The United States military is a fully owned subsidiary of the corporate and financial establishment. It plays no role in defending the American people. The function of today’s military is to seize the world’s dwindling resources through force of arms and provide a taxpayer–funded security apparatus for multinationals and energy giants. The notion that the $500 billion per year Goliath is designed to protect the American people is sheer lunacy. Its real purpose is to win wars of aggression, siphon off the wealth of foreign nations, and crush the subsequent resistance movements. Anything else is purely public relations pabulum.
In its present incarnation, under the stewardship of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the military is undergoing a process of “transformation”, a term that has been used to imply that the Defense Dept. wants to create a “leaner, more agile” military to address the growing threat of international terrorism. This is utter nonsense. The military is remaking itself to meet the requirements of its corporate overlords whose directives are scrupulously carried out by their ambassador, Rumsfeld. This explains why there has been no serious effort to rebuild either Iraq or Afghanistan. The corporate leadership stubbornly refuses to give away goods or services without suitable remuneration. This is an article of faith among the uber capitalists in the political establishment. The military is a business, a fact that is shockingly apparent by the dismal results in Iraq.
The recent announcement by the Pentagon that it plans to close 33 bases and 180 military installations within the US is much more serious than many Americans realize. Apart from the withering effect that this will have on small communities that depend on these bases for their economic survival, there’s an even more significant reason to be concerned. The announcement indicates that the Pentagon is shifting its resources from stateside facilities to permanent bases sprinkled throughout Central Asia, the Middle East and Southeast Asia. This is just more proof that the administration plans to sacrifice the needs of the American people to solidify its global hegemony.
The suggestion that the base closures are a “cost cutting” strategy is pure nonsense. The defense budget has increased exponentially under Bush (more than 20%) and there’s no sign that that will change. The defense business is one of America’s few growth industries with tens of billions of dollars disappearing into flawed weapons systems, “independent contractors”, and unprovoked wars every year. The industry will continue to grow in leaps and bounds until it reaches what one official at the World Bank estimated would be a $900 billion per year budget. This, it appears, is an approximation of what it will take to rule the world through force of arms.
The closures indicate the determination of the administration to take everything that isn’t physically bolted down out of the country so it can better serve the needs of their corporate constituents. In other words, the military is being outsourced to the locations where it can protect the vital interests of corporate elites. This spells trouble for the American people who’ve already seen their army overextended and hobbled in Iraq. Now they can see first-hand that national security is only of minor importance to the ruling body. With bases shutting down and 40% of America’s National Guard serving in Iraq the American people are clearly less safe than they were four years ago; this at a time when the threat level from Washington’s unprovoked wars is at an all time high.
At present, the military is used exclusively to serve the interests of a small cadre of elites. No American citizen is served by either the fiasco in Afghanistan or the debacle in Iraq. In fact, we are all at much greater risk because of these policies.
The announcement of closures is an interesting counterpoint to this month’s jobs report. American jobs are being outsourced faster than America’s military. As Paul Craig Roberts reports in Counterpunch, “of the 256,000 (jobs created) in the private sector” fully “211,000 of these were in the service sector.” This trend has continued throughout the Bush years. It shows that the Bush economy is not producing any of the high-paying, high tech jobs that will sustain the middle class life that Americans have come to expect. The downward trajectory is steep and inexorable, held together by the slender thread of low interest rates and moderately cheap gasoline. When the time is right, Greenspan will boost interest rates and the middle class will slip beneath the waves without a whimper.
This may explain why Bush and Co. are pilfering everything they can, including $450 billion in deficits every year and zillions sluiced off to friends in no-bid Iraqi contracts. The carpet bagging will undoubtedly continue until every last dime is drained from the public till or until the blinking red light goes on, signaling it’s time for the American plutocracy to board the ships for Costa Rica. No one will be surprised if they take the military with them either. After all, it’s become little more than a resource for safeguarding the citadels of personal corruption.
Mike Whitney lives in Washington state, and can be reached at: email@example.com.
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