A long post today, but I ask you to bear with me and read the whole thing and the links.
In the United States there is the Military/Industrial complex, a term popularized by Eisenhower in his farewell address to warn against the military manipulating the public for profit.
Eisenhower presciently warned:
…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.
So in America we now know:
Hidden behind that appearance of objectivity, though, is a Pentagon information apparatus that has used those analysts in a campaign to generate favorable news coverage of the administration’s wartime performance, an examination by The New York Times has found.
The effort, which began with the buildup to the Iraq war and continues to this day, has sought to exploit ideological and military allegiances, and also a powerful financial dynamic: Most of the analysts have ties to military contractors vested in the very war policies they are asked to assess on air.
Here’s a pretty good primer by Chalmers Johnson (author of the excellent book “Blowback: The costs and consequences of American Imperialism”) on the ultimate effects of the US military/industrial complex in a post-Cold War globalized world.
The military adventurers in the Bush administration have much in common with the corporate leaders of the defunct energy company Enron. Both groups thought that they were the “smartest guys in the room” — the title of Alex Gibney’s prize-winning film on what went wrong at Enron. The neoconservatives in the White House and the Pentagon outsmarted themselves. They failed even to address the problem of how to finance their schemes of imperialist wars and global domination.
As a result, going into 2008, the United States finds itself in the anomalous position of being unable to pay for its own elevated living standards or its wasteful, overly large military establishment. Its government no longer even attempts to reduce the ruinous expenses of maintaining huge standing armies, replacing the equipment that seven years of wars have destroyed or worn out, or preparing for a war in outer space against unknown adversaries. Instead, the Bush administration puts off these costs for future generations to pay or repudiate. This fiscal irresponsibility has been disguised through many manipulative financial schemes (causing poorer countries to lend us unprecedented sums of money), but the time of reckoning is fast approaching.
This is my Bermuda blog, and I don’t want to bore readers with my rantings on how I believe that the USA is in the middle of a generation-long decline as an imperial power in the world thanks in a large measure to the PNAC inspired foreign policy (which ignores economics in favor of military might) and faith based economic policy of the Bush administration… and how the Chinese are the next world power, although the world probably doesn’t have the resources to provide them with a first-world standard of living at current technology levels…
However, this is relevant because we in Bermuda are seeing the rise of the Tourism/Construction complex where we fail to innovate in legislation, educate our children, address social problems, and instead are engaging in a number of big ticket tourism projects that are providing profits for government insiders (cruise ship docks, hotels, golf course, limos, etc.). The similarities are overwhelming. It doesn’t take an angry bearded leftist to see that we have massive conflicts of interest, and the potential for rent seeking by political insiders who will take full advantage of the strategic misrepresentation by the Premier and his cronies who consider deliberate misrepresentation distinct from lying and thus perfectly acceptable. It doesn’t matter if you’re white, black, rich, poor, if this continues then it will end badly for everyone not a shareholder in the tourism/construction complex.
OSO does an excellent job of summarizing:
Essentially it goes like this – the Pentagon, under orders from the Bush administration, got together retired military experts, briefed them regularly, and then watched as they turned up as talking heads on every major news network defending what was going on in Iraq. Moreover, many of these “experts” are also board members of, and/or lobbyists for, defense contracting companies who profit from war. This is shameful, and it confirms a number of different things:
1. The Bush administration lied about the war.
2. The Bush administration let Americans and Iraqis die in order to serve their political ends.
3. The upper echelons of high ranking American servicemen are riddled with political corruption.
4. The military-industrial complex – in which industries that profit from war encourage its escalation – is real.
5. The media is not biased towards the left wing, but the right wing.
6. Conservatives swallowed this bull because they’re not objective, can’t think properly and suffer from cognitive dissonance.
7. Anti-war lefties who opposed the war from the very beginning and who argued that the Bush administration was orchestrating a sophisticated propaganda campaign to promote the war and lie to the American people were not crazy moonbats but actually well informed thinkers who merely reacted to the facts as they saw presented to them.
8. Pro-war conservatives will read this New York Times report and dismiss it as lies propagated by the left-wing media.
1-8 are clearly happening in Bermuda too.
1. The government is lying.
2. The government is screwing people to serve political ends.
3. The upper echelons of the government are riddled with corruption.
4. The Tourism/Construction complex is real.
5. The media is sloppy, not biased.
6. PLP supporters who swallow the BS are suffering from cognitive dissonance.
7. Anti-PLPers who think that Ewart Brown & Co. are organizing an orchestrated campaign for personal profit are not crazy moonbats but well informed clear thinkers who merely interpreted the facts correctly.
8. Pro-PLP readers will dismiss evidence of corruption as lies propagated by the racist media.
So let’s total up the government contracts going to insiders for tourism projects (it’s on the order of $100 million dollars x 10% profit margin = $10 million dollars profit) and then ask ourselves if we can do better.
This is my last post for a few days because I think it’s the most important I’ve made in a while.
Thanks for reading.