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News Link • Military Industrial Complex

The Wasteful War Machine: How we throw money away with the military-industrial-congressional complex

• Marshall Auerback

It’s interesting how the deficit hawks always discuss wasteful government spending in the context of Social Security, Medicare, health care provision, and education, but seldom analyze this phenomenon in regard to the Pentagon’s mammoth defense budget.. As my friend (and former Pentagon employee) Franklin “Chuck” Spinney has noted, the American military establishment is in a dysfunctional state of decay. It has been politicized by factional interests in the domestic political economy (what Professor Seymour Melman of Columbia called the permanent war economy) that emerged during the permanent mobilization of the Cold War.

Today, the web of political and economic relations weaving together the military-industrial-congressional complex, or MICC, operates according to its own internal rhythms that have almost nothing to do with foreign policy. In fact, foreign policy responds to the needs of the MICC. During the Cold War, the threat of nuclear annihilation kept things relatively pacific, while each side spent gobs of money to buy weapons (Korea and Vietnam were really backdrops against the greater imperative of defending western Europe and nuclear deterrence). But after the end of the Cold War, and with it the threat of annihilation, the MICC has mutated horribly and now requires perpetual small wars to keep the political system lathered up. That means continuing the entrenched politics of fear that evolved during the Cold War, and the mutation has worked: the defense budget has gone through the roof, and Obama’s budget means we are now spending more on defense in constant dollars that at anytime since 1945.

One reason for this mutation is that defense companies, which are now a huge part of our much diminished manufacturing sector, do not have the skills needed to survive in commercial markets. That is why they resisted conversion after the Soviet Union collapsed and opted instead for greater concentration, with the blessing of the Clinton Administration. These companies are the industrial equivalent of welfare queens, and consequently have to build a web of political connections to keep themselves afloat (along with their wholly-owned flaks in the mainstream media, thinktanks on both sides of aisle, and universities, including some of so-called best, like Harvard). The result is welfare for a vast army of over-educated people making up relatively well-off sectors in our society.

This state of affairs would have appalled Roosevelt, as well as Eisenhower, who warned about this in his departing address to the nation in 1961.

1 Comments in Response to

Comment by Found Zero
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Oh what a boring day as I wait for DNS propagation to allow me to help my  client. Nothing to do but refresh the screen and wait.

So a couple choice words to those whom I consider "neobaggers" or "tea-ocons". You are all so full of dibbit that you stink.

And I see these "conservatives" around and in Arizona that hide behind the name "conservative". I've heard and seen more blatant racism in public, on varous boards and even here at FP than I can stomach. All this bickering about who's a "zionist"? Like I fucking care? My judgement is simple: you demonstrate caring for others or you are just one more person I don't have to worry about.

I am at this point turning down jobs that take my income level to the "next tax bracket". Thus far and no further. I'm not contributing in terms of income taxation although my excise taxes remain for me as you: always there.

Just as my spirit duty orders me to be the same for you: always there. Remarkably consistent are the ways of government taxation and the spirit duty that is communicated to me in my heart. 100% all the time omnipresence.

I know what I had to give up to follow my path: a shower with 5 different shower heads to waste water on my body and a garage that fits all of my gear and motorcycles. Thanfully, most patriots don't have the nerve to get a Hummer which has never and will never go offroad. You know, in case they put the Starbucks on top of Mt. Ranier.

Heck man sometimes I get so wound up I don't even know what I'm talking about but I had a Deusie of an idea for the next tea-ocon, neobagger event in AZ: I need the help of two other patriots. This is a good trick, one I haven't reproduced in over a decade but here's the deal:


You get into a team of 3, you make a shitload of mashed potatoes and divide them into 3 bowls, and 2 of them bowls gets a heavy dose of food-colouring, either red or blue. Then you show up someplace, oh say where government dignitaries are gonna be and you dose on ippicac 15 minutes before you get there.

So you have 3 activists in a row pucking red, white and blue baby, right on their shoes.


People might ask "why make yourself puke?" and my answer is when you are nauseous, puking makes you feel better.

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