James A. Stevenson :
© April 20, 2002
U.S. Gigantisme Militaire II: Policy, Purpose, and Contemporary Events
As explained in U.S. Gigantisme Militaire I, the present convergence
of events, economic interests, and institutional structures has brought
about some very real opportunities for some major business interests and
the primary beneficiaries of the energy industries and the U.S. military-industrial
complex. Indeed, some policy makers in the current Bush Administration
have apparently seized upon the moment to promote the idea that acceptance
of virtually all of their pre-9/11 policy proposals is an act of
national loyalty. Conversely, opposing such policies is portrayed
by some conservative partisans as unpatriotic. For a recent example,
one may observe how the once and always questionable pork of $20 billion
per year in U.S. farm subsidies (huge agribusinesses included) was okayed
by Congress partly because the Administration declared that the farmers'
subsidies were a matter of national security, and, thus, "beyond question
in public debate." So, while the domestic and foreign circumstances
may change, the Bush II Administration's answers remain much the same.
And to achieve their goals with the least possible resistance offered to
them, some of the Administration's policy makers and supporters hope to
make people to believe that anyone who criticizes Administration policies
must be somehow weak on terrorism, as they define it.
Yet, such self-serving approaches and policies do not favor most of the U.S. population. After all, who but the "Bushies" and self-interested weapons makers, politicians, and certain military brass has not noticed that such costly weapon systems as the National Missile Defense (NMD) — $42 billion to be spent by 2008 — could not have prevented the attacks by suicidal, knife-wielding adversaries and/or some demented anthrax assassin(s)? Look, even before 9/11, the highly respected Center for Defense Information (CDI) had undertaken a rigorous study on overall U.S. military strategy and reform that challenged the defensive value of the NMD. The study made the irrefutable point that the NMD advocates have "'never satisfactorily explained why an opponent would chose the expensive, technically difficult, and suicidal method of delivering a weapon of mass destruction via missile rather than via truck, boat, or plane.'"
Thus, U.S. middle and lower class citizens are left with a couple of very important questions about the purpose and efficiency of the U.S. "Department of Defense" (DoD) budget. First, are those proposed Bush Administration defense expenditures of over $2.495 trillion in the next six years, Fiscal Years (FYs) 2002-2007, actually creating a military force that can most effectively defend the population within the U.S.? After all, as Ivan Eland, the Director of the conservative Cato Institute's Defense Policy Studies, points out, "Since the first responsibility of any government is to protect its territory, citizens and way of life [read: the social order’s status quo], threats to the homeland need to be ranked at the top." Likewise, the Pentagon's latest 2001 Quadrennial Defense Review stated that one aim of the Department of Defense (DoD) was to "'restore the defense of the U.S. as the department's primary mission.'" Yet, while the primacy of homeland defense is acknowledged by this document, the pattern of those "defense" expenditures raises a second question. And that question is: Are those enormous expenditures primarily designed to benefit those business interests and elites who are vitally served by the maintenance of a globally integrated, corporate dominated, "free market" capitalism?
Part of the answer to those questions may be found in the fact that the 2001 Quadrennial Defense Review went on to argue that the U.S. must also "build forces capable of moving rapidly overseas." And, of course, this shift of focus, from the domestic to the foreign, is in keeping with the more expansionistic view of national defense that can be traced at least as far back as Admiral Alfred T. Mahan's late 1800s advocacy of what is termed "insular imperialism," i.e., seizing territories, fueling stations, and outposts far from U.S. shores under the rubric of the "doctrine of defense." Today, it is a view that is buttressed by both the U.S. government's Commission on National Security/21st Century's 1999 report entitled New World Coming: American Security in the 21st Century and the Pentagon's 2000 "Joint Vision 2020." This latter document contains the blueprint and geopolitical strategy for creating military "full spectrum dominance" in order to provide the means for maintaining and/or enlarging what, almost fifty years ago, historian William Appleman Williams was probably the first to described as the U.S., informal, open door empire.
Now, the aim of the 1998-1999 Commission on National Security/21st Century was to outline "a strategy for the United States to 'remain the principal military power in the world'" in the "coming century." And the Commission's report not only concluded that the U.S. would become "increasingly vulnerable to direct 'nontraditional' attacks" on its "information-technology infrastructure, but the U.S., also, would "have to intervene abroad more frequently to deal with state fragmentation or to insure an 'uninterrupted' supply of oil from the Persian Gulf region or elsewhere." Moreover, to insure a continuing U.S. dominance on earth and in space, this 1999 report concluded that "U.S. military spending will have to rise dramatically." Meanwhile, in dovetail fashion, the Pentagon's official 2000 "Joint Vision 2020" document concluded that "given the global nature of our interests and obligations, the United States must maintain its overseas presence forces and the ability to rapidly project power world wide in order to achieve full spectrum dominance." Of course, "attaining that goal [with full spectrum dominance] requires the steady infusion of new technology and modernization and replacement of equipment." And that, in turn, means, to paraphrase the celebrated writer Gore Vidal, perpetual preparation for perpetual war for perpetual peace and all the profit that mostly goes to a few people by implementing it.
After all, such objectives require pouring Himalayas of U.S. tax monies into the pockets of weapons makers and the Pentagon. Presumably, this enormous spending spree is in order to be able to either preempt or counterattack threats or possible threats across the whole range of challenges stretching from thermonuclear war and missile launched biological/chemical weapons of mass destruction down to the level of all categories of "asymmetrical warfare" and "ambiguous situations residing between peace and war, such as peacekeeping and peace enforcement operations. And, if the past is any guide, this is to be done through the rapid detection and suppression of terrorist or possibly anyone who might try to stir things up by promoting demands for the downward — rather than the normally upward — redistribution of the rewards and benefits of some part of the world's GDP. So, in "Joint Vision 2020's" cry for more money for the military budget, the Pentagon informs the up-scale vested interests in harmony with it that "if our Armed Forces are to be faster, more lethal, and more precise in 2020 than they are today, we must continue to invest in and develop new military capabilities."
In tandem, these two official documents on U.S. military strategy and doctrine accelerate a dramatic trend toward a more full blown militarization of U.S. foreign policy. Indeed, with the collapse of the Soviet Union, they also reveal some U.S. policy makers' longstanding — and perpetually denied — views that, while other nations' leaders and policy makers may think in terms of "spheres of influence," certain U.S. policy makers have long thought of the whole world as their sphere. Known by some historians of the 19th and 20th centuries as "America's hegemonic project," the continuing construction any 21st century U.S. world order is not likely to be very different than were its 19th and 20th century predecessors. In fact, there are daily signs that, unless fundamental policy changes are undertaken, we and our descendents may be in for a century as bloody as the one that we left behind.
Already, by pursuing what has always been the chimera of peace through war and the preparation for war, it appears that U.S. policy makers have been squandering the fruits of global security and social progress that could have accrued to all humanity after the end of the Cold War. For example, instead of following the 1996 advice of former Air Force General Lee Butler, Army General Andrew Goodpaster and five dozen other senior military commanders from around the world who pushed for the total elimination of all nuclear weapons on earth in a manner that is both gradual and "far more ambitious than current treaties," the current U.S. policy makers are developing plans and means — the "Nuclear Posture Review" — to employ "limited" nuclear weapons on conventional battlefields. On the other hand, Goodpaster and Butler and the 60 other like-minded senior officers, who joined their appeal, had contended that, in the aftermath of the Gulf War, U.S. and allied conventional forces were sufficiently powerful to deter "rogue states" from any really serious aggressive acts. More importantly, the world's existing nuclear arsenals of around 35,700 nuclear weapons could be rapidly reduced to hundreds if "'only a fraction of the ingenuity and resources as were devoted to their creation,'" were employed to bury them, says Butler. In his words, "'the price already paid [for keeping the weapons] is too dear, the [future] risks run too great.'"
By ignoring such post-Cold War advice from such highly qualified military men, the current U.S. power elite policy makers are taking humanity not only on a risky and costly journey, but they are also taking Americans on one that is fraught with danger to our civil liberties. Already, with certain provisions in the "U.S.A. Patriots Act," those policy makers and allied Congresspeople have verified President John Quincy Adams's prescient warning that Americans cannot hope to preserve our domestic freedoms if we persist in going "'abroad seeking monsters to slay.'" And, Adams noted, with still more relevance to the global policies being considered by today's military-minded policy makers, that the U.S. "'might become the dictatress of the world . . . [but she] would no longer be the ruler of her own spirit.'" Likewise, for those ordinary Americans who might think that the militarization of the U.S. is some sort of boon to their egos, civil liberties or personal freedoms, Henry Clay — a far wiser "war hawk" in his day than those currently calling for larger military budgets and foreign conquests — warned that even "'a successful war . . . creates a military influence and power, which I consider the greatest danger of war.'" More recently and more graphically, President Dwight D. Eisenhower put it succinctly when he issued his tragically unheeded warning that the U.S. people "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. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted."
Yet, after the horrible events of 9/11 and its aftermath, such warnings from the past are all but swept away. Now, it is shaping up to be "business-as-usual" for the top beneficiaries of the military-industrial complex. That is due to the fact that the crime of 9/11 seems to have taken what had been a growing debate about a reorientation of U.S. military spending on expensive weaponry and abruptly cut it off. In other words, it apparently ended the debate over whether to continue to purchase the types of weapon systems that had become traditional in the Cold War era or to purchase a wholly new generation of 21st century, futuristic weapons systems. Indeed, as it turned out, the Pentagon appears to be able, as economist James M. Cypher writes, "'to have its cake and eat it too.'"
But, before 9/11, that debate had specifically pitted the advocates of what former Lt. Colonel Ralph Peters calls the "medium weight," highly mobile, high tech interventionist force of the future against the proponents of "heavy weight," Cold War "legacy weapons" interventionist force of the past. A forceful proponent of using interventionist "raw [military] power" and of more spending on a properly "reformed" military, Peters aligns himself with such other "medium weight" or "new military" force advocates as Army Chief of Staff General Eric Shinseki and former Colonel Doug MacGregor. These "futurist" military men were coincidentally fortified in their argument by other prominent critics of status quo military spending such as the non-militarist Director of the Arms Trade Resource Center William D. Hartung, the Director of Defense Policy Studies at the conservative Cato Institute Ivan Eland, presidential candidate George W. Bush II, future Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and the former military officers and civilian analysts at the Center for Defense Information.
So, before September 11, 2001, the two opposing groups, as Cypher reveals in his analysis "Return of the Iron Triangle: The New Military Buildup," were locked in a contentious debate over whether to continue to purchase the huge, old-fashioned heavy-weapons systems of ships, planes, tanks, and missiles of the Cold War model on which most "military officials" and "weapons contractors" had "built their careers" and made their "fortunes," or to purchase the new "cyber-age" high-tech weapons systems of the Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) model (i.e., the cyber-age weapon systems such as "communication networks, satellites, robot observation planes, smart bombs, night vision instruments, highly mobile 'light' armor and global positioning system (GPS)-equipped soldiers"). If, therefore, the RMA model were adopted, it threatened to "marginalize" the "old military." And when, in March 2001, President Bush II announced that the Administration wanted $14 billion over the Clinton FY 2001 defense budget for the Bush FY 2002 defense budget, it was presented as a move "into the RMA" model. This, according to Cypher, set off alarm bells in the ranks of the powerful beneficiaries of the "old military," and they began to fight to save such enormously expensive weapons systems as the F-22 fighter, the V-22 Osprey aircraft, heavy tanks, and various naval vessels as well as other Cold War "legacy" weapon systems. In short order, Congressmen and weapons makers were fighting Rumsfeld on base closings, reductions in manpower, major weapons systems and the NMD.
And, then, came September 11, 2001. As Cypher explains, it is now being exploited to accommodate not only the advocates who want to procure all of the "military's heavy aircraft and tank forces," naval, and Cold War legacy weapon systems, but, also, the advocates who want to purchase all the high-tech weapon systems that are part of the new RMA strategy. In short, the Bush II Administration has apparently done a flip-flop on the issue. It, now, is taking advantage of the new historical circumstances to push for costly weapons systems that range from those of apparently great value and efficacy for possible future asymmetric warfare to those that are seen by some as weapons for global intimidation — like the NMD — to those that are of virtually no use at all. Simultaneously, the majority of congresspeople seem almost foolishly eager to "spend almost endlessly for anything that falls under the rubric of homeland defense,' or 'economic stimulus'" lest they appear unpatriotic or be accused of being weak on terrorism or lose out on the taxpayer bonanza now gushing toward the military-industrial complex. Thus, "the current Pentagon budget slows some programs, but doesn't eliminate any controversial big-ticket items." Indeed, with much of the weight of any need for economic restraint lifted from his shoulders, the "dyed-in-the-wool hawk" Rumsfeld can apparently satisfy his every weapon procurement desire. With the staggering sum of over $2.495 trillion to be spent on the Pentagon over FY 2002-2007, he and the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Richard Myers, want the defense budget "to increase at an even faster rate."
In fact, the U.S. military behemoth has already reached such proportions vis-a-vis the rest of the world that the French, with their marvelous appreciation for wit and wisdom, have taken to describing its size as "an organism grown so large" that it has morphed into a pathological condition known as gigantisme militaire. But, utilizing the U.S. public's sense of "powerlessness" and anger in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, the Bush II Administration is apparently moving to gratify some military contractors with huge expenditures on "obsolete cold war weapons systems," on new high tech weapons systems, and on military pork to certain Congressional districts.
Worst yet, in the view of some thoughtful military analysts, some of the most unnecessary weapons systems are likely to be a dangerous diversion of tremendous amounts of money that could be vital for U.S.A. homeland protection. And if state agencies and local governments are denied the federal funds that they need because those funds are being diverted into "advanced" weapon system designed for offensive use instead of being used to beef up domestic security and preparedness, it could mean disaster. Meanwhile, the claim of a complete "victory" in Afghanistan and the prospect of conquering Iraq and/or destroying the Al Qaida cells scattered throughout the world is apparently encouraging some U.S. policy makers to accelerate their move toward another objective. And that objective, according to various analysts, has nothing to do with real homeland defense. They argue that the "‘war on terrorism,’" as Bradford University's Department of Peace Studies' Paul Rogers states, "'is simply a euphemism for extending U.S. control in the world.'" So, could it be, as military analyst Peter Beaumont and Ed Vulliamy write, that what the Bush II Administration "is spending its [big] money on is mostly irrelevant against the knives use to carry out 11 September" and homeland defense?
That particular indictment of the Bush Administration's military and homeland defense spending practices has been powerfully backed up by the findings which economist Richard Du Boff's has presented regarding the Bush Administration's claims to be protecting the domestic U.S. population with their "war on terrorism" and their accompanying tremendous boost in military spending. Contrasting appearance with reality in a hard-hitting expose, Du Boff makes the following observations: First, although Attorney General Ashcroft had publicly stated on May 9, July 11, and August 9, 2001, that "'our number 1 priority is the prevention of terrorist attacks . . . [and that] the threat of terrorism here at home is a serious and growing challenge,'" Ashcroft "made no mention of terrorism," in an internal "May 10 letter to department heads setting out the [four main goals of the] Bush policy agenda" for the Justice Department. Second, "on August 9, a chart entitled 'Strategic Plan-Attorney General Priorities' was distributed inside the Justice Department." It contained the same goals as the May 10 letter and, while adding "36 objectives under them," only "one of 36 referred to intelligence concerning terrorists," and even it was not among the thirteen that were "highlighted in yellow as [the highest priority] 'Highlight-AG Goal.'" Third, as a result of these priorities—- devoid of virtually any reference to the potentiality of terrorism within the U.S. — on September 10, 2001, Ashcroft submitted the Justice Department's FY 2003 final budget request after eliminating "FBI requests for $58 million for 149 new counterterrorism field agents, 200 intelligence analysts, and 54 additional translators." Indeed, Ashcroft "proposed reductions in 14 such programs," including a cut of $65 million "for state and local governments for counterterrorism equipment." Well, that was all before 9/11, but, as noted by Du Boff, "after September" Ashcroft still "would not . . . set aside right wing priorities in favor of anti-terrorism measures." So, finally, when, "on September 16 the FBI began checking a list of 186 suspect people against federal gun purchase records" and got two "'hit'" on individuals who were "suspect" and, yet, still had purchased guns, Ashcroft's Assistant Attorney General Viet Dinh waded in with a ruling on September 17 that the "continued use of the records was against the law." Ashcroft not only confirmed this action but "another "request by the FBI in October to check 1,200 names was refused." In Du Boff’s opinion, Ashcroft and neoconservatives in the Bush Administration have seized upon the disasters of 9/11 "to promote a hard right-wing political and economic agenda at home and abroad."
Meanwhile, the Middle East is exploding in ways that are likely to create more fanatical enemies for any and all people — Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, agnostic, atheist, infidel, you name it, the bombs and biological and chemical agents don't care. The suicide attackers of 9/11 certainly didn't discriminate as to their victims. Against people who are determined, desperate, and suicidal, the expensive U.S. military apparatus is not only likely to be wasting gobs of money "at the expense of alternatives that would actually make America more secure," but it is provoking a likely "blow-back" that needlessly jeopardizes people in the U.S. and abroad. It seems that just as some U.S. policy makers may care little about the lost of the foreign innocent lives that their military actions are causing, their zealous and opposing counterparts think no differently. And that unites all the rest of humanity in the fate of being the actual or potential victims of those policy makers' mutual fanaticism, paranoia, and ambitions. Meanwhile, current U.S. foreign policy and military activities may be generating new enemies on almost a daily basis.
Already, Newsweek reports, for example, that Palestinian despair and rage in the Palestinian territories is so great that Palestinian support for suicide-bombing has risen from 20 percent in 1995 and 1996, to 80 percent today. And, as I noted when I cited the recent Gallop poll figures in U.S. Gigantisme Militaire I, the pool of anti-U.S. policy among Muslims in the Middle East is apparently growing to tidal wave proportions. So, what Americans need now is fundamental policy changes in the Middle East and not more war and the preparation for war that is being advocated by those whom columnist Georgie Anne Geyer describes as "either combative neoconservatives, fervent Israeli supporters or Christian conservatives" as well as all those other pundits, publishers, preachers, and policy makers who are in what Patrick J. Buchanan terms the "War Party." After all, some of those people seem to be the type of people who, it may be inferred from Geyer, like to play with people's lives as if they were pawns in a geopolitical chest game. But, what Americans now need, as Du Boff notes that Mark Steel in the London Independent states, are not policies based on a form of infantile "'revenge against anyone who's caused the United States embarrassment'" in foreign lands, but "serious and constructive policies to stop terrorism."
And, given President Bush II's Rose Garden speech of April 4, 2002, there seemed to be an opportunity for some sanity. After all, despite being surrounded by some war hawks and "quasi-fascists," as political thinker Noam Chomsky has termed some of those in the current Administration, Bush may sense the danger of turning virtually the entire Arab and Muslim world against the U.S. But Bush's many calls — albeit unheeded — for Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to withdraw his troops and tanks from Palestinian territories and Bush's dictate that "'the [35 year illegal] occupation [of Palestinian territories] must end through withdrawal to secure and recognized boundaries consistent with United Nations Resolution 242 and 338'" have evoked strident criticism from the conservative hawks and Sharon supporters in both major political parties as well as from "his own advisors." So, Bush may well surrender his better judgement of April 4 to those assertive advisors. But the path to creating less and not more "terrorism" and to creating more and not less security for every individual — American and foreigner — is the route away from more state violence and war in the Middle East and toward fundamental U.S. policy changes and peace.
There is nothing naive in this proposal. After all, Sharon's repression of the Palestinians shows no sign of doing anything but backfiring, and unless he and his policy makers are prepared to engage in a genocidal slaughter or "ethnic cleansing" of Palestinians from their territories, his repressive policies will probably fail to do anything but create more enemies and more resistance. So, if Sharon continues, with widely perceived U.S. policy maker support, his pursuit of gaining "security" through military action against a beleaguered people, ordinary Americas may be at risk. Instead of allowing that to happen to Americans and for the world's security, Americans must help stop the killing in the Middle East, and they must heed the findings and homeland security recommendation of the 1997 Defense Science Board.
As reported by the Director of Defense Studies at the Cato Institute, Ivan Eland, the Defense Science Board's comprehensive study on terrorism, entitled The Defense Science Board 1997 Summer Study Task Force on DoD [Department of Defense] Responses to Transnational Threats, found that "‘historical data show a strong correlation between U.S. involvement in international situations and terrorist attacks against the United States.’" Eland went on to anticipate the deadly "change" or reality that everyone now knows is true: "Once regarded as pinprick by great powers, attacks by terrorist groups can now be catastrophic for the American homeland." The Defense Science Board, he points out, "concluded that terrorists can now more rapidly obtain the technology for weapons of mass terror and have fewer qualms about using them to cause enormous casualties." More importantly, he observes that it "will be extremely difficult to deter, prevent, detect, or mitigate the effects of such [nuclear, biological, chemical] attacks." Thus, the Director of Cato Institute's Defense Policy Studies wisely concludes: "There is a way to significantly reduce the chances of an attack on the American home land by terrorists using weapons of mass terror. . . . [The U.S. must cease] provocative overseas intervention . . . [and] should adopt a policy of military restraint. That policy entails intervening only as a last resort . . ."
In keeping with that conclusion, if President Bush is serious about protecting all the people of his nation from the anger of suicidal foes, he can best do so by adhering to international law, and, so, fight terrorism with fundamental policy changes that are in keeping with the principles embodied in the U.N. Charter and International Court of Justice decisions. Above all, he must reverse the accelerating militarization of U.S. foreign policy and society. And if he does those things but begins to falter under the impact of events, powerful economic interests, and the weight of pressure from hard right partisans at home and abroad, everyone should support the "better angels of his nature" to uphold international law and work toward ending the growing likelihood of more unnecessary bloodshed. Already, there is an emerging movement of anti-war, U.S. college students calling for non-violence, justice, and peace in the Middle East. In their ranks are anti-Zionist Jews, anti-terrorist Palestinians, Muslims, Christians, secularists, and people of all faiths, classes and nationalities. With their explicit recognition of the brotherhood and sisterhood of all humanity and their non-violent protests for a just peace in the Middle East, they are actually buttressing President Bush's April 4, 2002 call for adherence to international law. After all, they, and not a few war-loving policy makers who try to keep Americans in perpetual fear and hatred of some "other," are showing everyone the way to a better future of peace, security, and justice for the unitary and forever human family. (E)
Notes to U.S. Gigantisme Militaire II: Policy, Purpose, and Contemporary Events
These entail cutting taxes to disproportionately benefit the
wealthy, pushing defense expenditures to astronomical heights, spending
at least $42 billion on a National Missile Defense (NMD) Maginot line through
2007, beginning the "Enroning" of Social Security through a privatization
process that brings benefits to U.S. bankers and stock brokers, exploiting
oil and natural resources with greater abandon than in the past, and ignoring
vital environmental protections. As Newsweek's best economic/business
analyst, Allan Sloan recently observed about the mess that, earlier, extraordinarily
reckless speculation and, later, rapidly falling stock values and
Bush II tax cuts has created: "Thanks largely to the Bush tax cuts
there's no money left in the federal budget to shore up Social Security
. . . So, now with your [stock] portfolio trashed and Social Security looking
insecure, you may . . . not [be] able to retire until six years after you've
died." See Allan Sloan, "The New Rules of Retirement," Newsweek,
1 April 2002, 58. Sloan is one of the few business analysts who consistently
displays good sense. See, also, Center for Defense Information (CDI), "Fiscal
Year 2003 Budget: Funding Request for Ballistic Missile Defense,"
4 February 2002, 1-2, HYPERLINK http://www.cdi.org/issues/budget/FY03bmd-pr.cfm;
www.cdi.org/issues/budget/FY03bmd-pr.cfm; CDI, "Fiscal Year
2003 Budget: Highlights of the FY'03 Budget Request," 4 February
2002, 1, HYPERLINK http://www.cdi.org?issues/budget/FY03Highlights-pr.cfm
Meanwhile, the new Bush defense budget for fiscal years (FY) 2002-2007 will be paid for by new deficits, cuts to all other federal spending programs and tax breaks that heavily favor those Americans in the upper income brackets who will likely use that windfall of cash to buy U.S. government bonds to acquire a taxpayer paid interest on the money that those same rich should have paid as taxes for the weapons that the government will buy from some of their own relatives, friends and acquaintances in their social class. As economist James M. Cypher summarized the Bush II Administration plan, "Bush justified his mammoth June 2001 tax cut partially as a measure to reverse the economic downturn [and in] October 2001, he proposed further tax cuts as an 'economic stimulus package." Then, too, as Cypher notes "most" of the $60 billion in additional military spending that Bush requested in the wake of 9/11 for 2002, "will go to civilian suppliers" while "most of the June tax cut will go to people with high incomes." Beyond that, the "'stimulus' program . . . includes a clause allowing businesses a bigger write-off for equipment as it decreases in value . . . [and] eliminates . . . the corporate 'alternative minimum tax' which had set a tax 'floor'" that had obliged corporations to pay at least some tax "no matter how many deductions they could claim." So, as Cypher says, "Corporations will use these windfalls to pay off debts or to invest outside of the United States." Meanwhile most ordinary American taxpayers, below the top 10 or 20 percent income strata, will be left financing the "war on terrorism" by paying more taxes to cover the interest payments which will be due those wealthy few who may very well acquire financially safe U.S. bonds with their tax break windfall. Meanwhile, the other Americans will likely pay for the "war on terrorism" with the cuts in future health, social security, education and other social programs. See James M. Cypher, "Return of the Iron Triangle: The New Military Buildup," Dollars and Sense, 2002, 5, HYPERLINK http://www.dollarsand www.dollarsand sense.org/2002/ cypher0102.htm. (Cited as Cypher, "Return.").
In the context of the "war on terrorism" Noam Chomsky, better than anyone, has tied this whole practice together with these words: "It's very important for the Bush administration to get people here frightened. The last thing they want is for people in the United States to pay attention to what the Bush administration is doing to them . . . [i.e.] a very substantial transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich [,] . . . destroying the environmental protection system [,] . . . undermin[ing] what remains of welfare programs, Medicaid Social Security, and so on. . . . They certainly don't want people to be paying attention to that or to the Enron scandal and Cheney's dealings with oil companies . . . so the best way to prevent that and to carry through this agenda, which is what's really important to them, is to get people to be frightened. . . . They have to keep . . . having scares come [to] make it look as if they're doing something bold and courageous to defend the American people from international terrorism." See Nicholas Holt, "Interview With Chomsky," Asheville Global Report, 8 March 2002, on ZNet, Terror War Watch, HYPERLINK http://www.zmag.org/content/TerrorWar/agr_chomsky.cfm www.zmag.org/content/TerrorWar/agr_chomsky.cfm . (Cited as Holt, "Interview.").
Paul Mcgeough, "The Lone Ranger," Sydney Morning Herald, 9 March 2002, 2, email.
I first noticed this term when used by Allan Sloan. See Allan Sloan, ""Lucky Timing Is Good (Big Time)," Newsweek, 18 March 2002, 43.
CDI, "Issue Brief: Reshaping the Military for Asymmetric Warfare," 5 October 2001, 10, HYPERLINK http://www.cdi.org/press/press-releases/2001/terrorism100501-pr.cfm www.cdi.org/press/press-releases/2001/terrorism100501-pr.cfm .
Ivan Eland, "Tilting at Windmills: Post-Cold War Military Threats to U.S. Security," Policy Analysis, No. 332, February 8, 1999, 34, HYPERLINK http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-332es.html www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-332es.html (Cited as Eland, "Tilting.").
Cypher, "Return," 2.
As accurately described by Cypher, the commission that "convened in October 1998" was composed of a "who's who . . . of the country's power elite" from "industry, government and [the] military." Those on it included former Senators Warren Rudman (R), — the Commission's chairman — and Gary Hart (D), as well as the former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich (R). It also included such powerful military-industrial complex figures as the CEO of the then existing Martin Marietta, Norman Augustine, and some 29 "'study group members' came from top universities like MIT and Princeton" and the mainly conservative or ultra conservative think tanks of the RAND Corporation, the Cato Institute as well as the more liberal Brookings Institution. "The Commission," Cypher adds, "also enjoyed the cooperation of the Department of Defense and State, as well as top intelligence agencies like the CIA and the National Security Agency (NSA)." See Cypher, "Return," 1.
Department of Defense (DoD), "Joint Vision 2020," Approval Authority: General Henry H. Shelton, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Office of Primary Responsibility: Director for Strategic Plans and Policy, J5; Strategy Division, Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, June 2000, 1-7, 20. (Cited as "Joint Vision."). See further explanation from Stevenson, U.S. Gigantisme Militaire I, April 20, 2002, 6, www.u-grenoble3.fr/ciesimsa.
See, especially, Williams’s works: The Contours of American History (1961), The Roots of the Modern American Empire (1969), and The Tragedy of American Diplomacy (1959). Almost 45 years after the U.S. historian William Appleman Williams first analyzed the origin, nature, and operations of the U.S., informal, open door empire, writer/political commentator Richard Reeves reported that the "New York Times, a little behind the times, officially declared the United States an empire last Sunday [i.e., March 31, 2002]." The Times, said Reeves, made the acknowledgement in the newspaper's Week in Review section when writer Emily Eakin wrote: "'Today . . . America is no mere superpower or hegemon but a full-blown empire in the Roman and British sense.'" Calling that comment "something of an understatement," Reeves wrote, "The United States is, in fact, now the greatest empire, militarily, economically, technologically and culturally, that the world has ever seen. We have the power, and are using it, to force other countries to adopt . . . our ideas of market capitalism and political democracy [read: elite governance with plenty of democratic forms]. That, after all, is what words like 'globalization' really mean." Of course, while Reeves acknowledged that U.S. power means that "our president declares the right to send American troops and drop American bombs anywhere we damn please," neither he nor the Times called U.S. presidents or policy makers imperialists. But is it unreasonable to suppose that the existence of an empire presupposes the existence of imperialism and that logic dictates that one is an imperialist if one supports obtaining and maintaining an empire? See Richard Reeves, "The American Empire's Provincial Press," 4 April 2002, 1, at Richardreeves.com, wysiwyg:// 17/http://richardreeves.com/.
Cypher, "Return," 1.
Ibid. Near the very end of U.S. Gigantisme Militaire I, I addressed the fallacy of fighting a war for Persian Gulf oil as being in our "national interest" with my reference to the Cato Institute's findings that such a war is wholly unnecessary and not in the "national interest."
Cypher, "Return," 1.
"Joint Vision," 6.
Better than many, historian Thomas McCormick explains that the "era known as the Cold War . . . is merely a subplot, part of a larger story that some historians call America's hegemonic project." And, while the embryonic origins of this "project," may stretch back to the 1898, Cuban-U.S. Spanish War, McCormick points out that the immediate impetus for the "project" lay with the World War II and post World War II "architects of American global dominance [such as Dean Acheson, George Kennan, Averall Harriman, James Forrestal, Paul Nitze, Harry Truman, George Marshall, etc]." These men "viewed nationalism as the bane of the 20th century — the underlying cause of both world wars, the Great Depression of the 1930s, and the epic revolutions in Russia, China and Mexico." They had hope, however, for "the abandonment of economic nationalism"(resulting in protectionist tariffs, colonialism, autarkic or command economies, imperialism, revolution and war) and the creation of "a single, integrated, free world market, organized around principles of [free trade], comparative advantage and economies of scale" which could "realize capitalism's full capacity [and] . . . where there would be only winners and no losers." But, that "free [market] world . . . could only be achieved if political and military power was organized globally." See Thomas McCormick, America's Half Century: United States Foreign Policy in the Cold War and After, 2nd ed., Baltimore: John Hopkins UP, 1995, xiii-xiv.
Steven Komarow, "Ex-generals declare war on nukes," USA Today, 5 December 1996, 3A. General Lee Butler served under former Joint Chief of Staff Chairman Colin Powell as his strategic war planner, and Butler also spent 27 of his 37 years in the Air Force maintaining nuclear weapons and planning for nuclear war. When he retired in 1994, he was the head of the U.S. Strategic command that "oversees nuclear bombers and missiles." General Goodpaster was one of NATO's top commanders during the Cold War.
Komarow, 3A. The U.S. taxpayers presently incur an annual expense of $33 billion in order to maintain our nuclear weapons arsenal so that our nuclear weapons targeteers will have the capacity to launch a nuclear strike anywhere in the world. As of November 1999, the U.S. had "about 6,500 strategic warheads and the Russians [had] 7,000. About 3,000 of theirs and 2,5000 of ours are on 'hair trigger' alert, ready to fire at a moment's notice." See CDI, Letters to donors, December 23, 1997, and November 1999.
David Cole, "National Security State," The Nation, 17 December 2001, 1-2, HYPERLINK http://www.thenation.com/docPrint.mhtml?i=200111217&s=cole www.thenation.com/docPrint.mhtml?i=200111217&s=cole . According to Cole, the USA Patriot Act is "an omnibus law of 342 pages enacted under in terrorem threats from Attorney General John Ashcroft . . . [And] the nuts and bolts of the law were worked out in a couple all-night sessions and approved by large majorities the day they were introduced, even though members could not possibly have read the bill before casting their votes." Among other thing this law, according to Cole, contains the following provisions: 1. Immigrants can be deported "for wholly innocent nonviolent associational activity on behalf of any organization blacklisted as terrorist by the Secretary of State." 2. "Any group of two or more that has used or threatened to use force can be designated as terrorist." 3. The Attorney General has the power to "lock up aliens, potentially indefinitely, on mere suspicion, without any hearing and without any obligation to establish to a court that the detention is necessary to forestall flight or danger to the community." 4. "Criminal proceedings are governed by gag orders — themselves secret — preventing defendants or their lawyers from saying anything to the public about their predicament." 5. The Act "authorizes never-disclosed wiretaps and secret searches in criminal investigations without probable cause of a crime." 6. The law authorizes police officials to "'interview'" immigrants based solely on their age, gender and country of origin."
When, earlier, Nation reporter David Corn covered the appearance of Ashcroft before the Senate Judiciary Committee, he observed that Ashcroft intimidated the few Democrats who weakly dared to question the wisdom of giving too much power to the government and, thereby, eroding civil liberties protections. But Ashcroft silenced them by declaring that those making such criticisms "'aid terrorists . . . erode our national unity and diminish our resolve.'" The chastised Democrats "barely pushed back," and the elated Wall Street Journal editorialists described Ashcroft's victory as a "'political rout'" of his Congressional critics. See David Corn, "Up Against Ashcroft," The Nation, 11 December 2001, 1, HYPERLINK http://www.thnation.com/docPrint.mhtml?i=special&s=corn20011211 www.thnation. com/ docPrint.mhtml?i=special&s=corn20011211 . Likewise, in economist Richard Du Boff's expose of the deceptions of the Bush Administration's "war on terrorism" to defend the homeland, he points out that the "'loyal opposition party' is scared witless and mute except for a rare outburst, by Barbara Lee (D-CA), the only member of Congress to vote against the war resolution last fall, and Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), who gave a powerful anti-war speech in Los Angeles in February . See Du Boff, "Stopping Terrorism VS. Promoting the Right: No Contest," Znet Daily Commentaries, 26 March 2002, 4, HYPERLINK http://www.zmag.org/sustainers/content/2002-03/26duboff.cfm www.zmag.org/sustainers/content/2002-03/26duboff.cfm . In an email detailing his sources for his findings and facts in his article, Du Boff listed: Adam Clymer, New York Times, 28 February 2002 ("on Ashcroft and Justice Dept. budgets"); Barbara Crossette, New York Times, 2 March 2002 (on "U.S. in UN, Annan, etc"); CNN 6 March 2002 ("on phony plot to smuggle nukes into NY City"); Peter Slevin, Washington Post, 7 December 2001, and Eric Lichtblau, Los Angles Times, 14 February 2002 ("on Ashcroft denying permission to FBI to inspect gun list").
T.D. Allman, Unmanifest Destiny, Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1984, 160.
Ibid. In his rejection of the proposals that President Monroe intervene in Latin America in 1821, Adams clearly forecast not only the danger but some of the motive force that is likely behind the direction that our current policy makers are taking us. He states, "'[America] goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. . . . She well knows . . . she would involve herself beyond the powers of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom. . . .[Her] brow would no longer beam with . . . Freedom and Independence; but . . . an Imperial Diadem, flashing in false and tarnished luster the murky radiance of dominion and power.'" See Allman, frontpiece.
Dwight D. Eisenhower, "Farewell Address," January 17, 1961, 1, www.usd.edu/~ sbucklin/primary/ikefarewell.htm.
Cypher, "Return," 2.
Ralph Peters retired from the Army after over 20 years of service. "He served as a special assistant for strategic planning in the White House drug policy office." He also worked in "Military Intelligence and served as a foreign area officer for Eurasia." He is the author of Fighting for the Future: Will America Triumph? and "dozens of articles on military theory, strategy" and the changing nature of conflict. He has written ten best selling novels. See "The role of Naval Forces in Twenty-first Century Operations, About the Contributors," Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis (IFPA), no date, 4. Peters sharply criticizes those military men who advocate the "heavy weight" Cold War "legacy" weapons systems and strategies as being those suffering from "institutional inertia," being "extra-ordinarily conservative and often myopic," "organization men," "dull and often dull-whited people," ones who are "clinging to their jobs with the best spirit of Tyrannosaurus Rex," and ones who compose a general and admiral officer corps who are "the most mediocre in the past century." So, in calling for an end to the "gold-plated twentieth century legacy systems" like the F-22 fighter, the Crusader heavy howitzer artillery system, heavy tanks, and so on, Peters' attacks the military-industrial complex right were it lives. He notes, "Increasingly our national defense is a business, and its business is not primarily defense. . . . There has always been corruption . . . But at this point there's so much lobbying power — PAC contributions and revolving doors of generals and admirals getting out and getting these tremendously lucrative defense industry do-nothing jobs . . . [it] is horrendous. . . . It's a defense-industrial-congressional complex, congress buys ships the navy doesn't want, and buys aircraft the air force doesn't want. . . . We have come to a point where . . . we are wasting hundreds of billions of dollars on yesterday's aircraft, on utterly unnecessary ships, on artillery systems that are not deployable." And to this caustic critique Peters adds this telling point about the entire defense budget, "We can beat the Russians. We sure could have beat the Serbs [in a ground war]. We could go to Sierra Leone and . . . rip apart the rough rebels. But we can't beat Lockheed Martin." "We need," he concludes in this prior to 9/11 interview, "somewhat larger defense budgets. And yet I am loathe to increase them today, because you're giving Scotch to an alcoholic." Indeed, Peters declares, "What we have, sadly, is a mediocre Department of Defense . . ." See Ralph Peters, Interview by Frontline, no date, 1, 6, 8, 15, 12, 13, 14 HYPERLINK http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/future/interviews/peters.html www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/ frontline/shows/future/interviews/peters.html .(Cited as Peters, "Interview").
These are lighter, wheeled, and high tech equipped forces.
These are the "new military" or "futurists" or the "faster and lighter" war advocates.
These are the large ship, tank, fighter aircraft, and missile equipped forces.
These are the "old military," or "barons," or "heavy weight," or the "big war" advocates. For much of the information found in this commentary's notes 29-32, see Peters, "Interview," 1, 5-6, 8, 17; John Barry and Evan Thomas, "Not Your Father's Army," Newsweek, 22 November 1999, 49, 52.
Doug MacGregor is the author of a military strategy book called Breaking the Phalanx.
William D. Hartung noted in his analysis entitled "Gold-Plating the Pentagon," that the Bill Clinton Administration's 2000 defense budget request would have provided $17.4 billion for seven major weapons programs that were over $1 billion or more — National Missile Defense ("Star Wars"), C-17 transport planes, F-18 and F-22 fighters, LPD-17 landing ship, the V-22 Osprey aircraft, and the Virginia attack submarine — and that these "costly cold war weapons will be of little value against the most pressing threats to international security: terrorism, weapons proliferation and ethnic and territorial conflict. The main beneficiaries," he adds, "will be . . . the 'Iron Triangle' — the Pentagon, the arms conglomerates and members of Congress from defense-dependent states." When Cato Institute's Ivan Eland, likewise, criticized the purchase of such "relics of the Cold War" as "the F-22 fighter, the V-22 vertical take-off and landing transport aircraft, the Comanche helicopter, the CVN-77 aircraft carrier and the New Attack Submarine," he went on to call for a 37% reduction in the defense budget because the "desired spending increase [called for by the Clinton regime] is merely an attempt by the defense bureaucracy to 'get it while the gettin's good.'" As for George Bush, Newsweek reports that, unlike his presidential rivals John McCain, Al Gore, and Bill Bradley, Bush called for radical reforms in U.S. defense spending. He proposed that the Army stop buying "World War II-era" weapon systems like "heavy tanks," and, instead, '''skip a generation' of technology and invest in futuristic high-tech systems that can be quickly deployed." Shortly after taking the presidency, by virtue of Supreme Court intercession and a lack of vigorous Democratic Party protests, Bush ordered Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to start contemplating his desired military transformation. And Rumsfeld himself, having "questioned the value of some major weapons," seemed to be preparing to reorient the Pentagon toward an emphasis on high-tech weapons systems, especially in space. And, finally, the folks at CDI published a major study as part of their "Military Reform Project" in September 2001, entitled Reforging the Sword: Forces for a 21st Century Security Strategy. In it, they focused on restructuring the military to "'successfully undertake fourth-generation warfare against asymmetric threats," and they argued that the U.S. forces "should be enhanced by creating lighter, smaller and more mobile units.'" And, later — on January 31, 2002 — they called for a defense budget savings cut of at least "147 billion over the next 10 years" by either the cancellation or by significantly re-shaping the Pentagon's weapons purchases, including the F-22, C-17, B-1B Lancer Bomber, Trident Ballistic Submarine, D-5 Missile, F/A-18E/F fighter, V-22 Osprey Tiltrotor Aircraft, Virginia-class Attack Submarine, DD-X Destroyer, Aircraft Carriers, Crusader Artillery Vehicle, Comanche Helicopter, M1 Abrams Tank, and Missile Defense. See William D. Hartung, "Gold-Plating the Pentagon," The Nation, 1 March 1999, 1, at Arms Trade Resource Center, HYPERLINK http://www.worldpolicy.org/projects/arms/links/gold.html www.worldpolicy.org/projects/arms/links/gold.html ; Ivan Eland, "Hike Military Funding? Lining the Pockets of the Defense Bureaucracy," Cato "Today's Commentary," 23 September 1998, 2-3 HYPERLINK http://www.cato.org/dailys/9-23-98.html www.cato.org/dailys/9-23-98.html . (Cited as Eland, "Hike."); John Barry and Evan Thomas, "Not Your Father's Army," Newsweek, 22 November 1999, 49, 52; Michael T. Klare, "Rumsfeld: Star Warrior Returns," The Nation, 29 January 2001, 3, HYPERLINK http://www.the www.the nation.com/docPrint.mhtml?i= 20010129&s=klare; Brad Knickerbocker, "Return of the 'Military-Industrial Complex'?" The Christian Science Monitor, 13 February 2002, 2, HYPERLINK http://www.csmonitor.com/2002/0213/p02s03-uspo.html; www.csmonitor.com/2002/0213/p02s03-uspo.html; CDI, "Issue Brief: Reshaping the Military for Asymmetric Warfare," 5 October 2001, 1, HYPERLINK http://www.cdi.org/press/press_releases/2001/terrorism1000501-pr.cfm; www.cdi.org/press/press_releases/2001/ terrorism1000501-pr.cfm; Daniel M. Smith, Marcus Corbin, Christopher Hellman, Reforging the Sword: Forces for a 21st Century Security Strategy, Washington, D.C.: Center for Defense Information, September 2001, available online at HYPERLINK http://www.cdi.org/mrp; www.cdi.org/mrp; CDI, "Military Reform Project, U.S. Military Transformation: Not Just More Spending, But Better Spending," 31 January 2002, 2, 2-11, www.cdi.org/mrp/transformation-pr.cfm.
Cypher, "Return," 2-3.
Allan Sloan, "Pork Barrel or A Kick-Start?" Newsweek, 15 October 2001, 65.
John Nichols, "The Online Beat: Give Rumsfeld a hard time," The Nation, 10 January 2001, 4, HYPERLINK http://www.thenation.com/thebeat/ www.thenation.com/thebeat/ .
Peter Beaumont and Ed Vulliamy, "Armed to the Teeth," The Observer, 10 February 2002, Observer Worldview, HYPERLINK http://www.observer.couk/Print/03858.4353414,00.html www.observer.co.uk/Print/03858.4353414,00.html .
Ibid. "The Pentagon Spending Spree," New York Times, 6 February 2002, 1, HYPERLINK http://www.nytimes.com/2002/02/06/opinion/_06WED1.html?ex=1014015992&ei=/&en=82ce018498f1/ed1 www.nytimes.com/2002/02/06/opinion/_06WED1.html?ex=1014015992&ei=/&en=82ce018498f1/ed1 .
Ibid., 3. Some of those policy makers backing this possible agenda were brought into high Pentagon office by like-minded Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld. They have been described as a "tight group of . . . firm believers in unilateral, American military power." See Ibid.
As quoted by Du Boff, Ashcroft's four goals were: 1. "'securing the rights of victims of crimes,'" 2. "'securing the nation's borders and cutting the immigration backlog,'" 3. "'reducing gun violence and drug trafficking,'" and 4. "'reducing overcrowding and drug use in prisons.'" See Du Boff, 2.
Du Boff., 2.
Ibid., 1. Du Boff noted that the Attorney General "did find $8,000 to spare for a cape to cover the exposed breast of the female guarding of law statue in the lobby of the Justice Department." He, thus, profaned a classic statue in the eyes of art critics, artists, political satirists and many reasonable people everywhere. See Du Boff, 2.
"The Pentagon Spending Spree," New York Times, 6 February 2002, 1, at HYPERLINK http://www.nytimes.com/2002/02/06/opinion/_06WED1.html?ex=1014015992ei=1&en=82ce018498flled1 www.nytimes.com/2002/02/06/opinion/_06WED1.html?ex=1014015992ei=1&en=82ce018498flled1 .
Christopher Dickey with Dan Ephron, John Barry, Mark Hosenball and Michael Isikoff, "Inside Suicide, Inc., Newsweek, 15 April m2002, 32.
Georgie Anne Geyer, "President Pushed to Escalate War in Israel and Beyond," Uexpress.com, 9 April 2002, 1, HYPERLINK http://www.uexpress.com/pri...1_date=20020409&uc_daction=X&uc_comic=gg www.uexpress.com/pri...1_date=20020409&uc _daction=X&uc_comic=gg . (Cited as Geyer, "President."); Patrick J. Buchanan, "Why the War Party may fail," WorldNetDaily, 16 November 2001, 2-3, HYPERLINK http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=25354 www.wnd.com/news/ article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=25354 .
Geyer points out, as have many other observers, that many of the most hawkish of principal policy makers and their supporters in the Bush II Administration "have never served in the military." Some of these people include: Vice President Dick Cheney, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, and Defense Policy Board head Richard Perle, among numerous others. Geyer, "President," 1.
Du Boff, 1.
Nicholas Holt, "Interview With Chomsky," Asheville Global Report, 8 March 2002, on ZNet, Terror War Watch, 4, www.zmag.org/content/TerrorWar/agr_chomsky.cfm.
George W. Bush, "Speech announcing Secretary of State Colin Powell's mission to the Middle East," April 4, 2002, 4, Full Text, A News Hour with Jim Lehrer, PBS Online News Hour.
Geyer, "President," 2.
Ivan Eland, "Tilting," 43, 33.