Monday, November 01, 2021

The Cash Nexus ... Military Style

Yours truly has waxed "poetic" about the follies of the MIC and its misadventures such as the  F 35, the Iraq WMD war fiasco, Afghanistan and Vietnam, issues one and all discussed on grand scale by Andrew Cockburn's The Spoils of War, a worthy successor to Smedly Butler's War is a Racket as both authors know it's all about the money, always has been, always will be.

During the first winter of the Korean War in 1950-51, half of American casualties were caused by frostbite. Incredibly enough, U.S soldiers hadn’t been equipped with warm boots and were forced to raid North Korean positions to steal their functional footwear. U.S. military spending had jumped following the beginning of hostilities, but much of the increase went to things that had nothing to do with the war, such as B-47 strategic nuclear bombers, a Boeing product far more profitable product than boring old boots.

More recently, in 2014, a $300 million B-1 bomber accidentally dropped two 500-pound bombs on five Special Forces soldiers in a nighttime raid near Kandahar in Afghanistan. In theory, the B-1 crew should have been able to tell these were American troops, since Special Forces wear infrared beacons visible with standard night vision goggles. In practice, the B-1’s night vision camera detects a different section of the infrared spectrum, and no one informed the crew of this. So why was the B-1 being sent on such missions in the first place, instead of planes better suited for it? Because the Air Force needed something for B-1s to do, since they were gratifyingly expensive but turned out not to be suited for their original mission of flying nuclear weapons to drop on Russia. With a full load of bombs, Cockburn writes, the B-1 can’t fly high enough to cross the Rockies.

“WAR is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.” 

The professional soldiers and sailors don't want to disarm. No admiral wants to be without a ship. No general wants to be without a command. Both mean men without jobs. They are not for disarmament. They cannot be for limitations of arms. And at all these conferences, lurking in the background but all-powerful, just the same, are the sinister agents of those who profit by war. They see to it that these conferences do not disarm or seriously limit armaments.” 

Same as it ever was - Talking Heads

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