Friday, August 5, 2011
Is Leon Panetta a Stooge of the Military-Industrial Complex?
"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies- in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron."
- President Dwight D. Eisenhower, April 16, 1953 address.
"The essential act of war is destruction, not necessarily of human lives, but of the products of human labour. War is a way of shattering to pieces, or pouring into the stratosphere, or sinking in the depths of the sea, materials which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable, and hence, in the long run, too intelligent. "- George Orwell
"A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death." -
Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
As per Ike's quote above, it is time Americans be taken down off their "cross of iron"! As per George Orwell's quote, it is high time the products of American labor cease being squandered on "wars" of choice and unending occupations and be put to use in our own land, re-building its infrastructure and converting human capital to the goal of constructive contributions.
As per Rev. Martin Luther King's quote, it is more than past time this nation uphold programs of social uplift, as opposed to continuing toward spiritual death - which we've now beheld is even closer with the new revelations on the excesses of tortures inflicted at Guantanamo.
But what do our vaunted leaders want? Evidently more of the same! More pseudo-wars, more occupations, more waste of human capital, lives and treasure! Only recently now, it's come to light that newly appointed Pantagon chief Leon Panetta is bellyaching over possible cuts to his Pentagon budget. (Recall this is being forced to square off vs. Medicare cuts for the next round of draconian spending cuts in November, to be dealt with by a "super committee". If they can't come to a consensus, then large automatic cuts will equally apply to defense and Medicare -or so we are led to believe. (But with Beltway whores and politicians you don't know what to believe!)
According to Glenn Greenwald, writing at salon.com:
Panetta has put on his Dr. Strangelove hat and decried these prospective cuts as a "doomsday mechanism" -- doomsday! -- warning that these would be "very dangerous cuts" that "would do real damage to our security, our troops and their families, and our military's ability to protect the nation
This was echoed in The Washington Post, this morning:
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned Thursday of dire consequences if the Pentagon is forced to make cuts to its budget beyond the $400 billion in savings planned for the next decade.
“We’re already taking our share of the discretionary cuts as part of this debt-ceiling agreement, and those are going to be tough enough,”
Panetta told reporters in his first news conference as defense secretary, adding:
“I think anything beyond that would damage our national defense.”
Of course, he's full of shit. For one thing, the so-called defense cuts are back-loaded, meaning they won't come in for years, while the Medicare cuts will be immediate. Meanwhile, these Pentagon cuts are a sham because the repukes managed to get bogus "defense" cuts inserted which they don't give a rat's ass about.
For example, while this deficit-cutting law appears to reduce defense spending by $350 billion up front (a pittance) and perhaps by as much as $850 billion over 10 years, in fact that's highly unlikely to happen. That's because defense hawks ensured that these initial cuts would be more than one-third applied to: "security" spending, which encompasses programs such as homeland security, border enforcement, foreign aid and even veterans' benefits as potential targets. (As opposed to the machines like the F-35 (see graphic) that generate military pork for congressional porksters!)
In other words it's a sham!
As Greenwald notes:
Just think about that for a minute. We have a Democratic administration installed in power after millions of liberals donated large amounts of their time and money to help elect them. Yet here we have a top official in the President's cabinet demanding cuts to Medicare and Social Security in order to protect the military budget from further reductions. That's the position of the Democratic administration
Because in the next breath Panetta also said he basically had the White House's benediction on this. Really! So it really is true then that Panetta is simply carrying water for his boss, who didn't have the balls to come out and say all this himself. A boss who really is as bad or worse than Hoover in the 1930s?
Don't take my word! Look, the defense budget is already the most monstrous cancer eating away at the foundations of our domestic security that there is. It chews up 58 cents of every budget dollar, consuming 17.1% of the national budget! As it is also, an estimated $34 BILLION of tax payer money has been wasted in Afghanistan alone - money that ended up in Taliban pockets as well as for crooked warlords.(Due to corrupt banking practices)
As an example of Pentagon pork and waste, consider the F-35 fighter shown in the image, which - according to The Economist (July 16, p. 67) the Pentagon seeks defense contracts to build 2,443 of them - at a total cost of two-fifths of a trillion - but with cost overruns, will likely hit a trillion. These thousands of jets are only of use if we as a nation plan to invade another five or six countries, and meanwhile let our infrastructure crumble.
So what's on offer from the likes of Panetta is just more Goebbels-like propaganda- endlessly screeched- to convince us (the expendable cogs) to continue to support a Pax Americana via the perma-war state. One that is ruining this nation on multiple fronts - from snuffing out thousands of young lives with promise, to the money wasted on drones and bombs not going toward infrastructure repair(of crumbling roads, bridges etc), to money not going to paying down our immense debt as opposed to increasing it by $20 billion a month.
And meanwhile, using a justification to continue to carve out Social Security and Medicare so elderly people once more are tossed under the bus.
But no, with an annual budget of more than $890 billion, the Pentagon needs to have it cut in HALF right now! Not any piddling little $350 billion in ten years, but EVERY year! Deal with it, Leon!
This fat lunching off the rest of us must come to an end, as must the path to spiritual death. Why are our Presidents and their lackeys even defending this BS any more? As I noted in a blog last year, if one looks back at the document track, one can pretty well discern that the incentive to meddle in other nations’ affairs – as part of U.S. foreign policy – probably commenced with The National Security Council (NSC) Directive ‘NSC 10/2’ on June 18, 1948. That document opened the way to the perma-war state that has bled this country of its wealth and resources the past sixty years. JFK did try to do an end run around it, and we saw how that turned out. So now, every president that enters office has somewhere in his mind (or maybe dspatched to him before he assumes office) that scene at Dealey Plaza as a reminder he needs to toe the line and not task the Shadow government. Those vermin want their puppets meek and pliable, not JFK-like, bold Presidents!
Gore Vidal pinpoints the emergence of the American Empire when he notes:
“Since 1950 the United States has fought perhaps a hundred overt and covert wars. None was declared by the nominal representatives of the American people in Congress…they had meekly turned over to the executive their principal great power to wage war. That was the end of that Constitution”.
The key point to note here is not only did the U.S. invoke a specious doctrine to entitle it to engage in warfare wherever it deemed the “need” (e.g. Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Grenada, Nicaragua, Iraq, Afghanistan etc.) but also to take out democratically elected leaders where and when they threatened U.S. corporate interests, such as Premier Mohammed Mossadegh in Iran (1953)- threatened U.S. Oil interests, Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala (1954)- threatened United Fruit Corp. by giving land to farmers, and Salvador Allende in Chile (1972)- strategic interests threatened.
Even when specious doctrines weren't invoked, lies and deceptions often were in order to involve the U.S. in massive troop deployments and years of ruinous (to lives and treasure) military intrusions. For example, LBJ employed the ruse of the North Vietnamese firing on the Maddox and Turner Joy in international waters in August, 1964 as the basis to ramp up the Vietnam War. Similarly, Bush and Cheney employed the ruse that Saddam had "WMD" to justify Operation "Iraqi Freedom" (a bogus name if ever there was one) and invade Iraq - which had not one damned thing to do with 9/11. (Though the numskulls who watched FAUX News would argue with that!)
NO, Mr. Panetta, it is time this perfidy end. We, the American People demand it, and we won't accept sham stories to try to entice us to further enabling the war state you inherited. Rather than feeding it, you ought to be presiding over its reduction - to get the more critical program of national restoration and reconstruction back on tract, which must include social safety net protections - lest we lose that "domestic tranquility" we're so enamored of.
 Gore Vidal: 2002, Dreaming War: Blood for Oil and the Cheney-Bush Junta, Thunders Mouth, p. 124.
Morris Berman: 2006, Dark Ages America: The Final Phase of Empire, W.W. Norton, page 118.