Fighting the Military-Industrial Complex

W.J. Astore

Its biggest advantage is that it knows what it wants

The military-industrial-congressional complex (MICC) has a huge advantage over its critics. Its proponents are united by greed and power. They know exactly what they want. Like Johnny Rocco in “Key Largo,” they want MORE. More money. More authority. And obviously more weapons and more war. 

Whereas critics of the MICC tend to approach the beast from different angles with different emphases.  Tactical differences lead to fissures. Fissures prevent coalitions from forming. Unity is lacking, and not for want of trying. And so the MICC rumbles on, unchallenged by any societal force that is remotely its size.

A colleague of mine, Dennis Showalter, was fond of a saying that helps to explain the situation. Critics and intellectuals, he said, have a propensity to see the fourth side of every three-sided problem. Analysis leads to paralysis. The tyranny of small differences prevents unanimity of purpose.

Dennis Showalter, a fine historian and a better friend.

Another key strength of the MICC is reflected in an alternate acronym: the MICIMATT, which adds the intelligence “community,” the mainstream media, academe, and various think tanks to the military, industry, and Congress. To that we might also add the world of sports, entertainment (Hollywood and TV especially), and the very idea of patriotism in America with all its potent symbols. I’d even add Christianity here, the muscular version practiced in the U.S. rather than the compassionate version promulgated by Christ.

When you focus just on the MICC, you miss the wellsprings of its power. It’s not just about greed and authority, it’s about full-spectrum dominance of all aspects of American life and society.

America hasn’t won a major war since World War II, but the MICC has won the struggle for societal dominance in America. Serious challenges to it will require Americans to put aside differences in the name of a greater cause of peace and sanity. The wildcard here, of course, is the ever-present hyping of fear by the MICC.

FDR told Americans the only thing we truly needed to fear was fear itself. Fear paralyzes the mind and inhibits action. Fear is the only darkness, Master Po said in “Kung Fu.”

If we can overcome our fear and our differences to focus on building a more compassionate world, a world in harmony with nature and life, then maybe, just maybe, we can see the foolishness of funding and embracing an MICC based on an unnatural pursuit of destruction and death.

5 thoughts on “Fighting the Military-Industrial Complex

  1. Epistle to the Expendables

    To whom it may conform,

    Our algorithms tell us that you’ve sent
    Unorthodox transmissions of some thoughts
    Without seeking approval. Where they went
    And who received these innovative plots,
    We know. And now we claim: “The rules you’ve bent.”
    You thought that we could not connect the dots?

    Our facial-recognition software sees
    And our voice-recognition software hears
    Each look and tone of voice. Our apps now freeze
    Into a profile all your hopes and fears.
    Your DNA and fingerprints we seize.
    We know you and advise that you change gears.

    “Big Br’er Be Watchin’,” Barack told you plain,
    You dupes and tools; you clueless proles and clones.
    His Tuesday morning Kill List marks his reign
    As Murderer-in-Chief. His goons and drones
    Care not one bit for all the grief and pain
    That they dispense within his free-fire zones.

    Now Congress grants The Donald, with all speed,
    Vast powers to invade your private life,
    Bestowing on him all that he will need
    To blackmail you, your husband, or your wife.
    Who now will spare you from the dirty deed?
    No one. No courts. No laws. Just endless strife.

    So thank you for the little you have left.
    You’ll soon lose that as well, just so you know.
    Accept your status, you of little heft.
    You’re nothing. Face it. Shut up and eat crow.
    You’ve no recourse against the thieving deft.
    You lose. We win. You’ve nowhere else to go.

    With all the sincerest cynicism in the world,

    Your Selected Corporate Management

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


  2. A Dreadful Success
    (with thanks to Michael Parenti for the accurate terminology)

    In two-thousand-nine, he got rolled right away
    Another new President easy to sway.
    Without thinking much or too long or too deep
    He fell for the generals’ choice: mission-creep.

    He had many “options” from which he could choose
    Which all added up to just one: Do not “lose,”
    Which they’d say he did if he wisely withdrew
    So he caved in with only one turn of the screw.

    Except that the screwing, once started, goes on
    From morning till sundown; from dusk until dawn,
    For days, weeks, and months stretching into long years
    Then two terms speed past bathed in blood, sweat, and tears.

    And now a successor Commander-in-Brief
    (A waste of good skin and an oxygen thief)
    Gets his turn to fold at the start of the game
    Letting “experts at war” sell him more of the same,

    Who haven’t a clue after seventeen years
    Except that the budget once more disappears,
    With none to account for where everything went
    While the world stands outside pissing into the tent.

    It ought to have dawned on someone before now
    That thieves know their business: the when, where, and how
    Of letting the brass have a taste of the cake
    Then calling their lost wars a “tragic mistake.”

    But profits piled up for a fabulous few
    While everyone else gets to dine on shit stew
    Looks nothing at all, to the rich, like a mess
    But, rather, a well-thought-out, class-war success.

    Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright © 2019


  3. “In the long run, a hierarchical society was only possible on a basis of poverty and ignorance.” — George Orwell, 1984

    Seizure Class Frantic Fear-Flogging
    (in the “Shakespearean” sonnet style)

    The “Orientals” did that Russian/Chinese thing:
    The wrong we did ourselves but won’t admit
    But must project upon a villain: Ming
    The Merciless, a comic tyrant fit
    To terrify and titillate the tame
    American so easily disturbed
    By entertainment ludicrous and lame
    Designed to leave The System unperturbed
    By movements from the “Left” or “down below”
    Fomented by those “unsuccessful” proles:
    Contagious strikes which tend to spread and grow
    Among exploited and resentful souls
    Who’ve heard of freedom and wish to employ it
    Against their rulers who, alone, enjoy it.

    Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright © 2021


  4. Not much in the way of “fighting” the Globalist Corporate Junta (or MIC, in Dwight Eisenhower’s quaint phrase) but the best I could do on a Tuesday morning in early May. . . .

    Mission Accomplice

    A “mission accomplice” we call anybody
    who helps carry out what’s considered a crime
    regardless of whether the work’s weak or shoddy
    the perp’s contribution should earn him some time.
    Except if we help the Israeli or Saudi
    encroachments. In that case, we turn on a dime
    and start finding “reasons” transparent and gaudy
    for why we must prostrate ourselves in the grime
    and genuflect, uttering cries lewd and bawdy
    as they up the steps of us stairs cleanly climb.

    Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright © 2023


    1. Now, perhaps I can get a good night’s sleep without verse composition titles, signature lines, and stanza formats nagging at me to get up and write them down. Not that the Global Corporate Conglomerate could care a tinker’s damn what I think or say — let alone how I say it — but we do what little we can with the time we have left . . .

      Covert Auction

      Under the covers and out of plain sight
      (and out of mind, too, the main reason)
      the sell-off continues by day and by night
      regardless of weather or season,
      as financiers try to stem capital flight,
      what they see quite clearly as treason.

      The Congressmen must have their insider trades
      and billionaires, too, must have warning.
      So Wall Street and London cook up some charades
      to curb any panic and mourning,
      lest bank runs result in withdrawal cascades
      and dreams of great wealth dead aborning.

      But evidence plain of the Empire’s decline
      cannot any longer be hidden
      and soon enough those with connections and spine
      will start taking action unbidden:
      to quietly dump what is “yours” and what’s “mine”
      for what’s “theirs” — not exactly forbidden.

      Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright © 2023


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