How did Congress plunder the national treasury for the military-industrial Congress complex
Author: Medea Benjamin, Co-founder CODEPINK for Peace, author of many books, including Inside Iran: the true history and politics of the Islamic Republic of Iran With Nicolas JS Davies, independent journalist, CODEPINK researcher, and The blood on our hands: American invasion and destructionIraq’s ion.
Although the Senate is divided on some of the amendments, the U.S. Congress is preparing to pass a $778 billion military budget bill for 2022. As they have done year after year, our elected officials are preparing to hand over the largest share – Over 65% -The federal discretionary spending on the American war machine, even though they struggled to spend only a quarter of that amount on the “Rebuild Better Act.”
The U.S. military’s incredible record of systemic failures-the most recent was the Taliban’s last defeat twenty years later die, destroy with lie In Afghanistan-Call for a top-down review of its leading role in US foreign policy and a thorough reassessment of its proper position in Congress’s budget priorities.
On the contrary, year after year, members of Congress hand over the largest share of our country’s resources to this corrupt institution, with little scrutiny and no obvious accountability when it comes to their own re-election. Members of Congress still considered this a political call for “security”, inadvertently took out rubber stamps and voted for hundreds of billions of dollars that the Pentagon and arms industry lobbyists had persuaded the Armed Forces Committee to reject.
Let us understand this: Congress’s choice to continue to invest in large-scale, ineffective, and outrageously expensive war machines has nothing to do with the “national security” or dictionary-defined “defense” that most people understand.
American society does face serious threats to our security, including the climate crisis, systemic racism, the erosion of voting rights, gun violence, severe inequality, and corporate hijacking of political power. But fortunately, we have not encountered a rampant global aggressor or in fact any other country’s attack or threat of invasion.
Maintain a war machine that exceeds the cost 12 or 13 The sum of the second largest army in the world actually makes us less Security, because every new administration has inherited the illusion that the US has an overwhelmingly destructive military power and should therefore be used to deal with any perceived challenge to US interests anywhere in the world-even if there is clearly no military solution. , And many potential problems are first caused by the misuse of US military power in the past.
Although the international challenges we face in this century require a real commitment to international cooperation and diplomacy, Congress only allocated 58 billion U.S. dollars, less than 10% of the Pentagon’s budget, for our government’s diplomatic mission: the State Department. To make matters worse, the Democratic and Republican governments have been holding high-level diplomatic positions, and the officials among them have been indoctrinated and immersed in war and coercive policies, with insufficient experience and weak skills in the peaceful diplomacy we desperately need.
This will only perpetuate a failed foreign policy based on the wrong choice between economic sanctions that UN officials have compared. Medieval victory, Coup shake Decades of countries and regions, as well as wars and bombings that killed people million People and leave the city in the rubble, like Mosul in Iraq with Raqqa.
The end of the Cold War was a golden opportunity for the United States to reduce its military and military budgets to meet its legitimate defense needs. The American public naturally expects and hopes “Peace dividend“Even a senior Pentagon official told the Senate Budget Committee in 1991 that military spending may Safely cut off Increase by 50% in the next ten years.
But no such reduction has occurred. Instead, U.S. officials began to take advantage of the post-Cold War “Power dividend“A huge military imbalance in favor of the United States, which established the reason for the freer and wider use of military power around the world. During the transition to the new Clinton administration, Madeleine Albright was famous Ask General Colin Powell, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said: “If we can’t use it, what’s the point of having the excellent army you’ve been talking about?”
In 1999, as Secretary of State under President Clinton, Albright got his wish and trampled on the UN Charter with an illegal war to establish an independent Kosovo from the ruins of Yugoslavia.
The UN Charter expressly prohibits Threat or use Military power, unless it is Self-defense Or when UN Security Council takes military action “Maintain or restore international peace and security.” Neither of these.When British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook told Albright, his government “has trouble with our lawyers” because of NATO’s illegal war plan, Albright was rude tell him “Hire a new lawyer.”
Twenty-two years later, Kosovo became Third poor European countries (after Moldova and post-coup Ukraine), their independence has not yet been recognized by the countries 96 countries. Hashim Thaçi, carefully selected by Albright Main allies At least 300 civilians were murdered under the cover of NATO bombing in 1999 in order to extract and sell their internal organs on the international transplant market.
Clinton and Albright’s creepy illegal wars set a precedent for the United States to launch more illegal wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and other places, and the results were equally destructive and terrifying. However, the failed war in the United States did not cause Congress or successive governments to seriously reflect on the United States’ decision to project American power to the world through illegal threats and the use of military power, nor did it control the trillions of dollars invested in these imperial ambitions. .
On the contrary, in an upside-down world Institutional corruption In American politics, a generation of failed and meaningless destructive wars has had abnormal effects, even if More expensive The military budget is smaller than during the Cold War and reduces congressional debates to every useless question. Weapon system They should force American taxpayers to pay.
As long as the “Military Congress Complex” (the original words of President Eisenhower) is being harvested, no amount of killing, torture, mass destruction or destruction of life in the real world seems to be able to shake the militarist delusions of the American political class. benefit.
Today, most political and media mentions of the military-industrial complex only refer to the arms industry as a selfish corporate interest group on par with Wall Street, large pharmaceutical companies, or the fossil fuel industry.But in his Farewell speechEisenhower clearly pointed out that it is not only the arms industry, but also a “combination of a huge military organization and a large arms industry.”
Eisenhower shared the arms industry’s concerns about the anti-democratic effects of the military. A few weeks before his farewell speech, He said His senior adviser said: “When someone sits on this chair that doesn’t understand the military like I do, God will help this country.” His worries have been reflected in every subsequent term of the presidency.
According to the president’s brother Milton Eisenhower who helped him draft his farewell speech, Ike also wanted to talk about the “revolving door.”First draft of his speech Mentioned “A permanent, war-based industry”, “The banners and generals retired very early, occupying a place in the war-based industrial complex, shaping its decision-making and guiding the direction of its huge driving force.” He wanted to warn that measures must be taken to “ensure that’dead merchants’ do not dominate national policy.”
As Eisenhower feared, the careers of generals and others Austin with Matisse Now cross all branches of the corrupt MIC group: command the invasion and occupation forces in Afghanistan and Iraq; then put on a suit and tie and sell weapons to the new generals who serve as majors and colonels under them; and ultimately, they will not be involved in American politics. Reappear in the same revolving door as the cabinet members at the apex of the government.
So why do Pentagon officials get free passes when Americans are increasingly ambivalent about the arms industry? After all, it is the army that actually uses all these weapons to kill people and cause serious damage in other countries.
Even after losing one war after another in overseas wars, the U.S. military has waged a more successful war to establish an image in American hearts and win every budget war in Washington.
The conspiracy of Congress, the third leg of Eisenhower’s original stool, turned the annual budget battle into “Cake Walk” The Iraq war should have been so, not responsible for failed wars, war crimes, civilian massacres, cost overruns, or the dysfunction of the military leadership that presided over all of them.
Congress did not debate the economic impact on the United States or the geopolitical consequences for the world, that is, uncritically making large-scale investments in powerful weapons that will sooner or later be used to kill our neighbors and destroy their countries. 22 years like in the past, too often in our history.
If the public is to have any influence on this dysfunctional and deadly money transaction, we must learn to see through the fog of propaganda behind the red, white and blue flags that conceal selfishness and corruption, and allow the military brass to cynically use the public’s defense against preparations to risk their lives. The natural respect of the brave young men and women of our country. In the Crimean War, the Russians called the British army “lions led by donkeys.” This is an accurate description of the US military today.
Sixty years after Eisenhower’s farewell speech, as he predicted, corrupt generals and admirals, their profitable “death merchants” selling goods, and senators and congregations who blindly entrusted trillions of dollars to them The “weight” of members of the public’s money constitutes the full bloom of President Eisenhower’s greatest fear of our country.
Eisenhower concluded: “Only astute and knowledgeable citizens can force the huge industrial and military defense machinery to properly integrate with our peaceful methods and goals.” This clarion call has sounded for decades and should be used in various forms of democratic organizations and movements. Unite the Americans in the construction, from elections to education and propaganda to large-scale protests, and ultimately reject and eliminate the “unnecessary influence” of the military-industrial congressional complex.