The tentacles of the Military Industrial Complex run very deep in Washington
During his farewell speech on Jan. 17, 1961, President Dwight Eisenhower delivered a dire warning about a grave threat to U.S. democracy.
The following is a key excerpt from that address:
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist.
The military-industrial complex is an unholy alliance among war profiteers that includes elected leaders, top bureaucrats, defense contractors, the armed forces, international organizations, the news media, etc.
Their goal is to compel governments to enter wars that facilitate the sales of arms and the deployment of contracted mercenaries. They profit in order of billions while innocent lives are lost and nations are destroyed.
This is a quid pro quo agreement.
The defense contractors donate handsomely to the campaigns of elected politicians and offer myriad other inducements. The recipient of inducements could also be influential individuals or organizations beyond D.C.
In return, these recipients campaign for wars, perhaps via op-eds in "reputed" newspapers or during TV appearances or speeches. Finally, they vote to approve billions in "aid."
The contracts are awarded, and billions in taxpayer funds flow away from the D.C. Treasury into the accounts of favored arms dealers.
Last week, the Ukrainian Embassy in D.C. hosted a reception to commemorate the 31st anniversary of Ukraine's armed services.
Jonathan Guyer, who covers foreign policy for Vox, revealed that the invitation to the event had logos of arms dealers such as Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Pratt & Whitney, and Northrop Grumman.
Photo courtesy of Jonathan Guyer at Vox.
Among the attendees of the event was Joint Chiefs chairman Gen. Mark Milley.
So how well have these four firms done in recent times?
Following the conflict in Ukraine, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, and Northrop Grumman saw their stocks rise. Lockheed's stock rose by about 38 percent. In fact, they had to accelerate production to meet the demand in Ukraine.
This is happening at a time when the economy is sluggish and most businesses in the U.S. are suffering.
Clearly, war is a profitable business insulated from the economy.
Let's look at deals some of these companies secured:
Raytheon secured a $1.2-billion contract for six surface-to-air-missile systems. The company co-produces Javelin missiles and Stinger missiles, which the U.S. awarded a $624-million contract. Pratt & Whitney, an aerospace company whose logo also appeared on the invitation, is one of Raytheon's subsidiaries.
Lockheed Martin is a major player both in D.C. and Ukraine and has ties with every group that can influence armed conflicts.
Ukrainian officials appealed to D.C. to send Lockheed's High Mobility Artillery Rocket System. The U.S. dispatched 20 of Lockheed's missile defense systems to Ukraine and will dispatch 18 more, costing the taxpayer around $1.1 billion.
Last month, the U.S. Army awarded Lockheed $521 million to refill its own supplies.
There is no transparency on how these contracts were awarded.
Biden personally visited Lockheed's Alabama factory to appreciate its efforts.
Lockheed donates to members of both parties. Perhaps Lockheed enables enrichment through other channels that cannot always be tracked. Lockheed also has a record of bribing officials to peddle influence.
Agencies such as the CIA supply intel, which makes the case for war. The intelligence regarding the presence of WMDs led to the Iraq war. Well, Lockheed also has had deep ties with the CIA since the 1950s.
Propaganda is essential to create the basis of war.
Hence, Lockheed has networked with the media.
Early this January, Politico carried articles that revealed they were "presented by Lockheed Martin." Those revelations have since been removed, but the web advertisement of Lockheed still remains. The Washington Post and The New York Times also carry articles sponsored by Lockheed.
The Lockheed-linked articles made the case for war, using the "need to defend freedom" narrative.
There were official ties, but there also could be other ties of the unofficial variety.
Clearly, the media and D.C. hysteria about the urgent need to help Ukraine in peril was driven not by compassion for regular Ukrainians, but by avarice for considerable pecuniary gains.
This explains why so much time is dedicated to displaying footage of the devastation in Ukraine. The relentless spiels about defending freedom, the elevation of Zelensky as Churchill, and the demonization of President Putin as Hitler were all meant to drive public support, which always helps during a war.
It also allows arms dealers to claim benevolent motivations while enriching themselves.
The war in Ukraine is an example of how D.C. could work when it desires.
They acted swiftly by passing bills almost unanimously to free up public funds. All impediments were summarily removed. Contracts were awarded, and payments were made. In days, the arms landed on Ukrainian shores.
When the military-industrial bases faced microchip shortages, D.C. swiftly passed the bipartisan competition bill in D.C., which offered $52 billion in grants and subsidies for semiconductor manufacturers and $45 billion to strengthen their supply chain.
Guyer revealed that Biden is using the "presidential drawdown authority" to quickly source high-end weapons from American stocks and get them into Ukraine, and then use congressional funding to replenish those.
The same people in D.C. are unable to facilitate the supply of clean water across the U.S., which is their duty and a basic need for citizens. If challenged, they will blame their political opponent, local authorities, and more. When they do pass bills that claim to resolve the issue most of the funding is dedicated to furthering their own agenda. The result is that citizens have to consume contaminated water.
But when it comes to funding a war that will enrich them, their commitment is for "as long as it takes."
Congress has $68 billion in taxpayer funds for overall aid for Ukraine just this year alone and could pass tens of billions more before the year's end. Biden has asked Congress for $38 billion more (coincidentally, $38 billion is the amount of money Zelensky recently requested to fulfill his 2023 budget deficit). Even when the GOP controls the House, expect very little change. It must be remembered that the funds being dispatched have little in the way of tracking or transparency measures.
The U.S. and its allies procured around $50 billion's worth of U.S. weaponry last year. Of this amount, the U.S. taxpayer funded $19.3 billion just for Ukraine.
All of this is occurring while the U.S. going through myriad serious crises such as high inflation, high gas prices, a fragile economy, a crime wave, a drug crisis, and an uncontrolled influx of illegal aliens. All of this is owing to Biden's misgovernance.
Ukrainian officials claim that nearly 20,000 foreign volunteers have signed up to fight alongside Ukrainian forces against the Russian invasion. What if some of the unvetted mercenaries have links to terror groups? They could sell this weaponry on the black market. (In fact, they already are — American arms from Ukraine are beginning to "filter" into Africa, to ISIS and Boko Haram.) They could use it to attack American interests either on foreign soil or in the U.S. itself.
But the powers that be have no interest in what happens within the U.S. because there is little to gain from it.
This is exactly what Eisenhower warned about in 1961.
Can this nefarious, self-serving system ever be dismantled?
Image: Free image, Pixabay license, no attribution required.