The Military/Industrial Complex and the Culture of Dependency.

by Pitt Griffin on March 30, 2015 · 0 comments

in Business, Corporatism, Economics, Foreign Policy, Government, Politics

“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” ― Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Tom Kennedy, Wes Bush, and Greg Hayes are names not familiar to most Americans, but those government functionaries, who hand them public money, know them well. Unlike most takers of the taxpayers’ largesse, these guys aren’t collecting unemployment, aren’t on SNAP or any of the other social programs the rich love to hate. They are bellied up to a bigger trough – the Pentagon.

Kennedy, Bush, and Hayes are the CEOs respectively of Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, and United Technologies – the three largest American defense contractors. I don’t know how these guys would fare if they had to survive without government support. I do know they aren’t willing to find out. And pay politicians well to fend off that fate

Government enabling goes beyond the commercial sphere. Military money underpins many states. Large bases, with thousands of personnel, generate millions for local economies. Hypocritically, some of most addicted are so-called ‘fiscally conservative’ states. Even the most zealous government cost-cutter treats these military cash cows as sacrosanct.

Periodically the Pentagon pleads with politicians to cut bases or shut down wasteful and unnecessary weapons systems. But while holders of the purse strings have no compunction about starving grannies or homeless children, they are sensitive to the pain a withdrawal of federal money would cause a military contractor.

What politicians also like to do – and here the Pentagon is complicit – is project American strength globally. Vast armadas of ships steam around, flying the flag. The US deploys thousands of American troops in Korea, Japan, Germany, nd the Middle East. As a result, many countries, notably in Europe have reduced their military budgets – and become dependent on American forces.

The Middle East has for years had its ‘peace’ backstopped by America. Finally, through either strategic cunning or presidential dithering – let the politicians decide – America has chosen a modest course against ISIS, Iranian nuke-building, and a collapsing Yemen. And as suddenly as mushrooms after rain, Saudi Arabia cobbled together a Suni Arab coalition to contain the terrorist exuberance on its southern border and to face down the Iranians.

I suppose we will always need troops and ships. But the days of vast fleets of manned warplanes are past. There seems little reason to have regiment after regiment of tanks. War’s future is more cyber than saber. And our warfighters will be special not massed.

It is time to end the culture of dependency engendered by a 20th-century military/industrial complex.


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