From Today’s Washington Post we get this little insight into the thinking of people at the Pentagon regarding the budget:
“They know the money (in the budget) is coming down,” a Pentagon official said of the uniformed services, and many welcome increased discipline. “But it’s neither the military’s nature nor its role to volunteer the cuts,” the official said. “It’s for Congress and the administration to say ‘Stop it.”
The Pentagon’s attitude toward money should be no surprise. Get all the money you can, and spent it as slavishly as possible. You are not responsible for the results. That’s how you help out your friends, and thats how you ensure that when you leave the government with your fat pension check, you make yourself rich. Go to work for a defense contractor, keep the money machine rolling. This morning’s New York Times underscores this very theme with its profile of Retired General Barry R. McCaffrey, famous talking head and influence pedler who uses his position as a celebrity “military analyst” to promote his defense contractor clients to the Pentagon, and his Client’s weapons systems and services to Congress.
The military industrial complex gets away with this by claiming some superior knowledge about what it takes to run the military, and questioning the moral courage of anyone who disagrees. The willingness of the Busch administration to abdicate to the Pentagon decisions about significant U.S. Foreign Policy objectives (Its not the President who decides whether we stay in Iraq, it’s the generals on the ground) has only exacerbated the situation by making Pentagon decisions unassailable.
Not since Harry Truman have we had any responsible civilian stand up to the military industrial complex. Truman rightly called those who engaged in profiteering at the expense of the troops traitors. At a time when the nation faces a severe fiscal crisis, when our troops are over extended in two critical war zones and the Pentagon budget is the largest, and by farthe most out of control in government, its time for someone to stand up. We need civilian leadership to clean this place up, and we need to find military leaders who are dedicated to serving the American People, not dedicated to serving themselves. Patriots, not double dippers.