The Military Industrial Complex Stimulus Program is Undeterred

Is there a panic on the Potomac?  The Congress has turned into a wailing wall just to hear all the moans about threatened cuts in what is patriotically known as our Defense budget.

Never mind that many of the cuts were ordered from above because the people at the top know how much they have to slash given all the waste, planned obsolescence and other waste they can afford to trim before they cut the bone or some hostile force can bring us to our knees.

The people who experience the reality up close and personal know that the public is being defrauded on almost every level.

Listen to Sgt. 1st Class Robert Zlotow from Fort Riley, Kan. who had the guts to send this letter to Army Times.

“I nearly spit out my dinner when I read your headline “Fighting through austerity” (March 4).

Even with these “evil” and “scary” cuts factored in, the defense budget will still rise every year in the foreseeable future.  According to the Congressional Budget Office, the projected defense budget will still go from $593 billion in fiscal year 2014 to $702 billion in 2023, even if this sequester is allowed to stand.

When I hear politicians and the top brass say that training will have to be cut back and units will go without supplies, and all these other dire consequences, it begs a very simple question:

What on earth are they doing with all that money?

If troops are not getting trained and their benefits are being cut back, then where are these hundreds of billions of dollars in our budget going?

Only in the cesspool of fraud, waste and abuse that is the Defense Department can budgets like these be called “austere.”

Thank you Sergeant. Your letter from the trenches at the Fort named after the Life of Riley, brings to mind another Sgt., Sergeant Bilko played by Phil Silvers whose popular TV series kept millions of Americans laughing every week for years about the absurdity of “the service.”

What was clear that Bilko and the boys were serving a machine that was kept in business by what a former General and president Dwight David Eisenhower called the military industrial complex.  He is remembered as much for his candor in that ‘farewell address” as for being the “Supreme Commander” who won World War 2.

Ike was a military insider turned critic and prophet. As Andrew Bacevic noted on the Atlantic:

“Equally significant, if now nearly forgotten, was his presentation to the American Society of Newspaper Editors on April 16, 1953. In this speech, the president contemplated a world permanently perched on the brink of war—“humanity hanging from a cross of iron”— and he appealed to Americans to assess the consequences likely to ensue.” The consequences are  “the dangers of the perpetual march to war it has put us on.”

War has always been a business first, and for the economy of these United States a very good one. Keeping the weapons factories and high tech workshops humming not only creates jobs but also a flow of exports that keep the USA alive. We may not be number #1 in maternal health but we are number one in arms sales,

These contracts keep the complex soaring; one report on MilitaryIndustrialComplex.com recorded a total of 22,828 publicly reported defense contracts. That number has grown dramatically over the years. And it will grow more and more because of the revolving door between the contractors and the lobbyists and the politicians. More importantly, with the Congress blocking stimulus funds that could benefit those in need, military spending is used to primes many a pump because the Pentagon operates under the umbrella of unquestioned patriotism.

Some of these contracts seemed to be sweetened under the sheets, as John Grant reported,

“If Maryland is stopped in its efforts to force Montgomery County to give Lockheed Martin millions of dollars, we may never know whether that could have been done without sex.  And that’s a shame.  Yet it certainly should be reported that, according to Maryland Juice, “a lobbyist for Lockheed Martin may be dating one of the bill’s sponsors in the State Senate. Several Annapolis sources are now indicating to Maryland Juice that State Senator Rob Garagiola is currently romantically involved with lobbyist Hannah Powers of the Alexander & Cleaver firm. But Garagiola is a sponsor of the Lockheed welfare bill, and Powers is a lobbyist for Lockheed.”

Scandalous stories like that propels this turgid and often invisible world of wheeling and dealing into public view, along with an unending supply of stories about $15,000 toilet seats and $5000 coffee pots ordered by the Pentagon, or the graft that is built into the contacting process.

Here in South Africa where I am working on a film project, one arms deal is still being debated because of all the corruption that came to light in its wake. The South African politicians who benefited are blasted in the news but the overseas military companies who gave the bribes are kept out of sight.

Most of these contracts are filtered through a politically calculated system for spreading the money into every Congressional district. There is a method to this madness and never a shortage of crises, or threats, real or invented, that can be used as a pretext for more spending.

This recent report LBN report offers a case in point:

“The Pentagon will spend $1 billion to deploy additional ballistic missile interceptors along the Pacific Coast to counter the growing reach of North Koreas weapons, a decision accelerated by Pyongyang’s recent belligerence and indications that Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, is resisting Chinas efforts to restrain him. The new deployments, announced by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Friday, will increase the number of ground-based interceptors in California and Alaska to 44 from 30 by 2017.”

On top of the alleged military threats, there’s new cyber terror threat that is opening the doors for a flood of new spending on “essential” (sic) counter-measures.

When you look at how the money is divvied up you can see how convoluted the system is.

Here’s just one contract itemized on Huffington Post. I am sure there are books of computer printouts and a whole army of accountants that processes them.

 •”Vital Link Inc., Sealy, Texas, (FA8519-13-D-0001) is being awarded a $73,540,000 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for repair, refurbishment and relocation of the fleet of T-9, T-10/T-11 and T-12 Noise Suppression Facilities.  The locations of the performance are Dyess Air Force Base, Texas; Eglin AFB, Fla.; Ellsworth AFB, S.D.; Tinker AFB, Okla.; Hill AFB, Utah; Kadena Air Base, Japan; Kirtland AFB, N.M.; Lackland AFB, Texas; Kunsan AB, Korea; Langley AFB, Va.; Luke AFB, Ariz.; Moody AFB, Ga.; Buckley AFB, Colo.; Mountain Home AFB, Idaho; Minot AFB, N.D.; Nellis AFB, Nev.; Osan AB, Korea; McGhee-Tyson Air National Guard Bureau, Tenn.; Barksdale AFB. La.; Royal Air Force Lakenhealth, United Kingdom; Bradley Field ANGB, Conn.; McGuire AFB, N.J.; McConnell AFB, Kan.; Offutt AFB, N.E.; Robins AFB, Ga.; Scott AFB, Ill.; Whiteman AFB, Mo.;  Spangdahlem AB, Germany; Andrews AFB. Md.; Shaw AFB, S.C.; Seymour Johnson AFB, N.C.; Tyndall AFB, Fla.; Homestead AFB, Fla.; Elmendorf AFB, Alaska; Eielsen AFB, Alaska; Hickam AFB, Hawaii; Holloman AFB, N.M.; Laughlin AFB, Texas; Randolph AFB, Texas; Sheppard AFB, Texas; Vance AFB, Okla.; Columbus AFB, Miss.; Ramstein AB, Germany; Aviano AB, Italy; Springfield, Ill.; Sandston, Va.; Klamath, Ore.; St. Louis, Mo.; Columbia, S.C.; Burlington, Vt.; Belle Chasse, La.; Cape Cod, Maine; Hartford, Conn.; Westfield, Maine; Detroit, Mich.; Boise, Idaho; Springfield, Ohio; Swanton, Ohio; Sioux City, Iowa; Sioux Falls, S.D.; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Madison, Wis.; Tucson, Ariz.; Tulsa, Okla.; Fort Worth, Texas; Des Moines, Iowa; Montgomery, Ala.; Duluth, Minn.; Houston, Texas; Fresno, Calif.; Fort Smith, Ariz.; Syracuse, N.Y.; Fargo, N.D.; Terre Haute, Ind.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Pleasantville, N.J. and Great Falls, Mont.  Work is expected to be completed by March 14, 2014.  Type of appropriation is fiscal 2013 through 2014 depot purchase equipment maintenance funds.  The contracting activity is AFLCMC/WNKBBA, Robins Air Force Base, Ga.”

Very little of the reporting on the military link it to its economic function or explain its real role in our society.  The real war is the conflict over who gets what how to get the money flowing.

News Dissector Danny Schechter edits the new Mediachannel.org. He blogs at Newsdissector.net. Comments to dissector@mediachannel.org. For more on the Military Industrial Complex, see Danny Schechter’s report in the WHO RULES AMERICA documentary series: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KdEnR4DW94o

 

 

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  • Juan

    The damn thing is a fucking vampire machine of epic proportions run amuck in the world. The sooner a stake is driven through it’s vile black heart the better for everyone.

  • emperorreagan

    The military has long been a source for profiteers, in particular in times of war. Many of the great fortunes in the US have their foundations in war profiteering. People got rich off of the French and Indian war. Silas Deane and Robert Morris famously profiteered off of the Revolutionary War, but there were others numbered among the “founding fathers” who came out the other end with more money than they started with.

    With the US being on constant war footing since WW2, the profiteering has simply become non-stop. “Austerity” won’t stop it – they’re not cutting useless weapons programs, they’re cutting benefits for soldiers and defense contractors are simply laying off dead wood. At the end of the day, I wouldn’t be surprised if the take for the dudes at the top isn’t higher even with this “austerity.”

    • Ittabena

      “they’re not cutting useless weapons programs”

      Like the submarines Bush approved that were designed to hunt Soviet Subs? Even though the Soviet Union was no more when he approved them. Gotta grease those palms…

  • BuzzCoastin

    being very distant from Der Homeland
    the whole budget psyop thing rarely reaches my eyes, let alone my ears
    butt
    anyone who doesn’t know that Der Homeland’s economy is tied to needs of the MIBC
    must be an American citizen

    my career-military father explained this MIBC connection to me when I was a child

    • Ittabena

      My military father did not explain it to me, but then he was a Drill Instructor for the USMC so…

      He only explained the Honor and the Constitution and the importance of both as the foundation of all law in this country – he was a State Trooper too.

      The assassination of JFK explained the rest, later.

      On a personal note Buzz, I would like to compliment you for being a regular fixture around here. You are usually one of the first to post and it is always rather Haiku-like. Eclectic, but with a quality that no one ever seems to take to task. I always look forward to reading your comments. Keep it up my friend.

      • BuzzCoastin

        thanks dude, just killin’ time till I vacate China
        hopefully not much longer

        well my old man was a Navy version of a Gunny, a Chief boatswains mate
        and I can’t remember when exactly he explained it to me, but it was more than once
        and even though he was 30 year Navy, my cuntery right or wrong
        he had no delusions about the economics involved
        he also didn’t seem to mind that they frequently lied to him
        and cheated him out of rightful benefits
        and that they Agent Oranged him to congestive heart failure in Nam

        now that’s a career military guy for ya

  • echar

    I dislike that the majority of American taxes goes to this. I’d rather not work than support murder and greed.

    • Ittabena

      Actually,… Don’t ya just hate when I start like that? …unless you are a corporation, ALL the money you pay into the IRS goes directly to the Federal Reserve Bank for debt service on the money they print for us. Last figure I had was 2005 in which 900 Billion went to the F.R.B. from individual income tax returns. What corporations pay is roughly equal to what is spent on defense and weapons and expensive toilet seats and hammers.

      So now we have a double wammy on the tax dollar. I guess Bill Hicks was right when he said that if we just quit fighting, and spending money on fighting, there would be enough to feed, clothe and house every person on the planet, with no exception.

      Likewise, if the Catholic Church would loosen up the fish hooks in it’s pockets and do like they preach, they could do the same using only their gold. That would leave all the masterpieces and invaluable treasures and documents in place in the Vatican.

      So basically what I am saying here is that we are one fucked up human race. And really it was all done by white guys. Hmm.

      • echar

        That’s even worse.

        • Ittabena

          Stay tuned, it gets much worse.

          • echar

            That’s like the worst party invite ever.

            Want to come to my party? It’s going to totally suck, and you will leave feeling worse.

          • Ittabena

            I know. The Red Pill truly sucks!

          • echar

            Side effects: It kind of sucks

    • kowalityjesus

      If the US didn’t have a giant operating military machine, then the Black Budget would loom up far too obviously. Is the willful perpetuation of the heinous waste in the MIBC actually a red herring to distract from the sprawling “black” programs that government operatives engage in? The conspiracy theorist in me has a hankering that this is more or less true.

      • echar

        That is definitely a large portion of it. Yet how do we know that it’s really going to that or maybe some person’s coffer or to some corporation.

  • echar

    This belongs here

    Dr. Strangelove – Precious bodily fluids
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1KvgtEnABY

  • InfvoCuernos

    Anyone that has spent more than a couple of months in the military can attest to the enormous waste that goes on there. It truly boggles the mind to think about. If you want to get a little inkling of the cost of fighting the current war, think about fuel for a second. Every Hummer, truck, tank, stryker, jeep, jet, prop plane, drone, helicopter, boat, and most ships (except for “nukeler” carriers and subs) burn petroleum based fuels-you know, that expensive shit that’s supposed to be the “secret” reason we are sending American sons and daughters into the sandy meat grinders. I think the wars are about oil, but not in the way most Americans and the world thinks. Its not to get gas, its to buy it from your croneys. If you have a govt. contract to provide fuel, you are wealthy beyond any imagining.

  • http://profiles.google.com/pcwag33 Pete Wagner

    Military and government are internally measured by the degree to which they can grow their mission and organization. When funding is reduced, they are challenged to do this. That’s all it is. Were a General to pursue reductions on his own (without top down constraints), his career would end on the spot.