Fortunate you, in that you may not read a more concise run down on the military industrial complex Ike warned us all about. It’s all right here in a nutshell provided below by the most marvelous Kelly Beaucar Vlahos of The American Conservative fame. After you have taken a spin through Kelly’s pointed run down you will no longer be shedding any tears for General James Mattis or any of the other military stuffed shirts clogging government drains. Vlahos writes:
[…] before he became lionized as the “only adult in the room” capable of standing up to President Trump, General James Mattis was quite like any other brass scoping out a lucrative second career in the defense industry.
And as with other military giants parlaying their four stars into a cushy boardroom chair or executive suite, he pushed and defended a sub-par product while on both sides of the revolving door. Unfortunately for everyone involved, that contract turned out to be an expensive fraud and a potential health hazard to the troops.
According to a recent report by the Project on Government Oversight, 25 generals, nine admirals, 43 lieutenant generals, and 23 vice admirals retired to become lobbyists, board members, executives, or consultants for the defense industry between 2008 and 2018.
They are part of a much larger group of 380 high-ranking government officials and congressional staff who shifted into the industry in that time.
“Private companies know how to protect their interests. We just wish there were more protections for taxpayers.” When everything is engineered to get more business for the same select few, “when you have a Department of Defense who sees it as their job to promote arms sales…does this really serve the interest of national security?”
Left out are basic laws of supply and demand, geopolitical realities, and the greater interest of society.
“That’s why we call it a self-licking ice cream cone,” Spinney explained to TAC. “[This report] is just the tip of the iceberg. There’s a lot more subtle stuff going on. When you are in weapons development like I was at the beginning of my career, you learn about this on day one.”
Everyone talks about generals like Mattis as though they’re warriorgods. But for decades, many of them have turned out to be different creatures altogether—creatures of a semi-independent ecosystem that operates outside of the normal rules and benefits only a powerful minority subset: the military elite.
Kelley Beaucar Vlahos is executive editor at TAC. Follow her on Twitter.