All the Insecurity Money Can Buy

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.

Bracing Views

It's not nice to fool with nuclear missiles It’s not nice to fool with nuclear missiles

W.J. Astore

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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15 thoughts on “All the Insecurity Money Can Buy

  1. Just asking out of curiosity—when the losing generals who collect six-figure pensions go on to those seven-figure consulting gigs, do they get to keep the full military pensions?

    As opposed to all those on Social Security, who start losing benefits if they make over a minimal wage income in a given year….


  2. pubescent. adj. relating to or denoting a person at or approaching the age of puberty.

    I once thought that American presidents simply couldn’t get more juvenile than George “Deputy Dubya” Bush, a.k.a., Sheriff Dick Cheney’s Barney Fife. So — fifteen years ago — I composed a few Terza Rima sonnets, collectively titled Post-Pubescent Homeland Insecurity, expressing that view. With the passage of time proffering three successor presidents as examples of American “manliness,” however, I probably need to amend my poem’s title, replacing the prefix “Post-” (meaning “after” or “subsequent”) to “Perpetually,” since it does appear that American presidents — even up to the onset of old-age senility — still think and act as if they’ve yet to discover a single hair on either their chest or groin.


      1. Not so much a case of “pants,” Bill, as “diapers,” the alpha and omega of U.S. presidential attire over at least the past two decades, if not longer. Current President Joe Biden does have old age decrepitude as an excuse for his particular personal Pampers, but only infantile twerp testicles could account for: Deputy Dubya’s Droopy Diaper Rap.

        And speaking of creepy decrepitude recapitulating infancy, did you see Matt Taibbi’s recent substack piece “A Tale of Two Authoritarians” (January 8, 2022)? The living corpse, Dick Cheney, along with daughter Liz the only Republicans in a House full of worshipful “Democrats.” For those non-subscribers with strong stomachs, I saved a transcript here. Mary Shelley and Bram Stoker would have had a field day describing this Gothic horror show.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes, I read that, Mike. It just proves that Democrats like Pelosi and Schiff are the new Republicans, servants to deluded “warriors” like Cheney.

          Cheney — the man most responsible for Afghanistan, Iraq, and the PATRIOT Act — and he’s being celebrated and hugged by “Democrats.”

          A crime and a mistake, but regular Americans are the ones punished for both.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. That is an extraordinary post! I’m not just referring to this one I’m hoping all your readers will go to the original one which has important things to say. Also the extra stories listed there, especially the one about the millions fraudulently paid to recruiters for the Iraq war are certainly mind boggling as well as educational. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It seems that corruption is so deep and so wide spread that it is not just the MICC but society that is corrupt. The gate keepers, the watchers, the agencies that are to regulate and scrutinize, all have abandoned their posts.

    The crash of 2008 was from our financial agencies and officials not doing their job. The military which is involved in not only the nation’s ‘defense’ but also its economy and ethos is just one more rotten fruit on a blighted tree.

    They say that the first people to become corrupt in a society are the leaders, then the upper class, then the middle class, then its game over.

    As this character said:


  5. “Americans have always had a special love for fake fighting. Civil War reenactments. Pro wrestling. Jerry Springer. Democrats vs Republicans.” — Caitlin Johnstone

    “Democratic Senator Chuck] Schumer has a great influence over the Republican party. And I think Schumer and Pelosi meet with their counterparts, the Republicans, and say: ‘Please call us socialists. You know we’re not going to disagree with you.’ Because they know that 85 percent of Americans like the word socialism. And the more the Republicans call them socialists, that helps them solidify the base that loves — that really wants — socialism so that the Democratic party can throw cold water on it and prevent socialism. It’s a great scam.” — Professor Michael Hudson

    “. . . it is necessary to loosen the hold on the nation’s mind of dogmatic ideas as deeply rooted in the American experience as they are out of synch with today’s world. All of this is a tall order. It appears to be beyond America.” — Michael Brenner

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Agree—Bernie is correct on all counts.

        Shame on The Guardian, though, for continuing to promote the myth that Manchin and Sinema are “centrists.” They’re most assuredly far to the right of center.


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