studies that appeared soon thereafter: the
Pentagon’s Quadrennial Defense Review
(May 1997) and the report of the National
Defense Panel (December 1997). Both
studies assumed that U.S. defense budgets
would remain flat or continue to shrink. As a result, the defense plans and recommendations outlined in the two reports were fashioned with such budget constraints in mind.


[my emphasis]

What better way to remove constraints than to engineer a new and endless war? If profits are up, it's double plus good.

And profits are up:

Bush Budget Delivers the Bacon

By Robert Scheer

President Bush’s outrageous military budget has nothing do with fighting terrorism but everything to do with pumping up the profits of the administration’s generous political donors in the defense industry. So, the question is: Will the Democrats have the guts to stop this betrayal of the public trust?

Ever since some lunatics, mostly citizens of our longtime ally Saudi Arabia, used $3 knives to hijack four planes on the same morning, President Bush has exploited our nation’s trauma as an opportunity to throw trillions of dollars at the military-industrial complex to build weaponry for a Cold War that no longer exists.

That is the subtext of the more than $700-billion defense appropriation requested by Bush in his budget, released Monday. Sure, it includes $141.7 billion explicitly dedicated to fighting “the global war on terror”—but that much-abused phrase falsely encompasses the invasion and occupation of Iraq, a country that had nothing to do with the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks or the perpetrator, al-Qaida. In fact, that amount rises to $235.1 billion when the additional supplemental funds to cover Iraq for the remainder of this budget year are added in.

Some of the commentors correct Mr. Scheer on his reflexive use of the ridiculous "Arabs with box cutters" conspiracy theory.

Your post has some excellent points. Here's some additional data:

The U.S. Department of Defense, headquartered in the Pentagon, is one of the most massive organizations on the planet, with net annual operating costs of $635 billion, assets worth $1.3 trillion, liabilities of $1.9 trillion and more that 2.9 million military and civilian personnel as of fiscal year 2005.

I am a 2 tour Vietnam Veteran who recently retired after 36 years of working in the Defense Industrial Complex on many of the weapons systems being used by our forces as we speak.

It is difficult to convey the complexity of the way DOD works to someone who has not experienced it. This is a massive machine with so many departments and so much beaurocracy that no president, including Bush totally understands it.

Presidents, Congressmen, Cabinet Members and Appointees project a knowledgeable demeanor but they are spouting what they are told by career people who never go away and who train their replacements carefully. These are military and civil servants with enormous collective power, armed with the Federal Acquisition Regulation, Defense Industrial Security Manuals, compartmentalized classification structures and "Rice Bowls" which are never mixed.

Our society has slowly given this power structure its momentum which is constant and extraordinarily tough to bend. The cost to the average American is exhorbitant in terms of real dollars and bad decisions. Every major power structure member in the Pentagon's many Washington Offices and Field locations in the US and Overseas has a counterpart in Defense Industry Corporate America. That collective body has undergone major consolidation in the last 10 years.

What used to be a broad base of competitive firms is now a few huge monoliths, such as Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and Boeing.

Government oversight committees are carefully stroked. Sam Nunn and others who were around for years in military and policy oversight roles have been cajoled, given into on occasion but kept in the dark about the real status of things until it is too late to do anything but what the establishment wants. This still continues - with increasing high technology and potential for abuse.

Please examine the following link to testimony given by Franklin C. Spinney before Congress in 2002. It provides very specific information from a whistle blower who is still blowing his whistle (Look him up in your browser and you get lots of feedback) Frank spent the same amount of time as I did in the Military Industrial Complex (MIC) but in government quarters. His job in government was a similar role to mine in defense companies. Frank's emphasis in this testimony is on the money the machine costs us. It is compelling and it is noteworthy that he was still a staff analyst at the Pentagon when he gave this speech. I still can't figure out how he got his superior's permission to say such blunt things. He was extremely highly respected and is now retired.

The brick wall I often refer to is the Pentagon's own arrogance. It will implode by it's own volition, go broke, or so drastically let down the American people that it will fall in shambles. Rest assured the day of the implosion is coming. The machine is out of control.

If you are interested in a view of the inside of the Pentagon procurement process from Vietnam to Iraq please check the posting on this blog entitled, "Odyssey of Armaments"

On the same subject, you may also be interested in the following sites from the "Project On Government Oversight", observing it's 25th Anniversary and from "Defense In the National Interest", inspired by Franklin Spinney and contributed to by active/reserve, former, or retired military personnel. More facts on the Military Industrial Complex can be gleaned from "The Dissident" link, also posted below:
If you run a grocery store, the shelves have to be stocked. But even some products are too ugly to put on the shelf:

It's $22 million, and sometimes, it floats!
extraordinary comment, Rose Colored Glasses. Thank you for your efforts in exposing this beast that feeds off the people and threatens the world.

Marc, when your business is based on destruction, waste and degradation, fubar projects don't hinder success, they contribute to it.
As they say in Afghanistan:

"Even Al-Qaeda started out good."
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