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Sunday, February 11, 2007

MILITARY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX - WARPED PRIORITIES

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Politicians make no difference.

We have bought into the Military Industrial Complex (MIC) ever since we took on Russia in the Cold WAR.

Through a combination of public apathy and threats by the MIC we have let the SYSTEM get too large. It is now a SYSTEMIC problem and the SYSTEM is out of control.

I am a 2 tour Vietnam Veteran who recently retired after 36 years of working in the Defense Industrial Complex on many of the weapons systems being used by our forces as we speak.

There is no conspiracy. The SYSTEM has gotten so big that those who make it up and run it day to day in industry and government simply are perpetuating their existance.

The politicians rely on them for details and recommendations because they cannot possibly grasp the nuances of the environment and the BIG SYSTEM.

So, the system has to go bust and then be re-scaled, fixed and re-designed to run efficiently and prudently, just like any other big machine that runs poorly or becomes obsolete or dangerous.

This situation will right itself through trauma. I see a government ENRON on the horizon, with an associated house cleaning.

The next president will come and go along with his appointees and politicos. The event to watch is the collapse of the MIC.

24 comments:

Snave said...

Excellent graphic! I like this weblog, and if you don't mind I would like to link you at my place.

Libby Spencer said...

Great blog RCG. It's not often I'm drawn so deep on a quick follow up from a link. I'll be back. If for some reason I space it out, please come back to my place and get me again in a week. I'm about to go a work rotation and won't have time to follow through until then.

Brother Tim said...

The collapse of the MIC is inevitable. It's greed and lust for power are insatiable. The question I have is: Will the Phoenix be able to rise from the ashes?

Thanks for stopping by my site. You write some good stuff, I'll be back.

BTW.....That's a great piece of bait you're holding in that picture. We could catch a nice fish here in the Gulf, using that.*grin*

mrbubs said...

RCG,

Interesting post-- your graphic is disturbing and enlightening. I appreciate the commentary-- it's easy for those of us on the political left to ignore the institutional inertia and blame too much on individual administrations. But I have to ask- what is the basis behind your assertion that "The next president will come and go along with his appointees and politicos. The event to watch is the collapse of the MIC"? Do you mean that it doesn't matter who's elected president? And what, exactly, is capable of stopping the military-industrial complex?

Also, I'm not sure if you're aware of this, but in the original draft of the speech, Eisenhower wrote 'the military-industrial-congressional complex' but it was struck from later drafts of the speech.

And one more thing, out of curiousity: how did you find my blog? I've just started out, but I would appreciate a blogroll link swap at some point if you're interested.

RoseCovered Glasses said...

Brother Tim,

As I state in my post, the MIC will go bust and then be re-scaled, fixed and re-designed to run efficiently and prudently, just like any other big machine that runs poorly or becomes obsolete or dangerous.

Americans are good at getting way out on a limb and then righting ourselves, but the current situation bears high risk. You may be intersted in a recent article in Harpers by a former CIA Consultant who is now free of the machine to speak his mind. He portends a rather serious future of realignment:

http://civillibertarian.blogspot.com/2007/02/republic-or-empire.html

RoseCovered Glasses said...

mrbubs,

As I mentioned to brother tim, the MIC will implode on itself. And it doesn't matter who is elected president.

The Pentagon is a giant, incredibly complex establishment, budgeted in excess of $500B per year. The Rumsfelds, the Administrations and the Congressmen come and go but the real machinery of policy and procurement keeps grinding away, presenting the politicos who arrive with detail and alternatives slanted to perpetuate itself.

How can any anyone, be he a President, a Congressman or even the new Sec. Def. Mr. Gates, understand such complexity, particularly if heretofore he has not had the clearance to get the full details?

Answer- he can’t. Therefore he accepts the alternatives provided by the career establishment that never goes away and he hopes he makes the right choices. Or he is influenced by a lobbyist or two representing companies in his district or special interest groups.

From a practical standpoint, policy and war decisions are made far below the levels of the talking heads who take the heat or the credit for the results.

This situation is unfortunate but it is absolute fact. Take it from one who has been to war and worked in the establishment.

This giant policy making and war machine will eventually come apart and have to be put back together to operate smaller, leaner and on less fuel. But that won’t happen until it hits a brick wall at high speed.

We will then have to run a Volkswagen instead of a Caddy and get along somehow. We better start practicing now and get off our high horse. Our golden aura in the world is beginning to dull from arrogance.

Your blog showed up on the blogspot search mechanism using the words, "Military Industrial Complex".

Link is fine. I see it is already in place.

Jason Barr said...

Since I can't trackback to this URL, I'm commenting to let you know I linked you on my blog:

http://propheticheretic.wordpress.com/2007/02/12/a-telling-graphic/

Stram said...

Hi Ken, I picked you up over at LQ, Liberalquicksand, which is better described as 'Liar's Quorum'.

First, my man, I'd like to thank you for your service and praise you for being awarded on your Bronze Star.

You're wasting your time over at LQ because what you have over there are a couple of Chickenhawks who call even long-term veterans like yourself, 'traitors', if you say anything that criticizes Bush and Republicans. They do it often by referring to men like John Murtha, a 37 year Marine, as one.

I wrote a long comment over there in reply to what you had commented on, but as usual, they deleted it.

One thing I said in that comment was that your graphic is a bit off, since next year's military budget is actually $623 billion when you include Bush's 'supplements'.

You will see over at LQ where 'fourputt' mentions that I threatened to 'kill' my brother-in-law, which is a lie, I merely threatened to kick his ass for calling me a 'traitor'. Which, will be quite warranted since most of us veterans don't appreciate being called that by chickenhawks who didn't have the guts to service.

Again Ken, Thanks for your service to our country. And btw, I am NOT a combat vet.

Mike said...

Ken, How much of this graph is going to be used in Pork Belly spending?I cut and pasted this:
Wheeler says $2.8 billion that was earmarked for operations and maintenance to support U.S. troops has been used to "pay the pork bill."

Wheeler, who has written a book called "The Wastrels of Defense," says congressmen routinely hide billions of dollars in pet projects in the defense bill.

And buried in the back of this one, Wheeler found a biathlon jogging track in Alaska, a brown tree snake eradication program in Hawaii, a parade ground maintenance contract for a military base that closed years ago, and money for the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial celebration.

By law, these projects can't be cut, so Pentagon bookkeepers will have to dip into operations and maintenance accounts to pay for them.

This came from:
http://ajacksonian.blogspot.com/

If this is true no wonder our troops are requesting walkie talkies,rubber mats and other items they cant get because of someones pet project.
Im not much your junior and remember all the hoopla made over the $500 hammers and $1000 toilet seats of the 70`s that was suppose to pay for CIA operations.
Our Congress is a joke!!

MataHarley said...

First of all, thank you for visiting Sea2Sea, Ken. Truly an honor to hear your perspectives. I am in your debt for your years of service to maintaining my freedoms.

I've asked Alia... the Sea2Sea creator and guru... to add to our own blogroll there.

I very much agree that the MIC, as well as all the fed fingers in the pie have gotten well out of control. And your ENRON analogy is spot on.

I'm not sure I share your hope/prediction of collapse so it can be more efficiently rebuilt as a leaner and more productive machine. Or how you posed it to Mr. Bubs, hitting a brick wall at high speed.

While I do believe that is the only way to correct the snowball rolling down the hill, I look at the increased amount of gov't employees, no exclusive to defense departmetns, who'd never willingly go along with putting themselves out of a job and pension. Once most the nation works for the gov't... i.e., making it the largest employee in the US... we are in deep s*#t for streamlining.

Thus I do question your opening statement of "politicians make no difference". It is they who control the purse strings of gov't run administrations and employees. Will it not take them to willingly do the "cuts" for streamlining?

RoseCovered Glasses said...

mataharley,

I agree the pols should do something but they don't. Check out the expose' in the March issue of Vanity Fair on SAIC:


http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2007/03/spyagency200703

These companies own the pols.

Chap said...

First time here, and glad I dropped by.

Roger your points, worthwhile to consider, but the pie doesn't look right. I finally figured it out when I looked at the organization which is the source of the graph, which says on its website:
--
Our Goal

Increase funding to meet the needs of our children and children around the world (at no additional taxpayer expense) by reducing money spent on the Pentagon for Cold War weapons systems no longer needed to protect America.

--
Now that is not a neutral position. And looking at a different organization's chart gives a completely different picture.

I think the difference is that the guys who want to cut defense and spend more on social programs decided to eliminate obligated spending, which is a huge piece of the budget because it's entitlements. But that's a guess. The raw numbers are in Excel spreadsheets here if anyone's so inclined.

Even if I were to agree with the organization, their chart is misleading.

Oh, and though I would readily agree that there is waste and pork in the defense budget, I'd not agree that the entitlement money is free of same.

RoseCovered Glasses said...

Chap,

Thanks for pointing out that there is more than one way to interpret the numbers put out by our government. I have often visited the OMB Web site over the years and quite frankly found it depressing.

I have a greater interest in items such as the link at this site to the expose' on SAIC.

During my 30+ years in the Military Industrial Complex I guess I got somewhat numb to multiples of billions in numbers, since multi-year cost models for weapons systems and services often brought my PC to it's knees.

Some executive was always changing the pricing at the 11th hour and I was staying up all night trying to make sense of it and ready myself for a negotiation that was aready pre-ordained behind the scenes.

The problem was they never let me and the government guy I was negotiating with know, so we had to do the dance and then get unilateral direction later to totally unrealistic numbers.

I don't blame the American public for being confused.

A Jacksonian said...

I am from the civil side of DoD, but the Agency I worked at rubbed shoulders with those who served as we supported them directly. The waste I saw inside was hideous when I came in and the move by Congress to pack in pork and meddle with the day to day operations was more than a distraction: it took away from the direct mission, necessary outlook, budget and personnel to fulfill all those little bits of pork. And if you dared turn it down, then the budget for the area you worked in got *cut* by Congress... that is how they run things.

Frankly, it has been a problem for at least 15 years, and longer from the folks that I talked to who had come in there during the '70s. Now when I hear those in charge of the budget outlook, projections, financing and ensuring that everything is bought complain that someone else is not doing the job that Congress is handed... I have problems with that. The post cited is this one, which is a follow-on to this one in which I put forth that pork spending, in time of war, is something that must be the first to go so the Nation demonstrates its commitment. When I hear congresscritters asking 'where is the commitment' I do have problems with THEM not showing any commitment to do their jobs and demonstrate sacrifice by doing so. In peace time this sort of insanity led to two Army divisions falling to their lowest readiness level since Vietnam, which I cover in a broader post on why that was critical when it happened on Mountain Warfare.

Congress is supposed to be the steady hand that ensures the Union is protected, its armed forces provided for in all things and to ensure that they are large enough to meet the expected needs of the Nation. It hasn't and now we pay the price...

Karl said...

Hey, thanks for the comments on my Blog - props on your blog also.

I agree with your assessment of the MIC (Eisienhower-esque, I assume) - however, I still believe that the public apathy that you reference is actively generated. The "conspiracy" factor is perhaps not the right way to look at it, but the leadership does conciously take advantage of a system that already works in their favor.

By the way, I also think that government and industry are already merged, and have been inexorably linked for some time. Reference the philosophy of Bakunin for more info.

Do you think that the MIC will collapse of its own accord? I wonder if it may not require active intervention on the part of the populace.

Let me know your thoughts, and keep blogging!

Karl

http://haymarketprism.blogspot.com/

Jim said...

Thanks, RoseCovered Glasses, for reading my blog, and for your insightful comments. (In fact, I worked for SAIC from August 2001 to mid-2005, but contracting for EPA - mostly ground-level ozone efforts. I once saw an internal memo soliciting contributions to the SAIC PAC - I bristled.)

The question that naturally follows is this: what will bring down the MIC? The answer is "a lack of funds" (unless you prefer the nuclear annihilation theory). But from where will this lack of funds come? It can either come from the tax base in the form of an economic crash, or from politicians weaning themselves off the system. The former will be more definitive and decisive, but nobody will plan it. The latter will be much too slow for my taste, but if it's fast enough to keep that crash from happening, it's better than the alternative. I would prefer to at least have some faith in politicians to do what's right - and make sure we let them know exactly what we want.

balkanbalkan said...

Thanks for dropping by and commenting. Like your blog and would like to link it, if you do not mind!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your input on my blog, I love your graph... I am going to cut and past it too...if you don't mind!

Cintra Wilson said...

Hey there Good Sir:

You have argued (and well, and on my blog, too) that the MIC is a systemic problem, and that our politicians are forced to depend on the information that the MIC provides, because of the vast, ungraspable enormity of the defense environment.

What my friends who have worked in the private defense industry have suggested is that the system under this administration has a tendency to promote "experts" where there is not necessarily credible expertise. "Expertise" does not enjoy a meritocracy in a political environment where loyalty is preferred to credentials. Better information is often ignored in favor of the information of "experts" who are more reassuring, personally and politically, to the vulnerable bureaucrat soliciting the information. Naturally, in such a climate, the preferred "experts" are those who appear to support the stated political agenda of the tumescently enlarged executive power that the bureaucrat "serves at the pleasure of."

So - -yeah, it's systemic, but maybe not because because of the system's inherent SIZE, so much, as because of the rampant practicce of fearful, partisan, ass-kissing/ ass-covering.

What do you think?

RoseCovered Glasses said...

Cintra Wilson,

Although I certainly saw some of what you are describing in terms of "experts" in the political sense in the MIC, more often it is the carefully sculpted presentation of viable alternatives which are technically astute, but skewed in such a manner that the pols always pick the one that is desireable for going to war, testing the next weapon, getting deeper into a multi-million dollar weapons system and perpetuate the MIC.

The life-long MIC members that tie their careers to civil service, the military, industry, service contracting and the like move back and forth among each other for years, evolving good old boy mentality and details about the complex processes that they keep to themselves.

On the one hand they make the massive machine grow. It could not run without them and no politician could possibly drive it. On the other hand the machine has grown heavy, burdensome, in some cases corruption-prone and of late filled with bad decisions not due to deceit or intention so much as the nature of the beast.

Vanessa said...

Thanks for visiting my humble blog.Even though I'm only 11, most of my friends that I care about are of the "dogs of war" type.Most of them probably helped Zimbabwe's independence in 1979. I don't know about the "collapse" of the MIC though because greedy people are somewhat cleaver,Sun Tzu clever. Sadly, this is at the expense of honest hardworking folks.

Vanessa said...

Thanks for setting up this very insightful blog RCG. During my research on the MIC, The phrase Military-Industrial Complex was first coined by President Eisenhower on his valedictory address. He was in fact expressing his concern with possible defence increases to be made by President Kennedy, who had run for presidency proclaiming a nonexistent "missile gap." One must remember that 1960 was part of an era that Democrats still supported national defense.Then came the 1990's and via the "Freedom of Information Act" the supposedly Soviet Armed Forces superiority over that of America was then revealed as false. This news populated the pages of the New York Times back then.My question is: Did it fell under the perview of the CIA, NSA, or whatever that every Cold-War era American President wholeheartedly supported financially the MIC despite of the reasons that those trillions of dollars could be put to better use like space exploration/colonization,education,or social welfare programs?

Michelle said...

Your views on the MIC primarily concerns on the quagmire that the Bush Administration currently experienced in Iraq.I'm an amateur astronomer and my views on the Military-Industrial Complex is one of disdain. If just a few billion dollars are spent on the Us space program,who knows if environmentalists and ecologists would be protesting/complaining about overpopulation, climate change etc.

Black Krishna said...

Hey RCS,

I feel ya, but I think there's way too much money and power riding on this for it to be a coincidence, including the people who must have profited off the trillions sunk into the MIC budget.

Many people have identified the central banking cabal as the key in ways that have convinced many others, so I'd look into the history of that aspect to make sure we can come up with solutions. It's been the same throughout history with all empires, only in a global economy we have a global crime syndicate to deal with.

I tend to agree with you about politics, except for when politicians identify the "conspiracy" that's the only rational explanation for what's been happening, which means they give us a shot to beat it.

Check into Ron Paul's campaign at RonPaul2008.com and other sites, the reason he's galvanizing support isn't due to corporate or foundation-funded media support, it's simply because people who've been paying attention to this mess see a vehicle for us to use to get out of it, including promoting what he's been saying for 30 years consistently as an honest Congressman in a sea of liars.

Dr. Paul wants to get the U.S. military out of the 700 bases in 130 countries around the world and focus on positive relations based on trade and dialogue, which is the opposite of the Pentagon's "Vision 2020" world domination plan.

We're in a dangerous situation and need to come together to confront it, so this is a key moment in history for us to tell the truth and end the lies. I think we can do it and feel better for doing so, but this isn't just about "hope", it's about "information" too, which we can speak freely thanks to Ron Paul giving honesty credibility.

Cheers! :-)
BK