Eight years ago, I posted this article about the insecurity America was buying at exorbitant cost. Gobs of money and power are being ceded to the Pentagon, and those “gobs” (truly a technical term) are acting as an accelerant to the worst excesses of the military-industrial complex. We need to remember bribery and cheating scandals, misbehaving generals, contractors that take the money and run while doing shoddy work — and hold them and the system accountable.
But that’s the problem: there is no accountability. As Army LTC Paul Yingling wrote in 2007, a private who loses a rifle suffers far harsher punishment than a general who loses a war. Indeed, generals who lose wars retire with six-figure pensions, then take seven-figure positions with various weapons makers, and/or they become “neutral” commentators on mainstream media networks like NBC.
The only people punished, besides occasional sad sack privates, are courageous whistle blowers like Daniel Hale.
An unaccountable and often mendacious government far precedes the excesses of Trump. Yet we are encouraged to fixate on the Trumpist threat while ignoring all the sins and excesses that came before him and which still persist, and indeed thrive, after him. And that simply isn’t good enough.
The United States spends nearly a trillion dollars a year on national defense, to include wars, homeland security, a bewildering array of intelligence agencies, and the maintenance of nuclear weapons. Are we buying greater security with all this money?
Consider the following fact. A private contractor hired to vet security clearances for US intelligence agencies has been accused of faulty and incomplete background checks in 665,000 cases. Yes, you read that right. More than half a million background checks for security clearances were not performed properly. Doesn’t that make you feel safer?
Meanwhile, our nuclear forces have been bedeviled by scandal and mismanagement. The latest is a cheating scandal involving 34 nuclear launch officers and the potential compromise of nuclear surety. Previous scandals include a vice admiral, the deputy commander of US nuclear forces, being relieved of command for…
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