Perhaps you missed it. It was reported last week that the Special Inspector for Afghan Reconstruction John Sopko revealed in a report to Congress that he asked the US Army Suspension and Disbarment office to cancel 43 contracts to known Al Qaeda and Taliban supporters. They refused. The reason? The Suspension and Disbarment Office claims it would violate Al Qaeda and Taliban “due process rights.”
Is it really the rights of the Islamists the Pentagon worries about? No. You can be as certain that is a lie as the NSA is not spying on you. (Of course they are both lies.) The reason is because those contracts fill the pockets of American military contracting companies you and I have never heard of—the same modus operandi as the continuing NSA scandal. Before you read the details, read a few important paragraphs from President Eisenhower’s farewell address, January 17, 1961 on this very subject:
My fellow Americans, Three days from now, after half a century in the service of our country, I shall lay down the responsibilities of office as, in traditional and solemn ceremony, the authority of the Presidency is vested in my successor.
This evening I come to you with a message of leave-taking and farewell, and to share a few final thoughts with you, my countrymen. …
… Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.
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 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. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.
It is outrageous that money going to sworn enemies of America is acceptable to a single American general officer or civilian American at the Pentagon. Like the NSA secret deals, this—there is no other word than scandal—does not normally make the evening news. Every reader who calls members of Congress should consider a call on this essential. You can get the complete story here.
One more thing: Every bit of President Eisenhower’s farewell address is as worthy for our time (mortgaging our children’s future, for example.) as the pull quote above. Please read it now on from time to time throughout your life.