Trump’s Generals Fatten the Pentagon

President Trump’s troika of generals may ease public fears about his irascible unpredictability, but they also are busy padding the U.S. military budget and fattening up friendly arms manufacturers, JP Sottile writes.

By JP Sottile

Americans are really counting on President Trump’s vaunted team of generals who are widely regarded as “the adults in the room.” Chief of Staff John Kelly, National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster and Secretary of Defense James “Mad Dog” Mattis make up the much-touted troika that stands between Trump’s itchy Twitter finger and the big red nuclear button.

The Pentagon, headquarters of the U.S. Defense Department, as viewed with the Potomac River and Washington, D.C., in the background. (Defense Department photo)

This ring of rationality around the President has become paramount as Donald “The Dotard” Trump has engaged in an ever-escalating missile-size contest with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. Trump originally dubbed the unusually-coiffed leader “Rocket Man” before realizing that he’d better qualify the size of Kim’s projectile by rechristening him as “Little Rocket Man” … perhaps out of fear that someone might confuse Trump’s campy criticism with rocket envy.

These latest, nerve-wracking salvos came after Trump went to the United Nations General Assembly to drop some Bannon-armed bombs on the global gathering. After telling the world how great his presidency has already been and how wonderful a world of fervent nationalism could be if we only tried, Trump went on to warn to Kim Jung Un that the United States is prepared to “totally destroy North Korea.”

It was an unusual approach. It might even have violated the U.N. Charter. But he blew past all that when he weaponized his Twitter account to warn North Korea’s Foreign Minister that North Korea’s leadership “won’t be around much longer!

That, and some macho goading of the North Koreans with flybys by U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers, led to North Korea’s Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho’s declaration at a U.N.-adjacent presser that the North Koreans regard Trump threats as a “declaration of war.” This “tit-for-tat” back and forth would be much funnier if the stakes weren’t so damn high and the road to a possible conflict wasn’t so damn low.

On the bright side, a well-known economist and head of Columbia University’s Earth Institute just tried to reassure us all that in spite of Trump’s “crude bravado” some real “progress is being made across the world and what is happening in the United States won’t stop that” from continuing. Writing for the Observer (U.K.), Jeffrey Sachs said he sees America losing its grip on the title of “indispensible” nation and also sees the world taking advantage of the space created by Trump’s histrionics. Some might even say that America seems to be “losing its grip” altogether.

Perhaps that’s why one of the “safe and sane” generals just issued a stark warning of his own. It got lost in the wild week of Trump’s temerity that ended up with the ultimate misdirection play when he blew his dog whistle on black athletes in the NBA and the NFL for protesting police shooting unarmed African-Americans. But make no mistake, one of the generals is keeping his eye on the ball. And sorry, Roger Goodell … but there’s no doubt that this ball is filled with a lot of hot air.

Mad Dogs and Businessmen

According to Secretary of Defense Mattis, the land of the free and home of the brave is caught in a potentially deadly pincer action. Uncle Sam is trapped between a disastrous combo of crippling “defense caps” on Pentagon spending and a disorienting lack of “budgetary predictability.” This two-front war even has him “questioning whether or not America has the ability to survive.”

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis meets with troops stationed at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, April 21, 2017. (DoD photo by Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brigitte N. Brantley)

That’s right, folks … Mad Dog believes Uncle Sam is staring down the barrel of an existential threat and it isn’t coming from a plump North Korean “Madman” or a group of Islamic freedom-haters or a Russian bear ambling around the world’s woods with a Cold War-Era grudge and an imperial eye on America’s God-given picnic basket. No, according to Mad Dog’s frothy assessment, taxpayers simply aren’t giving the military the money it needs to ensure America’s survival.

At least, that’s what he told the Air Force Association’s annual conference when he gave the keynote address just two days after the Senate passed a $700 billion National Defense Authorization Act that delivered a fulsome 13 percent spike in defense spending over the previous year. They approved this world-dwarfing shopping spree by an overwhelming vote of 89-8. By the way, “world dwarfing” is not just a clever turn of phrase. This budget bonanza will exceed one-third of the world’s total spending on all things military.

And when the world does spend its relative pittance, it sure knows where to go … because Uncle Sam also just logged a banner year as an international arms dealer with a “record setting” $75.9 billion in sales thus far. That’s thanks, of course, to the “diplomatic” salespeople the State Department deploys around the world like so many Amway reps.

And then, just to put a cherry bomb on top of this year’s Beltway-busting sundae, the Senate’s big spenders gave the Pentagon two dozen more of Lockheed Martin’s profitable, if potentially useless, F-35 planes than the notoriously extortionate Pentagon requested in the first place. Ka-ching!

Cap And Spend

The one thing Congress didn’t do was nix the budget caps instituted under the Budgetary Control Act of 2011. At the time, the sweeping law resolved that year’s “debt ceiling crisis” and, in a passing nod to fiscal responsibility, it placed across-the-board limits on government spending.

President Donald Trump announces the selection of Gen. H.R. McMaster as his new National Security Adviser on Feb. 20, 2017. (Screen shot from Whitehouse.gov)

And since the defense budget is, in fact, part of the government’s yearly transfer of wealth from taxpayers to the lavish troughs that circle the Beltway … that meant the caps were even placed on the perennially sacrosanct defense budget. Last year, the so-called “sequestration” caps meant that defense spending was “curtailed” to a paltry $618 billion.

So, in President Obama’s final year, the United States “only” spent about $20 billion more than China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, India, France, United Kingdom, Japan and Germany … combined. And this world beating budget is the supposedly dire situation then-candidate Donald Trump kept harping on when he’d accused Obama of “depleting” America’s military might. Now, armed with Trump desire to “rebuild” the world’s biggest, most far-reaching military … Congress is piling another $80 billion on top of last year’s already gargantuan budget banquet.

But Trump was sort of “preemptively correct” about the depletion of the military. That’s because he significantly loosened rules of engagement governing bombing civilian targets. And that, in turn, has the Air Force crying poverty. Yup, while Congress was busy running up the budget, the military was busy running out of bombs, according to remarks given by Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson at the same Air Force Association confab. It’s the direct result of our new “non-interventionist” President opening the bomb-bay doors over the Muslim world and, as a result, filling graves with civilians at a record rate.

But civilian deaths don’t really cost anything. Bombs do. And through August, the U.S. dropped over 2,400 bombs on Afghanistan … which blows away last year’s 1,337 bombs dropped. The U.S. is also “dropping about 100 precision weapons per day” on ISIS, according to Secretary Wilson. And during just the month of August alone, the U.S. poured 5,075 bombs on Iraq and Syria. Uncle Sam even added 100-plus strikes on the hunger-wracked, disease-ridden people of Yemen.

Mattis Gratis

Of course, it didn’t occur to Secretary Wilson or Mad Dog Mattis that the problem may have more to do with too many targets instead of not enough bombs. Then again, if you stop dropping all those bombs you’ll stop getting all that money. To wit, Trump’s much-discussed switcheroo on Afghanistan caused a nice bump in the stock prices of Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Boeing.

Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter pilots fly near Jalalabad, Afghanistan, April 5, 2017.  (Army photo by Capt. Brian Harris)

Trump’s Afghanistan speech also led to a “buy” recommendation for General Dynamics, which NASDAQ predicted would gain handsomely from Trump’s Afghanistan “surge.” Why? Because before Mattis joined the administration he pulled a tidy sum of $594,369 for serving “as an ‘independent director’ of the multinational defense contracting behemoth.”

But Mattis’s old company isn’t the only Beltway business getting more bucks by selling bigger bangs. Trump’s long-stated willingness to spend like a drunken sailor made him a big hit with understandably bullish defense contractors. And some of those profitable patriots breezed through the revolving door from Raytheon, Boeing and 13 other defense and defense-related companies … right into the Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security, according to the indefatigable Lee Fang of The Intercept.

In fact, this revving-up of the revolving door was another big problem Mattis cited in his remarks to the Air Force Association. But the problem isn’t what you might think. It’s not that the same people who worked for defense contractors are all-too often put in acquisition-related positions that could benefit their “former” employers. Instead, Mattis believes the problem is that the Pentagon and the defense industry are too far apart. Mattis thinks that the buyers and the sellers need “closer ties” and “more robust lines of communication,” as InsideDefense.com so aptly put it. Go figure.

Revolving Doors

To be fair, Mad Dog is partially talking about innovation when he sounds the alarm about America’s dangerous unwillingness to “invest” in, among other things, “global strike, close air support, global intelligence, global mobility, global surveillance and global command and control,” according to a DefenseNews report on his speech. And he said he wants to speed up “innovation” and promised to move “aggressively and swiftly take advantage of the opportunities that we see developing around us in the private sector.”

President Trump with White House Chief of Staff John Kelly.

Still, it’s still quite a statement when you consider the long, well-established history of the Pentagon’s waste, the defense industry’s ability to bank on taxpayers’ largesse and the role the revolving door has played in that annual transfer of wealth since the start of the Cold War. And it’s also a bit of a kicker when you start to calculate the cost of America’s “Global War on Terror,” which ranges from $1.7 trillion for just the direct funding of specific conflicts to $4.79 trillion on the high end, which is the total Brown University’s “Cost of War Project” arrived at when it tabulated all War on Terror-related spending.

Either way, there is little doubt that one of the least of America’s problems is Mattis’s “uncertainty” in the budgeting process or a lack of funding. Nor is the problem an unwillingness to invest in snazzy new weapons systems. And for a nation straddled with $1.4 trillion in student debt alone, it’s hard to make the case that funding is a problem when, according to one assessment, just the $80 billion increase over last year’s titanic defense budget is enough make all public colleges and universities tuition-free for a full year.

And, despite his best efforts to single-handedly exhaust America’s lethal larder, it’s harder still to stomach Trump’s brassy claims about a military that’s somehow been “depleted” when the forever war has filled defense industry coffers with trillions in taxpayer treasure. That’s not even taking into account the $1 trillion “upgrade” of the nuclear arsenal, which, of course, Trump touts as the super-duper result of his cunning plan to “beef up” America’s biggest bombs when, in fact, it started under his predecessor. Not only is he committed to wiping Obama’s name off of everything, but it’s also that “size matters” thing, again … right?

Sadly, that “size matters” thing is working like a charm for the defense industry. Trump’s schoolyard posturing certainly helped push Lockheed’s profitable THAAD missile defense system into South Korea. He’s made sure the Persian Gulf remains a tony neighborhood filled with committed customers by probing ways to decertify the Iran Nuke Deal and by stoking Saudi Arabia’s regional ambitions. And just like he promised, America is in fact pouring billions into “rebuilding” its “defenses.”

And maybe that’s the other reason why “The Generals” couldn’t pass up an opportunity to “serve” in Trump’s gold-plated administration. It’s not just about making sure Trump doesn’t unnecessarily fill a bunch of flag-draped coffins or start pushing buttons that do more than blow-up Twitter. Rather, the so-called “adults” may have also recognized that Trump’s callow salesmanship offered a “can’t miss” chance to go on a spending spree before emerging war-weariness and annual budgetary sequestration truly put a cap on their long-term budgetary ambitions.  That’s because “size matters” to them, too.

And it would also explain why Mad Dog is so rabid about getting those sequestration caps removed while Trump is busy throwing international hissy-fits and ginning-up the kind national insecurity the defense industry thrives on. But that doesn’t mean America’s survival is in jeopardy. Instead, it might mean that what’s really in jeopardy is the Pentagon’s long-term ability to convince taxpayers to give it and its “partners’ on the other side of the revolving door anything they want … and then some.

JP Sottile is a freelance journalist, radio co-host, documentary filmmaker and former broadcast news producer in Washington, D.C. He blogs at Newsvandal.com or you can follow him on Twitter, http://twitter/newsvandal.

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32 comments for “Trump’s Generals Fatten the Pentagon

  1. Tom Welsh
    September 27, 2017 at 10:46 am

    “No, according to Mad Dog’s frothy assessment, taxpayers simply aren’t giving the military the money it needs to ensure America’s survival”.

    That’s funny. I would have thought it was the other way round: America’s best hope of survival lies in NOT giving the Pentagon any more ghastly WMDs. Because WMDs are what it is asking for. Apparently what is bad in Iraq or North Korea is good in the USA.

    A Pentagon not equipped with WMDs would not be in such a good position to destroy the entire world.

  2. Tom Welsh
    September 27, 2017 at 10:51 am

    And just exactly how would the USA’s survival be threatened if the Pentagon were to receive less money every year than the rest of the world’s war ministries combined?

    If the US government were to confine its activities within the borders of its own nation – as most other governments do – what threats, exactly, would there be to the USA’s survival?

    “At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? By what means shall we fortify against it? Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant, to step the Ocean, and crush us at a blow? Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Buonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years. At what point, then, is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide”.

    – Abraham Lincoln; The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume I, “Address Before the Young Men’s Lyceum,of Springfield, Illinois (January 27, 1838), p. 109.

    Lincoln’s words are as true today as they were 179 years ago. If the US government were to mind its own business and leave foreigners in peace, the USA’s defence needs would be extremely modest. With weak neighbours to North and South, and fish to East and West, as a French ambassador once wittily observed, it has a strong natural position. A handful of warships and submarines, a few squadrons of fighters and plenty of ground-to-air missiles should be plenty. And the remaining 98 percent of the “defense” budget could, for a change, be spent on the people who earned it.

    • Brad Owen
      September 27, 2017 at 11:58 am

      Right on. Oh what an FDR Administration (that would have been Bernie or Jill), not suckered in to fighting other peoples’ wars (not so sure about Bernie; Jill would be squarely against it), could have done with 5 trillion$: CCC/WPA/PWA/TVA/NAWAPA/Marshall Plan for our Continental neighbors. Then, having gained Civil experience instead of Military experience, we could JOIN China and Russia in New Silk Road Plans to help develop the rest of the World

  3. Drew Hunkins
    September 27, 2017 at 11:21 am

    The fascist warmongers fatten the Defense [sic] budget at the exact same time when close to 45% (close to 45%!) of the U.S. population lives below or near the poverty line. When family supporting-living wage jobs with strong union security are nowhere to be found, when tens of millions of Americans are living in debt peonage to usurious credit card predators, rent gouging landlords and housing costs that easily eat up 80% of a paycheck, with one dental nightmare or major car repair leading to bankruptcy.

    The vast, vast majority of this country’s people are in so much financial trouble it’s terrifying. It’s primarily (not totally) what’s spearheading the discontent that builds the white male Charlottesville movements.

    Student loan debt is at unconscionable levels, while economic insecurity stalks the towns, cities and countryside of this nation like a malicious specter ready to devour more and more struggling folks who are dropping out and numbing everything with opiates, alcohol, porn, anti-depressants, internet shopping, isolated suburban alienation, “reality” TV, and other diversions.

    The time for revolution has come, The bottom line question for our day: will an eventual revolutionary movement wind up going fascist OR will it become a populist-progressive movement that takes into consideration everyone, yes, including struggling straight white males?

    The reactionary militarists throwing largesse at the bloodthirsty Pentagon welfare recipient parasites: Raytheon, Northrop-Grumman, Lockheed-Martin, General Dynamics, etc., and the militarist mainstream media demonizing each and every single world leader who won’t dance to Washington’s tune makes a populist-progressive movement less likely while building the types of hatreds and fears that every fascist potentate has fed off for centuries.

    • Abby
      September 27, 2017 at 11:05 pm

      We should start with a massive boycott. No one pays their health insurance premiums, their credit cards, student loans and stops buying anything for at least a week or longer if they can. This will bring the economy crashing down on the people and corporations that are keeping us in crushing debt.
      The protests are not having any effect on police brutality and outright murder and because the police have been militarized, soon we are not going to be able to gather and protest. We have seen how violent the police have become at the OWS, BLM and DAPL protests. The DAPL protests were so very violent and half of the country cheered it on.

      • Drew Hunkins
        September 28, 2017 at 10:20 am

        I hear you Abby. The only way things ever change is by groups of committed people working together as a committed social formation.

  4. David G
    September 27, 2017 at 12:02 pm

    Any limitations on Pentagon budgets pose an “existential threat” to the size of the boat Mattis will be able to buy with his MIC payoff once he empties out his government desk.

  5. mike k
    September 27, 2017 at 12:29 pm

    The MIC is about greed, period. It has nothing to do with “defense.” It is a machine of death and poverty for millions. It is the grotesque child of capitalism, the religion of greed. The few who profit from this monster have zero concern for the rest of us. We are just pawns to be sacrificed in their games of grab. The story of history is about how a few have successfully victimized the majority.

    Whether this death machine can be stopped before it destroys our species is the question hanging over this terminal phase of our fatal illness. The odds are really stacked against us comrades. Even the word “comrades” has been successfully demonized and distorted by our oppressors, in order to interfere with any attempt we might make to organize against them. We have largely been tricked into supporting the very institutions that are destroying us – like the military. We are taught to worship the means of our enslavement. Our chances of awaking and overthrowing those behind this nightmare are vitiated by our tacit participation in their deluding fantasies.

  6. September 27, 2017 at 2:55 pm

    https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2017/09/27/why-united-states-fourth-reich.html

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/47853.htm

    Daddy H. W.’s ‘new world order’ ain’t nothin’ but rehashed Nazism from Germany to U.S. A.

    • mike k
      September 27, 2017 at 5:38 pm

      Thanks for the link to an excellent article, and an interesting website.

      • mike k
        September 27, 2017 at 6:58 pm

        The US generals are all on the take.

    • September 29, 2017 at 3:18 am

      Thank you for the news

  7. September 27, 2017 at 7:12 pm

    The CENTGAS/TAPI pipelines are being built and our troop are protecting these private energy ventures in Afghanistan, U.S. and British oil companies are operating in Iraq, Genie energy is operating fracking operations in Syria’s Golan Heights, U.S. Navy patrols the Gulf of Hormuz and all other oil tanker routes. You’d almost think that the banksters who own majority stock in oil companies and arms manufacturers are over hyping the global threat just to get gullible taxpayers to pay for their overhead and ensure lucrative cost-plus contracts keep pouring in. Next thing you know they will have the audacity to ask (force) Americans to fight and die in their for-profit wars of aggression. Now, they would never stoop so low!

  8. MaDarby
    September 27, 2017 at 9:40 pm

    Don’t forget those live fire drills which seem to happen every week or so around NK these days. I imagine there is fierce competition within the Pentagon for those ranks and assignments mean they get credit for ordering them. It probably works on a scale so many 1.5 million dollar cruse missals shot off so many more stock options.

    The military brass, especially the stared ones stand to make millions after retirement from how much they procure while in power.

    Just the reality TV production of NK tensions – which are nothing more than an excuse to build up huge military assets around China/Russia – represent tens of billions in revenues for the Raythions of the world.

  9. Abby
    September 27, 2017 at 10:57 pm

    I don’t understand why people aren’t in the streets protesting against what our government is doing to us. They must be laughing their buttocks off because of how easy it is to transfer so much of our money to defense contractors and the numerous other agencies and special interests groups while we have people going bankrupt because of their medical bills, and other related issues.
    Then add in how much money the government gave the banks during the first phase of their bailouts and then the uncountable trillions in quantitative easing.
    Millions of people are working more hours and often two or more jobs to make ends meet because even though the corporations in this country get huge tax breaks and subsidies, they will not pay their workers a decent enough wage. This is especially true about Walmart. They get tax breaks and subsidies while most of their workers qualify for food stamps, public housing and Medicaid. Each Walmart store costs the government $900,000 because of what they pay their workers.
    And instead of people protesting their government, they just take it. No wonder TPTB are laughing at us.
    Then there’s the number of people who join the military because they were taught that the military is protecting our freedoms and spreading democracy when in fact they are just cannon fodder for the corporations.

    • Seer
      September 28, 2017 at 7:02 am

      “I don’t understand why people aren’t in the streets protesting against what our government is doing to us.”

      After spending years out on the street protesting the impending, and actual, war on Iraq I DO know why.

      How people can expect people who are proud of sending their children off to war wouldn’t be out on the streets protesting is something that I cannot understand.

      I gave up fighting to keep this gene pool in the game.

      Sadly, this is yet another fire that is going to have to burn itself out. Economic collapse will be the extinguishing agent. With the GOP on the rampage to give tax breaks to the poor .05%-ers that’ll mean less ability to squeeze blood (money) from the stone (taxpayers). And this might be the most baffling question of them all: How with a reduction in taxes can there be a continuing escalation in war spending? The rich begin to eat each other… (at this point it’s the ONLY positive in all this crap)

      • Joe Tedesky
        September 28, 2017 at 8:40 am

        Thanks for your service. I’m not trolling you, or am I running you down. I actually believe by your protesting the war, among the many other things your protesting may represent, you are doing every citizen of the global empire a huge favor. So thank you Abby, now go save your well needed gene pool. Joe

        • Joe Tedesky
          September 28, 2017 at 10:00 am

          Seer I’m a real jerk, I thanked Abby for your service Seer. So, being the screw up I can be, I will apologize to both you Seer, and Abby, for my getting to address my comment to the right person. How embarrassing. Thanks Seer for what you have done, and Abby I’ll thank you, because I’m sure you deserve it fir something you have done. Joe

    • September 28, 2017 at 9:29 am

      To answer your question as to why people are not in the streets protesting these atrocities, they would be if the people we’re anything like the people of good conscience and higher understanding such as the people on Consortium. The Cabal of interlocked corporations and international banksters have been very successful in dumbing down the populace and constantly creating divide and conquer strategies.

      One has to wonder if these elite money masters are happy with their Frankenstein public now.

  10. Zachary Smith
    September 28, 2017 at 2:12 am

    I fear Mr. Sottile is understating the issue. Naturally he must rely upon news reports, but way too many of those aren’t to be trusted.

    And then, just to put a cherry bomb on top of this year’s Beltway-busting sundae, the Senate’s big spenders gave the Pentagon two dozen more of Lockheed Martin’s profitable, if potentially useless, F-35 planes than the notoriously extortionate Pentagon requested in the first place. Ka-ching!

    The second link appears to be badly off.

    “Some F-35s could remain without fully combat-capable software”

    According to a FlightGlobal report, Lockheed Martin delivered about 108 aircraft in a 2B software configuration during the early stages of the program, Vice. Adm. Mat Winter, head of the F-35 joint program office, said Monday. It would take at least 150 modifications to bring each jet up to the 3F software standard associated with full combat capability.

    In my opinion 108 F-35s is a much more specific number than the vague “dozens” in that link. How much money is being flushed down the toilet? It’s really hard to say, but I found a story with some numbers, for whatever they’re worth.

    The Pentagon spent nearly $67 billion to design, engineer and deploy 187 F-22s between 1997 and 2012. However, the average price of each individual plane rose to $412 million by 2014 due to added modernization costs that ultimately led to a halt in production, according to the GAO.

    Plucking some values out of thin air, assume those 108 F-35s averaged $300 million dollars each. Multiplying yields a total of $32 billion dollars. I think that will be the most expensive training fleet in history. And who is to say that’s the end of it. The factories are cranking out F-35s with known and still unresolved problems. Collusion between Lockheed and the Air Force is causing testing to be curtailed – they really don’t want to find any more problems! Or even verify the “fixes” really fix anything.

    A potential canary in the coal mine is Israel. That nation basically gets free airplanes from the US, but they’re beginning to wonder if they really want their massive allowance to be spent on worthless pieces of crap. Especially when there are still some quite decent fighter planes available which are also free. Israel has taken note of the ejection seat which may break the pilot’s neck, the non-working oxygen supply system, and other F-35 issues.

    That earliest article mentions the A-10. The F-35 will NEVER be used for ground support – it’s just too expensive and fragile. Soldiers on the ground need a hell of a lot more assistance than an occasional $100,000,000 jet tootling by with its small payload of super-smart and super-expensive bombs.

    The US military budget is so gigantic because it is paying for overpriced junk. Even the “good” stuff is overpriced. The name of the game is shoveling taxpayer dollars to Big Weapons. Congress is in on it because of blatant bribery. Military procurement officials are in on it because of the “revolving door”. After you retire, do you want a fantastic job with Big Weapons or don’t you?

    It is the human element of the military which is being truly screwed. The US Navy is working sailors to death. Literally. They’re tasked with doing their own job as well as training newcomers who don’t know left from right. People just can’t get by when they’re averaging 4-5 hours of sleep over long periods. Where does the money the Navy Big Brass saves go to?

    Why they spend it on piles of worthless junk like the Ford-class aircraft carrier. People who read history know that the US was building massive battleships long after they were basically useless. These were wonderful weapons within a lethal radius of about 25 miles – the maximum range of their cannons. At least they were before airplanes were invented. Today we’ve invested at least $12 billion dollars for a monstrosity which has that “lethal radius” of maybe 500 miles. The things are sitting ducks for all the weapons of longer range which can now be brought against them. The money loss is going to be bad enough, but there are going to be 4,000 men aboard these things. Exposing the men and women to a high probability of death in the open ocean on a vessel which will become increasingly irrelevant in the future is beyond scandalous.

    I don’t know how to stop this gravy train, for all the congresscritters are in the muck up to their eyelashes. Even Sanders is a world-class imperialist as well as a great champion for the F-35. I’ve read that military overreach was what destroyed the USSR. That may be our fate as well, for we can’t continue wasting money at these rates forever.

    • Seer
      September 28, 2017 at 7:07 am

      “they really don’t want to find any more problems! Or even verify the “fixes” really fix anything. ”

      Oh, to the contrary! The various drum beats of war are for QA-ing. What needs fixing will be identified as being necessary. Cue up “Ca-Ching”…

    • September 29, 2017 at 4:27 am

      Looks interesting

  11. Realist
    September 28, 2017 at 6:01 am

    Dear Millennials: There will be no Social Security or Medicare coverage for you in old age. There will be no public schools or state-supported higher education for your children either. And, if you should end up penniless and jobless, there will be no Medicaid or unemployment insurance available to you. It won’t be because the Boomers squandered all this country’s resources, although we may get the pittance that’s left in the trust funds of the dying social programs which will then be phased out. No, you will be left with squat because all that money will have been spent on funding world conquest by our military. Structurally-sound bridges to sleep under may be at a premium in a nation of collapsing infrastructure, so better do a search and stake your claim early. Your best bet for a short but happy life might be to join the military and hope you get killed quickly when the Empire deploys you to fight in some hell-hole in Africa, Latin America or Central Asia.

    • Seer
      September 28, 2017 at 7:19 am

      It’s no so much individuals or groups of individuals (see Sir John Glubb’s The Fate of Empires and Search for Survival of Civilization), but of growth. Perpetual growth on a finite planet has been the aim of all “civilizations.” It’s a premise/model that is readily defeated by simple mathematical analysis (exponential function). To challenge this premise would be the “Humans Have No Clothes” moment for all of humankind. All the systems you mention are predicated on this premise, so, by default, they could never perpetuate. We are surrounded by a big brick wall, and stepping on the accelerator- no change of course, no change in “leadership” is going to stop the inevitable crash into that wall: only way to avoid it is to hit the brakes, something that pulls the rug out of growth, and pulls the rug out from everything else.

  12. mike k
    September 28, 2017 at 9:18 am

    Realist, Seer – Right on! When a culture worships the War God as we do, the results are disastrous and terrible. The War God eats it’s own children. The War God is the enemy of all Life. The violent sports, video games, TV shows all promote a culture of violence. THE OBSESSION OF LITTLE KIDS WITH KARATE, SO THEY Can “kick ass” is nurtured by our “entertainment” industry. The proliferation of guns and killings in society, the police modeling themselves on storm troopers, the rape and beating of women – does anyone admit how sick with violence our society is. ALL THIS IS BECOMING “NORMALIZED” so that we don’t even see our madness for what it is.

  13. September 28, 2017 at 4:59 pm

    https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=youtube+donald+rumsfeld+2.3+trillion&qpvt=youtube+donald+rumsfeld+2.3+trillion&view=detail&mid=71D5F3CD2DC15C7FF89B71D5F3CD2DC15C7FF89B&FORM=VRDGAR

    And let’s us not forget this announcement by Rumsfeld on Sept. 10 2001, the next day the accounting wing of the Pentagon was destroyed.

    • Gregory Herr
      September 30, 2017 at 1:36 pm

      Whoops!

  14. September 29, 2017 at 10:50 am

    The US War industry planned by the Generals in the Pentagon creates more “defense oriented” organizations that provide opportunities for retiring military brass to add to their pensions. It is all supported with the taxpayer dollars.

    There is, however, a technology with which anyone in this world can be reached. With telepathy the people in charge of governments around the world can be made to reverse their aggressive saber rattling approach to the rest of the world.

    Kim Jong-un should be a prime target for release of the US hostages in North Korea.

    Telepathy is virtually without cost!!!! Undoubtedly it will require people with high level of integrity to participate in an norganized effort.

  15. Abe
    September 29, 2017 at 5:54 pm

    For a clear view of the Pentagon’s never-ending spending spree, read the monthly distillations of U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) funding priorities presented by Newsbud contributing analyst Christian Sorensen.

    https://www.newsbud.com/author/christian-sorensen/

    Sorensen served in the U.S. Air Force from 2007-2011. The profligate waste he witnessed during his time in uniform forced him to reassess his support for U.S. Empire.

  16. Tom O'Neill
    September 30, 2017 at 6:26 pm

    I believe Sottile’s monetary figures, and I share his lament at our extravagance. His article helps explain why we have so little money for infra-structure, education, health-care, etc. We have made “absolute national security” a very apt way for transferring money from domestic civil uses into the military complex. What makes “absolute national security” such a dependable rationale for all this is that it can never be achieved. The more successfully we intimidate others with our military weaponry, the greater the number of those who resent us, and the greater our need to intimidate and punish. We are moving toward a Fortress America concept, hardening our hearts and preparing ourselves to denounce and reject as terrorists the waves of refugees that climate change is beginning to generate. If we wish to live in harmony with the rest of the human race, we could hardly engage in worse behavior than the behavior Sottile describes.

  17. R Davis
    October 4, 2017 at 11:23 pm

    On May 20, 2017 President Trump signed THE LARGEST ARMS DEAL IN US HISTORY to the tune of $350 BILLION – with Saudi Arabia.
    Alas ………. Saudi Arabia DON’T GOT THE MONEY TO PAY………… yes folks ………. it is a FAKE DEAL / A BLATANT LIE.

    When it comes to extravagant military spending – the US senate is expected to pass a $700 BILLION defense bill.

    This comes at a time when the US gross national debt has reached $20.2 TRILLION & will likely reach $21 TRILLION by the next fiscal year.
    So the US is the biggest arms dealer in the world …… who has the NECESSARY monies to purchase all the lovely warring goodies ………. um, um, ah, um, ah, …. the reality s that no one has the purchasing power to buy these wondrous goodies ……… so AMERICA will foot the entire bill …….. & once the bombs go boom …. the borrowed money accruing interest will still have to be repaid to the US Federal Reserve ……….. on top of the $21 plus TRILLION already owed.

    All theses TRILLIONS are borrowed by the US from the US Federal Reserve ………… at least someone is making money from all this arms manufacture.

    The Reliable Drunk.

    “have a drink”
    “no I can’t afford it”
    “have one on the house”
    “no really, I’m an alcoholic, I’m on the wagon”
    “one drink, what can it hurt, see, that wasn’t so bad, you feel better already”
    “have another”
    “I have no money to buy a drink”
    “don’t worry, I can lend it to you, & at low interest repayments, drink up”
    “can I just have one more drink on the tab”
    “sure you can”

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