Ike’s Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex Is Alive and Very Well

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Look, Ma: More Money!  Don’t Worry: We’ll Spend It Wisely

W.J. Astore

The new Congressional budget boosts military spending in a big way.  Last night’s PBS News report documented how military spending is projected to increase by $160 billion over two years, but that doesn’t include “overseas contingency funding” for wars, which is another $160 billion over two years.  Meanwhile, spending for the opioid crisis, which is killing roughly 60,000 Americans a year (more Americans than were killed in the Vietnam War), is set at a paltry $6 billion ($25 billion was requested).

One thing is certain: Ike was right about the undue influence of the military-industrial-Congressional complex.

The military talks about needing all these scores of billions to “rebuild.”  And, sure, there are ships that need to be refitted, planes in need of repairs, equipment that needs to be restocked, and veterans who need to be cared for.  But a massive increase in military and war spending, perhaps as high as $320 billion over two years, is a recipe for excessive waste and even more disastrous military adventurism.

Even if you’re a supporter of big military budgets, this massive boost in military spending is bad news.  Why?  It doesn’t force the military to think.  To set priorities.  To define limits.  To be creative.

Perhaps you’ve heard of the expression, “Spending money like drunken sailors on shore leave.”  Our military has been drunk with money since 9/11.  Is it really wise to give those “sailors” an enormous boost in the loose change they’re carrying, trusting them to spend it wisely?

10 thoughts on “Ike’s Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex Is Alive and Very Well

  1. When real enemies aren’t available, they can always be invented. China and Russia are “peer” enemies again. North Korea, a nuclear program with a state attached, is treated as a huge threat. Terrorism will always be with us, so that’s a threat too.

    We can even get in a nuclear weapons race with ourselves. Warfare as welfare for Ike’s Complex. As Trump might say, sad — for America and the world.


  2. Ah yeah. Didn’t we airlift 4BIL$ in CASH pallets to Iraq to shut up the ‘insurgents’? Under questioning, even Greenspan “didn’t know” how we accumulated so much, so fast. Of course when the cash ran out, they started up again!
    Yet I wonder how much really reached the ‘insurgents’? The photo shows happy US soldiers! Dubai luxury condos are nearby; I’d love to go through those titles! Karzai has a few, but maybe I’m wasting my time.
    With that kind of dough, go to Monaco! With ‘strict’ laws, you can’t spit in the street, but launder billions!
    That’s my answer to RS’s question.


    1. Sadly it is not just the tax payers’ money that is wasted. Lives ( blood, sweat, tears ) are sacrificed and to what end? Innocent civilians do not count and are not counted. Our so called leaders ( supposed to represent us ) have willfully neglected their responsibility ( defunding the defense dept ) to prevent wars…have not learnt anything from awful war of 100 years ago!


      1. OK, RS, I’ll see your Waltzing Matilda and raise you a …

        Morbid Dick

        “Hide behind the troops.”
        “Wave the bloody shirt.”
        Lay them down in groups,
        Dead beneath the dirt.

        Out upon the sea,
        Vast, uncaring waves.
        Officers and me:
        Prisoner of slaves.

        Sailors spending cash
        That they haven’t got.
        Paid by rum and lash,
        Three meals and a cot.

        Someone getting rich.
        Ain’t those swabbing decks.
        Nothing but to bitch,
        Chipping paint in flecks.

        If it moves, salute;
        If it doesn’t, paint.
        Nothing too astute.
        No life for the faint.

        Vows of Poverty;
        Then, Obedience;
        And Unchastity.
        Just subservience.

        One-word lexicon,
        Filthy and profane.
        Sunrise until dawn,
        Useful. Terse. Germane.

        Channel Fever now,
        Ashes in their urns,
        Homeward speeds the scow.
        Morbid Dick returns.

        Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright © 2018


  3. Jimmy Dore and fellow nightclub comedian, Ron Placone, do a great deconstruction of meaningless military bullshit jargon as it relates to first demanding and getting more billions of dollars and then having to come up with a rationale for spending it on … whatever … wherever … whenever … lest a failure to spend every penny of it might result in getting fewer billions of dollars in the next budget. Rinse and repeat, ad infinitum. President Eisenhower even gets a mention.

    Pentagon Sending Marines To East Asia – Countering Chinese

    Shorter version – Parkinson’s Law meets the Peter Principle: namely, that (1) “the work will exapand to occupy the time allotted for its completion,” and (2) “in a hierarchy, everyone tends to rise to their level of incompetence.” As these two implacable forces relate to the U.S. military, one can easily see their product concentrated like sclerotic sludge in the Joined Chefs of Stuff, about as useless as the proverbial tits on a boar hog.

    America’s Maniacal Militarist Mantra: “Always rebuilding, just never built.”


    1. Mr Murry, thank you for your poem.
      Whether it is a poem by Wilfred Owen or Michael Thwaites or a prayer by Mark Twain, they all show the futility of war which in itself is a crime…. they make one sad but also very angry but read one must… a reminder that it should never be allowed to make war “the norm”.


  4. Thanks for the link to the Dore show, Mike. Their observation that: 1) Democrats say they don’t trust Trump; 2) Democrats hand $160 billion + more money to the Pentagon as well as expanded surveillance powers for global “resetting” led by Trump — is perfect.

    If you’re truly worried about the commander-in-chief, maybe you should cut war funding and surveillance powers, rather than expanding them? But that makes way too much sense.

    Of course, the Pentagon has to spend its new budgetary authority somehow. $160 billion is a lot of money — and this doesn’t include scores of billions of money for those “contingency operations,” AKA war.

    And I love the emphasis on “competing” — when we’re not using sports metaphors for high military spending and war, we’re talking about “investing” in the military (as if it’s major growth opportunity, which I suppose it is), or “rebuilding” it, as you mention.

    What can I say? It doesn’t matter …


    1. What can you say that matters, Bill?

      I don’t know, but I can offer a few suggestions. How about:

      Optional Orthodoxy

      What can you say? It doesn’t matter.
      The words don’t slay, but they can flatter
      Those who’ll see the killing done;
      First, for profit; then, for fun.

      Sure the bullshit sounds opaque;
      Hard to fathom, hard to take.
      Sense of it, one cannot make.
      That’s the point: sell Fear with Fake.

      Disbelief you must suspend
      From the start until the end.
      Just imagine that you see
      What’s not there and cannot be.

      Then think that the noise you hear
      Sounds somewhat like words unclear.
      Sounds suggestive of a thought,
      Vague and strange but cheaply bought.

      Black and white at first, just movement.
      Next, add sound, a real improvement.
      Color, then, completes the scheme:
      TV “real” and life a dream.

      Just absorb the staged impression.
      Then come back for one more session.
      Then another, then one more …
      See? For you, that’s what’s in store.

      Love Big Brother? Well, you should.
      Just don’t look beneath the hood.
      Take on faith our lies? A plus!
      Soon we’ll turn you into us.

      Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright © 2018

      Or something like that …


      1. Mike: I just had to endure Trump saying our military was “totally depleted” but now it’s going to be an “incredible” military under him.

        “Totally depleted.” Sigh.


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