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Spinney writes: "Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have ducked any serious discussion of America's escalating military spending, suggesting that whoever wins will be captive of President Eisenhower's 'Military-Industrial Complex.'"

Donald Trump speaking at AIPAC. (photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)
Donald Trump speaking at AIPAC. (photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)


Lost in the Military-Industrial Complex

By Chuck Spinney, Consortium News

06 July 16

 

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have ducked any serious discussion of America’s escalating military spending, suggesting that whoever wins will be captive of President Eisenhower’s “Military-Industrial Complex,” writes Chuck Spinney.

merica is engaged in the longest and second most expensive war in its history — a small war in terms of forces deployed and op-tempos, but a war that is grinding on endlessly, without a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.

Contrary to the whining about constrained budgets causing readiness and modernization problems emanating from the Pentagon, all dutifully regurgitated without question by the mainstream media, defense spending in the Pentagon’s so-called Base Budget is close to an all-time high and poised to increase over the long term.

The bulk of the Pentagon’s budget reductions from the recent peak in 2010 has been concentrated in the war fighting account (the Overseas Contingencies Operations or OCO) account — and this is true regardless of if or how one accounts for inflation. Compared to the OCO, reductions in the Pentagon’s so-called Base Budget — i.e., that part of the defense budget responsible for maintaining readiness and ensuring modernization — have been relatively modest.

Moreover, President Obama is leaving his successor with a base budget containing a modernization bow wave that is poised to explode, creating unstoppable political pressures for growing defense budgets until the end of the next decade or even beyond.

Yet the United States now spends far more on the military than any other country in the world. Add in the expenditures of our allies, and the spending advantage over any conceivable combination of adversaries becomes overwhelming.

Claiming today that we must increase the Pentagon’s budget to counter the rising threats of spending increases by Russia and China is tantamount to saying that defense spending by the Military – Industrial – Congressional Complex in the United States is grotesquely inefficient when compared to the spending of the MICC’s equivalents in Russia and China.

Deafening Silence

Most puzzling of all, the size of the Pentagon’s budget and the conduct of the militarized foreign policy that is a direct consequence of the domestic politics pushing so hard for defense budget increases are not significant political issues in the 2016 campaign for president.

To be sure, the alternative press is full of essays describing the patent lunacy of America’s militarized foreign policy, but very little ink has been devoted to analyses of how the dirty triangular political forces of the Military – Industrial – Congressional Complex (or MICC) drive that policy.

Some people hope Donald Trump will rein in the big green spending machine with a less aggressive foreign policy. But Trump is a grotesque bully, whose wild divagations of the mind exhibit neo-fascist behavior by inflaming hatred and xenophobia among his alienated and adoring supporters.

His recent kowtowing to Israel on the question of military aid suggests Trump is a transparent phony to boot. So, ‘Trump the Bully’ will end up spending what the power brokers in the MICC’s Iron Triangle tell him to spend.

Hillary Clinton’s public attitude toward defense spending is one of maintaining silence, no doubt to pacify the Left. All she has said (last September) was that she would appoint a blue-ribbon panel to examine the size of the defense budget, if elected president.

But her attitude toward the “symptom” of the domestic political imperative to keep spending at high levels — i.e., her attitude toward America’s militarized foreign policy — is obvious and ominous as David Bromwich brilliantly explains in “The Roots of Hillary’s Infatuation with War” — a very important essay, which I urge readers to study carefully.

She will play the tough girl, and in so doing, like Mr. Trump, she will also end up spending what the power brokers in the MICC’s Iron Triangle tell her to spend.

In short, President Obama is leaving his successor with a defense budget time bomb. But what passes for checks and balances on the Pentagon and its allies in the arms industry and in Congress has completely broken down in the election of 2016. This is Eisenhower’s nightmare writ large.

When I worked in the Pentagon, we had a term for describing this type of sick situation — the United States has maneuvered itself into one big sticky “chocolate mess.”



Chuck Spinney is a former military analyst for the Pentagon who was famous for the “Spinney Report,” which criticized the Pentagon’s wasteful pursuit of costly and complex weapons systems. [This article appeared previously at http://chuckspinney.blogspot.com/2016/07/message-of-2016-election-goodbye-checks.html]

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+7 # tedrey 2016-07-06 10:10
"Congress shall have Power:
To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;"

US Constitution, Art. 1, Sect. 8

Just saying.
 
 
+1 # wrknight 2016-07-07 16:27
Quoting tedrey:
"Congress shall have Power:
To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;"

US Constitution, Art. 1, Sect. 8

Just saying.

Very true, and that's why the DOD budget is every two years and the money has to be spent in that period. Unfortunately, the Constitution didn't specify any limit to the number of times a new budget could be approved for the same stupid wars.
 
 
+10 # HowardMH 2016-07-06 10:34
Pres. Eisenhower warned of this 60 to 70 years ago, and still nothing has changed. This country is not getting smarter, it is getting dumber with each passing year, allowing the top 1% to dictate to the politicians exactly what they want and the rest just let it happen.
 
 
+2 # Magginkat 2016-07-06 19:47
Quoting HowardMH:
This country is not getting smarter, it is getting dumber with each passing year, allowing the top 1% to dictate to the politicians exactly what they want and the rest just let it happen.


And therein lies the problem; "and the rest just let it happen"! Yes, we moan & groan about it on forums like this one but little else. Until the "rest" decide to work to bring this & other important issues to a vote of the people it will be like this or worse. I'm sure that you are aware of the battle that it would take to get this on the ballot of all 50 states. I'm also sure that you know that the 1%, our Congress & major corporations would fight this tooth & nail!!!
 
 
+2 # wrknight 2016-07-07 16:31
Quoting HowardMH:
Pres. Eisenhower warned of this 60 to 70 years ago, and still nothing has changed. This country is not getting smarter, it is getting dumber with each passing year, allowing the top 1% to dictate to the politicians exactly what they want and the rest just let it happen.

And American voters electing the politicians who cater to the 1%.
 
 
+7 # griffey1 2016-07-06 10:34
As long as we have a war ready military, politicians will be tempted to use it to solve all the world's problems, & anyone who advocates diplomacy will be labeled a " wimp," & ridiculed mercilessly.
 
 
+2 # Radscal 2016-07-06 16:52
As President Bill Clinton's Secretary of State, Mad Albright said to President GW Bush's Secretary of State, Colin Powell:

"What's the point of having this superb military that you're always talking about if we can't use it?"
 
 
+6 # Dale 2016-07-06 10:50
State of National Insecurity..
Government in the United States is conceived as composed of three branches that divide and counterbalance the governing power of the State, executive, legislative, and judicial. Beyond the evident rule of plutocracy over government of all three branches is a Fourth Estate, created by plutocracy, the security apparatus. The three branches of government are now subordinate to the (in)security apparatus. The State of National Insecurity consists of the Department of Defense, the CIA, Special Forces, the NSA, Homeland Security, the Justice Department, the FBI, local police forces, the National Guard, and other forces that are state secrets. These agencies have privatized many of their operations and spawned a vast array of contracting corporations that do dirty work for the insecurity apparatus. The private shadow contractors take in trillions without oversight or accountability. The Complex, the merger of government agencies and private corporations, does the bidding of the Plutocracy, with its thirst for war and empire abroad and social control in the Homeland. The State becomes a Regime of Repressive Lawlessness, a Super Rogue State, that accords impunity to its Fortress America agents pursuing the dogma of the War on Terror, globalizing its policy of neoliberalism, espousing America First and American Exceptionalism, imposing the creed of Social Darwinism, and containing and repressing domestic opposition.
 
 
+4 # fuzzbuzz 2016-07-06 10:51
Where are the Hillary bots now to tell us how much Hillary is a progressive? That we all need to vote for her to avoid the catastrophe that is Trump? That she cares about minorities and the poor. On the most important issues, environment, war, inequality and the police state, those two corporate shills are identical.
 
 
+5 # Activista 2016-07-06 12:57
"David Bromwich brilliantly explains in “The Roots of Hillary’s Infatuation with War” — a very important essay, which I urge readers to study carefully."
nationalinterest.org/feature/the-roots-hillarys-infatuation-war-16787
"the country (Libya) is now “a seedbed for militancy that has spread west and south across Africa”; it “has become the most important Islamic State stronghold outside Syria and Iraq”; “it sends waves of desperate migrants across the Mediterranean, where they drown in capsized vessels within sight of Europe.”
 
 
+3 # Radscal 2016-07-06 16:57
"America is engaged in the longest and second most expensive war in its history"

And yesterday, President CareBear once again changed his policy on Afghanistan, this time doubling the number of US military personnel who will be stationed there through at least the end of 2017.
 
 
-4 # Robbee 2016-07-06 20:41
Quoting Radscal:
"America is engaged in the longest and second most expensive war in its history"

And yesterday, President CareBear once again changed his policy on Afghanistan, this time doubling the number of US military personnel who will be stationed there through at least the end of 2017.

- rad pines for a prez who will "make" america "great again!"
 
 
+3 # Radscal 2016-07-06 22:21
Rad will do everything ethical/legal in his power to prevent your candidate from murdering the families of my loved ones.

But you could care less about innocent lives.
 
 
-3 # Robbee 2016-07-06 20:37
thought you'd never ask - i'm no hill bot! but i can and will talk progressive every day! - # fuzzbuzz 2016-07-06 10:51
Where are the Hillary bots now to tell us how much Hillary is a progressive?

here are 17 things rump consistently promises! to do! - that hill promises not to! - that rump as prez! with a repug congress behind him! - will do! - it's high time rump trojans in denial! here on rsn! - discuss!

1) torture prisoners!
2) kill spouses and children of enemies whom our "patriot act" says he names;
3) curb press free speech! also protect billionaires from slander!
4) on his first day in office, tear up the iran treaty (that prevents iran from building nukes!)
5) deport 11 million illegals!
6) build a wall clear across mexico!
7) make mexico pay for it (which takes invading and occupying mexico!)
8) nominate to scotus, a "justice", or 3, or 4, just like scalia!
9) abolish the inheritance tax! - our nation's ONLY TAX ON WEALTH! THAT REDISTRIBUTES WEALTH - AS IN SOCIALISM! - PART OF OUR LAW SINCE THE 1890'S - THE AGE OF ROBBER BARONS!
10) cut income taxes almost in half! for the rich only!
11) register muslims! ground muslims from air travel! ban new muslims from entry!
12) "rebuild our military!”
13) “make" america "great! again!”
14) abolish hate crimes!
15) abolish planned parenthood!
16) abolish dodd-frank! and
17) implement his “great”, secret plan to destroy isis!

- rump is serious conservative!
 
 
-2 # Robbee 2016-07-06 20:38
in denial, part 2

next! 12 serious progressive items hill consistently promises! to do! - that rump promises not to!

1) equal pay for women!
2) paid family medical leave at birth!
3) raising the minimum wage to $12 per hour!
4) hill beat bernie to 1st proposing a path to citizenship for illegals!
5) civil rights for oppressed minorities - the poor! the middle class! blacks! latinos! lgbt! muslims! and union members!
6) civil rights for an oppressed majority - those who want gun and ammo sales restricted!
7) bernie and hill both endorse obama's iran treaty!
8) in 2006, while in the senate, hill proposed sweeping reform of shadow banking, including jailing banksters and protecting whistle-blowers!
9) while in the senate together, bernie and hill voted together 93% of the time!
10) hill proposes to gradually expand the ACA to cover everyone! - plus add the public option! - hill proposes incremental, but real, progress!
11) civil rights for an oppressed majority - support choice! women’s reproductive rights!
12) fund planned parenthood!

note that military spending is not the be all! end all! of hill's campaign! - our choice! is clear! - between a serious conservative and a serious progressive! prez!

rump-kissers? - retreat to rump HQ! - once again! you shun! bernie! warren! reich! scott galindez! marc ash! steve weissman! and frank rich! - go kiss rump!
 

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