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Posts Tagged ‘Military Industrial Complex’

Abolish the CIA – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on December 4, 2019

No entity with the CIA’s extreme history of violence, espionage, torture, assassination and covert operations should possibly be allowed to continue to operate in good faith. But again, facts don’t matter.

Via Operation Mockingbird, Langley sought to essentially take control of the media and control the flow of information Americans receive. Though it is unclear exactly how many journalists Langley compromised, the pile of lies incessantly pushed by these supposed journalists tells us many have been.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2019/12/no_author/abolish-the-cia/

By Charlie Donovan

On NBC’s Meet the Press, Chuck Todd delivered an Academy Award winning performance for Best Actor as he grilled the perennially ineffective and overmatched Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana. “Are you at all concerned you are doing Russian intelligence work here?” asked Todd. If you didn’t know Todd otherwise, you would think he genuinely believed the inanity he was selling.

As has been the case from day one, the response from Republicans against the baseless, incessant accusations that they are stooges of the KGB has been pathetic. Just as bought by the Military Industrial Complex and the National Security State as any Democrat (if not more so), Republicans cannot afford to criticize these entities openly lest they lose their political office.  The typical retort of Republicans against accusations of being useful idiots of the Kremlin is to point out the many instances in which Trump has been quite hard on Russia. It is true that Trump has been much more aggressive against Russia than Obama and even George W. Bush. Bush refused to intervene on behalf of Georgia (a country most Americans don’t even know is a country), and Obama rightfully resisted intense bi-partisan pressure to arm the Ukraine with weapons.

The defense of Trump’s aggressive policies against Moscow misses the point – which is that facts are irrelevant. Mainstream media knows very well it is they who are pushing “disinformation” on the American people. Chuck Todd and company are not “crazy,” they’re just doing their jobs. Mainstream media has been pushing this disinformation in the service of the National Security State and particularly the king of them all, Langley for years. Via Operation Mockingbird, Langley sought to essentially take control of the media and control the flow of information Americans receive. Though it is unclear exactly how many journalists Langley compromised, the pile of lies incessantly pushed by these supposed journalists tells us many have been. As the brilliant Caitlin Johnstone as noted, narrative control is essential to the media and the State. Langley recognized this years ago. The narrative that alternative media outlets and brave politicians like Tulsi Gabbard are using Kremlin talking points without even knowing it serves as an important purpose for the National Security State’s shills in the mainstream media. It enables them to throw around this accusation to anyone who disagrees with the National Security State and its hegemonic goals. Further, you can’t invent evidence of Russia against every ordinary Americans. But you sure can call what just happens to be the increasingly rare breed of critical thinkers possessing some knowledge of history “useful idiots.”

It actually is true that there is an active disinformation campaign against the American people. But that campaign is not coming from Moscow, it is coming from Langley. A history lesson is in order. Since its evolution from the OSS, the CIA has been overthrowing countless governments for corporations and imperial hegemony. Bolivia is just the latest example in a long line. Furthermore, Langley experimented (re – tortured) countless American and Canadian citizens via MK Ultra (lawsuits against Ottawa by many Canadian victims and their families are pending to this day). They operated black sites in numerous countries to torture “suspects” without any due process. They have been and continue to utilize mass surveillance on American citizens. These are not conspiracy theories. This information is readily available to anyone who has access to Google. But most Americans couldn’t even point to Russia on a world map, let alone the countries torn to shreds by Langley in the Middle East and Latin America. You expect them to know anything about, say, the Church Commission? Not a chance. Not as long as mainstream media holds the megaphone.

No entity with the CIA’s extreme history of violence, espionage, torture, assassination and covert operations should possibly be allowed to continue to operate in good faith. But again, facts don’t matter. When the Clinton campaign dug up audio of Bernie Sanders heroically calling for the abolishment of the CIA in the early 70s, Langley’s shills in the media pounced on Bernie, and he quickly backtracked. Langley’s wretched history didn’t matter.  To rub salt in the wound, Clinton’s campaign laughably claimed that the Cold War would not have ended without the CIA. This is patently false as anyone with even a modicum of history knowledge understands. Langley did everything they could to undermine JFK’s attempts to reach peace with Moscow. They additionally tried and failed to overthrow Castro in Cuba countless times. JFK was vehemently opposed to what he termed “Pax Americana” and believed that mankind could put an end to war. JFK further committed the mortal sin of wanting to get along with the Soviet Union.

This battle to reclaim our government and make it by and for the people cannot be won while the National Security State remains intact. In order to defeat it, some serious intestinal fortitude will be needed. It won’t be easy to take on Langley – just ask Chuck Schumer about that. It will be brutal. But history is on our side, not on Langley’s side.  The United States will never cease its imperial ways nor its overthrowing of sovereign governments while the stench that emanates from Langley is allowed to continue unchallenged. It is long overdue to undo the horrific mistake Truman made in 1947, and abolish the CIA once and for all.

 

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Saudi Arabian Lobbyists Have Many Friends in DC | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on November 24, 2019

According to a recently released Center for International Policy (CIP) report — one based entirely on publicly available information — the Saudi government spent approximately $27 million on US lobbying firms in 2017. So there is no doubt that there’s plenty of good money in pestering politicians on behalf of the Saudis. Not only the lobbyists but for the politicians as well. CIP found that Saudi lobbying firms donated nearly $400,000 to the campaigns of members of Congress they “had contacted on behalf of Saudi interests.” And if this weren’t blatant enough, CIP identified “twelve instances in which that contact and contribution occurred on the exact same day.”

The US congress – a cheap date and easy.

https://mises.org/wire/saudi-arabian-lobbyists-have-many-friends-dc

Most libertarians are familiar with Dwight Eisenhower’s warning about the military-industrial complex and its nefarious influence on US foreign policy. Many have read Major General Smedley Butler’s short book War is a Racket, in which he lays out the ways in which war is in the economic interests of certain groups, while other groups pay the cost. Some may even have read Robert Nisbet’s warning about the way in which the military-industrial complex has expanded to universities, as researchers seek out government funding from the vast military-industrial blob. While all of these warnings are indeed correct, they neglect another equally nefarious influence on American foreign policy; foreign governments.

Every year foreign governments spend hundreds of millions of dollars lobbying the US government for everything from foreign aid and trade deals, to trying to influence US military policy. This lobbying is generally ignored, but after the recent gruesome murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by the Saudi Arabian government, there has been increased scrutiny on the cozy relationship between the Saudi regime and US politicians — a relationship maintained through the Saudi’s vast entourage of over two dozen DC-area lobbying firms.

According to a recently released Center for International Policy (CIP) report — one based entirely on publicly available information — the Saudi government spent approximately $27 million on US lobbying firms in 2017. So there is no doubt that there’s plenty of good money in pestering politicians on behalf of the Saudis. Not only the lobbyists but for the politicians as well. CIP found that Saudi lobbying firms donated nearly $400,000 to the campaigns of members of Congress they “had contacted on behalf of Saudi interests.” And if this weren’t blatant enough, CIP identified “twelve instances in which that contact and contribution occurred on the exact same day.”

What has Saudi Arabia gotten in return? The CIP report notes that “the timing of many of these political contributions coincides closely with key Congressional events, involving the Justice Against State Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) votes and votes to block arms sales to Saudi Arabia.” Let’s also not forget the US support, in the form of mid-air refueling and intelligence, for the Saudi-led coalition into Yemen that has led to a humanitarian disaster — complete with the threat of mass starvation and a widespread cholera outbreak .

This mid-air refueling has been stopped for now as a result of the Khashoggi affair, but, according to CNN ’s Sam Kiley, “it’s an opportunity to appear a little bit cross over the alleged murder of Jamal Khashoggi while making sure that the Kingdom’s strategic trajectory stays on course.”

It is even possible that all of this lobbying might manage to save Saudi Arabia from the ongoing Khashoggi murder fiasco. NBC reports that the Trump administration has weighed expelling Fethullah Gulen, an exiled Turkish cleric and enemy of the Erdogan regime, “in order to placate Turkey over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.” The Trump administration denies this, but the fact that such action is even in the realm of possibility speaks to the success of Saudi lobbying efforts.

The outrageous abuses by the Saudi regime — both domestically and abroad — are nearly endless. But, unfortunately, they are not the only foreign power pouring lobbying money into DC to influence US military policy. In 2017, according to the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP), the UAE spent over $21 million on US lobbying. The UAE has a large ground presence in Yemen as part of the Saudi-led coalition and has been accused of running secret prisons where Yemenis are tortured. Former US Army Colonel Stephen Toumajan is currently the head of the UAE Joint Aviation Command, where, by his own admission to BuzzFeed News, Toumajan claimed that he was “instrumental in the modernization of the UAE fleet with investing over $10 billion in American aircraft and services.”

But US entanglement with the UAE’s sordid business in Yemen doesn’t even stop there. An in-depth investigative report from BuzzFeed News found that former US special forces had been serving as an assassination hit-squad in Yemen for the UAE. In a stunning report, a former Navy Seal recounted to BuzzFeed News how he, along with a former French Foreign Legionnaire, ran a hit squad made up of former US special forces in Yemen — whose targets included not only armed terrorists but politicians as well.

As of 2008, it took over $350,000 to train a Navy SEAL, and then an additional $1 million to deploy him overseas. As Ryan McMaken points out, this means that the US taxpayer is effectively subsidizing the training of “what are essentially death squads designed to eliminate the regimes’ enemies” for the UAE.

The Saudis and the UAE obviously feel it is necessary to grease US palms with tens of millions of dollars in order to ensure that arms sales get approved, US assistance in the Yemeni war continues, and the Pentagon continues to turn a blind eye to misconduct from former US service members. This leads to the question, what would US policy toward these two onerous regimes be without millions of dollars in lobbying money?

With such blatant bribery of US officials, it seems impossible to trust US foreign policymakers to judge American national interests in an unbiased and levelheaded way. Factor in the even larger amount of influence wielded domestically by the military-industrial complex and it seems hopeless to expect American foreign policymakers to actually be acting in the American national interest. It is little wonder that American foreign policy has been a complete disaster for decades.

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A Huge Empire Requires a Huge Government | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on October 29, 2019

https://mises.org/wire/huge-empire-requires-huge-government?utm_source=Mises+Institute+Subscriptions&utm_campaign=38d57b7fd6-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_9_21_2018_9_59_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8b52b2e1c0-38d57b7fd6-228343965

The chaos arising from U.S. interventionism in Syria provides an excellent opportunity to explore the interventionist mind.

Consider the terminology being employed by interventionists: President Trump’s actions in Syria have left a “power vacuum,” one that Russia and Iran are now filling. The United States will no longer have “influence” in the region. “Allies” will no longer be able to trust the U.S. to come to their assistance. Trump’s actions have threatened “national security.” It is now possible that ISIS will reformulate and threaten to take over lands and even regimes in the Middle East.

This verbiage is classic empire-speak. It is the language of the interventionist and the imperialist.

Amidst all the interventionist chaos in the Middle East, it is important to keep in mind one critically important fact: None of it will mean a violent takeover of the U.S. government or an invasion and conquest of the United States. The federal government will go on. American life will go on. There will be no army of Muslims, terrorists, Syrians, ISISians, Russians, Chinese, drug dealers, or illegal immigrants coming to get us and take over the reins of the IRS.

Why is that an important point? Because it shows that no matter what happens in Syria or the rest of the Middle East, life will continue here in the United States. Even if Russia gets to continue controlling Syria, that’s not going to result in a conquest of the United States. The same holds true if ISIS, say, takes over Iraq. Or if Turkey ends up killing lots of Kurds. Or if Syria ends up protecting the Kurds. Or if Iran continues to be controlled by a theocratic state. Or if the Russians retake control over Ukraine.

It was no different than when North Vietnam ended up winning the Vietnamese civil war. The dominoes did not fall onto the United States and make America Red. It also makes no difference if Egypt continues to be controlled by a brutal military dictatorship. Or that Cuba, North Korea, and China are controlled by communist regimes. Or that Russia is controlled by an authoritarian regime. Or that Myanmar (Burma) is controlled by a totalitarian military regime. America and the federal government will continue standing.

America was founded as a limited government republic, one that did not send its military forces around the world to slay monsters. That’s not to say that bad things didn’t happen around the world. Bad things have always happened around the world. Dictatorships. Famines. Wars. Civil wars. Revolutions. Empires. Torture. Extra-judicial executions. Tyranny. Oppression. The policy of the United States was that it would not go abroad to fix or clear up those types of things.

All that changed with the conversion of the federal government to a national-security state and with the adoption of a pro-empire, pro-intervention foreign policy. When that happened, the U.S. government assumed the duty to fix the wrongs of the world.

That’s when U.S. officials began thinking in terms of empire and using empire-speak. Foreign regimes became “allies,” “partners,” and “friends.” Others became “opponents,” “rivals,” or “enemies.” Events thousands of miles away became threats to “national security.”

That’s when U.S. forces began invading and occupying other countries, waging wars of aggression against them, intervening in foreign wars, revolutions, and civil wars, initiating coups, destroying democratic regimes, establishing an empire of domestic and foreign military bases, and bombing, shooting, killing, assassinating, spying on, maiming, torturing, kidnapping, injuring, and destroying people in countries all over the world.

The results of U.S. imperialism and interventionism have always been perverse, not only for foreigners but also for Americans. That’s how Americans have ended up with out-of-control federal spending and debt that have left much of the middle class high and dry, unable to support themselves in their senior years, unable to save a nest egg for financial emergencies, and living paycheck to paycheck. Empire and interventionism do not come cheap.

The shift toward empire and interventionism has brought about the destruction of American liberty and privacy here at home. That’s what the assassinations, secret surveillance, torture, and indefinite detentions of American citizens are all about — to supposedly protect us from the dangers produced by U.S. imperialism and interventionism abroad. One might call it waging perpetual war for freedom and peace, both here and abroad.

There is but one solution to all this chaos and mayhem — the dismantling, not the reform, of the Pentagon, the military-industrial complex, the vast empire of foreign and domestic military bases, and the NSA, along with an immediate end to all foreign interventionism. A free, peaceful, prosperous, and harmonious society necessarily entails the restoration of a limited-government republic and a non-interventionist foreign policy to our land.

[Originally published at the Future of Freedom Foundation.]

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The Rutherford Institute :: Guns for Hire: No, the Government Shouldn’t Be Using the Military to Police the Globe | By John W. Whitehead |

Posted by M. C. on October 9, 2019

In fact, the U.S. government has spent more money every five seconds in Iraq than the average American earns in a year.

https://www.rutherford.org/publications_resources/john_whiteheads_commentary/guns_for_hire_no_the_government_shouldnt_be_using_the_military_to_police_the_globe

By John W. Whitehead

“Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes… known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.… No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.” — James Madison

Eventually, all military empires fall and fail by spreading themselves too thin and spending themselves to death.

It happened in Rome.

It’s happening again.

At the height of its power, even the mighty Roman Empire could not stare down a collapsing economy and a burgeoning military. Prolonged periods of war and false economic prosperity largely led to its demise. As historian Chalmers Johnson predicts:

The fate of previous democratic empires suggests that such a conflict is unsustainable and will be resolved in one of two ways. Rome attempted to keep its empire and lost its democracy. Britain chose to remain democratic and in the process let go its empire. Intentionally or not, the people of the United States already are well embarked upon the course of non-democratic empire.

The American Empire—with its endless wars waged by U.S. military servicepeople who have been reduced to little more than guns for hire: outsourced, stretched too thin, and deployed to far-flung places to police the globe—is approaching a breaking point.

War has become a huge money-making venture, and America, with its vast military empire and its incestuous relationship with a host of international defense contractors, is one of its best buyers and sellers. In fact, as Reuters reports, “[President] Trump has gone further than any of his predecessors to act as a salesman for the U.S. defense industry.”

Under Trump’s leadership, the U.S. military is dropping a bomb every 12 minutes.

This follows on the heels of President Obama, the so-called antiwar candidate and Nobel Peace Prize winner who waged war longer than any American president and whose targeted-drone killings resulted in at least 1.3 million lives lost to the U.S.-led war on terror.

Most recently, the Trump Administration signaled its willingness to put the lives of American troops on the line in order to guard Saudi Arabia’s oil resources. Roughly 200 American troops will join the 500 troops already stationed in Saudi Arabia. That’s in addition to the 60,000 U.S. troops that have been deployed throughout the Middle East for decades.

As The Washington Post points out, “The United States is now the world’s largest producer — and its reliance on Saudi imports has dropped dramatically, including by 50 percent in the past two years alone.”

So if we’re not protecting the oil for ourselves, whose interests are we protecting?

The military industrial complex is calling the shots, of course, and profit is its primary objective.

The military-industrial complex is also the world’s largest employer.

America has long had a penchant for endless wars that empty our national coffers while fattening those of the military industrial complex.

Aided and abetted by the U.S government, the American military-industrial complex has erected an empire unsurpassed in history in its breadth and scope, one dedicated to conducting perpetual warfare throughout the earth.

Although the U.S. constitutes only 5% of the world’s population, America boasts almost 50% of the world’s total military expenditure, spending more on the military than the next 19 biggest spending nations combined. Indeed, the Pentagon spends more on war than all 50 states combined spend on health, education, welfare, and safety.

Unfortunately, this level of war-mongering doesn’t come cheap to the taxpayers who are forced to foot the bill.

Having been co-opted by greedy defense contractors, corrupt politicians and incompetent government officials, America’s expanding military empire is bleeding the country dry at a rate of more than $32 million per hour.

In fact, the U.S. government has spent more money every five seconds in Iraq than the average American earns in a year…

War is not cheap, but it becomes outrageously costly when you factor in government incompetence, fraud, and greedy contractors.

For example, a leading accounting firm concluded that one of the Pentagon’s largest agencies “can’t account for hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of spending.”

Unfortunately, the outlook isn’t much better for the spending that can be tracked.

Consider that the government lost more than $160 billion to waste and fraud by the military and defense contractors. With paid contractors often outnumbering enlisted combat troops, the American war effort dubbed as the “coalition of the willing” has quickly evolved into the “coalition of the billing,” with American taxpayers forced to cough up billions of dollars for cash bribes, luxury bases, a highway to nowhere, faulty equipment, salaries for so-called “ghost soldiers,” and overpriced anything and everything associated with the war effort, including a $640 toilet seat and a $7600 coffee pot.

A government audit found that defense contractor Boeing has been massively overcharging taxpayers for mundane parts, resulting in tens of millions of dollars in overspending. As the report noted, the American taxpayer paid:

$71 for a metal pin that should cost just 4 cents; $644.75 for a small gear smaller than a dime that sells for $12.51: more than a 5,100 percent increase in price. $1,678.61 for another tiny part, also smaller than a dime, that could have been bought within DoD for $7.71: a 21,000 percent increase. $71.01 for a straight, thin metal pin that DoD had on hand, unused by the tens of thousands, for 4 cents: an increase of over 177,000 percent.

That price gouging has become an accepted form of corruption within the American military empire is a sad statement on how little control “we the people” have over our runaway government…

The government is destabilizing the economy, destroying the national infrastructure through neglect and a lack of resources, and turning taxpayer dollars into blood money with its endless wars, drone strikes and mounting death tolls.

This is exactly the scenario Eisenhower warned against when he cautioned the citizenry not to let the profit-driven war machine endanger our liberties or democratic processes:

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement. We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people. This is, I repeat, the best way of life to be found on the road the world has been taking. This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.”

We failed to heed Eisenhower’s warning.

The illicit merger of the armaments industry and the government that Eisenhower warned against has come to represent perhaps the greatest threat to the nation today…

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The Real Reason the US is Staying in Afghanistan – The Libertarian Institute

Posted by M. C. on September 21, 2019

The Taliban are not militant jihadists. Their only concern is their
ancient homelands. The only antagonism the Taliban have for Americans is
the fact that the U.S. military has occupied their country to various
degrees over the last 17 year as USAID and other international
organizations attempted to impose western cultural values that conflict
with their Saudi-indoctrinated fundamentalist form of Islam.

https://libertarianinstitute.org/articles/the-real-reason-the-us-is-staying-in-afghanistan/

By

Ronald Enzweiler

As someone who lived and worked at the field level in Afghanistan for six years (2008-14) implementing projects for the U.S. Agency for International Development, I am bemused by the fact that the mainstream media (who should have known better or worse yet, actually did) misled the public into believing that it was — or ever will be — possible for the U.S. to reach a meaningful peace accord with the Taliban for amicably ending the Afghan war. Moreover, anyone who thinks a piece of paper a purported Taliban leadership council accepts and signs at a given point in time has any lasting value is woefully naïve and ignorant of who the Taliban are and what governs their belief system and way of life. Spoiler alert: It’s not a diplomatic legal document.

For starters, probably 70% or more of the ethnic Pashtuns who have inhabited the Afghanistan and Pakistan border region (this border is a figment of 19th century British imperialism) for centuries and have adopted over the last 35 years a variation of the Saudi Arabia-spread fundamentalist form of Islam (taught at the Saudi-funded religious schools they attended in Pakistan) as their way of life are illiterate — beyond being able to read Koran verses in Arabic. Moreover, the Taliban have no written theological doctrine or scholarship. These facts should be a clue that written documents are unimportant in their lives. The society that calls itself the Taliban (Arabic for “the students”) live a mostly subsistent life without access to electricity, media, mass communications, or material goods. Most have never travel outside their homelands. They are extremely hostile to outsiders and adhere to a strict Medieval moral code (Pashtunwali) and their fundamentalist interpretation of Islamic law (Shari’a).

The Taliban are not militant jihadists. Their only concern is their ancient homelands. The only antagonism the Taliban have for Americans is the fact that the U.S. military has occupied their country to various degrees over the last 17 year as USAID and other international organizations attempted to impose western cultural values that conflict with their Saudi-indoctrinated fundamentalist form of Islam. (Saudi Arabia was one of only three countries that recognized the Taliban as Afghanistan’s official government before 9/11.) Moreover, Taliban leaders have been wary since the U.S. troop surge in 2009 that the U.S. intended to maintain permanent bases in their country. This is why the Taliban and other Afghan nationalists intensified their fight to expel latest round of foreign invaders in a civil war to oust the U.S.-backed government. (Media pundits who lament that civil war and chaos will break out if the U.S. troops withdraw have somehow missed the last 40 years of Afghan history.)

It’s always been an inaccurate pejorative for the U.S. government and media to refer to the Taliban as “terrorists.” Consider this scenario: A foreign power invades and occupies your country; it installs and pays the costs (over $5 billion in FY 2020) for keeping a friendly pro-western government in power; the Afghan officials who profit from these payments (corruption is a way of life in Afghanistan as the SIGAR has repeatedly documented) are willing to let the foreign power retain permanent military bases in your country (which are needed to keep them in power). As an Afghan nationalist, you don’t want your way of life changed at gunpoint and don’t want a foreign power to use bases in your country to project power in the region and possibly attack the neighboring (predominately Muslim) countries. Given this situation, you join a home-grown insurgency that opposes the foreign troops staying and having your traditional way of life coercively changed.

However, because you fight against the neocolonial foreign power that has taken de facto control of your country for its self-interests, you are deemed a “terrorist.” Yes, the Taliban and other anti-government elements in Afghanistan have killed over 2,400 U.S. soldiers over the 17-year, $2-trilllion-dollar war and occupation of their country. But this happened only because more than 100,000 U.S. soldiers at one point (140,000 including other NATO countries) and squadrons of F-16s were sent to their country to kill them — while subjecting the Afghan civilian population to the hardships, collateral damage, and casualties inherent in warfare.

The question our elected officials need to be asked: Why are U.S. soldiers still in Afghanistan and being killed fighting local insurgents engaged in a civil war who are not a threat to America 17 years after the al-Qaeda jihadists responsible for the 9/11 attacks were vanquished?…

The real reason for the pushback by the Washington national security establishment against getting all U.S. troops out of Afghanistan is the guiding maxim of our post-World War II “War State” (the military-industrial complex President Eisenhower warned about) that has grown into a $1-trillion/year enterprise with a worldwide empire of over 800 foreign military installations: never give up a military base in a strategic location. The U.S. military eventually will be pushed out of Kandahar Airfield in southern Afghanistan (it’s also a civilian airport near a large restive city in Taliban territory). But Bagram Airfield (a prior Soviet base north of Kabul) is a military-only installation in an easily defended remote area. Bagram is the missing piece in our War State’s chessboard of worldwide bases. Retaining it will enable our military to “project power” throughout Central Asia. It’s a steal at $30 to $40 billion/year (assuming troops levels and graft payments are drawn down at some point) for our overfunded War State. Representative Max Thornberry, then chairman and now ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, visited Bagram in October 2018. He publicly acknowledged afterwards that the U.S. seeks “a sustainable presence” in Afghanistan. (The U.S. military’s new high-tech F-35 fighters — a $1.5 trillion program — are manufactured at a Lockheed plant near Rep. Thornberry’s district in north Texas.)

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Trump Nominates ‘Embodiment of the Military-Industrial Complex’ Patrick Shanahan to Lead Pentagon

Posted by M. C. on May 14, 2019

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/05/10/trump-nominates-embodiment-military-industrial-complex-patrick-shanahan-lead

The White House announced Thursday that President Donald Trump will nominate acting Defense Secretary and former Boeing executive as Pentagon chief. (Photo: United States Air Force)

In a move critics warned could further deepen the ties between the sprawling and immensely profitable private weapons industry and the U.S. government, the White House announced Thursday that President Donald Trump will nominate former Boeing executive Patrick Shanahan to head the Pentagon.

“Conflict of interest? Boeing is already the second-largest recipient of private contracts from the U.S. military.”
—National Priorities Project

Shanahan has been serving as acting secretary of defense since the departure of former Pentagon chief Jim Mattis in January.

“When Patrick Shanahan was selected by Trump for a Pentagon post,” The Nation‘s John Nichols tweeted Thursday in response to Shanahan’s nomination, “the Seattle Times wrote: ‘Shanahan, 54, has no military or political experience. He is, however, familiar with defense procurement from the business side.’ Very, very familiar.”

In a column last year, Nichols described Shanahan—who worked at Boeing for 31 years before becoming Trump’s deputy defense secretary—as “the embodiment of the military-industrial complex.”

“His main claim to fame in the deputy post was his ardent advocacy for Trump’s ‘space force’ scheme,” Nichols wrote. “So what experience does Shanahan have? He is, literally and figuratively, the embodiment of the military-industrial complex about which former President Dwight Eisenhower warned Americans at the close of his presidency in 1961.”

As NBC reported, Trump’s decision to nominate Shanahan—who must be confirmed by the Senate—comes “just weeks after the Pentagon’s internal watchdog cleared the longtime former Boeing executive of allegations he provided his old employer… with preferential treatment. Shanahan was accused of pushing Boeing fighter jets on the Air Force and Marines.”

The National Priorities Project (NPP) highlighted Shanahan’s potential conflicts of interest in a series of tweets following news of his nomination.

“Patrick Shanahan, former Boeing executive, is poised to keep running the Pentagon as Defense Secretary with President Trump’s nomination,” NPP wrote. “Conflict of interest? Boeing is already the second-largest recipient of private contracts from the U.S. military.”

“Last year, the average taxpayer paid $102 for contracts with Boeing, ” the group noted, “compared to just $40 for public housing and homeless assistance.”

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

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Rethinking the US Military Industrial Complex

Posted by M. C. on February 14, 2019

Furthermore as we have seen any politician who goes against the military industrial complex (MIC) is deemed a traitor and “against the troops”.

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2019/02/11/rethinking-us-military-industrial-complex.html

TIM KIRBY

The US Military Industrial Complex no longer needs neither actual wars nor the threat of war for its own survival. This factor could actually change dynamic of this institution/bureaucracy in our lifetimes and it may actually be changing as we speak.

Very often something will evolve and become ubiquitous to the degree that we forget its origin. Putting a dead tree in your house on Christmas is a good example, few people think of why this is done, they just do it because it has been done for a long time and thus seems completely natural and important to do so every year. A justification for doing it is no longer needed, it is something done by default. In some ways the necessity to start questionable wars of luxury is much like that Christmas tree – an odd tradition that is not of an importance or value anymore…

As time went on wars of questionable origins in Korea and Vietnam continued to provide proof of the need for massive military spending and continued expansion.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 90’s American forces could have (in theory) reduced in size as there was no longer any real geopolitical competitor to the US. This was a “turning point” moment when America could possibly have gone back to being the America that was and scaled down to a few hundred thousand men under the umbrella of a few thousand nuclear warheads and enough billions of dollars to make sure that the US would never “fall behind” from a weapons standpoint.

But this was not to be. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Single Stupidest Argument In The Entire Stupid Salad Of Russiagate – Caitlin Johnstone

Posted by M. C. on February 1, 2019

“Hmmm, you think the US should refrain from destroying countries all around the world? You know who else thinks that? The Kremlin!

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2019/01/31/the-single-stupidest-argument-in-the-entire-stupid-salad-of-russiagate/

The other day Hawaii congresswoman and Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard came out with what remains the strongest rejection of the Trump administration’s regime change interventionism in Venezuela out of anyone likely to run for the presidency in 2020.

“The United States needs to stay out of Venezuela,” Gabbard tweeted. “Let the Venezuelan people determine their future. We don’t want other countries to choose our leaders–so we have to stop trying to choose theirs.”

Boom. Unambiguous, unequivocal, and without any of the “Yeah Maduro is an evil monster, but” modifiers that other officials (including Bernie Sanders) have been prefacing their feeble objections to Trump’s campaign to topple the Venezuelan government with. Which of course outraged all the usual war pundits, including the Washington Post‘s most reliable military-industrial complex fluffer Josh Rogin.

“Again, @TulsiGabbard shares the same foreign policy position as Russia and the Assad regime,” Rogin tweeted in response to Gabbard’s statement. “It’s probably just a coincidence. #TusiAssad2020”

This man calls himself a journalist. He works for one of the most respected and influential news outlets in America.

Rogin’s post is obnoxious and idiotic for a whole host of reasons Read the rest of this entry »

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David Ignatius: The global politics of selfishness | Guest columnists | stltoday.com

Posted by M. C. on June 30, 2017

http://www.stltoday.com/opinion/columnists/david-ignatius-the-global-politics-of-selfishness/article_a9c5a878-0e1f-507c-929b-2801e9da8f5f.html

Trump’s critics, including me, have been arguing that this selfish stance is actually weakening America by shredding the network of global alliances and institutions on which U.S. power has rested.
Anytime you want the military industrial congressional bankster American empire (in short Washington’s) point of view read David Ignatius.

Be seeing you

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What Makes Them Join the Military? Do They Know Whom They Really Serve?

Posted by M. C. on December 7, 2013

I never was in the military. My draft lottery numbers were always good. I didn’t want to die in a snake infested rice paddy or in a tiger cage. My dad was in the Army Air Force during the so-called good war. The Air Force is probably where I would have gone if pressed. Cheap private pilot lessons!

My dad enlisted because his number was coming up. Why do people join today?

A sense of duty, not yet knowing their life plan, a job, free stuff thanks to the GI bill? I am sure there are many reasons.

But whom do today’s GIs serve? Whom are they really protecting? Do most know? I doubt it. Read the rest of this entry »

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