By Mark Cramer
On January 17, 1961, the outgoing U.S. president Dwight Eisenhower warned the American people that military industries
were gaining too much power.
“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 State house, every office of the Federal government,” said Eisenhower, a Republican. “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence … by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”
The war in Vietnam, a creation of the Democrats, was the first example of windfall profits for the military-industrial complex, or as some call it, the “death and destruction industry”. Even today, third generation Vietnamese victims of horrendous genetic deformations caused by the chemical defoliant called “agent orange” cannot gain well-deserved compensation from l the manufacturers of this killer product, whose primary manufacturer was Monsanto, a company that today claims with Olympian hypocrisy that it wants to feed the world with genetically modified organisms.
What does all this have to do with Russia and Georgia? We need to connect the dots. The pro-war mass media cannot be expected to provide adequate context for even a rudimentary understanding of the dynamics of any conflict. Many major media companies are owned by or have close contacts with military industries, to the extent that today Eisenhower might call it the Military Industrial Media Complex.
Today’s great episode of death-and-destruction profits takes place in Iraq, where unbridled profits are won by companies with close ties to the Bush administration. Some of these companies include Halliburton, Bechtel and Aegis Defense Services, which provides mercenaries who operate in Iraq with impunity. (See the work of Charlie Cray, director of the Center for Corporate Policy in Washington, D.C.) If Al Capone were alive today, he would be lamenting the lost money-making opportunities of government mafia, and some people who lived through the Capone days are longing with nostalgia for the times when crime syndicates were still partly independent from government. Many of the Iraq profiteers have made campaign contributions to the Democrats as well as the Republicans.
Not content with its windfall profits, the military-industrial-media complex has been satisfying its voracious appetite with the useless expansion of NATO and American military bases. The terrain of this expansion has occurred in territories that were once the fief of the Soviet Union. Seventy percent of Czech people are opposed to a U.S. missile shield base on their territory and yet the Czech government, which stands to win contract money from four major U.S. “defense” firms, is going ahead with the project anyway. This former “Star Wars” technology is menacing politically to Russia but technologically useless, since decoy rockets fired by the Russians can easily wreck its already doubtful capacity to stop incoming missiles.
This military-mafia expansion has included installing American puppet governments in places like Kosovo, a country manufactured to house a huge American military base, Camp Bondsteel, the biggest “from scratch” foreign US military base since the Vietnam War. One can ask why the major media failed to even mention the geopolitical aspect of the Kosovo confabulation.
Georgia, also within the former Soviet empire, is the newest horizon of expansion of the military profiteers. According to Craig Paul Roberts, a former Reagan administration economist, “The failure of the American media is again evident in the coverage of the Georgian-Russian conflict. The US media presented the conflict as a Russian invasion of Georgia, whereas in actual fact the American and Israeli trained and equipped Georgian military launched a sneak attack to kill and to drive the Russian population out of South Ossetia, a separatist province” (Counterpunch, 26 August 2008).
No one is saying that Putin’s Russia is the “good guy” nowadays, but within conventional geopolitics, if China or Russia were to establish military bases in Mexico, an independent country within the U.S. sphere of influence, do you think the United States would allow
this to happen?
Roberts continues: “This action by Saakashvili, elected with money from the neoconservative National Endowment for Democracy, an election-rigging tool of US hegemony, was a war crime.”
U.S. hegemony is largely a tool for the voracious needs of the U.S. military-industrial complex and their partners in Israel, France and Britain. Israel’s relations with Georgia have been close, partly because there is a large Georgian Jewish community in Israel. An IPS report, “GEORGIA: Israeli Arms Sales Raise New Concerns,” by Peter Hirschberg, explains that, “In recent years, ties have also taken on a military dimension, with military industries in Israel supplying Georgia with some 200 million dollars worth of equipment since 2000. This has included remotely piloted planes, rockets, night-vision equipment, other electronic systems and training by former senior Israeli officers.
”Israel is not a major supplier of arms to Georgia,” Hirschberg continued, “with the U.S. and France supplying Tbilisi with most of its weaponry. France, too, is a junior partner of the military-industrial-media complex, and some French media is owned by military industry.But the arms transfers have attracted media attention partly because of the role played by some high-profile Israeli figures, including former Tel Aviv mayor Roni Milo, who conducted business in Georgia on behalf of Israel Military Industries.”
But the United States military-industrial complex is still the major winner in escalating arms business and NATO expansion in areas like Poland, the Czech Republic, Kosovo, Georgia and Ukraine, that arc around the west and south side of Russia.
According to Stars & Stripes (27 August 2008), a U.S. military source, “there are 127 U.S. military trainers in Georgia, of whom about 35 are civilian contractors, according to Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman.” (“Civilian contractor” is a euphemism for “mercenary”.) Soon we will find the information on which U.S. military industries will be making how much money thanks to the Georgia conflict, but we can rest assured that major media will not be doing its job, and the American public will have no idea that Geogria is yet another frontier for military-industrial
One cannot digest the details of the Georgia-Russia conflict, including Russia’s copycat Kosovos in separatist regions, without first understanding the encroachment of the U.S. military-industry mafia and its junior partners into Russia’s backyard, a new horizon for war profiteering.
One must remember that war profiteering results in the death and maiming of civilian populations. Until now, most victims have been dark-skinned peoples of Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America. Racism was the big obstacle that prevented many Westerners from empathizing with the plight of the victims. But today, the white men who run the military-industrial complex realize they will have to begin killing more of their own because that’s where the big profits are to be found.
Mark Cramer is an active member of Americans Against the War (AAW-France), an official association. He is a widely published writer and teaches classes at universities in Paris. His website is: www.altiplanopublications.com