FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Pentagon’s Vision of Covert and Endless War

by BRIAN J. TRAUTMAN

The Pentagon’s budget proposal for next year was announced last week by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. In an interview with The New York Times, Hagel argued that to meet today’s national security needs, the Department of Defense (DoD) must shift its focus and capabilities away from “fighting grinding ground conflicts” and towards “new arenas of combat.” To achieve these ends, the budget calls for a realignment of the military that would reduce the total number of ground troops to its lowest level since 1940 and discontinue some military equipment deemed obsolete or unnecessary. According to Hagel, current levels of both assets are “larger than we can afford to modernize and keep ready.” The proposed budget also includes reductions in personnel benefits and base services, as well as base closings. The targeted cuts, however, are only one aspect of the budget. The other involves the new sources of priority spending.

The budget plan includes a call for greater expenditures on computer-based technologies and special operations. The Nation’s Bob Dreyfuss reports that the “cuts would fund new projects including cyberwarfare capabilities, $1 billion for a more fuel-efficient jet engine, and plans for a new Navy surface ship.” Despite the cuts to traditional aspects of the military, the DoD has no plans to shrink or limit programs that would undermine America’s ever-growing hegemonic objectives. Dreyfuss writes, “Major weapons systems that might have been cut were sustained, the US special forces units are being increased substantially from already high levels” and “the US Navy would maintain all eleven of its aircraft carriers.”

According to National Priorities Project, a nonprofit, non-partisan federal budget research organization, even as Hagel is requesting “cutbacks in a number of military programs, the Pentagon isn’t planning any major reductions in spending any time soon.” While the cuts translate to savings in specific areas, “the new Pentagon budget does not project a commensurate decline in spending.” In fact, the United States will continue to carry a defense budget which exceeds that of the next 10 countries combined.

In a blog post titled “New War Budget and Strategy Announced by Obama team,” Bruce Gagnon, coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space, points out that the Pentagon’s approach “actually calls for an increase of more than $115 billion for war making” and “for ‘sustaining’ the Pentagon’s nuclear triad – air, ground, and sea delivery systems of nuclear weapons.” Furthermore, this budget would bring about “an increase in drones and robotic forces as well as significant expansion in cyber warfare capabilities.” Gagnon warns that “We will see an expansion of US ‘hidden’ wars in the near future and the Obama budget reflects this reality.”

Hagel’s proposal is already receiving pushback from Congress. Most of the criticism has come from lawmakers who financially benefit from the business-as-usual paradigm of the military-industrial complex. Many of these politicians represent districts in which a military base is housed, and therefore both they and their districts could be negatively impacted by the cuts. Few lawmakers, though, are directing their criticism at the fundamental reason the budget is unreasonable and unacceptable; it will facilitate many more clandestine missions across the globe, effectively allowing the DoD and the Executive branch to be less transparent and accountable to the American people and the international community.

The Pentagon’s decision to shift attention to the latest and most deadly technologies should come as no surprise. It is a move that has been in the pipeline for some time, and is already reflected in the deployment of unmanned armed aerial vehicles (e.g., predator drones) and Special Forces or “kill teams.” Why and how these tactics have been implemented over the past decade has been the subject of scrutiny. Among those who have raised moral and legal questions and warned about the implications of these operations is investigative journalist and best-selling author Jeremy Scahill. His most recent book, Dirty Wars: The World Is A Battlefield, which was made into a now-Oscar-nominated documentary film, tells the hidden truth behind America’s increasingly covert, privatized, borderless, permanent war machine. With this budget, we should expect much greater use of this machine moving forward.

Make no mistake. The Pentagon’s proposal to transform the military is a smoke and mirrors plan. It does not represent a dismantling of the military-industrial complex but a chilling morphing of it, and will advance American imperial power and further enrich war profiteers even as it cuts out the troops. Anti-war and peace activists who have long demanded meaningful cuts in the bloated military budget have little to celebrate after Hagel’s deceptive announcement. This budget does not signal a change in U.S. foreign policy or the nation’s perceived or actual role in the world. The justification and implications of the new military budget reveal the frightening reality of the government’s intention to continue its quest for global domination. It once again exposes the true face of American Empire as it develops and employs new ways to control governments and natural resources under the veil of counter-terrorism and national security.

Brian J. Trautman is a military veteran and an instructor of peace studies at Berkshire Community College in Pittsfield, MA. He is also a peace activist involved with a number of groups, including Veterans for Peace and Berkshire Citizens for Peace and Justice. On Twitter @BriTraut

Brian J. Trautman is an instructor of peace studies at Berkshire Community College in Pittsfield, MA, a peace activist with Berkshire Citizens for Peace and Justice, and an Army veteran. He is also a member of Veterans for Peace. On Twitter @BriTraut.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

August 24, 2016
John Pilger
Provoking Nuclear War by Media
Jonathan Cook
The Birth of Agro-Resistance in Palestine
Eric Draitser
Ajamu Baraka, “Uncle Tom,” and the Pathology of White Liberal Racism
Jack Rasmus
Greek Debt and the New Financial Imperialism
Robert Fisk
The Sultan’s Hit List Grows, as Turkey Prepares to Enter Syria
Abubakar N. Kasim
What Did the Olympics Really Do for Humanity?
Renee Parsons
Obamacare Supporters Oppose ColoradoCare
Alycee Lane
The Trump Campaign: a White Revolt Against ‘Neoliberal Multiculturalism’
Edward Hunt
Maintaining U.S. Dominance in the Pacific
George Wuerthner
The Big Fish Kill on the Yellowstone
Jesse Jackson
Democrats Shouldn’t Get a Blank Check From Black Voters
Kent Paterson
Saving Southern New Mexico from the Next Big Flood
Arnold August
RIP Jean-Guy Allard: A Model for Progressive Journalists Working in the Capitalist System
August 23, 2016
Diana Johnstone
Hillary and the Glass Ceilings Illusion
Bill Quigley
Race and Class Gap Widening: Katrina Pain Index 2016 by the Numbers
Ted Rall
Trump vs. Clinton: It’s All About the Debates
Eoin Higgins
Will Progressive Democrats Ever Support a Third Party Candidate?
Kenneth J. Saltman
Wall Street’s Latest Public Sector Rip-Off: Five Myths About Pay for Success
Binoy Kampmark
Labouring Hours: Sweden’s Six-Hour Working Day
John Feffer
The Globalization of Trump
Gwendolyn Mink – Felicia Kornbluh
Time to End “Welfare as We Know It”
Medea Benjamin
Congress Must Take Action to Block Weapon Sales to Saudi Arabia
Halyna Mokrushyna
Political Writer, Daughter of Ukrainian Dissident, Detained and Charged in Ukraine
Manuel E. Yepe
Tourism and Religion Go Hand-in-Hand in the Caribbean
ED ADELMAN
Belted by Trump
Thomas Knapp
War: The Islamic State and Western Politicians Against the Rest of Us
Nauman Sadiq
Shifting Alliances: Turkey, Russia and the Kurds
Rivera Sun
Active Peace: Restoring Relationships While Making Change
August 22, 2016
Eric Draitser
Hillary Clinton: The Anti-Woman ‘Feminist’
Robert Hunziker
Arctic Death Rattle
Norman Solomon
Clinton’s Transition Team: a Corporate Presidency Foretold
Ralph Nader
Hillary’s Hubris: Only Tell the Rich for $5000 a Minute!
Russell Mokhiber
Save the Patients, Cut Off the Dick!
Steven M. Druker
The Deceptions of the GE Food Venture
Elliot Sperber
Clean, Green, Class War: Bill McKibben’s Shortsighted ‘War on Climate Change’
Binoy Kampmark
Claims of Exoneration: The Case of Slobodan Milošević
Walter Brasch
The Contradictions of Donald Trump
Michael Donnelly
Body Shaming Trump: Statue of Limitations
Weekend Edition
August 19, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Carl Boggs
Hillary and the War Party
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Prime Time Green
Andrew Levine
Hillary Goes With the Flow
Dave Lindorff
New York Times Shames Itself by Attacking Wikileaks’ Assange
Gary Leupp
Could a Russian-Led Coalition Defeat Hillary’s War Plans?
Conn Hallinan
Dangerous Seas: China and the USA
Joshua Frank
Richard Holbrooke and the Obama Doctrine
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail