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Ichingcarpenter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-19-08 12:13 PM
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Threats of Our Own Making to Fuel the Military Industrial Complex
Edited on Tue Feb-19-08 12:39 PM by Ichingcarpenter

Threats of Our Own Making
February 18, 2008
Ivan Eland

The Pentagon has long had a conflict of interest. The Department of Defense builds the weapons of war (albeit in a grossly inefficient manner using a captive defense industry that is a ward of the state). Yet the department also supervises and funds 85 percent of the intelligence effort to identify threats that those weapons, at least theoretically, are designed to counter. Thus, political pressure for more business from states and congressional districts containing defense industries leads the U.S. government to inflate external threats to justify ever-greater defense spending. The Pentagon helps generate such political pressure by distributing defense contracts and subcontracts, not on the basis of the best or most efficient defense companies, but to companies in as many states and congressional districts as possible. Such is the way the military-industrial complexidentified by President and former General Dwight Eisenhowerworks.

Of course, it is much easier to find new threats to highlight if you help create them yourself. A classic case of threat generation occurred with NATO expansion. NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, was originally created after World War II as a defensive alliance against possible Soviet expansionism in Europe. After the Cold War, despite the eclipse of its reason for being, NATO started expanding its territory and mission. The alliance admitted former Soviet allies in Eastern Europe and republics of the defunct USSR, which implanted a hostile alliance on a weakened Russias doorstep. NATO became even more threatening to Russia because, at the same time, the alliance shifted its mission from defending the soil of member countries to offensive missions outside the treaty areafor example, bombing Bosnia, Kosovo, and Serbia.

All of this expansion of territory and mission was done under the guise of transitioning new European members from communist to capitalist societies and stabilizing other areas in Europe and the world. Of course, admitting Eastern European countries to the economically oriented European Union would have sufficed to obtain the former objective; admitting the new democracies to NATO merely caused these resource-deficient countries to spend more on defense. As for the latter goal, it is questionable whether NATO has stabilized countries through attacking or occupying them. The real reason for NATO expansion was to expand U.S. influence in Europe while Russia was weakened.

During the debates on NATO expansion during the mid-nineties, many people, including me, warned that kicking the Russian bear when he was down might come back to bite the United States. The United States continues to deepen its ties in the former Soviet sphere of influence by proposing that a missile defense system be installed in Poland and the Czech Republic to ostensibly defend against Iranian long-range missiles, which that nation will not have for some time. Yet the bear is no longer hibernating. Todays Russiabuoyed by revenues from higher oil and natural gas prices, economic growth, and a more assertive leaderis no longer the weak Russia of the 1990s.

Most businesses would love to be able to generate demand for their products. Unfortunately, the Pentagon and the military-industrial complex have this luxury and regularly waste oodles of taxpayer dollars making U.S. citizens less safe.
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