Probably few remember, although I mentioned in 2 of my recent Op Ed’s, President Eisenhower’s warning in 1961 about the growing power and influence of what he called the Military Industrial Complex (MIC). You can hear his words again here.
— Peace Action – #ReSealTheDeal #IranDeal (@PeaceAction) January 15, 2016
A year later in 1962 a musical opened on Broadway called The Music Man with Robert Preston about a con man, a traveling salesman named Harold Hill, who arrives in 1912 in Mason City, Iowa and cajoles its innocent citizens into thinking they have evil lurking in their midst. His trouble is called POOL with the town’s young boys in the number “Ya Got Trouble” (“And it starts with pool!”). Hill’s answer to this non “problem” is getting the kids music instruments for a band which the town buys at great profit to Hill. That he falls in love with Shirley Jones, the beautiful hometown girl and subsequently creates the band is fantasy at its most seductive.
Was this 1962 musical the perfect example of white Americans’ willful innocence?
So overblown were the then arguments of our leaders. For example, they kept arguing that we had supreme trouble with the communist menace as exemplified by the USSR’s launch of Echo and its acquisition of nuclear weapons.
Enter the “Ya Got Trouble” boys of the MIC which kept huge Federal cash flows moving into our economy to the delight of voters everywhere.
But Ike’s prescience got confirmed in subsequent “police actions” none approved by Congress which we can only hope won’t encourage more “police actions” such as Vietnam, as we watch another painful pullout in Afghanistan after 20 years of waste and loss of life.
My friend, Thalif Deen, Senior Editor at the UN Bureau of Inter Press Service (IPS) News Agency in NYC generously allowed Church and State to use his powerful piece which asks that key question: Were US War Profiteers the Ultimate Winners in Battle-Scarred Afghanistan?
As the 20-year-old occupation of Afghanistan came to an inglorious end last week, there were heavy losses suffered by many. But perhaps there was one undisputed winner in this trillion-dollar extravaganza: the military-industrial complex https://t.co/aXNeVXZwSM pic.twitter.com/NigDzr8S02
— Inter Press Service (@ipsnews) August 22, 2021
He opens with this cogent summary:
As the 20-year-old occupation of Afghanistan came to an inglorious end last week, there were heavy losses suffered by many—including the United States, the Afghan military forces and the country’s civilian population.
But perhaps there was one undisputed winner in this trillion-dollar extravaganza worthy of a Hollywood block buster: the military-industrial complex which kept feeding American and Afghan fighters in the longest war in US history.
US President Joe Biden, in a statement from the White House last week, was categorically clear: “We spent over a trillion dollars. We trained and equipped an Afghan military force of some 300,000 strong. Incredibly well equipped. A force larger in size than the militaries of many of our NATO allies.
We gave them every tool they could need. We paid their salaries, provided for the maintenance of their air force, something the Taliban doesn’t have. We provided close air support. We gave them every chance to determine their own future.”
“What we could not provide them was the will to fight for that future,” he declared.
Of the staggering $1 trillion, a hefty $83 billion was spent on the military, at the rate of over $4.0 billion annually, mostly on arms purchases originating from the US defense industry, plus maintenance, servicing and training.
The Afghan debacle also claimed the lives of 2,400 US soldiers and over 3,800 US private security contractors, plus more than 100,000 Afghan civilians.
Norman Solomon, Executive Director, Institute for Public Accuracy and National Director, RootsAction.org told IPS that in drastically varying degrees, the real losers are everybody but war profiteers.
The U.S. military-industrial complex thrives on the organized killing that we call “war,” and the 20-year war on Afghanistan, waged courtesy of U.S. taxpayers, was a huge boondoggle for a vast number of military contractors and wealthy investors, he pointed out.
I quote only part of his piece, but you can read all his views about this sad cautionary tale here.
Our 1912 innocents as reflected in the all-white cast of the 1962 actors in Music Man and our then all male national leaders have since been hugely and positively transformed into a far more multi-ethic population to the apparent fear and dismay of the Trump GOP.
If unchecked the MIC could lead us into more endless police actions while our infrastructure and other priorities remain underfunded.
The GOP’s racism hasn’t been erased by the George Floyd murder verdict but certainly elucidated, along with major improvements in women’s rights.
We could also address stupid unmasking calls against COVID or the coming likely attacks on Roe by a Trump packed Supreme Court.
Of course, it has become imperative for world leaders to cooperate on solving those more urgent issues such as climate threats and unsustainable population growth which hounds human futures on our already ravaged planet Earth.
Yes, “Ya got trouble” but it ain’t in River City nor is it being addressed by the “little rabbits” as Peggy Noonan recently dubbed those 35 GOP House members who keep kissing The Donald’s ring at Mar-a-Lago in hopes of their re-election in 2022 or the Governors who keep ignoring the surging Delta growth in several GOP controlled states.
The Jan. 6 Committee Carries History’s Weight – WSJ https://t.co/8ZQGZfJgYk
— Peggy Noonan (@Peggynoonannyc) July 30, 2021
"From the Dissident Left: A Collection of Essays 2004-2013": https://t.co/lkC2t3E1A9
"Trump Becoming Macbeth: Will our democracy survive?": https://t.co/tl3zSD7whn
"We Humans Overwhelm Our Earth: 11 or 2 Billion by 2100?": https://t.co/TA4j7cp1tE pic.twitter.com/mH1PSnoh17
— Church and State (@ChurchAndStateN) July 1, 2021
Eisenhower’s “Military-Industrial Complex” Speech Origins and Significance
What a Trump-endorsed candidate’s primary win means for the Republican Party
Inside the Taliban’s Takeover of Afghanistan
Afghanistan – Land of endless war | DW Documentary