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Chuck Spinney : Defense and the National Interest
by Tim Jones
03 August 2003 18:51 UTC
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Chuck Spinney appeared on Bill Moyer's "NOW" last Friday, Aug 1, 2003
to make a compelling case regarding the influence of the military / industrial
/ congressional complex on US foreign and domestic policy.
"At a time when more is being budgeted for U.S. defense than for education,
transportation, the environment, and agriculture combined, NOW with Bill
Moyers goes inside the labyrinthine workings of this iconic symbol of
American military might in "Inside the Pentagon," air(ed) Friday, August 1,
2003 at 9 p.m. on PBS."

"The 60-minute broadcast expose(d) how the Pentagon may be failing us
during a crucial time for national security. NOW profile(d) Chuck
Spinney, who just left the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for
Program Analysis and Evaluation after working in the Pentagon for almost
three decades. During his tenure Spinney repeatedly challenged military
officials and lawmakers to make better use of the hundreds of billions of
dollars in spending to secure a strong defense. Chuck Spinney is uniquely
qualified to lead the way through what has been called the most complicated
bureaucracy ever created."

Spinney is brilliant. It would be most useful to acquire a transcript of his
remarks. I'll forward this if possible.
Spinney's website "Defense and the National Interest"
is a wealth of information on the interaction between the Pentagon, the
Congress, the White House and defense contractors and the closely tied
role they play in influencing America's role in the world. One interesting
"observation" presented on the page:
serves as an interesting counterpoint to the ideas presented by THOMAS
"The Pentagon's New Map"
"Since the end of the cold war, the United States has been trying to come
up with an operating theory of the world-and a military strategy to
accompany it. Now there's a leading contender. It involves identifying
the problem parts of the world and aggressively shrinking them."

Spinney -
Global & Strategic Issues
"In contemplating U.S. interests in the far corners of the world, however,
one is drawn to the observations of Major General Smedley Butler,
USMC, who, at the end of a career furthering such interests, noted
Major General Smedley Butler:
'I wouldn't go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy
investment of the bankers. There are only two things we should
fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the
Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket

I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American
oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent
place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in.
I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics
for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long.
Brown Brothers in 1909-1912 (where have I heard that name before?).
I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interes

During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say,
a swell racket. Looking back on it, I feel that I could have given Al
Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket
in three districts. I operated on three continents. (extracted from a
speech by General Butler in 1933)'"

Chuck Spinney provides an insider's view of the divisions of opinion
with the defense policy structure of the Department of Defense and
the Pentagon.

"Eisenhower's famous caution is worth repeating:"
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
Statehouse, 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. Farewell Address, 1961.

On: Strategy & Force Employment
"Because the United States so dominates the world militarily, our
political leaders face the temptation to use force to solve a widening
range of problems. Presidents must relish the option of disciplining
rogue states and terrorists by hurling Tomahawk missiles from floating
sanctuaries off shore. However, as the quote (below) suggests, such
simple solutions rarely solve the underlying problems, and often
bring unanticipated consequences. ...."

"Who ever relies on the Tao in governing men doesn't try to force
issues or defeat enemies by force of arms. For every force there
is a counterforce. Violence, even well intentioned, always rebounds
upon oneself.
-Tao Te Ching 30 "

It appears that reasonable men like Chuck spinney do (or have)
inhabited the halls of power. Perhaps they will prevail against the
over-zealous neocon fear mongering hawks ruling the White House
and the Congress.. I believe a strategy diverging away from the
force of arms to secure the power brokers of the WTO in their nests
in the Pentagon and tending more toward a policy of sharing the wealth
of the world with all the world through "fair trade" instead of "free trade"
will in the long run more likely ensure survival, security and happiness
for Americans as well as the "Third World." The role of democratic
institutions should be to ensure this, not the privilege of the few.

Tim Jones


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