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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 6/28/12

The Morally Corrupt But Brilliant Secret Strategy of the Military/Industrial/National Security Complex

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"War is a racket" easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious" It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives".It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes."

Major General Smedley Butler, U.S. Marines,  from his book  War Is a Racket, (1935)  

The Washington Post ran a story recently with this headline:  "In Yemen, U.S. Airstrikes Breed Anger, and Sympathy For Al-Qaeda." The story told how "an escalating campaign of U.S. drone strikes" have driven tribesmen in Yemen over to the side of  al-Qaeda-linked militants. Such blowback shouldn't be a surprise--some say we are creating more terrorists than we are killing. If true, then why are we waging drone warfare more often and in more places than ever before?

The answer may be found in Naomi Klein's 2007 book, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism,  in which she provides numerous examples of free-market fundamentalists swooping in on disaster areas all over the world, from Chile to Iraq to New Orleans and transforming tragic situations to their  ideological and financial advantage. Ground Zero in New York City provides another instructive example.


Powerful and influential segments of American society have profited immensely from the "War on Terror" since September 11, 2001. Trillions of dollars and millions of jobs in defense and homeland security have spun off from this never-ending "war."  The news media is another beneficiary, enjoying a spike in ratings whenever it covers stories of terror threats, real or imagined, as well as armed conflict around the world. Right-wing politicians also benefit, intimidating opponents and winning votes with hawkish rhetoric and scare stories.

The fight against "terrorism" has boosted job security and profits big-time for the military-industrial-national security complex. The government can't spend enough on weapons and homeland security, never having to fear opposition from either the Republican or Democratic parties.

A very few daring souls have suggested the threat of terrorism might be an exaggeration, a scam, or even a hoax. A case can be made that 9/11 was a well-planned aberration cleverly crafted by a relatively weak third-world organization without backup plans. The George W. Bush Administration used the terrorist trauma to start two wars and shred important parts of our Constitution. The First Ten Amendments might now be properly called "The Bill of Limited Rights."

Is the "War on Terrorism" a scam? Sounds far-fetched, but not unprecedented. Just look back on our own history: "Remember the Maine!" (Spanish-American War)...The Gulf of Tonkin (Vietnam)...WMDs (Iraq)...all false or questionable scenarios leading to unnecessary and costly wars.

Look how our country has changed since 2001. Where once we had the CIA (foreign) and the FBI (domestic), there are now, at last glance, 17 intelligence agencies. A 2010 Washington Post investigation reported "some 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies work on programs related to counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence in about 10,000 locations across the United States...An estimated 854,000 people, nearly 1.5 times as many people as live in Washington, D.C., hold top-secret security clearances."

Clearly, a lot of powerful and influential people are heavily invested in the national defense and homeland security gravy train. We are assured "The War on Terror" will end when the threat of terror is eliminated--which, when you think about it, translates to "never."


Which brings me to the Morally Corrupt But Brilliant (and Extremely Lucrative) Secret Strategy of the Military/Industrial/National Security Complex:

(1) Send American soldiers, secret agents and/or unmanned drones, to target suspected militants. Inevitably we will sometimes kill the wrong people. We call it collateral damage, the rest of the world calls it killing innocent civilians.

(2) These terrorist acts on our part anger the citizens of these countries, and drive some of them into the arms of al-Qaeda and their wannabe affiliates. We end up helping recruit potential terrorists. Like the bumper sticker says: "We Are Creating Enemies Faster Than We Can Kill Them."

(3) To combat the "increased threat" from these  amateur "terrorists,"  the U.S. funnels billions of dollars to government agencies and private contractors to devise bigger and newer ways to kill militants and spy on everybody (American citizens included).  In the process, more enemies are produced, leading to an inevitable  expansion of the "War on Terror." (back to #1)

There you have it: a brilliant, morally corrupt, and profitable plan to inspire potential terrorists, churn out new military/national security jobs and weaponry, and maximize the obscene wealth of the well-connected corporations providing them.

When it all shakes out, we are left with the unfortunate victims of this duplicitous plan: innocent civilians killed and maimed abroad and, right here at home, Americans  struggling to stay above water in a failing and unforgiving economy.

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Arlen is a writer/blogger living in Monterey, CA. His political blog is He also wrote a quotation quiz "What's Your QQ?" at the Monterey Herald for 9 years. see

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