"Signs of the Times" Editorial for Mon, 25 Sep 2006

The Five Pillars of the U.S. Military-Industrial Complex



Conspicuously missing from this otherwise excellent article is the "central pillar" of the U.S. Military-Industrial Complex -- the International "banksters" who have underwritten all the big wars of the last 100 years.  Why?  For a major fraction of the action,  for consolidating power to influence political agendas, for collateralizing and seizing the natural resources of war-torn countries, and for their virtually "Satanic Rite" (as in evil religion) that sacrifices youth in their prime on the altar of the gods of war.

Common sense would say that the fruit of this evil religious "BS" (Belief System) -- based on endless war's "value" -- is more war, bigger war, and World War III if enough good people don't do enough to expose this "BS" for what it is.  Or as the recent Congressional report from 16 different Intelligence agencies has shown, the Iraqi War has "metastasized" the threat of terror, making the world less secure rather than more secure.

"The Americans are forcing even their friends to becoming their enemies. It is curious that the Americans, who calculate so carefully on the possibilities of military victory, do not realize that in the process they are incurring deep psychological and political defeat. The image of America will never again be the image of revolution, freedom and democracy, but the image of violence and militarism."
- Vietnamese Buddhist Leader, from Martin Luther King Jr's speech,  Beyond Vietnam, 1967

--------------- article follows:

Signs Editorial:

The Five Pillars of the U.S. Military-Industrial Complex

by Rodrigue Tremblay
September 25, 2006

"Over-grown military establishments are under any form of government inauspicious to liberty,
and are to be regarded as particularly hostile to republican liberty."

- George Washington (1732-1799), 1st US President

"[The] conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience.
...In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence,
whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for
the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist."

- Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969), 34th US President, Farewell Address, Jan. 17, 1961

"It is part of the general pattern of misguided policy that our country is now geared
to an arms economy which was bred in an artificially induced psychosis of war hysteria
 and nurtured upon an incessant propaganda of fear."

- General Douglas MacArthur, Speech, May 15, 1951

In the 1920's, President Calvin Coolidge said, "the business of America is business." Nowadays, it can be said that the Arms industry and permanent war have become a big part of American business, as the offshoot of a well-entrenched military-industrial complex. This is a development that previous American men of vision, men like President George Washington and President Dwight Eisenhower have warned against as being intrinsically inimical to democracy and liberty. However, the current Bush-Cheney administration is not afraid of such a development; its principal members are part of it and are instead very busy promoting it.

Wars, especially modern electronic wars, are very murderous, but they are also synonymous with big cost-plus contracts, big profits and big employment for those who produce the required military gear. Wars are the paradise of profiteers. -Wars are also a way for mediocre politicians to monopolize both the news and the media in their partisan favor by whipping up patriotic fervor and by pushing for narrow-minded nationalism. Indeed, to inflame patriotism and nationalism is an old demagogic trick used to dominate a nation. When that happens, there is a clear danger that democracy and freedom will be eroded, and even disappear, if that development leads to an exacerbated concentration of power and political corruption.

The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, were a bonanza for the American military-industrial complex. This was an event, a "New Pearl Harbor", that some had openly been hoping for. The reason? These attacks gave the perfect pretext to keep military expenses, which had been expected to fall after the demise of the old Soviet Empire, at a high level. Instead, they provided the rationale for dramatically increasing them, by substituting a "War on Terror" and a "War against Islamists" as a replacement for the "War against Communism," and the "Cold War against the Soviet Union". In this new perspective, the gates of military spending could be open and flowing again. The development of ever more sophisticated armaments could go forward and thousands of corporations and hundreds of political districts could continue to reap the benefits. The costs would be born by the taxpayers, by young men and women who die in combat and by remote populations who happen to lie under the rain of bombs about to fall upon them and their homes.

Indeed, in September 2000, when the Pentagon issued its famous strategy document entitled "Rebuilding America's Defenses", the belief was expressed that the kind of military transformation the planners were considering required "some catastrophic and catalyzing event - like a new Pearl Harbor", to make it possible to sell the plan to the American public. They were either prescient or lucky, because one year later, they had the "New Pearl Harbor" they had been hoping for.

The military-industrial complex needs wars, many and successive wars, to prosper. Old military equipment has to be repaired and replaced each time there is a hot war. But to justify the enormous costs of developing ever more deadly weapons, there needs to be a constant climate of fear and vulnerability. For example, there are many reports, originating from medical and international observers, that the Israeli attacks against Lebanon and Gaza during the summer of 2006, allowed for the use of 'new American-made weapons'. Such weapons are reported to include depleted uranium (DU) bombs, 'direct energy' weapons and new chemical and biological weapons. These weapons not only make the act of homicide easier but they also contaminate the environment with radioactive DU particles for decades to come.

But, to build a compact strong enough to steer a democratic country on the path of a permanent war economy takes an alliance of interests between militarists, industrialists, politicians, sycophants and propagandists. These are the five pillars of the military-industrial complex, as can be found in the United States.

1. The U. S. military establishment

In 1991, at the end of the Cold War, the U.S. defense budget was $298.9 billion. In 2006, that budget had increased to $447.4 billion, and this does not include the $100 billion-plus spent in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. It is estimated that American military expenditures represent, at a very minimum, close to half of total world military outlays (48 per cent of the world total in 2005, according to official figures), while the U.S. accounts for less than 5 per cent of world population and about 25 per cent of world total output. -As a percentage, the U.S. military expenses gobble up a minimum of 21 per cent of the total American federal budget (2006=$ 2,144.3 billion). Such a military budget is larger than the gross domestic product (GDP) of some countries, such as Belgium or Sweden. -It is sort of a government within a government.

In 2006, the U.S. Department of Defense employed 2,143,000 people, while it estimates that private defense contractors employ 3,600,000 workers, for a grand total of 5,743,000 defense-related American jobs, or 3.8% of the total labor force. In addition, there are close to 25 million veterans in the United States. Therefore, it is safe to say that more than 30 million Americans receive checks which originate directly or indirectly from the U. S. military budget. Assuming conservatively only two voting-age people per household, this translates into a block of some 60 million American voters who have a financial stake in the American military establishment. Thus the clear danger of a militarized society perpetuating itself politically.

2. The private defense contractors

The five largest American Defense contractors are Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and General Dynamics. They are followed by Honeywell, Halliburton, BAE Systems and thousands of smaller defense companies and subcontractors. Some, like Lockheed Martin in Bethesda (Maryland) and Raytheon in Waltham (Massachusetts) draw close to 100 per cent of their business from defense contracts. Some others, like Honeywell in Morristown (New Jersey), have important consumer goods divisions. All, however, stand to profit when expenditures on weapons procurements increase. In fact, U.S. defense contractors have been enjoying big Pentagon budgets since March 2003, i.e. since the onset of the Iraq war. -As a result, they have posted sizable increases in total shareholder returns, ranging from 68 % (Northrop Grumman) to 164 % (General Dynamics), from March '03 to September '06.

It also has to be pointed out that private defense contractors play another social role: they are big employers of former generals and former admirals from the U.S. military establishment.

3. The political establishment

In the U.S., president George W. Bush, a former oil-man, and Vice President Dick Cheney, as former chairman and C.E.O of the large oil service company Halliburton in Houston (Texas), epitomize the image of politicians devoted to the growth and development of the military-industrial complex. Their administration has expanded the military establishment and they have adopted a militarist foreign policy on a scale not seen since the end of the Cold War and even since the end of World War II. Indeed, under the Bush-Cheney administration, the arms industry has become very profitable. Multi billion-dollar contracts to sell planes and tanks to various countries in an increasingly lawless world are going full swing. Close to two-thirds of all arms exports in the world originate from North America.

Congress, for its part, is indebted to defense corporations that operate military plants in each congressman's district or senator's state, besides owing some gratitude to the lobbies that provide funds and media support in election times.

4. The "think tanks" establishment

The brain-trust and the sycophants behind the war-oriented economy form an interlocking network of Washington-based so-called 'think tanks' that are financed by the rich tax-exempt foundations which have billions of dollars of assets, such as, for example, the John M. Olin Foundation, the Scaife Foundation or the Coors Foundation, etc. -Among the most influential and representative think tanks, whose mission is to orient American foreign policy, one finds the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), the Heritage Foundation, the Middle East Media Research Institute, the neoconservative Washington Institute for Near Eastern Policy, the Center for Security Policy, the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) and the Hudson Institute.

Such think tanks serve a double purpose: they provide government officials with policy papers on various topics, usually on the very conservative side; and, they serve as incubators for government departments, supplying them with already trained personnel and providing employment for public officials who are out of office.

The same revolving door that exists between the military establishment and defense contractors is also observed to exist between the Washington-based think tanks and U.S. government departments.

5. The "propaganda" establishment  [War Media - CR / See also Media Zionism]

The pro-war economy propagandists are to be found in the fundamentally right-wing American media industry. This is because the selling of war-oriented policies requires the expertise that only a well-oiled propaganda machine can provide. The most potent propaganda tool is television. And there, Rupert Murdock's Fox News Network is unbeatable. There is no American media outlet more openly devoted to the neocon ideology and more committed to supporting new American wars than Fox News. CNN or MSNBC may sometimes try to emulate it, but their professionalism prevents them from even coming close to Fox News in being biased toward war and in unabashedly promoting U.S. global domination.

Fox's propaganda efforts are closely coordinated with other Murdoch-owned print media, such as the Weekly Standard and the New York Post. The Washington Times, which is controlled by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church, the neoconservative New York Sun, and other neocon publications -- such as the National Review, the New Republic, The American Spectator and the Wall Street Journal -- complete the main pro-war propaganda infrastructure.

"The man who never looks into a newspaper is better informed than he who reads them; inasmuch as
he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors."

-President Thomas Jefferson

In conclusion, it is the conjunction of these five pro-war machines -- the bloated military establishment, the large American arms industry, the Neocon pro-war administration with Congress being strongly under the influence of militarist lobbies, the pro-war think tanks network and the pro-war media propagandists -- that constitutes the framework of the military-industrial complex, of which President Dwight Eisenhower wisely feared the corrosive influence on American society, forty-five years ago, in 1961.


Final Note: Eisenhower commanded Allied forces in WWII -- he always served the war machine well.  Even though he warned of the danger of the military-industrial complex, he never went after the cause and core corrupting influence of the International banksters and their Satanic religion that sacrifices youth in their prime on the altar of the gods of war, monied power, and the Machiavellian psychology of subservience to tyranny over the hearts and minds of man.  John F. Kennedy challenged the bankster-driven war machine (Vietnam War) and was assassinated.  J.F.K. had the courage to say what all enlightened Americans have known since the founding of the U.S.:

"Mankind must put an end to war,
 or war will put an end to mankind."


"Of all the enemies to public liberty, war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded
because it comprises and develops the germ of every other...
No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare." 
- James Madison, Chief Architect of the Constitution, April 20, 1795

"History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit,
and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments
by controlling the money and its issuance."

James Madison, Champion of the Bill of Rights, 4th US President, 1809-1817

"The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in
the same hands ... may justly be pronounced
the very definition of tyranny."
- James Madison, Federalist 47

"The High Office of President has been used to foment
a plot to destroy the American's freedom,
and before I leave office I must inform the citizen of his plight."

- John F. Kennedy, at Columbia University, 12th Nov. 1963 - 10 days before
his murder by power elite insiders on November 22, 1963



Rodrigue Tremblay is professor emeritus of economics at the University of Montreal and can be reached at rodrigue.tremblay@ yahoo.com.

He is the author of the book 'The New American Empire'. Visit his blog site here.

Author's Website: www.thenewamericanempire.com

~~~~~~~~~ More Notable Quotables ~~~~~~~~~

More on the danger of war profiteers from the beginning of the American Republic:

"I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies . . .
If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency,
[Federal Reserve Bank -CR],
first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around [the banks]...
 will deprive the people of all property
until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered...
The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs."
-Thomas Jefferson, 3
rd U.S. President, 1801-1809

Right before he was assassinated, President Lincoln echoed
the same sentiments regarding bankster collusion with war profiteers:

"As a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned and an era of
corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will
endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people
until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.
I feel at this moment more anxiety for the safety of my country than ever before,
even in the midst of war."
-- U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, Nov. 21, 1864
(letter to Col. William F. Elkins)
Ref: The Lincoln Encyclopedia, Archer H. Shaw (Macmillan, 1950, NY)

A few years ago, we had a fearless Congressional representative who was sent to prison on
trumped-up charges by corrupt Congressmen who couldn’t stand his exposures of the
banksters and  war profiteers that Jefferson and Lincoln warned about:

 "Unwittingly, America has returned to its pre-American Revolution, feudal roots whereby all land is
held by a sovereign and the common people had no rights to hold allodial title to property.
Once again, We the People are the tenants and sharecroppers renting our own property from a Sovereign
in the guise of the Federal Reserve Bank.
We the people have exchanged one master for another."
 - Rep. James Traficant, Jr