Tired of perpetual war? So am I but US drone policy ensures perpetual war is her to stay. Blatant military waste is here to stay as well, and the all but useless F-35 project is a prime example.
Those are my opinions, but they also the opinions of guest writer Robert Taylor.
What follows is a well-stated guest-post courtesy of Robert Taylor and PolicyMic. I dispense with my normal indented block-quote style for this post.
Drones Are Becoming a Major U.S. Export, and They Kill Democracy in Every Nation They’re Shipped To
President Obama’s drone warfare policy is thankfully finally being discussed in the mainstream media. While the president’s claimed authority
to suspend the Fifth Amendment and order assassinations with no
judicial oversight, even on American soil, is a disturbing outrage, the
sale and spread of drone technology by the U.S. around the world also
According to the Los Angeles Times,
the United Arab Emirates plans to purchase $ 179 million worth of drones
from General Atomics. The purchase still needs approval from Congress
and it is yet unclear whether they will buy surveillance drones or if it
will also include the weaponized Reaper drones. What is clear, however,
is that this development highlights the continuing growth of the
influence of defense contractors, the spread of weapons that help
governments tyrannize their citizens, and the dangers of America’s
permanent warfare state that has made the military-industrial-complex
perhaps the most pervasive aspect of American society.
In President Dwight Eisenhower’s famous farewell address, he warned
the public about the threats that a large armaments industry posed to
democratic process, constitutional liberties, and peace. Since then, the
U.S. economy has been largely dominated by the perpetuation and
exportation of weapons technology and a state of virtual perpetual war
all over the globe.
Fifty years later, the U.S. is by far the world’s largest weapons
dealer in the world and spends more money on “defense” than nearly the
rest of the world combined. All around the world, many of the most cruel
and vicious states receive their means of maintaining their iron fists
from the U.S. government.
American tanks and tear gas help quell protests
in Bahrain, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia and all throughout the Middle East.
U.S. fighter jets are a staple of many militaries in countries where a
large majority of their populations live in unbelievable poverty. The
cluster bombs used to flatten southern Lebanon and the white phosphorous
mercilessly dropped on the Gaza Strip by Israel might as well be draped in the stars and stripes. Even the much-maligned Iranian government received nuclear technology from the CIA.
It is only natural and predictable that the U.S. government’s latest militarized technology is beginning to be exported.
The problem stems from America’s foolish embrace of a foreign policy
based on empire and global dominance, perpetual war, and the corporatist
economics of “defense contractors.”
The Pentagon’s new F-35 program is the perfect example. While DC
politicians play politics over a “sequester,” the F-35 project will cost
$ 1.5 trillion yet has performed so poorly
in recent tests that the Pentagon has simply lowered the standards. It
is big, bulky, and would be great against the Imperial Japanese Air
Force, but it is completely useless in a world where enemies are
increasingly stateless, decentralized and fighting fourth-generation warfare. Over-promising and under-delivering are staples of Pentagon contractors.
The reason that these programs are so popular in Washington is simple corporatism and politics. As even Lockheed-Martin notes, the F-35 would provide over 100,000 jobs in 47 states, spread out to hit nearly every congressional district. The incentive for perpetuating
these monstrosities is enormous.
Unfortunately, the F-35 program is the rule not the exception. The
bipartisan ideology of an interventionist foreign policy dominates DC,
and weapons contractors spend millions lobbying
for more weapons sales and wars that bring billions in returns; a
self-licking ice cream cone of rent-seeking corporations and political
The military-industrial-complex is the perfect example of Frederic
Bastiat’s “broken window fallacy” and the problems with government
intervention into the economy. What is seen are the engineering wonders
of massive military hardware and millions of jobs hitched to the
Pentagon and its contractors. What is unseen, however, is the wealth
that could’ve been created serving people’s actual wants and needs in the free marketplace that was instead forcibly extracted from the people by the state and handed out to politically-favored corporations.
For example, 85%-90% of large military contractors’ profits come from government contracts. Each U.S. household
pays over $ 1,000 per year in taxes to pay for the military-industrial-complex. The “shock and awe” 2003 carpet bombing of Baghdad might as well have been a Lockheed promotional video.
While the defenders of this military Keynesianism claim that this policy helps create inventions and technologies, there is actually very little
useful spillover into the private sector. If people really wanted this
national security state and weaponry, they wouldn’t need to be forced to pay for it.
Unfortunately, from my libertarian perspective, it is very easy to highlight the horrors that unchecked state power unleashes but, very difficult to come up with answers and solutions. We can’t un-invent drone technology, nuclear weapons and stealth fighters. But taking Lockheed-Martin, Northrop Grumman and General Atomics off of welfare would be a good start.
What we can do is make it loud and clear as frequently as possible that we are sick and tired of a policy of empire, perpetual war, and corporatism that allows this system to exist. Our liberties, prosperity and peace depend upon it.
I don’t know about you, but I sick and tired of a policy of empire, perpetual war, and corporatism.
I also agree with Taylor that “taking Lockheed-Martin, Northrop Grumman and General Atomics off of welfare would be a good start“.
If you are a supporter of drones, the F-35 program, or US defense policies in general, hopefully the guest post by Taylor changes your mind.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock