Holidays and Defense Contractors


Wow. I just got the December 27th roster of awarded defense contracts.
Perhaps they thought that between Christmas and New Year’s, not that many folks would pay attention.
But seriously, we spend a lot of money killing people securing the world.
— Steve Clemons


12 comments on “Holidays and Defense Contractors

  1. J. says:

    Anon – I actually agree with you, in theory. Absolutely, we do need to closely review what the defense department is doing and what we’re getting for $500 billion a year. No doubt that there’s lots of waste, the Pentagon accounting is a shambles, the GAO has noted all this. But the current reality is that Congress wants industry to florish, and anyone who cuts any defense programs, no matter how worthless, will be called weak on defense in the next election.
    Steve’s reference to those specific defense contracts and relating that to how the US government is killing people around the world is a ridiculous statement to make, especially for a policy wonk. The contracts on surface examination are pretty routine, non-controversial work. I don’t have the reference, but Lawrence Kagan (I think) showed how you could easily trim $60-80 billion off the top, without much effort, and apply that to better uses outside the defense department. Most of those funds were the “people killing” systems.
    Criticizing a number of multi-million defense contracts released late in the calendar year is chicken—-. The hard work is going after the top defense programs and the accounting system that lets contractors off the hook, wasting billions every year.


  2. ... says:

    J.. i relly disagree with your conclusions… if the usa didn’t spend so much money on the military establishment, many folks would not think the usa is controlled by this same military establishment.. if that is the business the usa is into, i think the citizens need to be made aware of how it is what is driving us foreign policy and no change in leadership is going to alter this establishments need for further funding and support until the ordinary citizens have it driven home to them… and yes, it is this same military establishment that is responsible for the many deaths in iraq at present with their smart bombs and all the rest of it…
    i know the arguement, ‘people don’t kill, guns do’ but a proliferation in guns and in this example military equipment is very central to why the murders and killing of innocent people continues.. anyone who works in this industry needs to acknowledge their paycheque as morally reprehensive, as that is exactly what it is… the gov’t minions who help push through this spending are equally morally bankrupct, no matter how they explain it away, with justifications similiar to your comments.


  3. pauline says:

    First we have Rumsfeld stating one day before 9/11/01 that the Pentagon can’t find 2.3 trillion dollars!! Then we have Dov Zakheim, ex-Pentagon comptroller non-extraordinaire, admitting after a whistle-blower brought us more great news, that an additional trillion was unaccounted for in 2004.
    Defense contractors, certain pols, certain countries are absolutely thrilled, what-they-worry?


  4. J. says:

    Steve, I don’t think you are serious. Looking at those contracts, I don’t see anything that could be described as other than “business as usual.” Most of the defense contracts you reference are support contracts, few if any seem to be associated with major weapon systems (HIMARS, F-22, Patriot, maybe a few others). Time to buy Lockheed Martin stock, maybe.
    You want to criticize the military-industrial complex, fine. Lots of opportunity to do so. But you sound like some wacked-out flower-child running to the conclusion that “we spend a lot of money killing people.” These defense contracts you reference aren’t “killing people,” decisions by the White House are, with operational funding, not acquisition funds.
    Yes, we have a big defense budget. Yes, it could be smaller. Some day, someone in the White House might team with Congress to reform acquisition procedures and get defense procurement under control. But I’m not holding my breath. The business of America is business (Calvin Coolidge).


  5. Pacific Coast Ron says:

    Dear Curious,
    While applications of military force in the past have had a social and cultural context of advancing the privileges of the American middle class, Bush’s “global war on terror” does nothing like that.
    There are about 20,000 to 50,000 committed hard-core Jihadists who wish to kill Americans, ASAP. (And if you’ve spent four decades studying the details of our policies in the 20th Century, you’d understand why they hate our imperialistic policies, which began crystalizing towards the dark side in the late 1940’s and finished that process in the 1960’s, with the cementing of the American-Israeli alliance after the ’67 war a key step. Israel has a right to exist, and waspish-me has a Jewish daughter, but the alliance has been engaged in a wide variety of Arab-stifling maneuvers, which have prevented a more free and libertarian Arab social development, for some decades now.)
    We can and should make these people ineffective, and it can be done best IN A POLITICAL CONTEXT. I’m a radical hippy, but I’m the one who’s studied the life and strategies of George Catlett Marshall, who was a genius of a conservative American ethic I can appreciate and the “straightest” American guy in the 1890-1957 period. He had it shoved in his face in adventures in Mexico, the Philippines and China: ALL APPLICATION OF FORCE IS POLITICAL. He did what he could to provide an institutional system that COULD ACTUALLY CREATE a citizen army to defend freedom, and I appreciate what our grandfathers and fathers did in the early forties.
    Marshall’s diplomatic career post-45, while involving him in at least having knowlege of some of the key corruptions of the early Cold War, sure shows a hell of a lot more intelligence and ability to negiotiate and confront, while holding together a worldwide alliance, than the Bush crowd shows.
    All of our bashing of Bush, and I’ve been doing it since I realized how much I under-estimated his imeprialism and neofascism (around the spring of 01), is completely and totally EARNED on his part … even if Bush is brought to a Nuremberg trial, we can never bash him as much as he and his team of war-mongering, hate-mongering military and civilian incompetents fully deserve …


  6. Curious says:

    The Money spent to secure the world by arranging meetings with terrorists and their maker….is part of the reason why you and other bloggers have the freedom to write/bash/expose/expound on anything you want.


  7. Pissed Off American says:

    The L.A. Times has an article today that describes the fact that there are about 400 prisoners right now at Gitmo. Of those, they expect to actually try about 80 of them. Well, they want to build a 135 million dollar complex, complete with 3 courtrooms, a restaraunt, “ample parking”, and lodging for approximately 800 people.
    To try 80 people.
    And its SADDAM we wanna hang?
    Instead, lets hang the geniuses that came up with this idea.


  8. rich says:

    This is the problem with ex-Presidents.
    Had Ford leveled with the American People, he’da done us all a, you know, public service.
    After all, Ford was the one ex-Pres who had a ringside seat to the escalation of a failed and misguided war, the consequences of same, and subsequent withdrawal.
    Yet he felt he couldn’t say anything. Look, there’s all sorts of good reasons for ex-Preznits keepin their traps shut. But this instance was plainly misguided. Surely Repubs and pundits wouldn’t listen to Carter. Or Clinton. But Gerald Ford, despite his perceived shortcomings, knew many of the principals in the Iraq disaster, and could have swayed many moderate REpubs that much earlier.
    HAD his country NEEDED him. Yeeeeeeeesh.
    A lot of people disrespected Gerald Ford, but this is one call he made that was right –though keeping silent about it wasn’t good judgment. (For the record, pardoning Nixon did the country an enormous disservice.)
    The silent ex-president thing is like an obsolete cultural relic of some Royal Court. If ex-Presidents can’t offer sitting Preznits counsel–AND offer the NAtion counsel, too–then they’re not Wise Men, and theyr’e not Greek Chorus–they’re just PALL-BEARERS.
    I still can’t understand why any nominally responsible personage–read citizen–would embargo such an interview when so much was at stake FOR THE DAMN NATION. Yikes. THIS is why Gerald Ford was such a problematic figure.
    James Brown didn’t have quite such a mixed impact.


  9. Linda says:

    I’m not including link but go to website of Washington Post for Bob Woodward’s article that will run front page tomorrow. It’s an embargoed interview with Ford who opposed the Iraq War and were not to be released until after his death. Actually it’s on Larry King right now.


  10. ET says:

    Wonderful retrospective on Ford:


  11. ... says:

    with the mainstream press commenting in volumes on fords death, it is with interest that i see steve posting on something that the admin is hoping everyone will overlook- the gazillions spent on war and preperation, or direct killing of others.. with all due respect to ford, it is interesting to parallel his death with this kind of outlay of gov’t money to kill others who are not going to get so much as a mention in the us media…kudos for steve for pointing out how usa tax dollars are being spent by these ‘fiscal conservatives’ in power at present.


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