Predictably, the local paper carried a sentimental story about veterans the title of which included the phrase “remembering the fallen” and took up most of the front page.
On the other hand, I’ve run across lots of folks who would rather, like myself —
Actually, it’s all we do! Nothing else matters! Just about everything else in our so-called economy is at least tangentially connected to some facet or other of “our” Military Industrial Complex. It’s the “Muscle of the US Economy,” according to this special report on the MIC.
The military industry is a dominant player in the US economy. Military orders drive America’s manufacturing sector. More than one-third of all engineers and scientists in the US are engaged in military-related jobs. Several sections of the country and a number of industrial sectors, particularly shipbuilding and aerospace, are greatly dependent upon military spending or foreign arms sales.
The Department of Defense (DoD), together with the top defense corporations – or what is known as the “military-industrial complex” – controls the largest coordinated bloc of industry in the US.
In 2001, after taking into account the emergency anti-terror funding and supplemental appropriations to finance the war in Afghanistan, the Pentagon’s budget amounted to some $375 billion. In addition to the rising annual Defense budget, military spending also eats up much of the budgets of the Department of Energy and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. At present, it consumes about 55% of the federal government’s discretionary expenditures. Roughly 75% of federal research and development expenditure is devoted to military projects.
The top aerospace and defense corporations, consisting of 11 companies, employ 901,258 people. (See Table)
These corporations mostly rely on DoD contracts. Most of these companies are also among the top defense corporations in the whole world.
Historically, the US economy shook off economic depression during World Wars I and II as establishments and factories vigorously worked to support the American war machine. For a superpower like the US, war is an avenue leading out of an economic slump since practically all economic sectors become engaged in the country’s war efforts. Aside from boosting the local economy and generating jobs, the US also earned from selling weapons to its wartime allies.It is not surprising, therefore, that many Americans and their elected representatives support continued Pentagon spending. The military industry has become a huge and untouchable jobs program employing directly and indirectly a large number of blue-collar workers and a rising number of technical professionals. Defense workers are kept in line by the fear of job loss and ensuing economic crisis. This threat is also used to frustrate efforts to scale back military production or to convert it to socially useful purposes.
And why not? After all, America is “exceptional,” it enjoys “manifest destiny.” Oh?
Here’s an interesting essay that points out how, in the 21st century, we “witness the slipping away of the traditional advantage accruing to military power alone.”
One poster says it all.
And here’s another McGovern, Ray McGovern, speaking truth about “the fallen.”