Does the US MilPlex Actually Want long, Unwinnable Wars?

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by AndyPipkin, Aug 20, 2007.

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  1. Saw this post by Wiley on Pprune and it did get me thinking:

    Interesting to read rmac's selections of Sun Zhu's dicta and the way the Americans, since WW2, seem to have quite consciously ignored them. One could be forgiven for thinking that since the 1950s, there are faceless forces close to the top in the US hierarchy who see a long but limited (and remote from US shores) war as a preferable option to a quick victory, which could and should be attainable for the US given their overwhelming logistics and firepower superiority of any and all likely foes.

    Well might you ask what such faceless people high up in the US system (note I didn't say 'government') might think they could be achieving in seeing their forces bled white - and on more than one occasion humbled - by vastly inferior forces. I think it all comes down to money. A long war means massive profits for the military-industrial complex that is corporate America. it keeps a lot of lower class kids off the streets (all too many of them permanently) and most importantly, it keeps companies like Haliburton and many others literally reaping in the dough for years on end, making infinitely more profits than they would in a Sun Zhu-style campaign.

    Anyone who doubts this (as I'm sure many would) should seek out "IBM and the Holocaust: The Strategic Alliance between Nazi Germany and America's Most Powerful Corporation (ISBN: 0375419330). It will leave you utterly in despair as to how US (and, I suspect, not just US) Big Business thinks and operates in time of war.

    Korea was as much to stave off recession after WW2. John Paul Vann's excellent "A Bright Shining Lie" tells in graphic detail how Viet Nam was mishandled, particularly in the early "advisor only" days. One could be forgiven for thinking that there were people in the US Administration who went out of their way to make sure the situation was allowed to deteriorate to the point where large US main force intervention was required - and after those forces were committed, also forgiven for thinking that a quick victory was the last thing the US hierarchy wanted.

    Someone once said to me that if you wanted to illustrate the Viet Nam war in one photograph that would encapsulate the most accurate picture of the war, it would not be a Huey helicopter or a B52 or a VC captive getting shot in the head by a policeman, but a balding, pot-bellied, middle aged corporate agent in ill-fitting jeans and ‘journo’s photo vest’ cadging a freebie lift on a military transport on his way to oversee some lucrative building contract for the military. He’d almost certainly be an ex-serviceman, usually a SNCO, because as one, he’d have all the contacts and know how best to work the System.

    I’m lucky not to be involved directly in the current fiasco in Iraq and Afghanistan, but I suspect the same would almost certainly be true of this war.
  2. Andy, 2 years ago you was more optimistic

  3. People are allowed to change their minds... we expect rational adults to do so as information comes in.

    Concerning the MIC... well... Ike warned us with good reason. The United States is one of the few nations which has managed to make war profitable and good for the economy... yet another thing we have in commen with the Roman republic just before they became an empire. :x
  4. Biped

    Biped LE Book Reviewer

    Every army needs a good war to justify its budget. No enemy, no money. This is big industry at its finest, and the US has made it an art.

    So, in answer to the question, yes, the US MilPlex does want long wars, though not necessarily unwinnable. A few close shaves wouldn't go amiss.
  5. Can you fire off a quick memo to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave to that effect?

    I've mentioned it before, but Eugene Jarecki's film "Why We Fight" is an excellent portrayal of the concept Andy's talking about.

    For those who might be interested:

    In Jan 03, Lockheed Martin stock was being traded at $45 a share. Today it is a little over $96.

    United Technologies Jan 03- about $33, today $74

    Northrop Grumman Jan 03- about $49, today $77

    Raytheon Jan 03 $30, today $58.

    BAe Systems about $133, today $429
  6. crabtastic - how do those increases compare to the stock market generally in the same period?
  7. No doubt that war is good for business here but the market is also much better now over all than it was in 2003... we were in tail end of a recession then that had started with the dot com bust.

    Far as writing the White House... pfft... if he's as stupid as some like to think, I couldn't sketch pictures well enough for the president to understand. However, I'm of the mindset that thinks Mr. Bush knows exactly what he is doing and that he's of the "end justifies the means" mindset which might turn out to be good for the nation overall but really shitty in terms of ethics... which means that any missive would be an exercise in futility.
  8. True enough on the stock market, but you have to concede that the defense contractors have performed significantly above the market average (which they themselves help to boost).

    As for Bush, I really don't give him that much credit. I don't think he's quite the moron everyone supposes. As a political mind he's first rate. In terms of campaigning he's up there with Reagan and Clinton. He just has no aptitude for governance. I'm trying hard to think of one policy success- foreign or domestic- that he's had in almost 7 years.

    bin Laden
    No child left behind
    Prescription drug coverage
    Social Security
    Tort reform

    The closest he's come is letting Condi and Chris Hill negotiate the North Korea deal- and the jury is still out on that one.