Saturday, April 7, 2012

U. S. Military-Industrial Complex 21st Century

See: US Military Industrial….
Eisenhower's Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex today:   Militarized Security-Pentagon I: foreign (the War Department)-Pentagon II: domestic (Dept. of Homeland Security)-Corporations (military contractors)-Congress-White House-Mainstream (Corporate) Media-Empire-Militarized Civilians.


This first OMNI newsletter on what Eisenhower called the Military-Industrial Complex (MIC) reminds us that most of OMNI’s topical newsletters bring searchlights and microscopes to the understanding of US militarism and empire.

Here is the link to all OMNI newsletters:   For a knowledge-based peace, justice, and ecology movement and an informed citizenry as the foundation for change.


Swanson’s Book

Turse’s Book

Ike’s Prophecy Came True

Militarism USA:  11 Articles

Military Contractors

Conversion (2 articles)

Sullivan on Seymour Melman

Feldman, from Military Keynesianism to a Green Economy



David Swanson.  The Military Industrial Complex at 50.

“New Book Surveys State of the Military Industrial Complex”
Published on MLK Day 2012, a new
book called The Military Industrial
Complex at 50 is the most comprehensive
collection on the subject available.
Edited by activist David Swanson, the
book explains what the military industrial
complex (MIC ) is, where it comes
from, what damage it does, what further
destruction it threatens, and what can
be done and is being done to chart a
different course.
Authors (from within and without
the MIC ) contributing chapters to this
collection include: Ellen Brown • Paul
Chappell • Helena C obban • Ben Davis
• Jeff F ogel • Bunny Greenhouse • Bruce
Gagnon • C lare Hanrahan • John Heuer
• Steve Horn • R obert Jensen • K aren
Kwiatkowski • Judith Le Blanc • Bruce
Levine • R ay McGovern • Wally Myers
• R obert Naiman • Gareth Porter • C hris
Rodda • Allen R uff • Mia Austin Scoggins
• T ony R ussell • Lisa Savage • Mary
Beth Sullivan • C oleman Smith • Dave
Shreve • David Swanson • Pat Elder •
Jonathan Williams • Ann Wright.
The book will be available at MIC 50.
org in paperback, bulk discount, audio,
PDF, kindle, Epub, and iPad/iPhone.
The MIC , this book expertly argues,
kills large numbers of people, endangers
us, hollows out our economy, transfers
our wealth to a tiny elite, devastates the
natural environment, and threatens civil
liberties, the rule of law, and representative
President Dwight D. Eisenhower
found the nerve in his farewell speech
in 1961 to articulate one of the most
prescient, potentially valuable, and
tragically as yet unheeded warnings of
human history:
“In the councils of government, we
must guard against the acquisition of
unwarranted influence, whether sought
or unsought, by the military-industrial
complex. T he potential for the disastrous
rise of misplaced power exists and
will persist.
“We must never let the weight of this
combination endanger our liberties or
democratic processes. We should take
nothing for granted. Only an alert and
knowledgeable citizenry can compel the
proper meshing of the huge industrial
and military machinery of defense with
our peaceful methods and goals, so
that security and liberty may prosper
This collection shows that the “total
influence” of the MIC has increased, the
disastrous rise of misplaced power is
no longer merely a potential event, our
liberties and democratic processes are in
a state of collapse, and that Ike himself
disastrously misinformed the citizenry
when he claimed that the very monster
he warned of had been “compelled” by
the need for “defense.”
The book can be ordered at http://MIC

     The Complex by Nick Turse

Review by Victoria Segal, The Guardian, Friday 26 June 2009
Conspiracy theorists still hung up on the military-industrial complex need to update their cold war-era vocabulary: according to national security writer Nick Turse, the war machine's ever-extending reach now stretches beyond petroleum and telecoms to include a "military-doughnut complex" where confectionery chains supply soldiers with glazed buns. In this acronym-heavy book, Turse describes a range of "microcomplexes" connecting the US military to some surprising areas of civilian life. The fact you might share fish-finger suppliers with the US navy is one thing; details of the Guantánamo Bay Starbucks are something else. Much of Turse's research holds the Pentagon up to ridicule: their golf courses, the fast-food-addicted army that waddles rather than marches on its stomach. Yet the book turns sinister when it exposes desperate recruiters who allow white supremacists to join up, or defence department plans to develop "weaponised" moths and sharks. References to The Matrix could make Turse seem a paranoid geek. Unfortunately, this is no sci-fi

“Eisenhower's Worst Fears Came True”  By Simon Jenkins, Guardian UK  17 June, 2011

Eisenhower's worst fears came true. We invent enemies to buy the bombs. Britain faces no serious threat, yet keeps waging war. While big defence exists, glory-hungry politicians will use it.
Why do we still go to war? We seem unable to stop. We find any excuse for this post-imperial fidget and yet we keep getting trapped. Germans do not do it, or Spanish or Swedes. Britain's borders and British people have not been under serious threat for a generation. Yet time and again our leaders crave battle. Why?
Last week we got a glimpse of an answer and it was not nice. The outgoing US defence secretary, Robert Gates, berated Europe's "failure of political will" in not maintaining defence spending. He said NATO had declined into a "two-tier alliance" between those willing to wage war and those "who specialise in 'soft' humanitarian, development, peacekeeping and talking tasks." Peace, he implied, is for wimps. Real men buy bombs, and drop them.
This call was echoed by NATO's chief, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who pointed out how unfair it was that US defence investment represented 75% of the NATO defence expenditure, where once it was only half. Having been forced to extend his war on Libya by another three months, Rasmussen wanted to see Europe's governments come up with more money, and no nonsense about recession. Defence to him is measured not in security but in spending.
The call was repeated back home by the navy chief, Sir Mark Stanhope. He had to be "dressed down" by the prime minister, David Cameron, for warning that an extended war in Libya would mean "challenging decisions about priorities." Sailors never talk straight: he meant more ships. The navy has used so many of its £500,000 Tomahawk missiles trying to hit Colonel Gaddafi (and missing) over the past month that it needs money for more. In a clearly co-ordinated lobby, the head of the RAF also demanded "a significant uplift in spending after 2015, if the service is to meet its commitments." It, of course, defines its commitments itself.
Libya has cost Britain £100m so far, and rising. But Iraq and the Afghan war are costing America $3bn a week, and there is scarcely an industry, or a state, in the country that does not see some of this money. These wars show no signs of being ended, let alone won. But to the defence lobby what matters is the money. It sustains combat by constantly promising success and inducing politicians and journalists to see "more enemy dead", "a glimmer of hope" and "a corner about to be turned."
Victory will come, but only if politicians spend more money on "a surge." Soldiers are like firefighters, demanding extra to fight fires. They will fight all right, but if you want victory that is overtime.
On Wednesday the Russian ambassador to NATO warned that Britain and France were "being dragged more and more into the eventuality of a land-based operation in Libya." This is what the defence lobby wants institutionally, even if it may appal the generals. In the 1980s Russia watched the same process in Afghanistan, where it took a dictator, Mikhail Gorbachev, to face down the Red Army and demand withdrawal. The west has no Gorbachev in Afghanistan at the moment. NATO's Rasmussen says he "could not envisage" a land war in Libya, since the UN would take over if Gaddafi were toppled. He must know this is nonsense. But then he said NATO would only enforce a no-fly zone in Libya. He achieved that weeks ago, but is still bombing.
It is not democracy that keeps western nations at war, but armies and the interests now massed behind them. The greatest speech about modern defence was made in 1961 by the US president Eisenhower. He was no leftwinger, but a former general and conservative Republican. Looking back over his time in office, his farewell message to America was a simple warning against the "disastrous rise of misplaced power" of a military-industrial complex with "unwarranted influence on government." A burgeoning defence establishment, backed by large corporate interests, would one day employ so many people as to corrupt the political system. (His original draft even referred to a "military-industrial-congressional complex.") This lobby, said Eisenhower, could become so huge as to "endanger our liberties and democratic processes."
I wonder what Eisenhower would make of today's US, with a military grown from 3.5 million people to 5 million. The western nations face less of a threat to their integrity and security than ever in history, yet their defence industries cry for ever more money and ever more things to do. The cold war strategist, George Kennan, wrote prophetically: "Were the Soviet Union to sink tomorrow under the waters of the ocean, the American military-industrial complex would have to remain, substantially unchanged, until some other adversary could be invented."
The devil makes work for idle hands, especially if they are well financed. Britain's former special envoy to Kabul, Sherard Cowper-Coles, echoed Kennan last week in claiming that the army's keenness to fight in Helmand was self-interested. "It's use them or lose them, Sherard," he was told by the then chief of the general staff, Sir Richard Dannatt. Cowper-Coles has now gone off to work for an arms manufacturer.
There is no strategic defence justification for the US spending 5.5% of its gross domestic product on defence or Britain 2.5%, or for the NATO "target" of 2%.
These figures merely formalise existing commitments and interests. At the end of the cold war soldiers assiduously invented new conflicts for themselves and their suppliers, variously wars on terror, drugs, piracy, internet espionage and man's general inhumanity to man. None yields victory, but all need equipment. The war on terror fulfilled all Eisenhower's fears, as America sank into a swamp of kidnapping, torture and imprisonment without trial.
The belligerent posture of the US and Britain towards the Muslim world has fostered antagonism and moderate threats in response. The bombing of extremist targets in Pakistan is an invitation for terrorists to attack us, and then a need for defence against such attack. Meanwhile, the opportunity cost of appeasing the complex is astronomical. Eisenhower remarked that "every gun that is made is a theft from those who hunger" – a bomber is two power stations and a hospital not built. Likewise, each Tomahawk Cameron drops on Tripoli destroys not just a Gaddafi bunker (are there any left?), but a hospital ward and a classroom in Britain.
As long as "big defence" exists it will entice glory-hungry politicians to use it. It is a return to the hundred years war, when militaristic barons and knights had a stranglehold on the monarch, and no other purpose in life than to fight. To deliver victory they demanded ever more taxes for weapons, and when they had ever more weapons they promised ever grander victories. This is exactly how Britain's defence ministry ran out of budgetary control under Labour.
There is one piece of good news. NATO has long outlived its purpose, now justifying its existence only by how much it induces its members to spend, and how many wars irrelevant to its purpose it finds to fight. Yet still it does not spend enough for the US defence secretary. In his anger, Gates threatened that "future US leaders ... may not consider the return on America's investment in NATO worth the cost." Is that a threat or a promise

You +1'd this publicly. Undo
File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - Quick Viewby VP Center - 2011 - Related articles
Taxpayers Subsidize the Gun Industry. 38. The Result:
Militarized Firearms Define the U.S. Civilian Firearms Market. 40. The Consequences of Militarization. 41 ...
You +1'd this publicly. Undo
Jul 5, 2011 – According to an investigation carried out by the Huffington Post's Radley Balko, " America has seen a disturbing militarization of its civilian law ... - Similar
You +1'd this publicly. Undo
The idea "drew the wrath of civilian agencies from the Drug Enforcement ... The one place where the modern American military has been successful is right here ...
1.                              Tomgram: William Astore, American Militarism Is Not A Fairy Tale ...,_american_milita...Cached
You +1'd this publicly. Undo
Jun 14, 2011 – In a special lecture to Air Force Academy cadets in 1999 on “the erosion of civilian control of the military in the United States today,” Kohn ...
2.                              Militarization of US civilian police forces. - Allen Talk ... › ... › Speak Your MindNational TopicsCached
You +1'd this publicly. Undo
3 posts - 3 authors - Last post: Sep 12
Militarized civilian police. Which country is it that has street protests better received than America? I don't recall much news of American ...
3.                              TREASON in America: Martial-Law: Militarization of civilian-domestic ...
You +1'd this publicly. Undo
Apr 26, 2011 – TREASON in America: Martial-Law: Militarization of civilian-domestic police and emergency services. Tuesday, 26 April 2011 ...
4.                              The Militarization of Inner Space
You +1'd this publicly. Undo
by J Orr - 2004 - Cited by 16 - Related articles
(Department of Sociology, Syracuse University). ABSTRACT. This essay considers the contemporary
militarization of U.S. civilian psychology in the context of ...
1.                              War Immemorial Day - No Peace for Militarized U.S. by Bill Quigley
You +1'd this publicly. Undo
May 26, 2008 – For example, the U.S. government reports 432 U.S. military dead in Afghanistan and surrounding areas, but has refused to disclose civilian ...
2.                              Militarization - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - Similar
You +1'd this publicly. Undo
within the United States government for the first time, reflecting the civilian government's perception of a need for previously military based intelligence to be ...
3.                              Militarized versus Civilian Policing: Problems of Reforming the ...
You +1'd this publicly. Undo
This meant a change of paradigm from a civilian-based police reform to a military -based police reform. Militarization was accelerated by the US dominated ...
4.                              The Militarization of Emergency Aid to Haiti: Is it a Humanitarian ... - Similar
You +1'd this publicly. Undo
Jan 15, 2010 – In contrast to rescue and relief teams dispatched by various civilian organizations , the humanitarian mandate of the US military is not clearly ...


“Blackwater Shouldn't Lobby WIth Our Dime”

By Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Blog   20 May 11
Why we need to rein in government contractors that use taxpayer money for political advantage.

resident Obama is mulling an executive order to force big government contractors to disclose details of their political spending. Big businesses are already telling their political patrons in Congress to oppose it - and the pressure is building.
The President should issue the executive order immediately. And he should go even further - banning all political activity by companies receiving more than half their revenues from the US government.
Lockheed Martin, the nation's largest contractor, has already got more than $19 billion in federal contracts so far this year. But we know very little about Lockheed Martin's political spending other than its Political Action Committee contributions. We don't know how much money it gives to the Aerospace Industries Association to lobby for a bigger defense budget.
We don't even know how much Lockheed is giving the US Chamber of Commerce to lobby against Obama's proposed executive order requiring disclosure of its political activities.
Don't we have a right to know? After all, you and I and other taxpayers are Lockheed's biggest customer. As such, we're financing some of its lobbying and political activities.
Lockheed's lobbying and political activities are built into its cost structure. So when Lockheed contracts with the federal government for a piece of military equipment, you and I end up paying for a portion of its political costs.
It's one of the most insidious conflicts of interest in American politics.
Now, in the wake of the grotesque Supreme Court decision, Citizens United vs. the Federal Election Commission, there's no limit on what Lockheed can spend on politics.
That's why the President should go the next step and ban Lockheed and all other government contractors that get more than half their revenues from government from engaging in any political activities at all.
Otherwise, you and I and other taxpayers indirectly pay for Lockheed and Northrop Grumman to lobby for a larger military budget and support politicians who will vote for it.
We indirectly pay for Blackwater to lobby for - and support politicians who will demand - more use of contract workers in Iraq and Afghanistan.
We indirectly pay for Raytheon and General Dynamics to lobby for, and support politicians who will push for, more high-tech weapons systems.
And so on.
Disclosure is a start. But in this post-Citizens United world, it's only a beginning of what's needed.
Robert Reich is Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. He has written thirteen books, including "The Work of Nations," "Locked in the Cabinet," "Supercapitalism" and his latest book, "AFTERSHOCK: The Next Economy and America's Future." His 'Marketplace' commentaries can be found on and iTunes.

“Moving from a War to a Peace Economy” (on Seymour Melman)
By Mary Beth Sullivan Space Alert! 9 Winter 2012

Behind every question about how to
get the US back on track and improve the
lives of average Americans (the so-called
99 percent) lies the necessity for economic
conversion—that is, planning, designing,
and implementing a transformation
from a war economy to a peace economy.
Historically, this is an effort that would
include a changeover from military to
civilian work in industrial facilities, in
laboratories, and at US military bases.
To that end, I am compelled to share
what I ’ve learned from reading Seymour
Melman, the most prolific writer on the
Melman was a professor emeritus of
industrial engineering at C olumbia University.
He joined the C olumbia faculty
in 1949 and, by all reports, was a popular
instructor for over five decades until he
retired from teaching in 2003. (He died a
year later.)
Melman was also an active member
of the peace movement. He was the
co-chair of the C ommittee for a Sane
Nuclear Policy (SANE), and the creator
and chair of the National C ommission for
Economic C onversion and Disarmament.
It is reported that Melman was under
surveillance by the F BI for much of his
career because of his work criticizing the
military-industrial complex—a sure sign
that there must be something worth hearing
in his work.
The economic conversion movement
in past decades played a valuable role in
bringing together the peace movement
and union leadership to do the heady
work of imaging how this country could
sustain industrial jobs when, as it was
envisioned, the US would cease production
of the weapons of the C old War. I t
is a history that should not be forgotten.
In one of Melman’s last articles, published
in the political newsletter C ounterpunch
in March of 2003, his frustration
was palpable. He noted that New York
City put out a request for a proposal to
spend between $3 and $4 billion to replace
subway cars. Not a single US company
bid on the proposal—in part because the
nation no longer had the tools it needed
to build its subway trains. I n the article,
titled “In the Grip of a Permanent War
Economy,” Melman calculated that if
this manufacturing work were done in
the US, it would have generated, directly
and indirectly, about 32,000 jobs. “The
production facilities and labor force that
could deliver six new subway cars each
week could produce 300 cars per year,
and thereby provide new replacement
cars for the New York subway system in
a twenty-year cycle,” Melman wrote, noting
that such an endeavor would depend
on well-trained engineers but that “it is
almost twenty-five years since the last
book was published in the US on [urban
public transportation].”
Three principal functions would be
served by economic conversion: F irst, the
planning stage would offer assurance to
the working people of the war economy
that they could have an economic future
in a society where war-making was a
diminished institution. Second, reversing
the process of economic decay in the US
economy, particularly in manufacturing,
the national commission would be empowered
to facilitate planning for capital
investments in all aspects of infrastructure
by governments of cities, counties,
states, and the federal government, which
would comprise a massive program of
new jobs and new markets. (Melman
frequently referred to the annual “report
card” published by the American Society
of C ivil Engineers to highlight the declining
US infrastructure—deteriorating
roads, bridges, schools, and so on—a
situation that continues to worsen.) And
third, the national network of alternativeuse
committees would constitute a gain in
decision-making power by all the working
people involved.
It behooves the peace movement to
create a vision that the populace can get
excited about—a vision that will capture
people’s imagination. A vision that sees
the skills and talents of our engineers and
scientists creating the renewable energy
infrastructure critical to surviving the
twenty-first century; a vision that engages
peace activists, environmentalists, labor,
students, artists, and food security folks
in creating plans for how we will warm,
Laurie Kirby (Woodstock, N.Y.) and Dave Webb (Leeds, England) march through Bath,
Maine calling for the conversion of Bath Iron Works during the Global Network’s 2004
annual conference held in Portland.
feed, and transport people in the year
2040. T his is the true security need for the
US, and the world.
The vision is clear, it is obvious, and it
is mainstream. An important next step
for us is to determine what we can do
in our home communities to empower
local unions and workers, environmentalists,
healthcare workers, social workers,
secular and spiritual leaders alike, and
the neighbors next door to engage—to
look around, determine the needs, create
the collaborations, and wrestle the
funds away to start building a survivable
This was printed in part from a larger
article that ran in the Jan/Feb 2012 edition
of The Humanist: A Magazine of C ritical
I nquiry and Social C oncern. Mary Beth Sullivan is a social worker and Global
Network member who lives in Bath, Maine.

“Conversion of MIC Requires New Coalitions” By Jonathan Feldman
Space Alert! WInter 2012
In a panel discussion at New York University last
December, I mmanuel Wallerstein, Michael Mann,
Craig C alhoun and other noted speakers addressed
the question, “Does C apitalism Have a F uture?”
There wasn’t a consensus on the panel. At one extreme,
Wallerstein described a capitalist system unable
to sustain itself because of underconsumption
and a growing international labor force of competing
workers. I n contrast, Michael Mann suggested that
a K eynesian reflation attached to green jobs might
sustain the capitalist economy through a Schumpeterian
Mann’s arguments seem plausible, leaving open
alternatives to a kind of deterministic zero-hope
agenda for the future. Yet, many states underinvest
in green markets and products. Moreover, the
green jobs argument has taken a lot of hits lately. I n
Ontario, C anada, the US transnational C aterpillar
recently locked out its workers making locomotives,
perhaps as part of an effort to shift production to
another rail plant in the US.   I n Detroit, Michigan,
a plan that would have expanded the market for
green products through establishment of a new light
rail line was scuttled by the C ity of Detroit and the
US Department of T ransportation. T he two parties
supported using buses instead, but this decision
(if permanent) shrinks the market for Oregon I ron
Works, a new US entrant into the passenger rail
business. Detroit’s mayor is in danger of losing his
authority to an outside manager, given the city’s
serious fiscal difficulties. I t becomes hard to talk
about green job reflation when some cities in the
US, like national governments in Europe, are apparently
running out of money.
A Green New Deal offers an opportunity to expand
locally-based manufacturing; manufacturing growth
is necessary to promote the tax base that funds mass
transit. Mass transit is a key bridge to reindustrialization
because the state procures the product and
helps create the market. T ax dollars can be recycled
to support domestic employment if rail products
are made locally. Yet, if the state can’t afford to buy
green products like trains, the would-be virtuous
circles become a dead end. Protectionism in the US
saves assembly jobs at the lower end of the economic
food chain, but can’t by itself generate high-end
engineering and design jobs that could form the
nucleus of new industries as transit makers diversify
into related products and markets. K eynesianism
becomes just wishful thinking unless we explain
how a political process could be launched to realize
needed investments.
Marxian determinism and K eynesian voluntarism
do not immediately address the question of social,
political and economic design. I n other words, how
do people become freer by extending their choices
through economic reconstruction of institutions?
At a micro level, cooperatives and alternative
banking systems become means for recycling the
consumptive power of individuals and triggering
alternatives to transnational companies and banks
that sit on cash and fail to organize work at home.
The guild socialist, G. D. H. C ole recognized the
power of consumption as a key means of triggering
and implementing an alternative economic architecture.
I n other words, green banks and alternative
financial institutions patronized by citizens at large
could finance new and emerging networks of green
producers and suppliers.
This patronage system itself can be tied to the
dynamic new social movements like UK Uncut or
Occupy Wall Street. I n fact, activists in Occupy Wall
Street have supported a new US-campaign, “Move
Your Money,” in which millions of dollars have been
moved out of established banks into alternative, community
or smaller scale banks. Political capital was
transferred into economic capital and potentially a
funding base for green reflation. Similarly, political
action to cut military budgets can create such new
green investment funds. I n September, the Obama
Administration announced a jobs creation plan worth
$450 billion. I n December, the Administration proposed
future military budget cuts in an equivalent amount. C onversion of defense firms could bridge these two proposals by making such firms green
wealth generators.   Expanding an alternative economics from below,
requires the creation of new coalitions. A new kind of
dialogue is needed where environmental, labor, peace
and social economy constituencies come together and
exchange ideas. Only by bridging the intellectual
divide can we overcome both economic determinism
and voluntarism.
— Jonathan Michael Feldman is an Associate Professor
in the Department of Economic History at Stockholm
University. He is presently organizing a Global Teach-In
on these themes (


Dick Bennett
My blog:
It's the War Department
(479) 442-4600
2582 Jimmie Ave.
Fayetteville, AR 72703

No comments:

Dick's Wars and Warming KPSQ Radio Editorials (#1-48)

Dick's Wars and Warming KPSQ Radio Editorials (#1-48)