The Conflicted Boeing Executive Running Trump’s Pentagon

To truly avoid a conflict of interest, the Boeing executive appointed acting secretary of defense would have to avoid many significant decisions, write Mandy Smithberger and William D. Hartung of Tom’s Dispatch

By Mandy Smithberger and William D. Hartung
Tom’s Dispatch

The way personnel spin through Washington’s infamous revolving door between the Pentagon and the arms industry is nothing new. That door, however, is moving ever faster with the appointment of Patrick Shanahan, who spent 30 years at Boeing, the Pentagon’s second largest contractor, as the Trump administration’s acting secretary of defense.

Shanahan had previously been deputy secretary of defense, a typical position in recent years for someone with a significant arms industry background. William Lynn, President Obama’s first deputy secretary of defense, had been a Raytheon lobbyist. Ashton Carter, his successor, was a consultant for the same company. One of President George W. Bush’s deputies, Gordon England, had been president of the General Dynamics Fort Worth Aircraft Company (later sold to Lockheed Martin).

Pat Shanahan, while serving as deputy defense secretary, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., 2017. (DoD photo by Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brigitte N. Brantley)

Shanahan, while deputy defense secretary, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., 2017. (DoD,Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brigitte N. Brantley)

But Shanahan is unique. No secretary of defense in recent memory has had such a long career in the arms industry and so little experience in government or the military. For most of that career, in fact, his main focus was winning defense contracts for Boeing, not crafting effective defense policies. While the Pentagon should be focused on protecting the country, the arms industry operates in the pursuit of profit, even when that means selling weapons systems to countries working against American national security interests.

The closest analogues to Shanahan were Charlie Wilson, head of General Motors, whom President Dwight Eisenhower appointed to lead the Department of Defense (DoD) more than 60 years ago, and John F. Kennedy’s first defense secretary, Robert McNamara, who ran the Ford Motor Company before joining the administration. Eisenhower’s choice of Wilson, whose firm manufactured military vehicles, raised concerns at the time about conflicts of interest — but not in Wilson’s mind. He famously claimed that “for years I thought what was good for the country was good for General Motors and vice versa.”

Shanahan’s new role raises questions about whether what is in the best interest of Boeing — bigger defense budgets and giant contracts for unaffordable and ineffective weaponry or aircraft — is what’s in the best interest of the public.

Rampant Conflicts of Interest

Unlike Wilson, Shanahan has at least implicitly acknowledged the potential for conflicts of interest in his new role by agreeing to recuse himself from decisions involving his former employer. But were he truly to adhere to such a position, he would have to avoid many of the Pentagon’s most significant management and financial decisions. Last year, after all, Boeing received nearly $30 billion in DoD contracts for working on everything from combat, refueling, training, and radar planes to bombs, drones, missile-defense systems, ballistic missiles, and military satellites. If Shanahan were to step back from deliberations related to all of these, he would, at best, be a part-time steward of the Pentagon, unable even to oversee whether Boeing and related companies delivered what our military asked for.

 Submarine launch of a Lockheed Trident missile. (Wikimedia)

Submarine launch of a Lockheed Trident missile. (Wikimedia)

There is already evidence, however, that he will do anything but refrain from overseeing, and so promoting, his old firm. Take Boeing’s F-15X, for example. Against the wishes of the Air Force, the Pentagon decided to invest at least $1.2 billion in that fighter aircraft, an upgraded version of the Boeing F-15C/D, which had been supplanted by Lockheed Martin’s questionable new F-35. There have been reports that Shanahan has already trashed Lockheed, Boeing’s top competitor, in discussions inside the Pentagon. According to Bloomberg News, the decision to invest in the F-15X was due, in part at least, to “prodding” from him, when he was still deputy secretary of defense.

And that’s just one of a slew of major contracts scooped up by Boeing in the past year. Others include a $9.2 billion program for a new training aircraft for the Air Force, an $805 million contract for an aerial refueling drone for the Navy, two new presidential Air Force One planes at a price tag of at least $3.9 billion, and significant new funding for the KC-46 refueling tanker, a troubled plane the Air Force has cleared for full production despite major defects still to be addressed. While there is as yet no evidence that Shanahan himself sought to tip the scales in Boeing’s favor on any of these systems, it doesn’t look good. As defense secretary, he’s bound to be called on to referee major problems that will arise with one or more of these programs, at which point the question of bias towards Boeing will come directly into play.

Defenders of Shanahan’s appointment to run what is by far the largest department in the federal government suggest that key Boeing decisions won’t even reach his desk. That, however, is a deeply flawed argument for a number of reasons. To start, when making such decisions, lower-level managers will be aware of their boss’s lifetime connection to Boeing — especially since Shanahan has reportedly sung the praises of his former firm at the Pentagon. He has insisted, for example, that the massive F-35 program would have had none of the serious problems now plaguing it had it been run by Boeing.

In addition, Shanahan will be developing policies and programs sure to directly affect that company’s bottom line. Among them, he’ll be setting the DoD’s priorities when it comes to addressing perceived threats. His initial message on his first day as acting secretary, for instance, was summarized as “China, China, China.” Will he then prime the pump for expensive weapon systems like Boeing’s P-8 Poseidon surveillance aircraft, designed specifically to monitor Chinese military activities?

Boeing International Headquarters in Chicago. (Wikimedia)

Boeing International Headquarters in Chicago. (Wikimedia)

He has similarly been the Pentagon’s staunchest advocate when it comes to the development of a new Space Force, something that likely thrills President Trump. He’s advocated, for example, giving the Space Development Agency, the body that will be charged with developing military space assets, authority “on steroids” to shove ever more contracts out the door. As a producer of military satellites, Boeing is a major potential beneficiary of just such a development.

Then there’s missile defense, another new presidential favorite. Shanahan presided over Boeing’s missile defense division at a time when one of the systems being developed was the Airborne Laser, meant to zap launched nuclear missiles with lasers installed on Boeing 747 aircraft. The project, a dismal failure, was cancelled after more than $5 billion in taxpayer funds had been sunk into it. The Pentagon’s latest “Star Wars”-style anti-missile technology, whose development was just announced by President Trump, calls for a major investment in an equally impractical set of technologies at a price that Joseph Cirincione of the Ploughshares Fund suggests could reach $1 trillion in the decades to come.

Among Boeing’s current missile-defense programs is the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense System, an array of land-based interceptor missiles that has already failed the majority of its tests. It’s unlikely that it will ever function effectively in a situation in which incoming warheads would be accompanied by large numbers of decoys. The Congressional Budget Office has identified the cancellation of the program as one obvious decision that could save significant sums. But what chance is there that Shanahan would support such a decision, given all those years in which he advocated for that missile-defense system at Boeing?

Or take nuclear policy. His former company is one of two finalists to build a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). Critics of such weapons systems like Clinton administration Secretary of Defense William Perry point out that ICBMs are the most dangerous and unnecessary leg of the U.S. nuclear triad, since in a potential war they might need to be launched on only minutes’ notice, lest they be lost to incoming enemy nukes. Even some of their supporters have questioned the need for a brand-new ICBM when older ones could be upgraded. Nuclear hawks might eventually be persuaded to adopt such a position, too, since the cost of the Pentagon’s across-the-board $1.5 trillion “modernization” of the U.S. nuclear arsenal (including the production of new nuclear bombers, missiles, and warheads) will otherwise begin to impinge on department priorities elsewhere. But how likely is Shanahan to seriously entertain even such modest critiques when they threaten to eliminate a huge potential payday for Boeing?

F-15C Eagles fly over Kuwait during the Gulf War in 1991. (U.S. Air Force)

F-15C Eagles fly over Kuwait during the Gulf War in 1991. (U.S. Air Force)

Finally, there is the issue of U.S. support for the brutal war launched by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Yemen nearly four years ago. Boeing’s combat planes, bombs, and attack helicopters have played a central role in that conflict, which has killed tens of thousands of civilians, while a Saudi blockade of the country has put millions more at risk of famine. In addition, Boeing continues to benefit from a $480 million contract to service the F-15s it has supplied to the Royal Saudi Air Force.

Here, President Trump is firmly in that company’s corner. “Boeing, Lockheed, Raytheon… I don’t wanna hurt jobs,” he told 60 Minutes. “I don’t wanna lose an order like that [from the Saudi government].” Before his resignation, Secretary of Defense James Mattis was regularly called upon to comment on the Saudi war and help craft U.S. policy towards both that country and the UAE. Where will Shanahan stand on a war significantly fueled by the products of his former company?

There is, in fact, a grim precedent for Shanahan’s present situation. The Intercept and The Wall Street Journal have both reported that State Department Acting Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs Charles Faulkner, a former lobbyist for Raytheon, advocated giving Saudi Arabia a clean bill of health on its efforts to avoid hitting civilians in its air strikes in Yemen, lest Raytheon lose a lucrative bomb deal. So much for draining the swamp.

The Revolving Door Spins Both Ways

Shanahan and Faulkner are far from the only former defense executives or lobbyists to populate the Trump administration. Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson is a former lobbyist for Lockheed Martin. Ellen Lord, who heads procurement at the Pentagon, worked at Textron, a producer of bombs and military helicopters. Secretary of the Army Mark Esper — rumored as a possible replacement for Shanahan as secretary of defense — was once a top lobbyist at Raytheon. Undersecretary of Defense for Policy John Rood was a senior vice president at Lockheed Martin. And the latest addition to the club is Charles Kupperman, who has been tapped as deputy national security advisor. His career includes stints at both Boeing and Lockheed Martin. (His claim to fame: asserting that the United States could win a nuclear war.)

Plan view of a revolving door. (Wikimedia)

Plan view of a revolving door. (Wikimedia)

All of the above, including Patrick Shanahan, spun through that famed revolving door into government posts, but so many former DoD officials and top-level military officers have long spun in the opposite direction. In 1969, for example, Wisconsin Democratic Senator William Proxmire, a legendary Pentagon watchdog, was already describing the problem this way:

“The easy movement of high-ranking military officers into jobs with major defense contractors and the reverse movement of top executives in major defense contractors into high Pentagon jobs is solid evidence of the military-industrial complex in operation. It is a real threat to the public interest because it increases the chances of abuse. How hard a bargain will officers involved in procurement planning or specifications drive when they are one or two years from retirement and have the example to look at of over 2,000 fellow officers doing well on the outside after retirement?”

Or, as a 1983 internal Air Force memo, put it, “If a colonel or a general stands up and makes a fuss about high cost and poor quality, no nice man will come to see him when he retires.”

As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump appeared to recognize the obvious problem of the revolving door and proposed a five-point ethics reform plan to slow it down, if not shut it down entirely. Unfortunately, the ethics executive order he put in place once in office fell wildly short of his campaign ambitions, leaving that revolving door spinning madly. A new report from the Project On Government Oversight has documented 645 cases in 2018 alone in which former government officials held jobs at the top 20 Pentagon contractors. The leader among them? You probably won’t be surprised to learn that it’s Boeing, with 84 such hires.

Retired Vice Admiral Jeffrey Wieringa, who led the Pentagon’s arms sales office, is a case in point. In that role, he helped promote sales of U.S. weaponry globally. Perhaps as a result, he “earned” himself a position as president for global services and support at Boeing less than a year after he retired. He’s far from alone. Retired Rear Admiral Donald Gaddis, a program officer for Navy air systems, also joined the company, as did retired Air Force Major General Jack Catton Jr., who served as the director of requirements for the Air Combat Command before moving to Boeing. Retired Vice Admiral Mark Harnitchek, the former head of the Defense Logistics Agency, charged with managing $35 billion in goods and services across the DoD annually, similarly became a vice president at Boeing.

Slowing the Revolving Door

Candidate Donald Trump saw the revolving door between government and industry as a problem. “I think anybody that gives out these big contracts should never ever, during their lifetime, be allowed to work for a defense company, for a company that makes that product,” he said. As the continuing flow of officials through it suggests, however, as president, he’s done anything but drain that swamp.

In order to do so, he would, as a start, have to focus his administration on closing the many loopholes in current federal ethics laws, which, however imperfectly, seek to limit conflicts of interest on the part of government officials who move to jobs in industry. Under current law, lobbying restrictions on such former officials can be circumvented if they label themselves “consultants” or “business development executives.” Similarly, former Pentagon officials can go to work for an arms maker they once awarded a contract to as long as they’re hired by a different division of that company. In addition, while Congress requires that the Pentagon track whoever’s moving through that revolving door, the database that does so is both incomplete and not available for public viewing.

Candidate Trump was onto something. However, rather than curbing the blatant conflicts inherent in the revolving door — the ultimate symbol of the military-industrial complex in action — President Trump is actually accelerating them. America is indeed great again, if you happen to be one of those lucky enough to be moving back and forth between plum jobs in the Pentagon and the weapons industry.

Mandy Smithberger is the director of the Straus Military Reform Project at the Project On Government Oversight (POGO).

William D. Hartung, a TomDispatch regular, is the director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy and the author of Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military-Industrial Complex.”

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21 comments for “The Conflicted Boeing Executive Running Trump’s Pentagon

  1. Andrew Thomas
    February 6, 2019 at 4:46 pm

    Nomi Prins has done and continues to do very important work in this vein, but in the financial world-the so-called “revolving door” between Wall Street, the Fed, the Treasury Department, and related agencies. The insight she has that really hit me-and please forgive my inadequate effort to summarize -is that we are using the wrong metaphor. There is no door. There are no walls. They all have different roles and paymasters, but the same mission statement. If anything, what has been described in the article, and the comments, is exactly what she describes in the financial sector. The only “politics” involved is the petty infighting of careerists.

  2. Ares Anhur
    February 5, 2019 at 6:09 pm

    As big US companies close their books for 2018, the top beneficiaries of Donald Trump’s tax cuts are becoming clear—the defense firms that reported big jumps in profits rewarded investors with dividends and more than $1 trillion in share buybacks. That means that corporate benefits from the tax bill mostly flowed to the wealthiest Americans, just like the benefits of the personal tax cuts.

    Lockheed Martin, for example, earned $5 billion last year, up more than 150% from the year before; General Dynamics generated net earnings of $3.3 billion, up 15% from the year before; Northrop Grumman made $3.2 billion, up 13% on 2017; and Raytheon recorded $2.9 billion in profit for the year, up more than 40% on the previous year.

    These companies all embarked on big share buyback programs spurred in part by the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” passed by the Trump administration in late 2017.

    That argument becomes even stronger for the biggest US defense contractors. They are a special case because of where their profits come from in the first place. Lockheed Martin earns about 60% of its annual revenue from sales to the US Department of Defense, for example, and General Dynamics about half. The Trump administration has pledged to boost defense spending in the years to come.

    The Department of Defense is, of course, funded by US taxpayers. So Americans pay taxes that fund most of Lockheed’s business, the company earns profits off from that business, pays a reduced tax rate under the new tax bill, and then shares those benefits with shareholders. Only around half of American households own stocks, and the richest 10% of Americans own more than 8o% of shares by value.

    Excerpted from: US defense giants show how American capitalism fails taxpayers

    https://qz.com/1537885/defense-companies-like-lockheed-martin-dont-share-tax-benefits-equally/

    Interestingly, the largest “competing” defense contractors are all owned by the same largest institutional investment firms, which are largely owned & thus controlled by the .01 percent.
    http://investors.morningstar.com/ownership/shareholders-major.html?t=LMT

    War is a Racket
    Maj. Gen. Smedley Butler
    https://ratical.org/ratville/CAH/warisaracket.html

  3. Mild-ly Facetious
    February 5, 2019 at 3:58 pm

    The PERMANENT WAR Industrialists, and their Washington DC Politician / Co-Conspiritors have the unscrupulously
    self-aggrandizing Donald Trump positioned perfectly / autocratically in the vanity seat of “Potentate” in this Era/Epoch of Ravaging Military Power married to the enormous World Economic/Military Power of the United States.

    Trump is the Darling-ly MOST DESIRED POTUS (dupe) the War Industrialists have hoped and dreamed of Unremittingly/Perpetually.

    Trump is the second half, or missing twin to GWB in the advance of THE MILITARY INDUSTRIAL ‘COMPLEX’ of World Domination
    by means of Military Dominance and Corporate Economic Control of Resources.

    Trump (is) could be (an) The Igniter of the New World Order spoken of by GHW Bush back in 199o/91.

    { “The love of money is the root of all Evil” }

    Every Day we see, (those of us whom pay attention/ and “give-a-damn”)
    Murderous acts of war and aggression – Human Beings Blown up
    w/ bombs or Bombings from Jets or Drones

    Anglo / European INDUSTRIAL Manufactured Weapons
    Freely Employed/Deployed to Maim and Kill INNOCENT HUMAN BEINGS
    who’ve committed NO crimes against us/nor had no ill will toward.

    We Murder/Maim/Destroy- in multiple Earth Zones of HUMANITY
    how can we do this ? with unconscious applause for the massacre of
    100thousands and created homelessness/disruption of lives/ for what reason ?

    THE PROFIT FROM WAR MACHINES AND WEAPONS OF WAR
    FOR BOEING, RAETHEON,et al, + CONGRESS MEMBERSON PAYROLL..

    Most Laughable of all are You TRUMP supporters here that THOUGHT
    Donald mean’t peace and/or Hillary meant War,??? U’all’s Butts Been Kicked !!

  4. Jeff Harrison
    February 5, 2019 at 11:03 am

    You guys are really reaching for this one. Yes, Boeing is the #2 defense contractor but only because it merged with McDonnell Douglas. Look Shanahan up on Wikipedia. He worked for the Commercial Airplane Company from ’86 to ’04 (Boeing and McDonnell Douglas, the source of their rotor craft business and missile business, merged in 1998). That means he had zero military dealings for the first 18 years of his time in Boeing (when Boeing produces a military aircraft from a commercial jetliner, the Commercial Airplane Company produces the commercial jetliner and then hands it off to another organization, not in the Commercial Airplane Company, who then installs the modified parts and specific equipment used by the military).

    Yeah, I understand about the revolving door between government and industry and I think it’s highly inappropriate and I would assume that he would have to recuse himself from decisions involving Boeing. I don’t know the man from Adam so for all I know he’s a foaming at the mouth warmonger like John Bolton. But get your story straight, cuz this one ain’t. Patrick Shanahan grew up in the Commercial Airplane Company of the Boeing Corporation which isn’t actually in the MIC. Yeah, he’s bounced around the corporation since expanding beyond the Commercial Airplane Company including being in charge of some divisions that have military business but he’s also been working in essentially purely commercial parts of the company as well. He’s not the government/military insider that this piece paints him as.

    • Consortiumnews.com
      February 5, 2019 at 11:56 am

      From his DoD bio: He was “vice president and general manager of Boeing Missile Defense Systems, overseeing the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system, Airborne Laser and Advanced Tactical Laser; and as vice president and general manager of Boeing Rotorcraft Systems, overseeing the Apache, Chinook and Osprey.” That is not “being in charge of some divisions that have military business.”

  5. Brian Murphy
    February 5, 2019 at 9:38 am

    This article is based on erroneous assumptions about the purpose of the Pentagon, the nature of our current form of government, and the operative definition of the term “national security” as used by policymakers. The Pentagon has almost nothing to do with defense of the country, and it is silly to write an article that assumes that this is the purpose of today’s Pentagon. The USA is a global empire, and the Pentagon is its muscle, enforcing the will of the owners of the government. Additionally, the Pentagon is there to ensure that a healthy flow of public funds go to weapons manufacturers and other defense contractors. The nature of the government is that the owners of various key industries in turn own and occupy the federal government, receiving all the federal government’s services. One of these key industries is the defense industry, which is in a perverse symbiosis with another key industry – fossil fuel energy. The US government does not in any way serve the public, except by appearance when necessary to perpetuate the system of transfer payments from the public to the owners of the key industries. In economic terms, the Pentagon effectuates the transfer of wealth from the public to the owners of the arms companies. When public officials try to disrupt this arrangement, they get removed from office. The term “national security” means, strictly, the economic interests of the owners of the government. That’s it. Let’s not pretend that any other definition is in place. Please.

  6. Skip Scott
    February 5, 2019 at 8:52 am

    I think the only reasonable long term solution to this mess is to “nationalize” the defense industry. Some things just don’t do well under capitalism. Look at how Russia has been able to develop weapon systems that make billions of dollars worth of our weapons completely useless while spending a small fraction of our bloated military budget. It is the same with our so-called “health care” industry. Incredible waste with questionable outcomes. Imagine the good we could do in the world with the money and human resources wasted in these two areas alone!

    • Joe Tedesky
      February 5, 2019 at 1:58 pm

      Skip no truer words could be spoken. Profit is the most motivating factor towards a never ending war economy. Imagine if our leaders placed so much importance on healthcare, or environmental needs as, they do on war. Imagine the USA strengthening disarmament conditions as opposed to our pulling out of well needed nuclear arms agreements. Instead, all due to profit, the USA is rattling every nation’s cage along with its allies all because there’s a buck to be made…. everything is a ‘Deal’.

  7. KiwiAntz
    February 5, 2019 at 1:30 am

    What a insane Country, Anerica is? A morally bankrupt & utterly corrupt Nation that wastes billions & trillions of dollars on obscene, utterly garbage Weapons & Hi-Tech Turkeys like the trillion dollar F35 & other duds that don’t work & never will, to fight against non-existent Enemies & threats while their population dies from lousy Healthcare, economic stagnation & low wages & a opiate crisis killing thousands of its own people? This Country will destroy itself, economically before anyone try’s to attack it Militarily?

  8. CitizenOne
    February 5, 2019 at 12:58 am

    Unfortunately Trump has a dual personality or perhaps multiple personalities. He exemplifies the multiple personalities of presidents which preceded him. Johnson ran on an ad depicting his opponent Barry Goldwater as a madman willing to nuke Vietnam with an unparalleled warning that the vote was too important to sit it out. He won and immediately began the escalation in Vietnam culminating with the Tonkin Gulf Incident and the subsequent Tonkin Gulf Resolution which gave the American president the power to wage war without calling it a war and with the ability to bypass Congress. It was opposed in the Senate only by Senators Wayne Morse (D-OR) and Ernest Gruening (D-AK). Senator Gruening objected to “sending our American boys into combat in a war in which we have no business, which is not our war, into which we have been misguidedly drawn, which is steadily being escalated”.

    The resolution was almost unanimously ratified by Congress and Johnson would go on to escalate the war in Vietnam followed by Nixon who also pledged during his campaign that he had a secret plan to extricate the US out of Vietnam but did the opposite by increasing military offensive actions there by orders of magnitude over the military campaigns endorsed by Johnson. Nixon’s secret plan was to bomb the Vietnamese into submission thus ending the war. It didn’t work for the war effort but the defense contractors cashed in.

    Eisenhower was another president who promised post WWII peace while significantly elevating the tensions and arms race between Communist USSR by plowing billions into the armaments industry building nuclear bombs, nuclear bombers, nuclear missiles etc.

    There is a long history of presidents who have promised peace through superior firepower and have often used it to wage war. Teddy Roosevelt with his gunboat diplomacy waged war, George Bush and Junior waged war. Clinton waged war in Kosovo. Reagan waged war in Central America in many countries. Obama waged war in Libya, Iraq and Syria despite his multiple personality disorder delivered in his campaign speeches that he would withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan.

    There is a long history of pledges by presidents to disarm conflicts only to find they increased military actions despite their promises.

    While Trump publicly states that his objectives are to withdraw from Syria and Afghanistan he appoints leaders who advise the opposite strategy like Mike Pompeo and Patrick Shanahan.

    Many US presidents have run on peace platforms only to end up supporting ever more international conflicts often based on flimsy evidence. The Tonkin Gulf Incident is widely regarded as fiction. The sinking of the USS Maine was really not Spanish Mines but a boiler explosion. There were never any WMDs found in Iraq. In each case the military industrial complex and its handmaiden and town crier the “free press” have engaged us on an embarkation to justify military action.

    Perhaps President Calvin Coolidge, in a January 1925 speech to newspaper editors. comment that “the business of America is business” should be restated that the business of America is War. As the largest military spender the US depends on the sale of armaments to bolster the bottom lines of big defense contractors. We also depend on all that government spending on weapons for the jobs it creates and the boost to the economy from giving military contracts to the private sector.

    Trump’s hiring of a Boeing executive as acting Defense Secretary falls in line with a long history of administrative support for military spending by the government while having sitting presidents with public plans for peace. There is nothing new under the Sun and Trump’s moves have been played out in the history of warfare over and over throughout our history.

    The saying that “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance” is perhaps a more palatable version than the military definition of peace as “A permanent state of pre-hostility”. Today we are engaged in the longest wars our country has ever faced. We also have a president calling out to end the long wars while hiring the acting head of the Defense Department from the defense insider business leader class who potentially wants to prolong our foreign wars for profit. Not quite what the Bible had in mind.

    And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

    The government and Trump by his deeds more than his words as well as a pantheon of elected officials in our history have demonstrated that the government taxes those with plowshares and funnels the money into beating the tax dollars into swords while they advance their learning of warfare to leverage ever more wars and weapons.

    Such is the history of the human race and it continues on to this day. The Law of the Jungle holds sway even in modern times.

    • Joe Tedesky
      February 5, 2019 at 8:42 am

      Citizen One smartly written essay and for all you said it made me think of how we live inside of “the United States of War Incorporated”. (Just had to throw that in here)

      • Realist
        February 5, 2019 at 1:59 pm

        I found C-1’s essay more compelling than the article. I don’t disagree with the general theme of either.

        • Joe Tedesky
          February 5, 2019 at 10:17 pm

          Much like yourself Realist and Citizen One as many other commentators bring civility and enlightenment to this comment board. The Consortium is a treasure because of it.

  9. Joe Tedesky
    February 4, 2019 at 11:18 pm

    Kudos to Consortiumnews for bringing this conflict of interest story to our attention and, a ‘so sad’ that no one other than the Consortium readers will dwell on such matters.

    Sorry for the negativity but it’s the way I feel today. Cheers that we have Joe Lauria to thank for our much needed information.

    • Joe Lauria
      February 5, 2019 at 3:30 am

      Thanks Joe. Credit for finding this excellent story goes to the assistant editor, Corinna Barnard.

      • Joe Tedesky
        February 5, 2019 at 8:32 am

        Your a good guy Joe and a honest man too. Thanks Corinna Barnard.

    • dfnslblty
      February 5, 2019 at 8:50 am

      Joe T:
      It ain’t negativity; it’s the reality of the situation.
      And all situations require reality/truth ~ otherwise we land where are currently reside.
      Keep writing the truth.

      • Joe Tedesky
        February 5, 2019 at 1:49 pm

        Thanks for the description of my/our attitude dfnslbty, it helps. And so profound your words of required truth and reality to see our situation more clearly. It just so happens I have a philosophy whereas the greatest wisdom of all is truth & love. Sadly my philosophy seems to be a minority among all of the philosophy’s prevalent to within our American society. A society where all war is bipartisan. A society where the suggestion of peaceful solutions are demonized as traitorous. A society who would rather spend their grandchildren into a plunging lifetime debt over self concocted wars of choice. A society who measures its strength upon how much it spends militarily. I could go on but, you get the point dfnslbty so let’s just hope others soon do… we are running out of time. Peace Joe

  10. Tom Kath
    February 4, 2019 at 11:04 pm

    Unfortunately it is only wishful thinking that there SHOULD be a conflict of interests. In reality there is none. It is rather pointless to address an individual result of someone living within the reality of the day. The outcome or result is never the CAUSE.

    • OlyaPola
      February 5, 2019 at 6:50 am

      “It is rather pointless to address an individual result of someone living within the reality of the day. The outcome or result is never the CAUSE.”

      There are many points thereby negating pointlessness, most immersive including re-enforcing notions of “justice” facilitating those so immersed to perceive “conflicts of interest”, leading those so immersed to react within the system of “justice” including but not restricted to ideologically, most merry-go-roundish, thereby facilitating the system’s continuation.

      “Unfortunately it is only wishful thinking that there SHOULD be a conflict of interests.”

      Practice suggests otherwise but evaluation is a function of purpose.

      It is always strategically limiting to conflate your purpose with your opponents’ purpose.

      Such are amongst the wonders of wonderland, or Mr. Rove’s observation that: “You can fool some of the people all of the time and those are the ones you should concentrate on.

Comments are closed.