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The Military-Industrial Complex: It’s Much Later Than You Think

Posted on Jul 27, 2008
U.S. Navy / Jordon R. Beesley

A B-2 stealth bomber from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri leads an aerial flight formation during a 2006 exercise.

By Chalmers Johnson

Editor’s note: Originally posted on

Most Americans have a rough idea what the term “military-industrial complex” means when they come across it in a newspaper or hear a politician mention it. President Dwight D. Eisenhower introduced the idea to the public in his farewell address of January 17, 1961.  “Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peacetime,” he said, “or indeed by the fighting men of World War II and Korea ... We have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions ... We must not fail to comprehend its grave implications ... We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.”

Although Eisenhower’s reference to the military-industrial complex is, by now, well-known, his warning against its “unwarranted influence” has, I believe, largely been ignored. Since 1961, there has been too little serious study of, or discussion of, the origins of the military-industrial complex, how it has changed over time, how governmental secrecy has hidden it from oversight by members of Congress or attentive citizens, and how it degrades our Constitutional structure of checks and balances.

From its origins in the early 1940s, when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was building up his “arsenal of democracy,” down to the present moment, public opinion has usually assumed that it involved more or less equitable relations—often termed a “partnership”—between the high command and civilian overlords of the United States military and privately-owned, for-profit manufacturing and service enterprises. Unfortunately, the truth of the matter is that, from the time they first emerged, these relations were never equitable.

In the formative years of the military-industrial complex, the public still deeply distrusted privately owned industrial firms because of the way they had contributed to the Great Depression. Thus, the leading role in the newly emerging relationship was played by the official governmental sector.  A deeply popular, charismatic president, FDR sponsored these public-private relationships.  They gained further legitimacy because their purpose was to rearm the country, as well as allied nations around the world, against the gathering forces of fascism. The private sector was eager to go along with this largely as a way to regain public trust and disguise its wartime profit-making.

In the late 1930s and early 1940s, Roosevelt’s use of public-private “partnerships” to build up the munitions industry, and thereby finally overcome the Great Depression, did not go entirely unchallenged. Although he was himself an implacable enemy of fascism, a few people thought that the president nonetheless was coming close to copying some of its key institutions. The leading Italian philosopher of fascism, the neo-Hegelian Giovanni Gentile, once argued that it should more appropriately be called “corporatism” because it was a merger of state and corporate power.  (See Eugene Jarecki’s The American Way of War, p. 69.) 

Some critics were alarmed early on by the growing symbiotic relationship between government and corporate officials because each simultaneously sheltered and empowered the other, while greatly confusing the separation of powers.  Since the activities of a corporation are less amenable to public or congressional scrutiny than those of a public institution, public-private collaborative relationships afford the private sector an added measure of security from such scrutiny. These concerns were ultimately swamped by enthusiasm for the war effort and the postwar era of prosperity that the war produced. 

Beneath the surface, however, was a less well recognized movement by big business to replace democratic institutions with those representing the interests of capital. This movement is today ascendant.  (See Thomas Frank’s new book, The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule, for a superb analysis of Ronald Reagan’s slogan “government is not a solution to our problem, government is the problem.”)  Its objectives have long been to discredit what it called “big government,” while capturing for private interests the tremendous sums invested by the public sector in national defense. It may be understood as a slow-burning reaction to what American conservatives believed to be the socialism of the New Deal.

Perhaps the country’s leading theorist of democracy, Sheldon S. Wolin,  has written a new book, Democracy Incorporated, on what he calls “inverted totalitarianism”—the rise in the U.S. of totalitarian institutions of conformity and regimentation shorn of the police repression of the earlier German, Italian, and Soviet forms.  He warns of “the expansion of private (i.e., mainly corporate) power and the selective abdication of governmental responsibility for the well-being of the citizenry.” He also decries the degree to which the so-called privatization of governmental activities has insidiously undercut our democracy, leaving us with the widespread belief that government is no longer needed and that, in any case, it is not capable of performing the functions we have entrusted to it.

Wolin writes:

“The privatization of public services and functions manifests the steady evolution of corporate power into a political form, into an integral, even dominant partner with the state. It marks the transformation of American politics and its political culture, from a system in which democratic practices and values were, if not defining, at least major contributory elements, to one where the remaining democratic elements of the state and its populist programs are being systematically dismantled.” (p. 284)

Mercenaries at Work

The military-industrial complex has changed radically since World War II or even the height of the Cold War. The private sector is now fully ascendant.  The uniformed air, land, and naval forces of the country as well as its intelligence agencies, including the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency), the NSA (National Security Agency), the DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency), and even clandestine networks entrusted with the dangerous work of penetrating and spying on terrorist organizations are all dependent on hordes of “private contractors.” In the context of governmental national security functions, a better term for these might be “mercenaries” working in private for profit-making companies.

Tim Shorrock, an investigative journalist and the leading authority on this subject, sums up this situation devastatingly in his new book, Spies for Hire: The Secret World of Intelligence Outsourcing. The following quotes are a précis of some of his key findings:

“In 2006… the cost of America’s spying and surveillance activities outsourced to contractors reached $42 billion, or about 70 percent of the estimated $60 billion the government spends each year on foreign and domestic intelligence… [The] number of contract employees now exceeds [the CIA’s] full-time workforce of 17,500… Contractors make up more than half the workforce of the CIA’s National Clandestine Service (formerly the Directorate of Operations), which conducts covert operations and recruits spies abroad…

“To feed the NSA’s insatiable demand for data and information technology, the industrial base of contractors seeking to do business with the agency grew from 144 companies in 2001 to more than 5,400 in 2006… At the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), the agency in charge of launching and maintaining the nation’s photoreconnaissance and eavesdropping satellites, almost the entire workforce is composed of contract employees working for [private] companies… With an estimated $8 billion annual budget, the largest in the IC [intelligence community], contractors control about $7 billion worth of business at the NRO, giving the spy satellite industry the distinction of being the most privatized part of the intelligence community…

“If there’s one generalization to be made about the NSA’s outsourced IT [information technology] programs, it is this: they haven’t worked very well, and some have been spectacular failures… In 2006, the NSA was unable to analyze much of the information it was collecting… As a result, more than 90 percent of the information it was gathering was being discarded without being translated into a coherent and understandable format; only about 5 percent was translated from its digital form into text and then routed to the right division for analysis.

“The key phrase in the new counterterrorism lexicon is ‘public-private partnerships’... In reality, ‘partnerships’ are a convenient cover for the perpetuation of corporate interests.” (pp. 6, 13-14, 16, 214-15, 365)


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By nutflipped, August 22, 2009 at 6:42 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Zionists are the root cause of all evil in the 21st. They are throwbacks to 5000 BC. They created Islamic terrorism (russian-afghan war), and the Islamic terrorists are in outright collusion with the Zionists because they also want to go back to 5000 BC.
This is a battle between enlightenment and perpetual ideological fixation. Except the enemy are within us. 40% of American are hardcore Zionists and the government is predominantly Zionist.

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By Bboy57, August 3, 2008 at 9:17 pm Link to this comment

Remember boys and girls that we are commenting to the vast “tapping out”, of average americans monetary resources to the perpetual gain of the corporate hegemonous lexicon that rules over the world. We subsidise killing in the names of freedom and democracy, which obviously are nothing but euphamisms in todays politic speak.
Yes the complex is alive being fed by the helpless, who are sacrificed either physically or laboriously to a even more helpless world.

We the people are now powerless in our great security blanket. How ironic is that?! The talk is of being realistic in our world. The facts are, that we are just subjects to a fanatisism that continues to decay everything and shows no signs of conscience for anything or body who would oppose such a reality.

Thus is our political reality of today. Servitude. Pray!

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By cann4ing, August 3, 2008 at 9:28 am Link to this comment

Saggy, Clinton did not sell out so much “his generation” as he did sell out the working class—the base of the Democratic Party—by joining with Reagan & Bush I in ramming NAFTA through on the fast track.

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By Michael Shaw, August 2, 2008 at 11:44 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I just wanted to say what an excellent job Chalmers Johnson did here. It is the most comprehensive and well balanced commentary on the MIC I have ever seen. The scariest part in all of this of course, is no one is addressing this dangerous problem and it seems unlikely they ever will. Makes the smart Bill Clinton look like a man well out of his league and should lend even more concern for the far dumber Bush. I would also dare reflect that if 9/11 was indeed an inside job carried out by the neocons, it was probably through these private contractors who have next to no oversight and a stranglehold on our military and our national intelligence agencies. Orwell must be rolling in his grave! And we wonder where the black budget goes, or why a nut, bolt or toilet seat costs $25,000.00!

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By Max Shields, August 1, 2008 at 2:20 pm Link to this comment

Saggy, “You got that wrong too.  The Jews run the Demo party, but that’s a different group.  The Jews that created the neo-cons, starting with Bill Kristol, Sr., were Trotskyists, not Democrats.  For the definitive short paper, see .... Rise of the Judeo-Cons ....”

I was quite clear when I said that from a PARTISAN perspective, the neocons have strong origins in the Dem Party (their idols are prez Wilson and staunch Dem Senator Scoop Jackson). They broke with the Dems when Carter came in and moved over to Reagan.

I know that many go back to Trotsky, but that’s not about US Partisan pol).

No one nation during the course of the rise of the American empire has been single-handedly in as many wars. Obviously there have been wars and conflicts - let’s get beyond the foolish talk.

I’m talking about the genocide of entire indigenous nations by Europeans and those seeds sowed the way for expansionism and constant war to drive out and take control of lands in the North Americas. Not to mention the horrific history the US has had in Latin America, and beyond. This is not simply human warring, but a nation-state on the prowl, which continued to build steam under Woodrow Wilson (another Dem).

The point is that the exceptionalism, the neocolonialism, the endless military interventionism is what American history is made of. Israel is a small treachorous version but it is not the tail wagging the dog.

What went into the stew called “let’s invade Iraq” is not a singular item, but a whole mix of items which go back to the legacy that is American hegemony. Our fingerprints are all over the place when it comes to re-constituting governments and supporting killing militias.

So, were neocons in the mix when it came to Iraq? You bet. But the evil one - Richard Cheney - is hardly a neocon and he’s the guy behind this. Did he have selected neocons on his staff. You bet. But they were hired because of an overall confluence between the ideology on the right-militarist and what the neocons were bringing to the table.

No again Saggy, I’m not excluding Zionists role AND US imperialism - YOU ARE. So stop it with the simple minded games your playing.

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By Max Shields, August 1, 2008 at 1:04 pm Link to this comment


You ask if I’m a “Zionist”? Hardly.

The problem is that folks who see everything through a Zionist prism miss the several centuries of American empire and what we’ve done ALL by ourselves without the help of Zionists. We can be a murderous lot without help.

I see Israel as an American beachhead that serves the empires purpose. I never deny its role nor that of AIPAC in US foreign policy particular with regards to the ME. But to ignore the scale and scope of US history and its capacity to invade and occupy sans Zionists, is to miss most of the picture. Neocons may be pushing the zionist narrative, but I don’t think they are the main players over the long haul. (Btw, as I’ve said elsewhere - neocons have their roots, from a partisan perspective, in the Democratic Party, not the Repugs).

Saggy, I guess I’m assuming you can both chew gum and walk without tripping? Holding Zionism in one hand and US hegemony in the other is doable without discarding one for the other.

I know there are those sold on the notion that Zionist run US policies. I suspect there is a family relationship, but US policies have been in place well before 1948.

I’ve shared (and anyone can google it) the endless war and conflict the US has been involved with since it’s inception. 99% has absolutely nothing to do with zionism/ists.

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By jenne aakster, August 1, 2008 at 12:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

@ CANN4ING, Thank you, for coming down from your holy mountain, if you will take the trouble to read, what you are writing all the time, it is endless and sans giving the smallest solution, you are writing for the writing dear sir, weels in weels as we call that.As Vonnegut said cast pearls before swine.

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By cann4ing, August 1, 2008 at 9:52 am Link to this comment

jenne, if and when you post something that is worthy of a repost, you can be sure you will hear from me.

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By jenne aakster, August 1, 2008 at 7:34 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

CANN4ING, for an educated men as you say you are, their is missing some politeness, in not even replying to my scrips, if you don’t like to answer you could say so, no harm done, further in your discussions their is missing the finesse of information, plus the whole thinking is a one way going, you Americans think that with an other President, the whole country will change, no way, you country is in the hands of the bastion of the unwise, with all the power, no President can change that, without been killed.

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By cyrena, August 1, 2008 at 3:13 am Link to this comment

Ernest, your response to my post here

•  “..There are only two possibilities.  Either Max doesn’t see it, or chooses to ignore it.  He is much too bright to actually not see it, so it would appear his refusal to acknowledge the depth of that threat reflects a level of intellectual dishonesty—perhaps itself rationalized as acceptable as the result of ideological blinders.”

I appreciate your diplomatic assessment of this, and I agree that he is much too bright NOT to actually see it. So, that really leaves only the one probability, (rather than possibility). He’s intellectually dishonest, and probably hasn’t ‘rationalized’ a damn thing. He knows Nadar can’t win, and he knows the danger of McCain winning as a result of his dangerous spew. And…HE DOES NOT CARE. That’s a sociopath..plain and simple. Nobody ever suggested that sociopaths weren’t intelligent, as they generally are.

And my guess is that Max, (like several of his cult that also post here) would experience some sort of psychologically orgasmic delight if Obama ended up losing to McCain. Since *that* isn’t going to happen, he’s most likely to be on the same jet with Cheney, enroute to Dubai.

(And I doubt if he’s likely to take his cult with him)

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By cann4ing, July 31, 2008 at 9:49 pm Link to this comment

Cyrena wrote, “But I honestly wonder here, if the Max people are so committed to their ideological purity that they cannot SEE the threat posed by John McCain and the last blow that he would deal through the Federalist Society Justices…”

There are only two possibilities.  Either Max doesn’t see it, or chooses to ignore it.  He is much too bright to actually not see it, so it would appear his refusal to acknowledge the depth of that threat reflects a level of intellectual dishonesty—perhaps itself rationalized as acceptable as the result of ideological blinders.  Then again, there is the tendency of many ideological left who suffer from the same narrow Manichaein world view as those on the right.  You’re either for the M.I.C. or your against it.  For such individuals, it matters not how many areas one can demonstrate how many fundamental differences there are between Obama and McCain, such as Obama’s supporting a woman’s right to chose and his background as a professor of Constitutional law that would lead him to reject the appointment of Federalist Society radicals in robes bent on overturning a century of jurisprudence protecting constitutional checks and balances, workers’ rights and fundamental civil liberties vs. McCain who not only opposes a woman’s right to chose but even her right to birth control, is devoted to exacerbating the already stark inequality and whose judicial appointments would spell the end of the rule of law as we know it.

None of that matters to Max.  Obama has committed the unpardonable sin of not being either Ralph Nader or Dennis Kucinich when it comes to opposition to the M.I.C.  So he will not only throw away a “protest vote” on Nader, but blast every progressive who does not join in his exercise in futility.

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By cyrena, July 31, 2008 at 7:30 pm Link to this comment

By cann4ing, July 31 at 2:24 pm

•  “What pisses me off is people whose ideological commitment is so great that they cannot see that the threat to the very survival of constitutional democracy presented by John McCain and the Federalist Society Justices he would appoint is so great that we cannot afford the luxury of yet another exercise in futility, which is precisely what either a McKinney or Nader vote amounts to.  What pisses me off are progressives who have no room for disagreement on strategy; no respect for those who disagree with an ideologically pure line which reflects an inability to count.”

And Ernest…. it’s always gonna be this way with the Max crowd. He’ll go on and on with the same red herring rhetoric, (Obama is ‘for’ the death penalty, and ‘supports’ FISA snooping) because it just plays so well in the game of sound byte/language rhetoric. Never mind any of the real details attached to any of these positions.

But I honestly wonder here, if the Max people are so committed to their ideological purity that they cannot SEE the threat posed by John McCain and the last blow that he would deal through the Federalist Society Justices, (not to mention ALL of the same things that this crowd accuses Obama of) or if instead they don’t fucking CARE! THAT’s what I’m honestly beginning to think.

SOME of this crowd is obviously retarded, but not ALL of them are incapable of counting, despite the radical rhetoric. In other words, more than a few of the Max crowd have ADMITTED that none of their candidates stand a frog’s chance in a Louisiana swamp, and also know perfectly well that their actions will land them with a McCain administration that does spell the complete end. Obama made the same reality point to member of the Congressional Black Caucus when Diane Watson was whining about Hillary supporters needing ‘time to heal’. He said, (and I paraphrase), “Diane, you know that John McCain will make appointments to the Supreme Court and the Federal Bench that will set woman’s rights back to the stone age.” (or something similar). But, that’s certainly not ALL it would destroy.

So, after all of this time of listening to the same old rhetoric that might make us think we’re dealing with even more challenges than just the ‘ideologically committed’, (Hitler and his Nazis were equally ideologically committed) I’m thinking this crowd either actively supports the repug agenda, and John McCain as well. Or, they’re just another branch of the “Near Ender – Pushing for Armageddon” types.  Nothing else explains it, and you give them too much credit for ideological purity. It’s suicidal insanity, like any other fanatic willing to take the world out with them.

Max et al have far more in common with al-Qaeda and the Wahhabists than they do with any of the main body of the US electorate. Even the McCain supporters are supportive out of either stupidity or greed because his agenda serves their own. Max et al are simply radical extremists, quite willing to sacrifice everything for the glory that the ultimate crash promises.

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By Max Shields, July 31, 2008 at 7:09 pm Link to this comment

Saggy you should take a broader view of US history. It’s interesting what you’ll learn.

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By cann4ing, July 31, 2008 at 4:14 pm Link to this comment

I have no problem with Dems in Pelosi’s district voting for Sheehan as a third party candidate.  There is no risk of extending the Bush/Cheney/McSame fascist regime as a result.  But Sheehan would have done better to run against her in the Democratic primary instead of leaving the task to the little known and underfunded Shirley Golub.

Pelosi is truly a piece of work.  Her latest absurd statement was to state that impeachment is off the table because she hasn’t seen any evidence that Bush/Cheney committed any crimes!  Perhaps that’s because she has her head so far up Bush’s a$$ that she can’t tell where he ends and she begins.

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By Max Shields, July 31, 2008 at 3:46 pm Link to this comment

The reason you’re so “pissed off” Ernest is because logical has failed you. It’s not “strategy” to put Obama in and assume you’re going to infiltrate. That talk has been going on for ever, its an urban myth. (It’s funny I wasn’t even responding to you.)

But don’t take it too personally. I actually find most of your posts aok.

Dems got in in 2006. We’re still in Iraq, fully funded. And what’s Obama talking trash about more war, the good war? God he’s for the death penalty (how civilized!), and then FISA (a little snooping never hurt anybody!), he’s in bed with the most wretched economic and foreign affair types… a litte little oil, a little nukes (what’s the difference?), increase the military (not as much a mad-dog McCain, so that’s got to count for something…no?) None of this bothers you? You should be pissed at THAT!

You’re not going to reinvent this system from the inside. It’s like gravity, it don’t work that way.

But, hey, you’re more than welcome to play strategic games if you think it gets you somewhere.

Would be great if Cindy Sheehan won….ooops she isn’t a Dem. Left the party to get rid of Nancy (impeachment off the table) Pelosi. (And now NP says it’s too late to impeach…that’s the Dem version of a pock in the eye…)

Yea now that’s one lady to be really pissed at, I mean really….

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By Max Shields, July 31, 2008 at 3:29 pm Link to this comment


Corporations have been an integral part of US foreign policy and interventionism - should see what’s been going on with Chita banana south of the border where thousands have been murdered to protect Chita’s stake in low costs labor, etc.

That’s one of literally thousands of examples of how Corporations wield power directly and indirectly. As a general rule they do not tell the government to go to war. That’s a ridiculous notion I’m certainly not making it.

So, you’re argument is weak because the relationship between corporations, particularly as that plays out in defense spending, and resource hegemony is a mixed bag. But to be sure they are in the thick of it.

Maybe your argument is that we are not in Iraq to protect oil sources? I think we are not only for US needs but for strategic needs - to control hot points on the map.

We are in Iraq for the same reasons we’ve been going to war decade after decade regardless of party. The MIC enables and influences the kinds of business (war) that will make them rich beyond their wildest dreams. Ideologues do it for their own reasons. Some presidents do it to prove they’ve got what it takes to be CIC (I see that in Obama, kind of like Clinton and GWB). You know you can’t be a real CIC unless you got a little war going.

But for the most part it’s because we have a preditory economic system that bankrolls the largest military industrial complex humankind has ever seen.

And Obama is part of it. Believe it.

Saying your going to “try” to change this through symbolism is a joke…be careful you know what happens when you mess with the mob. Symbolism! LOL

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By Donald F. Truax, July 31, 2008 at 3:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Here’s what “IS” happening!


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By cann4ing, July 31, 2008 at 3:24 pm Link to this comment

What pisses me off, Max, are the idiots who cannot see that the most practical way for achieving meaningful change is to capture first the Democratic Party and then the nation through the PDA.  What pisses me off is people whose ideological commitment is so great that they cannot see that the threat to the very survival of constitutional democracy presented by John McCain and the Federalist Society Justices he would appoint is so great that we cannot afford the luxury of yet another exercise in futility, which is precisely what either a McKinney or Nader vote amounts to.  What pisses me off are progressives who have no room for disagreement on strategy; no respect for those who disagree with an ideologically pure line which reflects an inability to count.  What pisses me off is the dishonesty in the refusal by one-dimensional ideologues to recognize the fundamental differences between McCain and Obama on such important issues as the rule of law, labor law, and the environment.

I really didn’t want to repeat our circular argument.  It reminds me of the feud between the Menshiviks and Bolsheviks.  Pointless!  But since you insist on touting your ideological purity, I couldn’t resist.

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By Max Shields, July 31, 2008 at 11:19 am Link to this comment


I’m sure you know who Paul Craig Roberts is. He worked in the Reagan administration. That’s fine, he’s written some good stuff on the economy.

I read the article some time ago and found it a very poor reason to vote for war. Yes, that’s what it comes down to.

As far as the government, it’s been owned by corporate money for decades regardless of party. Symbolism isn’t going to change that one iota. Scheer speaks to this in his recent TD article regarding who Obama is in bed with.

That someone finds solace in this “symbolism” is just beyond any kind of intellectual honesty. Only if you buy into the campaign rhetoric that McCain is Hitler/Stalin and the Devil incarnate can you see anything meaningful in this faux reason to vote for Obama.

What pisses me off is not the right - or the centrists (whatever the hell that is), it’s the “progressives” who think the Dem party is salvagable and that 2006 means we just need to try harder and get more Dems in. (By the by there is a large and growing number of progressives who are not buying this shit.)

Do you know how many of those Dems are hawks and Bush enablers? The Dems have taken this country to war more time than the Repugs.

To say you want peace, and have a clear understanding of what it means to drop bombs on innocent civilians; and knowing that that is what the war on terror is all about….and then to say, but for the sake of “symbolism” vote for warmonger number II, he won’t do any more damage to the constitution than has already been done. The horse has left the barn, Saggy.

I’m just saying let’s call it like it is and forget about O being the lesser of Mc because the children who are burned to a crisp by US gases and bombs under Commander In Chief Obama really won’t give a f&ck;...believe me!

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By cann4ing, July 31, 2008 at 10:09 am Link to this comment

Actually, Max, Obama shot a college-range three pointer.  Swish!

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By Max Shields, July 31, 2008 at 10:00 am Link to this comment

By cann4ing, July 31 at 8:43 am #

In part my response was to Saggy, but you just can’t write the kind of scathing commentary you wrote and pretend that Obama’s position on the very thing you argue vehemently against: the Orwellian “war on terror” is not precisely what he is pushing.

That my friend is not choice. Perhaps you can call it “rationalization”. And Keith Obermann has been doing the same thing - having been a sportscaster I think he likes Obama’s lay up shot or some foolish “jock thing???”

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By cann4ing, July 31, 2008 at 9:43 am Link to this comment

Max, you and I have hashed out the Obama vs. Nader scenario repeatedly.  While I have repeatedly acknowledged that there many areas in which I am less than pleased with Obama, I, like many other progressives, have the ability to count and believe that, given the risks that would come with a McCain presidency are so great, that the only pragmatic option is to vote for Obama—who was my third choice, behind Kucinich and Edwards.  You disagree.

Let’s leave it at that.

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By Max Shields, July 31, 2008 at 9:15 am Link to this comment

Ernest you know I agree with what you’ve posted, but the elephant in the room is Obama.

I haven’t the foggest idea what Saggy is talking about, Obama is not anti-war; he’s pro-war, he just doesn’t think the one in Iraq was the best idea and has no intention of leaving (the bases will stay occupied as well as some thousands of troops and even combat troops could be there much longer, except for the war he wants to in Afghanistan on…..TERROR in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Let’s be honest. He’s talking war. The thousands of civilians dying in Afghanistan today will increase as US troops (perhaps with NATO) continue to bomb the hell out of that country.

And we do it because WE CAN and because WE THINK that an Afghan child is not worth that of an American child. And Obama has shown no conpunction to pull this notion of war on terror on its head once and for all.

Political move? No it’s a cowardice move that illustrates precisely what Nader said, that the more you acquiesce to the militarist and corporate elite and MIC the more you become it regardless of anything the “anti-war” folks want to believe.

Saggy is a perfect example - Kucinich and Gravel are gone, so bend over and like it because that’s what we’re giving you. It’s like Thatcher’s There Is No Alternative - LIKE hell there isn’t…!!!

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By cann4ing, July 31, 2008 at 9:09 am Link to this comment

Actually, Issywise, your earlier post on Switzerland pertained to NATO countries defending it.  NATO was not created until after WW II.  So your discussion of whether Switzerland might eventually have found itself a target of the Nazis had they prevailed in WW II is off the mark.  No NATO country was ever called upon to protect that nation’s borders.

Second, I am not a total pacifist.  WW II was a war of necessity because Hitler was bent on world conquest, just as today’s neocons in the U.S. are bent on world conquest.

But let’s examine recent history.  Iraq, which was provided U.S. arms and intelligence during the Iran/Iraq war, did invade Kuwait—an event that occurred after Geo. H.W. Bush’s Ambassador, April Glaspie, hinted to Saddam Hussein that the U.S. would be indifferent to how Iraq settled its dispute with Kuwait.  Iraq was then demolished during Gulf War I and thirteen years of U.N. economic sanctions which resulted in the deaths of more than 500,000 Iraqi children under the age of 5 and an ongoing aerial assault by US/UK forces in the so-called “no-fly zones.”

By the time George W. Bush ordered the invasion of that sovereign nation in 2003, Iraq was but a shadow of its former self.  It had no WMD.  It was no longer a threat even to its neighbors, let alone the nation which has amassed the most powerful arsenal (conventional, nuclear & space-based) ever known to man.  (The U.S. military rolled through Iraq as swiftly as Hitler’s armies rolled through the Netherlands in order to attack France). Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 or al Qaeda, but it did possess oil—the second largest deposit in the Middle East—right behind Saudi Arabia.  (Iran has the third largest oil deposits in the Middle East).

During the Nuremberg tribunals, which were led by former Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson, it was said that the ultimate war crime was the initiation of a war of aggression, for all other war crimes flow from that one act.  A Nazi foreign minister was hanged for his role in the unprovoked invasion of Norway—a war of aggression.

The unprovoked invasion of Iraq had nothing to do with defending the U.S.  It was the ultimate war crime under Nuremberg Tribunal standards.

During the tribunals, Justice Jackson observed that the standards they applied for crimes against humanity would be meaningless unless they applied to all nations.  So I ask you, Issywise, what then should be the fate of George W. Bush and those in his regime responsible for initiating a war of aggression in Iraq?  Should they be investigated for crimes against humanity and brought before the bar of justice?

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By Issywise, July 31, 2008 at 8:41 am Link to this comment


If Nazi Germany had not been militarily confronted and overcome, do you think it’d have continued to exempt Switzerland from the list of dozens of nations it invaded and conquered? It was military force that prevented that Swiss subjugation–as well as Danish liberation.  Moreover, the Swiss are an extremely militarized society, even today. The German calculation was that the necessary warfare in the Swiss hills was not, for a time, worth the effort.  Swiss freedom was a military calculation.

Max Shields & Canning:

Fundamentally, I disagree with you on only one point. On all others, I agree. I too see the horrible catalogue of militarily caused horrors as fundamentally unjustified. That the United States maintains more than 700 bases outside our borders is a breathtaking fact: demonstrating that the mission of our military is by no means defensive. The money, my God, the money…. pumped into our “glorious” military is obscene. What militarization is doing to our culture and political process is destructive to the most fundamental values necessary for self-governance.

You preach to the choir, save one point–and it is one you should recognize and respect: Human nature is such that militarization has always a primary focus of any organized governing entity. Always!  Back to pre-history and ever since.

I’m not disputing the goals I share with you. But, I believe—for the time being, military force is a necessary tool.  I believe someday the human race will have learned how to resolve conflicts without the need to resort to military force. But, in today’s world, some military force must be present to: 1) ensure stability by beating back or deterring military adventurism and 2) for intervention to prevent genocides.

I think that by calming the water, judicious use of military force can help bring about the day you seek—allow firm peaceful institutions to develop.

You apparently believe the human tool of military force is inherently evil and ungovernable.  I disagree (and am not so cynical). I also think by reaching that faulty conclusion you nominalize yourselves in any process toward building a better world.

If you deny military force has ever been used to good effect, you embrace a view of human nature that is so at variance with common experience (and I would add so ignorant of history) that few will take your view seriously.

This isn’t to say that at the most fundamental level you are wrong—I too think every purpose which justified a military action in all of history could have indeed been better served with an alternative. But the right conditions had to be in place—countervailing non-military leverage, will to resolve the conflict peacefully and a wider community of interest that actively opposed resolution of the conflict by military means. This is my prescription for attaining the future you desire—build those conditions.

So long as militarized terrorists are determined to destroy the security of civilians in target communities to create conditions wherein their ideology can prosper, there is need for employment of military force—regardless of why the terrorist got the way they are.  The question isn’t were we wrong yesterday or today, but how do we change things for a better future.

Condemning military force out of hand is not constructive of a better future.

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By cann4ing, July 31, 2008 at 7:42 am Link to this comment

Max, “war on terror” is a propaganda device used to justify unending military expenditures and the Bush regime’s unending assault on separation of powers, the rule of law and civil liberties.  Since terror is a tactic, it can never be defeated.  As Gen. William Odom observed, there is no more prospect for winning a “war on terror” than there is for winning a war on night attacks.

Those who taken in by the “war on terror” have not simply bought into an exercise in futility, for the horrific results of these bombing campaigns will most certainly engender new generations determined to strike back.

The word “terrorist” is one of the most abused in the English language.  Governments use the word “terrorist” as a substitute for guerrilla warfare—a tactic of necessity for the weaker side, especially when confronted with the awesome arsenal of the U.S.  But all war inflicts terror on civilian populations.  When someone blows up a building, it can be described as “terrorism” irrespective of whether it is accomplished by planted explosives (Tim McVeigh), flying a plane into the building (9/11)or dropping a laser-guided bomb from 30,000 feet (Afghanistan/Iraq).

One of the most disturbing features of the phrase “war on terror” is its ability to spawn group think, where so many Americans, like our Issywise, prove incapable of so much as imagining that waging an endless, futile “war on terror” was not the only response we could have adopted after 9/11—not even a logical response to that event.

Imagine if, instead of this exercise in futility, the U.S., which had the sympathy of the entire world, had gone to U.N. & World Court, seeking international assistance to bring those responsible for this horrendous crime before the bar of justice.  Imagine the respect for the U.S. this would have engendered throughout the planet.  It is a position that I took in an op ed I wrote for my local paper several years back, triggering a backlash of letter writers suggesting I was naive.  I am pleased to report that yesterday, Keith Olbermann referenced a new Rand Corp. research paper which reached the same conclusion—that the solution is not a “war on terror” but the application of the rule of law.

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By jenne aakster, July 31, 2008 at 6:09 am Link to this comment
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@ Cann4ing, if you want to know how Afganistan wash and is, mij father wash their around the 50 to study the Indo-Europeên language, a nice book of an voyage in the upper part, is ( A short walk in the Hindu kush) by Eric Newby, gives you the good atmosphère about that indo-Europeên country, who are now liberated, and made death democrates.

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By jenne aakster, July 31, 2008 at 5:53 am Link to this comment
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@ Cann4ing, As you write about your country, its stops not there, the USA created an Muslim country in the middel of Europe, now they make an large militairy base,they bombed the Serbs if they where the only one, they cover up all evil deeds of the Kosovars and Albaniens, even the taking of human organs of Serb priseners, and sel them on to Western Europe, ask Carla Ponti, how she was treated with death bij the now president of Kosovo, in every village in Albanie you find a brand new Moskee, payd by the Saoudies, the friends of the Americans, we in Europe are afraid of whats going to happen, the NATO is a puppit of the USA militairy, they are up setting the Rusians, but they still have over 10 000 Atomic rockets, you feel that the USA is become an ordinary warmonger, from behind a shield of freedom and democratie, I am sorry for my bad grammatica.

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By Max Shields, July 31, 2008 at 4:45 am Link to this comment


Thanks for your, as usual, clarity. It is understanding what is behind the word “war” that is a American citizen imperative. This is the kind of passion/compassion and empathy that Chris Hedges brings to every article he writes for TD.

When ANYONE talks about going to “war” the first to die are babies, children, elderly, and women.

A “war” on “terror” is in fact the ultimate TERROR on the people like those in Iraq and Afghanistan.

How dare we not understand this. I can only imagine the depth of anguish, fear and horror these people suffer at our governments military hands. It is beyond words.

In the Empire’s Workshp, Greg Grandin describes (time and time again throughout Latin America tacts which were used and transported else) how the US supported killing militias threw children off of mountains as their parents watched on in helpless horror; and then those parents were sliced to pieces. It is either our military from 10,000 feet up; with the kind of massive equipment you describe or our proxies.

This must end and NO one, NO one who talks war gets my damn VOTE!

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By cann4ing, July 30, 2008 at 10:07 pm Link to this comment

Thanks, Max, for the link, but there is one aspect of the U.S. bombing campaign in Afghanistan which most Americans find hard to even comprehend.  It entails to awesome power of some of the “conventional” weaponry and their devastating effect—one that is lost in the mere posting of a body count.

Take, for example, Dr. Caldicott’s description of the 15,000 lb. fuel air explosive (FAE), described in “The New Nuclear Danger,” which the Pentagon has given the cute little name, “Daisy Cutter.”
“Dropped by parachute…, they detonate just above the ground creating a wide area of devastation.  The first explosion bursts the container at a predetermined height, disbursing the fuel which mixes with the atmospheric oxygen.  The second charge then   detonates this fuel-air cloud, creating a massive blast that kills people and destroys un-reinforced buildings.  Near the ignition point people are obliterated, crushed to death with overpressures
of 427 pounds per square inch, and incinerated at temperatures of 2500 to 3000 degrees centigrade.  Another wave of low pressure—a vacuum effect—ensues.  People in the second zone…are severely burned and suffer massive internal injuries before   they die.  In the third zone, eyes are extruded from their orbits,  lungs and eardrums rupture, and severe concussion ensues….  Up to 200 civilians died 20 miles away from the cave complex in…Tora Bora when U.S. planes attacked.  They suffered blast trauma—ruptured lungs, blindness, arms and hands blown off, almost certainly from FAEs.”

Keep in mind that this awesome violence was unleashed on a relatively primitive nation—one with no air force; no means to fight back.  War connotes battles between two opposing forces.  What we saw in the outset of Gulf Wars I & II, depicted as light shows, was a form of aerial slaughter; butchery as opposed to warfare.

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By thebeerdoctor, July 30, 2008 at 8:56 pm Link to this comment

Thank you Max Shield and cann4ing for having the patience and compassion to respond intelligently to the mind numbing drivel that would only be called intelligence at some military industrial War College. Thank you both.

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By Max Shields, July 30, 2008 at 7:43 pm Link to this comment


Take a look at this cataloging of the Afghan civilians killed by US military. This is what happens when the US invades, occupies and otherwise murders human beings, flesh and blood men, women and children.

A Dossier on Civilian Victims of United States’ Aerial Bombing of Afghanistan

This is the “good war” according to Time magazine and Obama.

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By cann4ing, July 30, 2008 at 6:08 pm Link to this comment

With all due respect, Izzywise, the level of ignorance reflected in your response to Max Shields is nothing less than mind-numbing.  Please explain when troops from “any” NATO country had to defend the borders of Switzerland. 

You typify what has occurred as the result of Orwellian newspeak in which all expenditures for war, no matter how offensive minded, each and every one of the sovereign nations invaded by the imperial forces of the U.S. over the past sixty years, space-based weaponry designed to effectuate precision killing anywhere on the planet and overkill in a nuclear arsenal capable of ending all life on the planet many times over is always for “defense”—never for offense; for conquest.

Per the Pentagon’s 2005 Base Status Report, the U.S. occupies some 757 military bases in other people’s countries—and as Chalmers Johnson astutely notes in “Nemesis” this number is vastly understated as it fails to include a number of bases like the one maintained by KBR in Kosovo.  Can you name a single base inside the United States that is operated by a foreign nation?  If not, does this dichotomy tell you anything about the offensive nature of the U.S. of A, a nation that spends more on military weapons than the rest of the world combined?

If ours were really a “defense” department, why any bases oversees.  Those bases do not serve the interest of ordinary Americans.  They are their to protect the interests of the investor class which long ago betrayed this nation by outsourcing our manufacturing base in search of cheap foreign labor to the destruction of American labor.  Members of the military in Iraq have not “died for their country.”  They died to insure the bottom line of the oil cartel, the military industrial complex, KBR, Blackwater and the other war profiteers.

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By Issywise, July 30, 2008 at 3:35 pm Link to this comment


You say, “....this is the last time I bother to respond to you.”

I might feel offended, had you bothered to respond to any of my post here. Name calling is reaction, not response. Responding requires reading, understanding and seriously considering.

You choose what you choose to think.

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By thebeerdoctor, July 30, 2008 at 2:36 pm Link to this comment

Give it up Izzywise. if you think that posters like myself or Max, are going to buy into your nonsense, forget about it. Cyrena tried to help you here, but like some verbal masochist, you persist!
Funny thing, another great poster of Truthdig, conservative yankee and myself got embroiled with a Nazi sympathizer named Saggy. Guess what? Both C.Y. and myself were accused by Saggy of being Zionists. So please don’t play that Nazi nonsense with me. I have plenty of friends from the chosen people, who recognize that my complaints have nothing to do with religion, but rather my concern for human justice. Preach your equivocating militarism all you want, this is the last time I bother to respond to you.

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By Issywise, July 30, 2008 at 2:12 pm Link to this comment

thebeerdoctor, July 30 at 11:59 am #

—-“Face it Izzywise, you believe that violence and armed conflict are solutions to problems.”

Face it beerdoctor, those who face aggression by the armed and who face it without the means to resist end up being oppressed.  Do you doubt that? Do you deny that history isn’t a long proof of that? Where there ever been peace it was because 1) There was a dominant power who could impose it on all or 2) there was balance of power, or 3) a community with the military means imposed it.

In no case did a vacuum exist where military power was not available to be exercised. Even in pre-historic hunter gatherer times warfare existed. Even when the excess production of food allowed agriculture societies to organize group activities, the among the first groups created were warriors.

Do you claim to know of a wonderous Archadian epoch that really existed when there was no warfare?

If we do reach a time where armed conflict is not present it will not be because we’ve fallen below what John Keegan calls the military threshold (the ability of the state impose peaceful behavior through its exclusive possession of the means to impose coercive power), but because we’ve collectivized it and built strong international networks of both force and attitudinal preparedness to deter use of force by threat of force. You wish us to be without both of the prerequisites for that achievement. 

I don’t “believe” that violence is anything good. I just don’t shut my eyes and pretend that by clicking my heals and whispering the words Utopia, we can all get there.

Max Shields

—-“Does Switzerland or Denmark go off to war? Who does on a regular basis?

No, they enjoy relative peace and prosperity because other powers defend and defended their freedom and peace.  Had not the US set up NATO to forestall and contain Soviet expansionism, they’d both be communist today—that is the masses would be ruled by a totalitarian elite. Back the calender up five years and apply your medicine and they’d both be subject to Nazi Germany’s oppressions. Their peace and security today was achieved by employment of military force and is, in fact, maintained by military force today. Without the checks on adventurism that military force imposes, Europe would be in turmoil today. Some nut would be overturning the apple cart.

Nor do either of these states participate in ending the genocides that you dismiss as real justification for existence of military power. I’ve suggested forestalling genocide as a justification for the maintenance of military force and another justification beside: ensuring stability by thwarting or deterring military aggression.

I want a disarmed world as much as you do, but I see two groups of Americans in the way: the frothing chest beating America is John Wayne group on one side and the daisy waving “all force is bad force” guys on the other.  I hold your side to be more admirable, but just as unrealistic as the John Wayners.

Security and peace cannot, in the long run, be built on military power alone. Disproportionate institutionalization of militarism in any society is a bad thing. But, security and peace will not emerge as a standard worldwide experience without recognition that human nature, for the foreseeable future, requires the just use of military power to quell adventurism and prevent mass victimization.

Your supposed “moralism” can’t survive in the real world. Fuzzy notions of what could be ain’t good enough. Today, our taxpayers are buying a massive war machine and they won’t turn away from doing so because you two guys are possessed of self-supposed superiority. As soon as you open your mouth and ejaculate your moralistic condemnation of the young people in harms way believed by a majority of Americans to be defending their own personal peace and security, you’ve lost all chance to change minds.  And you should.

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By thebeerdoctor, July 30, 2008 at 12:59 pm Link to this comment

Face it Izzywise, you believe that violence and armed conflict are solutions to problems. Unfortunately for you, you are on a web site where many members perceive that is sheer folly and part of a hideous 20th century where more human beings were slaughtered than any other. That old school mentality, that you call reality, only seeks to enslave yet another generation of humankind in an endless cycle of violence and paranoia, aggravated by pseudo-religious and venal concerns.
You can use all the name calling and clever arguments to advocate that position. It does not matter. Survival of ALL the human race takes precedent over any violent indulgences.

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By Max Shields, July 30, 2008 at 12:49 pm Link to this comment

“If we are unilaterally disarmed, since we are talking about armed conflicts, what participation in the resolution of conflicts do you suppose we can take?”

I indicated in my first post that disarmament is multilateral. Many nations have actually given up their nuclear arms. The US has thousands of time more nuke warheads than any other country (only Russia comes close and their significantly behind.)

But it is more than nukes. If the US wants to play a leadership role that IT/WE need to take the lead but work through a world agreement.

The military is not a “good thing”, let’s put it that way. There is a major difference between a rational need for security and an irrational leveraging of that “need” to promulgate anything approximating a MIC. It’s like the mis-use of sweetners in food. Humans evolved through a basic need to store fats through food shortages. Our industrialized food industry has used that basic need to create “food” consumerism to the level of obesity the likes of which the world has never seen before. The MIC mirrors that same exploitation of the basic need for human security. It has actually created an unsecure world.

In the world of cybernetics it’s called positive reinforcement. That’s when we keep upping the ante which if allowed leads to total destruction. The only way to correct this is to

...roll back our military and do it in away that reduces threats and actually increases security.

Does Switzerland or Denmark go off to war? Who does on a regular basis? As Napolean said, “You don’t build bayonets to sit on them.”

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By jenne aakster, July 30, 2008 at 11:40 am Link to this comment
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In Europe we respect and still mourne your and our deads from the wars, most people are very positief about the American people, I have lots of famelie who emigrated to the States, but on the moment we are loosing our freedom, the EU is gething more and more an Bureaucratic state, and we have even lost our rights to vote in an referendum about our freedom and democratic thinking, that will say we are the politecaly living dead, like so much other people in the world, we are afraid for our children.

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By Issywise, July 30, 2008 at 11:31 am Link to this comment

Max Shield:

I’m sorry. I did you a disservice. You did make some proposals. They are,

“Disarmament is the beginning. Understand the root causes of conflict, alter or preditory economic system and transition of cultural dependency of might over right. It not only can be done, it must be done if this short lived specious is to continue to occupy the planet.”

If we are unilaterally disarmed, since we are talking about armed conflicts, what participation in the resolution of conflicts do you suppose we can take?

Do you suppose all or most of the armed conflicts in the world today are a consequence of OUR predatory economic system? If it is not OUR predations that are behind some of the conflicts, how does OUR disarming serve to prevent the other conflicts from continuing and, since insecurity tends to draw in rather than dispel until overcome by benign coercive force, what keeps these conflict from becoming a threat to our shores?

I actually agree with much of what you said, but I think it is a partial analysis. We do need to de-link foreign policy from accountability to private sector investment concerns. That has to be done both attitudinally and programmatically. The level of wealth we dump into war making at a time when we enjoy the greatest military preponderance in history is absurd, reckless, appalling and creates the self-fulfilling prophesy for use of the military that I think you and I both assume is the only possible result.

But telling me or the American public that the military is inherently a bad thing isn’t going to convince either of us. We know better. Evil as Bush -Cheney may be believed to be, there is going to continue to be a military after them.

You can speak of our species, but if you want to do something creative, you’ve got to address it to whom is within your reach and those folks are Americans.

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By Issywise, July 30, 2008 at 11:16 am Link to this comment

Max Shield:

You say:  “Neither Bosnia nor Sudan are simple stories and it is a tragic simplification to think that American military intervention has brought about anything but death and deep sorrow.”

I think you are the cynic here. You suppose no good has ever come of an American military intervention. What of World War I and II? What of the Union suppression of the Confederacy? What of the American Revolution?

Sure, the end effect of all of these military conflicts would have been better obtained through peaceful means, but since that was not possible should we just have stood tall and said, “We are above that” and left the chips to fall where they may?

I suppose all of the victims spared inclusion in the genocides in Bosnia and Darfur would disagree with you. In both cases, local forces were used to confront and destroy the armed forces of genocide piecemeal. When any large force conducting genocides showed above ground, they were destroyed from the air by American military—on your behalf. The Serbians did not agree to cease their genocidal behavior until American cruise missiles started pouring down on their infrastructure. Without American will and might, there is no reason to suppose those genocides wouldn’t have been continued until complete.

I don’t say this as justification for all uses of military force—just to suggest that your black and white morality about the issue isn’t so black and white in its effect in the real world.

I can accept all of your goals, but you’ll never get there from here by indefinite means.  OK, let’s condemn American militarism as a bad thing? What’s next? Stand above it all, snearing at the inferior morality of the military personnel in harms way trying to bring stability to the Balkans or the Sudan?  I think that only moves you further from your admirable goal. 

Madison said: if men were angels there would be no need for government.  Just faulting everybody for not being angels and feeling superior to them doesn’t accomplish anything except some personal self-congratulation.

What’s your program for eliminating our war machine and how does it avoid resulting in our own subordination by alien force? How do we get other responsible powers to get off their hands and do something? My God, the Bosnian genocide was in Europe itself and they couldn’t do anything until we took up the hard part of the job.

Or do you suppose that if America one day just announced it was dismantling its war machine that strife around the world would cease to victimize and, in the end, return to our own shores?

You speak of high goals. How do you achieve them, aside from hoping that everybody turns into an angel at the same time?  It’s a coincidence that I wouldn’t plan on.

I can accept all of your diagnosis of the problem, but fail to see how you offer any prescriptive means for solving it.

I again charge you with not expressing whatever program you might conceive in a realistic manner. Nothing is going to happen so long as the critics of the MIC just sit on the sidelines carping about the failed morality of the rest of us.

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By thebeerdoctor, July 30, 2008 at 11:00 am Link to this comment

Thank you Max Shields for nailing down what the problem truly is. Your comments about the role of resources is very well said. Your intelligent post illuminates what Joseph Conrad meant when he said: “It was just robbery with violence, aggravated murder on a great scale, and men going at it blind—”. Thank you again.

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By Max Shields, July 30, 2008 at 10:07 am Link to this comment

By Issywise, July 30 at 8:40 am #

Our disagreement is not trivial. And it is there that I speak of cynicism; a dark cynicism that while not intended has a horrible imperialistic history that we inherited through our Eurpean forbearers and perpetuated through the Monroe Doctrine among other guiding prinicples.

But the disagreement is around human nature and understanding what causes conflict and war.

I do not think that war is a natural state for humans. The world is filled with examples of peaceful existences. Our cause for war is really at the root of the issue. I have, as have others, contended, that conflicts and war are based on access to resources. In it’s most simplest form it is the access to water and land. As human societies have become built and become dependent on many other resources it has led to hegemony of whole regions of the world. Some of this has bled into areas which have indirect connections to that hegemony. So, the Brezinski chess-game which is really an extention over the access of resources and who has/who doesn’t. Ideology is wrapped up in this as well.

You’ll have to educate me on the “genocide” in Darfur and how US military bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan has “stopped it”. First, I disagree with the assertion that genocide is the proper way to frame Darfur and would strongly argue that it fits right into the resource conflict I described. My reports from the UN indicates that the conflict in Sudan continues. It also has indicated that it is not proper to define it as a genocide (what Israel is doing in Gaza would be a more proper use of that legal term).

As to Bosnia, it burned for a long time after the US/NATO air-raids ceased. Do you have any idea how much “collateral damage” was created by US/NATO air-raids? Since Bosnia and Darfur are discrete with different histories and the outcomes are based on an American version of the history, I don’t think we can load this onto a single DV thread.

But our difference is MAJOR. Interventionism has always been an imperialistic tool. The Brits talked endlessly about the “white man’s burden” and humanitarian interventionism. It portends a superior and dominant position which knows “right” as opposed to the indigenous people who are lesser civilized, lower in their capacity to understand and know “right”.

That makes interventionism a horrific tool which has been used by the West and most recently the US. It’s underpinnings is not humanitarianism but actually a kind of racism. No good comes out of it.

Neither Bosnia nor Sudan are simple stories and it is a tragic simplification to think that American military intervention has brought about anything but death and deep sorrow.

Disarmament is the beginning. Understand the root causes of conflict, alter or preditory economic system and transition of cultural dependency of might over right. It not only can be done, it must be done if this short lived specious is to continue to occupy the planet.

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By Issywise, July 30, 2008 at 9:40 am Link to this comment

Max Shields

I agree with about everything you say and would point to Britain in the post World War One period as a template for pulling the teeth from our own military tiger. No matter what world development came up, the British public had been taught by WWI that the cost of empire was too high and so from 1919 until 1938 the military machine and the imperial administration were inhibited and dismembered.

We could do the same thing here. Even an American Winston Churchill couldn’t resist the trend if the public made up its mind that the damn MIC had to be contained.  I go further and say that unless that happens, eventually, we will go over a tipping point where even maintaining the forms of democratic governance will be dispensed with unless we turn back the concentration of power now ongoing with the help of both parties. This year we learned we’d accept voiding of millions of votes by party committees.

Where you and I disagree is on the possibility of a total demilitarization. You call me cynical, but I call it mere realism and acquaintance with history to say that somebody’s military will dominate—either a collective somebody or aggressive individuals. Our military stopped the genocides in Darfur this decade and in Bosnia in the last—not the UN, not NATO, not anybody, because nobody else would step up to the plate.  I fancy such interventions are humane and politically good because they help develop the social stability in which peaceful regimes can prosper.

We differ to that extent. If you assume that you stand on some higher moral ground than I, then it is only a function of your personal self-aggrandizement.

I read these post and see unrealistic perspective that have no chance of prevailing in the marketplace of ideas and therefore causing the kind of changes we need.  Idealism is great, realism is necessary and skepticism is not cynicism—even if some people no longer distinguish between the two words. Finally, skepticism aimed at ideologues you happen to agree with is no less appropriate than skepticism aimed at those you agree with.

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By Max Shields, July 30, 2008 at 5:47 am Link to this comment

“By Issywise, July 29 at 7:08 am #
(Unregistered commenter)


Do you suppose we could live in peace were we not protected by a military?

How realistic is your view of human nature?

Sure, our militarists are overboard, but do you believe we could live free from somebody else’s oppression, if we didn’t have our own military means to defend ourselves.”

This, cyrena, is cynicism. Just thought I’d provide a real example rather than the on-going trivial spat you seem to be having with thebeerdoctor.

Since only thebeerdoctor actually responded to this deep and pathological cynicism, it makes me wonder about the TD posters and their commitment to real peace. The USA is a preditory nation-state (whether we individually like it or not). It has a military expenditure (as if it needs to be said again) which is greater than the combined world expenditure.

This is not simply overboard spending. There is, Issywise, real and continous action behind which is called endless war and interventionism throughout the world with the spotlight on Iraq and Afghanistan while US bombraids continue in Somalia, and gunboat diplomacy escalates in South America.

This won’t change for the better with a new President - at least not with the two presumptive wannabes. It’s systemic and preditory in its nature which will require fundamental change. There is nothing defensive about it and there never has been for almost all of the endless wars and conflicts the USA has been directly and indirectly involved in.

I think as usual Chalmers Johnson (as Ernest has noted) has done a brilliant job of explaining the MIC. What has happened since WWII is an industry so ubiquitous that it has nothing to do with defense. We could through multilateral agreement disarm the world, make terrorism - not a war but a crime which needs to be metted out and prosecuted.

We actually could eliminate the need for a standing military, let alone a MIC. But as long as we keep thinking that we need this stuff, just a little less of it, we’ll continue to behave in the world the way we have been. And Brezinski will be the model for our world-view.

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By thebeerdoctor, July 30, 2008 at 5:45 am Link to this comment

I guess a bit of an explanation is in order. When I said my opinion is meaningless, and I actually meant everyone on Truthdig too. I am referring to the fact that much of the topics being debated here, are and continue to be, totally marginalized by what this country calls news. But it IS liberating to know that despite that complete marginalization (i.e. meaningless) it is liberating to state these matters because no amount of violent or (lack of) economic threats can stop it.
There is this notion being put forward that I have a hopeless view. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have been jailed for political protest, nearly beaten to death by the police, almost ground under by economic forces as I watched my own brother’s family driven into bankruptcy over medical bills to a botched operation that they did not have the money, to seek legal justice for.
No, there is nothing hopeless about blogging these thoughts with my fellow peasants. I say peasants, because, and I know some will vehemently disagree, we are all peasants here, the movers and shakers (I think they are sometimes called The Moneyed Ones) do not give a rat’s ass what we say or do. If you really believe that you are of some importance to the political machinery that runs this joint, well take a deep breath and click your heels twice.
And one more note, I am not obsessed with Obama. Something I recently pointed out on The Huffington Post, that it takes a hell of a lot of unglamorous work to build an alternative political system. The half-ass efforts of the Greens and Libertarians every four years will never cut it. You need to start putting candidates forward on all levels of government, from city council to state legislature to the house and senate, before you even worry about the POTUS top alpha dog. Historically, if the attitude of today’s reform movement was used, black people would still be slaves and women would not be allowed to vote. Setting a new direction is always a difficult struggle. It is the long hard slog that has nothing to do with Donald Rumsfeld.
So I am dismissive of the two leading candidates because I realize they can easily throw a bone of nice words and continue to ignore what people actually want. But if the people who really do want real change have candidates elected to the house and senate who refuse to go along with business as usual, something could happen. Even though this is not a parliamentary system, there are still ways to slow down the machinery.
Establishing a new political party involves challenging all the legal impediments put forward by the two existing parties to deny ballot access. It also would involve legally questioning all the draconian laws (federal ID etc.) adopted to prevent voter participation from minorities, immigrants and nearly anyone else who does not buy into the Two Party System. And of course this will be a struggle. The entire history of people gaining their human rights is one continuous struggle. When I take that into consideration and become aware of those who would, for the sake of political expediency, sacrifice those hard fought gains… please do not make the claim I am hopeless. There is nothing passive about being a pacifist. Satyagraha.

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By jenne aakster, July 30, 2008 at 3:20 am Link to this comment
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To the Users of this site, I think I could not be that relax as you are in general, if I lived in country who must make war and kill people to make a living, and if you my beleef Mr. Scot Ritter the war will come bigger again, with the American- Israel atack on the Indo Europeên country Iran, I think you are of Topic, you should on the streets to warn you brother Americans, that the USA is become a killer state, like Germany in Hitlers time.

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By samosamo, July 29, 2008 at 10:49 pm Link to this comment

By cyrena, July 29 at 7:47 pm #

Sometimes I think doc tests his medicine a bit much. Uh, no offense doc.

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By thebeerdoctor, July 29, 2008 at 8:57 pm Link to this comment

re: cyrena, funny you should mention language. You remeber the great blowup about Obama’s AIPAC speech and the $30 billion dollar pledge for military aide. Well guess what? It is already a done deal. That money is already set in place even before and if he gets to the white house.
Make you wonder, perhaps he made the pledge knowing it was already set in stone?
I know you would probably call that a smart move, I most certainly acknowledge it as clever.

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By cyrena, July 29, 2008 at 8:47 pm Link to this comment

Why would you say this?

•  “…It is liberating to know that my opinion is meaningless.?”
How do you figure that your opinion is meaningless? It’s meaningful to you, isn’t it? I mean, if it wasn’t, you wouldn’t be posting it. Based on that, this seems an odd thing to say.
Same here…
•  “You see in this country the only people worth paying attention to are those with money.”

Obviously, that is YOUR opinion, and to you at least, it’s valid. (presumably, or you wouldn’t say it).
No doubt it is meaningless to others, or meaningless to the extent that some (including I) would vehemently disagree with such a statement. Matter of fact, I can’t think of a more cynically pessimistic viewpoint, that is a categorical and absolute falsehood in my own existence, as with millions of other Americans I’m sure. . But, it’s what YOU think, so…it means something to you.

So, if you say the only people worth paying attention to are those with money, then why are you hanging around on these blogs with us peasants?

Or, to engage in your Orwellian mindset, is that why you obsess over Obama? Is it because you think he has money? If that’s the case, you’re a pretty cheap date beerdoc.

He doesn’t you know.

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By cyrena, July 29, 2008 at 8:31 pm Link to this comment

By cann4ing, July 29 at 4:08 pm

•  “..One of the core problems in confronting the M.I.C. is the linguistic stranglehold imposed on the American people.  In Orwell’s “1984” language was reduce not only to limit how people think but what they would think about.”

Oh Lordy…leave it to practicing lawyer to sum it ALL up in a word..the LINGUISTIC stranglehold. smile And it doesn’t just hold us back in confronting the MIC, but in EVERYTHING!!

That’s what even a casual glimpse through any of these blog comments will verify, and that’s why so much of our population manages to create their own reality. That linguistic stranglehold on the mind.
Seriously, a glance through these or any comments on any thread, will confirm that the ‘public’ will judge a public official (and others) not only on what he/she SAYS, but even what they DON’T say, and come up with an absolute judgment based on it, and however their own minds have been homogenized or otherwise distorted. Now when we can start using linguistics to prove a negative, you KNOW that’s a stranglehold.

•  “…One of the three major Party slogans in Orwell’s 1984 was “War is Peace.” In June, 2002 President George W. Bush remarked:  “When we talk about war, we are really talking about peace.” 

Perfect example.

It’s ALL about the language.

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By thebeerdoctor, July 29, 2008 at 7:23 pm Link to this comment

Thank you Max Shields for your insights. The question about the use of power is very interesting, especially about the fact that Senator Obama does not even question the “war on terror” is a very important point. The same could be applied to the blanket assumption of “the surge has worked”. A better question would be: for who exactly? Certainly not for the Iraqi civilians who continue to die every week. To say an operation is successful because what were 2000 thousand deaths a month, is now down to 400, is a pro-war propaganda device, designed to make the deplorable acceptable.

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By cann4ing, July 29, 2008 at 5:08 pm Link to this comment

Chalmers Johnson’s astute observations about the M.I.C. and ascendancy of corporate control is but a variation of Naomi Klein’s description of the “private security state” in the Shock Doctrine.

One of the core problems in confronting the M.I.C. is the linguistic stranglehold imposed on the American people.  In Orwell’s “1984” language was reduce not only to limit how people think but what they would think about.  The value of phrase “war on terror,” while meaningless from a practical standpoint, lies in the fact that it conjures a war against a phantom menace who is everywhere and anywhere at all times; sleeper cells lurking, ready to strike at any time.  Amorphous fear creates a group think that cannot resist the call to arms.

The U.S. government put Orwellian terminology to use even before Orwell’s “1984” was first committed to print in 1949.  During World War II there was no need to convince the public that military spending was necessary.  America was engaged in a life-and-death struggle against the Axis powers.  The governmental agency in charge of the military was aptly named the “War Department.”

With every war comes war profiteering.  The trick was to find a way to justify continued military spending in the face of every war profiteer’s nightmare—peace!  For this there was a linguistic solution.  There would be no more War Department.  Instead, there was simply a Department of Defense.  Military expenditures were no longer required to successfully wage war.  Instead, an ever expanding percentage of the federal budget would thereafter be devoted to “military preparedness” in order to “maintain peace.”  One of the three major Party slogans in Orwell’s 1984 was “War is Peace.”  In June, 2002 President George W. Bush remarked:  “When we talk about war, we are really talking about peace.”

No matter how many nations we invade; no matter the illegitimacy of the reasons given to mask imperial design, no matter the offensive nature of our weaponry and foreign bases, it is invariably stated that U.S. soldiers die to defend America and our way of life. 

We will never truly confront the MIC until we confront this mangling of our language.  Until then, Welcome to Oceania!

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By Max Shields, July 29, 2008 at 4:22 pm Link to this comment

By webbedouin, July 27 at 7:46 pm #

“Tim Shorrock has an excellent article on The Progressive at the moment.  ‘Hawks Behind the Dove: Who Makes Obama’s Foreign Policy?’”

Thanks for the link. If my memory serves me, and I know that I posted here about each of these “stands” Obama made during the primaries, both during debates and on Sunday talk. He was NEVER emphatic even then about the use of a nuke attack on Iran and his general stance in terms of foreign relations vis a vis Hillary Clinton. He would make the comment about Clinton and than say essentially the same thing she had. He always swayed to the left ever so slightly (since the establishment left in the USA is really just this side of Nazi Germany that’s not saying much) but always ended his soliloquy with ALL OPTIONS are on the table with regards to invasions and equivocated on things like Cuba. He was offering a minimalist choice between himself and H. Clinton but never with a sense of anything remotely resembly conviction.

Obama isn’t much for conviction. His is pure power. He wants to win in the same way Bill Clinton wanted to win. Their faulty thinking is: only winners get power and are able to implement “change”. The problem is that winning actually costs you the ability to affect any REAL change. It’s a Faustian wager. And Obama has clearly made it lock stock and barrel.

As much as Kerry was your usual DLC white guy, I see Obama as having moved the discussion right of Kerry. Kerry at least questioned the term “war on terror”. Obama doesn’t. And that is a MAJOR ISSUE.

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By thebeerdoctor, July 29, 2008 at 3:40 pm Link to this comment

It is liberating to know that my opinion is meaningless. You see in this country the only people worth paying attention to are those with money. The ultimate rule of capitalism, the golden rule as it were. It is the mother milk of politics as it has often been said and much more. But, for some strange reason, it bothers the powerful to know that there are peasants who will never give them their allegiance. It is the 2 billion people who question the validity of the thousand multi-billionaires, and their corporate gangster system which robs them, poisons them and continually lies to them, demanding sacrifice of labor and health so the empowered ones can live the life of luxury they always demand.
Yes it is liberating to know that those seeking peace and justice are really only members of the wretched of the earth. To know there is no marketplace of ideas, that is an intellectual parlor game that is only profitable when connected to a think tank. To know that the only reality is to develop a love of all humanity. Of course this is difficult, but the alternative?
To know there is only the human family and that all of its members are valuable. Too idealistic you might say? Not rooted in reality and the way this world works?
I would rather be a peasant fool than embrace a culture of death.

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By Issywise, July 29, 2008 at 1:29 pm Link to this comment


You say, “Peace is a living action that does have to explain itself.”

OK, so if it doesn’t have to and apparently can’t express itself in words as a policy, why does it get to throw condescending insults in the marketplace of ideas.

You say, “You are wrong and I am right” and refuse to discuss specifics—that is roundly conclusory and not really engaging in discussion.

If I recognized your superiority, I’d follow you but otherwise, you offer nothing to persuade.

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By samosamo, July 29, 2008 at 1:11 pm Link to this comment

I think I’ll go have a fosters on that.

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By thebeerdoctor, July 29, 2008 at 12:10 pm Link to this comment

This has been a very good thread. Allen Wood’s comment 7/28@2:52 pm, reflects a very real feeling that gets ignored by controlled media. Jim Yell 7/28@6:01 pm, makes a very good point that “privatizing hasn’t lead to cheaper health care or anything else.”
Purple Girl, 7/28@3:39 am, shows insight when she reveals that bin Laden and Dick Cheney are similar, in that both are willing to sacrifice others for the sake of some abstract notion of power.
Big B’s comment about “The business of America is war.” reflects a profound tragic despair.
Martin Weiss believes that those who oppose the military industrial complex are ultimately murdered. There maybe something to this. Tim Nelson gives a look at where all these arm shipments go. webbedouin does us all a service by quoting Eisenhower’s Cross of Iron speech, made even more powerful because he was one of the few presidents who saw the beast from the inside.
Like I said, a very good thread indeed. My only prayer is thank you.

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By thebeerdoctor, July 29, 2008 at 11:36 am Link to this comment

re: samosamo
GOOD NEWS! The Chocolate Ration goes up to 30 grams next month. The surge is working.

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By thebeerdoctor, July 29, 2008 at 11:31 am Link to this comment

Why ask me about being realistic? If you think the military protects you, keep on praying. I do know something about violence, I was almost beaten to death by the police holding no weapons whatsoever. Forget about any conversion to brutality. I am not afraid. A peasant can’t afford to be. Peace is a living action that does have to explain itself.

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By samosamo, July 29, 2008 at 11:23 am Link to this comment

By Issywise, July 29 at 7:08 am

T’would be nice but this ain’t a nice world as much as a bunch of people try to make it out to be. And, the greedy elites via the USA’s military are making it so in the name of ‘spreading democracy’, ‘ending tyranny’, ‘unfettered global markets’, ‘bringing the poor and down trodden up the financial ladder’ and a host of other bullshit euphemisms which is translated into an american imperial empire where in truth every natural resource on this planet is ours and is to be controlled by us. And if you haven’t given thought to what the ‘industrial military and CONGRESSIONAL complex’ is really about then think of it as something that has almost become a separate entity from our government and answers to corporations and planners such as the neoncon think tanks. There are still some real soldiers beholding to the american value of the military but the less oversight by congress and here the almost total ‘classified’ military budgets are totally against the constitution are a traitorous cave in to the industrial part and the civilian control being so heavily influenced by the neocons that the military is becoming separate from america is just distorting the military agendas to not be under american control.
And then you better consider the Orwellian concept of the ‘perpetual war’ to keep the citizenry in fear of attacks and loss of its false economy. And it all goes back to actually Orwell spelling out the plan and eventually the neocon think tanks from the nixon era starting their planning, plotting and scheming to take over the world.
The military will guard this country like a mother hen guarding her nest but for a whole heap of reasons different and not good for the majority of the people on this planet and this country.

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By Issywise, July 29, 2008 at 8:08 am Link to this comment
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Do you suppose we could live in peace were we not protected by a military?

How realistic is your view of human nature?

Sure, our militarists are overboard, but do you believe we could live free from somebody else’s oppression, if we didn’t have our own military means to defend ourselves.

The threshold for me to accept any argument made about the military is an understand that we should indeed have one because of the nature of the present world.  I’d love to live in a military-free world, but unfortunately that is not the reality of OUR world.

We can discuss all the details—and may well agree on most, but if your response to my post is to suggest the military is an evil that we should unilaterally exterminate here, then we fundamentally disagree about what is possible.

What is possible is to prohibit the recipients of military funding from using that funding to promote more of such funding.  If you want to get rid of certain weapons systems you think unnecessary the most practical thing you can do is ensure procurement policy is based on need not on campaign contributions.

The problem with being too idealistic is that you end up not seeing reality.

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By thebeerdoctor, July 29, 2008 at 7:57 am Link to this comment

War products that it needs? What would that be? Cluster bombs with fragments that 90% explode on contact? Five thousand pound bombs? Helicopter gun ships with enhanced lethality? A new generation of uranium depleted missiles? As the man at the deli counter says: whatdoyouwant?

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By Issywise, July 29, 2008 at 7:11 am Link to this comment

What makes the Military Industrial Complex so dangerous isn’t that the nation has an industrial machine to build what war products it needs, it is that the machine affects policy by pumping a share of it profits back into the political process.

Votes are supposed to be the foundation of the American political system, but money has displaced that foundation. Heck, the Supreme Court thinks money IS free speech.

Until we master money in our political system, the political system and the people who fund it will continue to be our masters.

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By thebeerdoctor, July 29, 2008 at 12:52 am Link to this comment

As samosamo has stated, this subject gets to the core of what this mess is all about. Strangely, this is all hidden in plain sight. As I recall, Chalmers Johnson was the subject of a three hour “in depth” on C-SPAN’s Book TV, but who was watching that? On the Q&A;interview of Chris Hedges Sunday night, Brian Lamb said, concerning one of Hedges’ articles: “I found this on something called Truthdig.” And that is about it.
Just as strangely, in spite of everything, there are still people who want peace in this world, and refuse to knuckle under to deliberate evil, no matter what political party. This is especially difficult for so-called democrats, because the betrayal of the people’s interests appears more grotesque, since they are suppose to be the party that represents them. The republicans do not say that; their protection for big business, for shielding them from any moral or financial obligations, is what they always represent.
So if you deplore increasing militarism and its adjunct privatization, it is only par for the course that you remind the candidates’ supporters, that the representatives of both parties, are advocates of perpetuating this insanity. In the case of the democrats, you are then labeled an “Obama hater”, some kind of repugnant troll who simply can not see what Ebony magazine has gleamed, that Senator Barack Obama is number 1 on the list of the top 25 “Coolest Brothers Of All Time.”
Nor will you find much sympathy for those who see Senator John McCain as an authentic, genuine, American War Hero. Especially if you think that there is nothing especially heroic about becoming a prisoner after dropping bombs on a peasant population in their own country. War mongers believe it is courageous to slaughter.
“Brother, I will not criticize him—until he’s in the White House.” That is what talk radio’s Warren Ballentine said about Obama. I’m sure there are McCain supporters who think the same way about their bloke. But advocates for peace know they must be questioned on their motives constantly.

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By RBStanfield, July 29, 2008 at 12:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

An additional book commenting on this issue (indirectly) is “Washington’s War” by Gen Sir Micheal Rose comparing the two George IIIs when the two idiots get their hands on dangerous toys.

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By samosamo, July 28, 2008 at 10:29 pm Link to this comment

Just the idea of this post being on this site(it is on informationclearinghouse also)shows that this is what the 5 or 6 CONSERVATIVE owners of the msm(tv, radio, newspapers….) will NOT allow the vegged out populace to see. What they want you to see is, well I just copied this from a msnbc and this is what is important to them for you to know and some of it is but….

  Lawmakers to ban toxins in kids’ products
  Bush OKs execution of Army death row inmate
  Woman goes on stabbing spree in Japan
  Gitmo jurors see Pentagon film on al-Qaida
  Newsweek: A new Pakistan-India arms race?
  Somalis replace Hispanic workers after raid
  Cubs open series with wild win over Brewers
  ‘Extreme Makeover’ house faces foreclosure
  Judge removed after racial comment
  Disgraced NBA ref allegedly bet big on golf
  World’s sexiest beaches revealed

Here is cnn’s breaking news:

Latest News
McCain says he could support Iraq timetable
Five polygamous sect members arrested
Home drug deaths like Heath Ledger’s soar
Singer Winehouse admitted to hospital
Haitian strongman guilty of U.S. mortgage fraud
Ticker: Obama spotted in secret VP meeting?
EPA staff told not to speak to inspector
End of the affair for Obama, media? 
JibJab pokes fun at McCain, Obama  
WLWT: IRS worker snooped on celebrity files
Man deposits millions, one tattered bill at a time
Police: Shooting suspect mad over job, liberals
SI: NFL will not discipline player for hit-and-run
Iraq to ask IOC for Olympics inclusion
Top schools for partying, sobriety ranked Are you a millionaire in the making?
Anderson Cooper up close with sharks  
Air guitarist loses toe in stage dive  
CNN Wire: First U.S. beef arrives in S…

Wow, some real stuff there. Really will have to look into that post about ‘Top schools for partying..’ won’t we? How is a vegetable suppose to grow if it doesn’t get his/her fertilizer like this everyday?
And these are the places that Johnson’s article(s) needs to be displayed, at the very least on PBS, but I would guess that Bill Moyers is the only one there that knows Chalmers Johnson.
And it would it would take the FAIRNESS DOCTRINE to get this on the msm. But you know what, if it is like my senators, the fairness doctrine will interfere with a companies revenue which just so happens to be public property, $70billion worth, that was GIVEN to these traitorous and treasonous bastards along with the senatorial compliance just mentioned above. THAT is where the big out rage should be, that is why america sleeps and people on these sites just type and type and type hoping something changes like, uh, let me see, all these veggies will start coming to these sites, noo, maybe the msm will let this on their programs, noo, maybe the white house will anounce it in a press conference? Hell, it won’t even be in a newspaper, magazine or radio.
I would think inundate your representative’s and senator’s offices with calls for breaking the media monopolies and reinstating the fairness doctrine would be a start because with the consevatives in charge of the data banks we will continue to get lollipops or ‘insufficient funds’ from our news sources.
I like coming to these sites but I would also like to see some politicians and ‘elites’ squirming and stuttering in front of cameras trying to splain things or passing the buck, knowing they are talking out of the side of their face.

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By Bboy57, July 28, 2008 at 9:37 pm Link to this comment

Wow, 16 comments only on probobly THE ISSUE of our day. I’m MIC shell shocked! Where is the outrage? How would an economy of peace-prosperity stack up? I’m thinking it could if sincerly tried!

Time to stop playing world cop and get our own **** together!

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By Maxxie, July 28, 2008 at 6:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the greatest threat right now to the US IED’s at probably less than $100 a pop and $1.29 box cutters used in conjunction with our own fuel-ladened 737’s?

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By Paolo, July 28, 2008 at 6:34 pm Link to this comment

Chalmers Johnson is virtually always spot-on in his analysis.

As a libertarian and constitutionalist (with some minor reservations), I believe the Founders feared war above all other government usurpations of power. As Madison said, war is the government activity most to be feared, since war is the mother of all other tyrannies: taxation, impoverishment, loss of personal liberties.

The warfare state seems (unfortunately) to be self-sustaining, no matter what the majority of the populace believes. Most Americans now want to get out of Iraq, for example, but their opinions don’t matter.

Most Americans would probably favor a foreign policy of “open and friendly relations with all nations, entangling alliances with none.” But the MIC positively loves playing off one alliance against the other as a strategy of “divide and conquer.”

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By diamond, July 28, 2008 at 4:39 pm Link to this comment

Chalmers Johnson is one of those heroes who come along every so often - and his only weapon is his brain. America ignores him and his analysis at its peril.

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By Allen Wood, July 28, 2008 at 3:52 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Jewish influence and paranoia is what caused 9-11. Because Zionist Jews control the U.S. and the military of same, 9-11 was allowed to happen with the help of Mossad. Israel has always rode on the back of the great American Beast. They have, and will always have control until America is no more. END OF STORY!!!!!

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By ocjim, July 28, 2008 at 2:05 pm Link to this comment

The repercussions of any privatized national security function are multitudinous so any study just covers the tip of the iceburg.

Besides the abject hypocrisy of ballooning the size of government by employing companies loyal to your administration and not to the people while decrying large government, there is waste, fraud, outright thievery and destruction of the oversight of the people (thru Congress.

Having a boob like Bush being responsible for this, one who is controlled by the devil, Cheney, adds an abscene dimension of disgust to this added assault on democracy.

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By jenne aakster, July 28, 2008 at 11:38 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I hope the American people know, that from now the USA need WARS to make money, lot of money, very dirty but thats no problem, I allways looked to the United States as my favoriet country, freedom, equality, but the more I reed about his intestens, its rotten inside, its in the grap of money lovers and corrupt people, I have found out some bij the books of Kurt Vonnegut, and the internet, I am feeling very bad about it, I lost my lonely star, as Cormac McCarthy says. yours.

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By Dale Headley, July 28, 2008 at 10:44 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Unless a wise and courageous President, and an equally courageous Congress with the support of an awakened citizenry wake up and act, this country is on the verge of a fascist dictatorship no less tyrannical than Germany in the 1930’s.
    It may already be too late.  Americans have been propagandized to accept the delusion that we are the master race, and that whatever our government does - preemptive war, torture, abrogation of citizens’ rights - is justified by our power and superiority.

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By felicity, July 28, 2008 at 8:39 am Link to this comment

Thankyou Mr. Chalmers.  If there is any deterrent to war it is its huge cost in treasure.  The income tax, or variations of same, came about to finance wars and/or to replenish the treasury following one.

With the military/industrial complex, always pursuing profit, and now holding the reins of government, where’s the deterrent.

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By martin weiss, July 28, 2008 at 8:15 am Link to this comment

Senator Claire McCaskill, when commenting on massive corruption in Pentagon auditing, said these people “..should be fired by nightfall.” Amen.

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By thebeerdoctor, July 28, 2008 at 7:09 am Link to this comment

note for troublesum: at one time Superman fought a never ending battle for truth and justice. Later in the era of television it was: “Truth, justice and the American way.” This is similar to the Pledge where we were “one nation indivisible” to “one nation under God indivisible”. Now I know that this is just “vague rhetoric”, but I fear that the truthdig roto-rooter plumber will be coming after me. Yikes!

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By Jim Yell, July 28, 2008 at 7:01 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

One would think that the responsible right would have figured out by now that for the long term good of everyone regulations and government responsibilities must be re-instated. Privatizing hasn’t lead to cheaper health care or anything else. It has lead to greater abuse without acountablity. It has lead to greater waste of public money, which has gone to unearned corporate profits.

I just read article about large prison built so badly by a California company that it is unusable. Why wasn’t there accountablity, why hasn’t the money been returned to the treasury. Why years after this gangster invasion of Iraq we still don’t have competitive biding, or oversight?

The government has been bought by the corporations and they are showing they learned nothing by the damage they did to the country in 1929. They are little more than criminals in control of the courts and the congress.

Religion and the Flag used by the right to obscure their goal of destruction. Sadly they are getting too much support from Religion and our government officials. Impeach George and Cheney now. If they are not repudiated than the country is dead.

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By Big B, July 28, 2008 at 6:44 am Link to this comment

We were born of war. We live our lives in pursuit of war. We will someday die of war. It will not however be at the hands of some insidious foreign power. We will, as Kruschev so elequently stated, collapse “from within”.
The MIC has so interwoven itself into our daily business lives that, if we somehow would manage to eliminate their influence (cut their funds) that the whole of the nation would collapse. Think about how much money is spent by our nation on the trappings of war. Everything from munitions, to intelligence, to Fatherland (sorry, I keep making that mistake) Homeland security, is directly paid for and related to the MIC. Millions of jobs in the U.S. now depend on the massive military budget. The MIC and their supporters have created the foundation on which our nations prosperity rests. By doing this the MIC has assured that even after the U.S., as we know it, has been scattered to the winds, they will remain, sucking off the carcass of what is left, and of course providing their invaluable services to the next “empire”.
The business of America is not business. The business of America is war. History bares this hypothisis out. Our only hope now is that we go out not with a bang, but with a whimper. It will be less painful and maybe the next landlord will take pity on us.

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By troublesum, July 28, 2008 at 5:43 am Link to this comment

Thank God for Barak Obama.  He will set everything right.  All of those ignorant bastards in the MIC will get rotorouter treatments on the brain.  Have no fear, superman is here.

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By jackpine savage, July 28, 2008 at 5:06 am Link to this comment

I always have too much to say in relation to a post by Mr. Johnson.  But time is short right now, so i’ll leave it at this:

For an excellent historical perspective on the rise of the Pentagon, told from a very unique perspective, read James Carroll’s House of War.  It’s a tome that reads like a good novel, and it seems like the bombshells and puzzle pieces or our current situation occur at least every other page. (It does not extend through the era of massive privatization.)

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By Purple Girl, July 28, 2008 at 4:39 am Link to this comment

For those a little slow on the draw, 9/11 was a direct hit on the MIC- WTC= financing, Pentagon= Military, WH= foreign Policy. It was Not an Attack on Americans!those killed were Collateral Damage because the MIC figured no one would dare hit US on our soil, and American Citizens would act as great Human shields.Wrong Again.
If ‘extremeists’ “hated US for our Freedoms” they would have aimed for the Statue of Liberty, Mall of America, Disney World…..They did Not, they aimed for those who had been operating in their country (saudi Arabia) and aiding the ‘royals’ in their tyrannical Regime. Binny being one of these priviledged upper class i the Caste System does however cause some questions as to what HIS real motives were. Binny and Cheney are two men willing to place others in peril to promote their own wealth and Power…I hav eno doubt the followers of Binny were being used under false pretense as much as our mIlitary and the citizens of this country have been manipualted and used by CheneyCorp.DICK is the latest and longest CEO of the MIC, and has accumalated the most Blood and Treasure from the Business Stratedgy.Cheney,Rummy & Wolfie et al should be facing nearly 40 yrs of Crimes against Humanity and Treason.

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By martin weiss, July 27, 2008 at 11:41 pm Link to this comment

A thorough analysis of the MIC and its hold on us is much admired and more than timely. Many have disappeared for attempting this revealing study. In fact, I believe the Kennedys were killed for trying to cut the pentagon budget and dismantle the CIA. Many “heroes of the people” have died by airplane crash or suspicious suicide. Wellstone, Carnahan, and the former CFO of Enron all died untimely deaths of vague rationales. So the attempt to cage the MIC beast has met with lethal opposition. Even the Secret Service seems to be compromised by its relationship with the military, as does the FBI.
            I salute the various authors of this article and send a quiet wish for their continued well-being. The quality of US life and liberty depends on such as these men, along with the military officers of honor who refuse to violate the quite honorable Uniform Code of Military Justice—which doesn’t include the commanders of troops forced to violate our laws and treaties.
If a big realignment is possible in our huge standing forces and intelligence service, it will also lessen the extent to which corporations enslave the people of the US as well as other countries, which was the original need to form the US government—domination of free people by the wealth of Kings and corporations.
Thank you sincerely for this excellent work.

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By tim nelson, July 27, 2008 at 10:58 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

How do we balance the need to keep an active military, and supply chain while downsizing military spending?
STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Global military spending rose 3.5 percent last year to $1.2 trillion as U.S. costs for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan mounted, a European research body said on Monday in an annual study.

The United States spent $529 billion, slightly less than the entire GDP of the Netherlands, on military operations in 2006, up 5 percent over the previous year, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said in its latest year book.

“Taking both immediate and long-term factors into account, the overall past and future costs until year 2016 to the USA for the war in Iraq have been estimated at $2,267 billion,”($2.267 Trillion U.S) it said.

Military spending in China, which is modernizing its People’s Liberation Army, climbed to an estimated $49.5 billion last year from $44.3 billion in 2005.

“China’s military expenditure continued to increase rapidly, for the first time surpassing that of Japan and hence making China the biggest military spender
•  1 year ago
Is selling 50% more arms in 2006 than 2001 helping non-proliferation tensions world-wide?
China and Japan, Britain and France accounted for about 4 to 5 percent each of global military expenditure last year, SIPRI said. The five biggest spenders’ share of global military expenses was nearly two-thirds of the total.

The United States and Russia were the largest arms suppliers in 2002 through 2006, each accounting for about 30 percent of global shipments, while deliveries from EU members made up another 20 percent, the institute said.

“Almost 50 percent more conventional weapons, by volume, were transferred internationally in 2006 than in 2002, according to data gathered by SIPRI,” it added.

China and India remained the largest arms importers in the world, while five Middle Eastern countries figured among the top ten importers of arms globally.

“While much media attention was given to arms deliveries to Iran, mainly from Russia, deliveries from the USA and European countries to Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were significantly larger,” the institute said

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By webbedouin, July 27, 2008 at 8:53 pm Link to this comment

Also by Chalmbers Johnson a book review of Sheldon S. Wolin’s book “Democracy Incorporated” 

Inverted Totalitarianism: A New Way of Understanding How the U.S. Is Controlled

Well worth a look…

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By webbedouin, July 27, 2008 at 8:46 pm Link to this comment

Tim Shorrock has an excellent article on The Progressive at the moment.  “Hawks Behind the Dove: Who Makes Obama’s Foreign Policy?”

It would seem that a part of Eisenhower’s Cross Of Iron speech would be in order:

“The best would be this: a life of perpetual fear and tension; a burden of arms draining the wealthand the labor of all peoples; a wasting of strength that defies the American system or the Soviet system or any system to achieve true abundance and happiness for the peoples of this earth.

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 in 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 50 miles of concrete highway.

We pay for a single fighter 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, I repeat, is 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.

These plain and cruel truths define the peril and point the hope that come with this spring of 1953.

This is one of those times in the affairs of nations when the gravest choices must be made, if there is to be a turning toward a just and lasting peace.”

55 years ago…  Seems just like deja vu all over again.

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By samosamo, July 27, 2008 at 8:20 pm Link to this comment

Thanks, Mr. Johnson, despite the grave implications of your post, it is always a good thing to have people such as yourself who will bring attention to the subversive actions of plain out right thieves for their personal gain (political, financial, economic)through the manipulation of the government, military, intelligence agencies with private industries/corporations for control of our country. Hopefully this will not be realized and be stopped but, we are dealing with a complicit congress, ineffectual supreme court, lower courts and, at the least, a lunatic presidency . If ever control of and reinstatement of a democratic government with a willing and cooperative congress ready to dig in with vast amounts of oversight with strict accountability then regulation, then there could be hope for change, this would have to include a dismantling of the intelligence agencies as you noted and in my most humble opinon start in with the eternal vigilance and oversight of corporations in this country and doing businees in and with this country as these corporations have undenably tried and are still trying to gain a fascist control over this country causing great harm in the attempt.
This would at least relieve the pressure to deal with all the other issues that are facing us and that will come upon us such as blowback or climate change. But we must save our own country before the corporate complex takes total control.

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