As I have said many times, I grew up a Navy brat. I have great respect for the military and its culture. The sound of an F-14 screeching as it comes in for a landing is deeply ingrained in my subconscious and in my heart. I am a Navy Football fan. But conservatives (at least modern conservatives and of course neoconservatives – who are not really conservatives) give the military far too much credit, literally.
I am sure some people will be surprised by this which is why it is news. But they shouldn’t be. The Kochs are for the most part libertarian. The Center for American Progress is full of “progressives.” Progressives have historically liked war.
I was recently talking with senior wonk in Washington DC about this very issue. Why was it for all the think tanks, all the white papers, all the fits and crying in the media about this issue and that, that policy on the big issues hardly ever changes to reflect the will of the American people?
My friend thought basically the same as the author interviewed in the attached article. There is a surface level government and then there is the “deep state,” a place where massive power is housed, and wielded by largely faceless and mostly unaccountable managers who have agendas which are often very different from what you and I might want.
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. – Dwight D. Eisenhower
Indeed, it’s long past time.
Well that’s great. The question is how useful will this audit actually be, and how truthful? In the 3 years since the birth of this site we have chronicled plenty of examples of waste in the military. It is PERVASIVE. The level of waste speaks frankly to a culture of accounting negligence at the Pentagon which is perhaps only rivaled by the chicanery at the Federal Reserve. Heads (and many many heads at all levels) should have rolled long ago. But, because a large portion of the American people have given the US military a pass on waste (Republicans) nothing has been done for decades – really ever.
Some people sure appear to be.
Cops shouldn’t be soldiers and soldiers shouldn’t preform police actions. This is a general rule of thumb which keeps everyone out of trouble, cops, soldiers, and politicians.
The Department of Defense has been given a free ride pretty much since World War II. The Military Industrial Complex which President Eisenhower warned about in his farewell address (former 5 star general Eisenhower) is very real and it has grown and grown taking up ever more of the American economy. The contractors and the services are awash in taxpayer money. Your money. And much of this money isn’t being used wisely. It is going to hyper expensive parts procurement (see above), and for programs in sub-Saharan Africa, and jets which catch fire on the flight line (The F-35) and Lord knows what else.
It is time to do a comprehensive audit of the Pentagon. It’s supposed to have been audited long ago, and on an ongoing basis but brass has said that such an audit just can’t be done. The military is just too big.
Well, I say we give it a shot.
This comes to us from the folks at Cato.