I am not prone to flights of conspiratorial fancy but sometimes the conspiracy theory nuts get close to the truth. So in this post I want to lay out an idea about how significant our abandonment of democratically focused freedom fighters was always a foregone conclusion.
So what is the military-industrial complex? In 1961 President Dwight D Eisenhower made a farewell speech to the nation. In that speech he clearly related the coming marriage between the defense industry and our nation and how powerful that new relationship would become and the impact it would have. The most significant passage from his talk is below:
This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
The amount we spent on defense in America in 2010 was $663 billion, roughly one-sixth of the entire US budget (16%). By comparison, we spent $46 billion to fund the Department of Education.
The top ten defense lobbyist spent $27 million in the last quarter of 2009 at a time when the US had decided to ramp up the military efforts in Afghanistan. With this type of money being spent the defense industry becomes a significant player in our government with significant influence on the policies and actions of congress and the president.
In a nutshell what this means is that the defense industry has a vested interest, which they pay heavily for, in how we conduct ourselves in the world. Corporate leaders look for opportunities to support conflict which drives their profits, likewise they need fear to hold continued support from the public, and have an interest in maintaining a healthy economy that allows for significant defense spending. So the military-industrial complex needs a growing economy, an American public in fear and conflict to drive military spending.
So how does this relate to Libya? Libya is an oil rich country, granted, not a significant importer to America but an oil rich Arab nation none-the-less and let’s not forget that the defense industry is a global, not an American, phenomenon. So as Egyptian students revolted in the streets we could be supportive, Egypt does not provide us with oil and as such is not a threat to our growing economy. Saudi Arabia however is and literally across a causeway bridge is a burgeoning revolt in the country of Bahrain. If the United States stepped in and helped out the Libyan rebels with military assets, it would be difficult to justify not helping similar rebels in Bahrain and then potentially, rebels in Saudi Arabia, our third largest energy provider after Canada and nearly equal to Mexico. But North American sources are easily protected, the Saudi’s our good friends are not.
So by not stepping in to help the Libyan rebels we do two things. First, we stay on Gaddafi’s good side and also keep the oil fields pumping and oil profits from Libya flowing. Secondly, we set up a situation where it would be hypocritical to go into Bahrain. And so today, our good friends the Saudi’s moved in to help Bahrain quell their street protests with a military presence. I’m sure this was done to send a clear message to people in Saudi Arabia that if they would use their military against protestors in Bahrain, they would certainly do the same at home. Staying out of Libya guaranteed the Saudi’s could act with impunity.
We have one of the elements the military-industry complex needs, oil is flowing and that allows for economic growth in the world. Now all we need is to keep the American public afraid and find a military option to make up for monies no longer being spent in Iraq. Well my friends, both of those things can be taken care of in Yemen. First there is a revolt going on in Yemen as well, and secondly they specter of Al Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula is alive and well. Those two things give the United States all of the justification we need to perform airstrikes and missile attacks and eventually move forces into Yemen. The purpose will be to quell the protests against the Yemeni president we support and of course to remove the bogey man of the 21st century, the Al Qaeda terrorist threat.