Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Military Industrial Complex 2.0

Cubicle Mercenaries, Subcontracting Warriors, and Other Phenomena of a Privatizing Pentagon

by Frida Berrigan

Seven years into George W. Bush's Global War on Terror, the Pentagon is embroiled in two big wars, a potentially explosive war of words with Tehran, and numerous smaller conflicts - and it is leaning ever more heavily on private military contractors to get by.

Once upon a time, soldiers did more than pick up a gun. They picked up trash. They cut hair and delivered mail. They fixed airplanes and inflated truck tires.

Not anymore. All of those tasks are now the responsibility of private military corporations. In the service of the Pentagon, their employees also man computers, write software code, create integrating systems, train technicians, manufacture and service high-tech weapons, market munitions, and interpret satellite images.

Whenever I read about the money the U.S. spends on the military industrial complex I can't help but think of the collapse of the Soviet Union. There are whole books written on the similarities between the two empires. Read "Closing the Collapse Gap" by Dmitry Olav if you're interested. The point is that once this huge military machine stops being fed, it decays very quickly. Will it take economic collapse to curb America's appetite for war? I think that it might. Tom

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