by reader Ilsm
It is now Empire Security
“Defense Plan For The 21st Century”, Washington Post 1 August ’10, Pg. 19
By Stephen J. Hadley and William J. Perry
This article is another salvo in the military industrial complex war on the taxpayer to keep the pentagon rolling in money at the expense of the needs of society. It ignores Eisenhower’s observation about the opportunity costs of military spending using resources that would be better applied elsewhere and it refuses to adequately define the links between actual threats and expensive tactics described as “national interests” which are nothing to do with the “common defense”.
It is now Empire Security
One of the problems with military industrial complex planning: it starts with the same solutions for the past 70 years; World War II tactics, organization and equipment; apply them to unnecessary strategies which are disguised as “national interests” that must unquestioningly be assured, and never broach debate on the value of their solutions and alternatives. The science of operations research and its later refinement system engineering gets to solutions to problems which are denied informed debate in the inner circles of empire security. The result; only insiders can be expert on the things of war, which is dangerous and leads to all kinds of fraud, waste and abuse. The insiders agree with the expensive war machine and its images of shock and awe, called dominance, or they would be like me; on the outside. Whatever the strategies disguised as “national interests” are and whether they are worth the taxpayers’ money is not to be debated by the uninitiated. Other priorities might be taken into account.
Here are Perry and Hadley’s unsupported solutions which not connected to strategy and do not present the best use of national treasure.
“We deduced four enduring national interests that will continue to transcend political differences and animate American policy: defense of the homeland; assured access to the sea, air, space and cyberspace; the preservation of a favorable balance of power across Eurasia that prevents authoritarian domination of that region; and providing for the global “common good” through such actions as humanitarian aid, development assistance and disaster relief.”
What they suggest is perpetual mobilization of a huge force, expensive spears made instead of ploughshares, that should “animate American policy”? How do they deduce these and how do they use their deductions to then tell us how to build a military?
Yes, defense of the homeland is the common defense; however, in the constitution the main source of this was the militia to be raised by the federal government under declaration of war. There are safeguards against the standing army operating in the states. Their first reason for military force structure is the role of the states’ militias, not standing forces which are deleterious to liberty.
Rdan here…h/t rjs for this recent accounting of US military cost of Persian Gulf force projection
What “assured access to sea, air, space and cyberspace” have to do with the common defense and any strategy to respond to any existential threats is unclear and does not suggest the expenditure of vast treasure to assure the access. Access is not a tactic to do anything for the common defense; it is something that needs to be defined against real operational requirement. It is not clear here, other than US going anywhere in the world it wants to occupy and pursue undeclared wars and assassination for empire security.
What is in US national interest to justify foreign entanglements in the strategy to ‘assure a balance of power across Eurasia’? Is the balance of power in Eurasia definable by someone outside the area, and when does the US stop assuring that balance, after bankrupting the US? Should the US even be there? This “national interest” as vague as it is means the US will both dominate the seas, a theory of naval war devised by Alfred Thayer Mahan in the 1880s mainly to build US battle ships to tilt with the Royal Navy and also do what von Clauswitz discussed about controlling the Eurasian land mass.
Two huge roles, either of which is bankrupting. The land thing is what drove Nazi Germany to invade Russia in 1941 and eventually destroyed them. In addition, the Eurasian thing was warned against by Mac Arthur who was proven in Vietnam and now Afghanistan. The Eurasian land mass is no place to try to be dominant. But it is an excuse to waste 5% of GDP that should be used elsewhere. The sea thing is not justified since there are no competitors to the US Navy and it would be insane to tilt with the Peoples’ Republic in its littorals, where land based air would be as dangerous as land based air over the Persian Gulf. Can the US both occupy the world and also blockade it? Where does the expanding military stop?
At its height the British Empire would do the navy thing what about the US in 2011 is more ambitious than that empire? By 1918 the British were bankrupted by world war and their empire with all the burdens imposed.
The first three dubious missions alone are enough to bankrupt the US, the US war machine needs a humanitarian mission, as well. How about taking care of the US’ old and poor and under privileged?
They then introduce the fear card, threats. For reasons of logic I would have played the fear of terrorist before I sold a bunch of unrelated exorbitant tactical plans.
“We identified the five gravest potential threats to those interests likely to arise over the next generation: radical Islamist extremism and the threat of terrorism; competition from rising global powers in Asia; the continued struggle for power in the Persian Gulf and the Greater Middle East; an accelerating global competition for resources; and persistent problems from failed and failing states.”
The US has spent more than a trillion on these “threats” and none of it seems to be working. None of these threats demand the force structure they advocate and are largely not addressed by the ill defined national interests which all are excuses to use the fear of fictional threats consuming vast amounts of US resources on World War II formations and wars of occupation. Most of the borrowed to be paid latter by cuts in social programs.
On the threat from the Peoples’ Republics’; $70B in China’s military spending does not define an emerging industrial war peer. Even so the authors do not consider alternatives strategies to threats outside the unsubstantiated strategies and supposed national interests.
As to the competition for resources, this implies keeping the oil addiction going at the expense of the US taxpayer using the US military. It is far cheaper and better for global warming to go to alternative energies and not assure the easy flow of oil to the Pacific Rim.
This article followed from Max Boot’s is an installment in the propaganda war to keep the military bankrupting the US. There is nothing here that justifies spending a $150B, much less robbing social security by spending three quarters of a trillion a year. It is empire security, and no one should argue with the cost or tactics.
Past Washington Post articles are viewable if you sign up free on the web site.