“Free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things. For suddenly the biggest problem in the world to be looting is really notable.”
Sec-Def Donald Rumsfeld 4-11-03; comments on the looting of Baghdad
The changes that are taking place in the military under the deceptive name of “transformation” have nothing to do with national defense. Rather, the military is being converted into a taxpayer-subsidized security apparatus for multinational corporations. Its primary task is to seize dwindling resources through force of arms and crush indigenous movements that resist US aggression.
On the home front, the changes brought on by transformation are equally dramatic. Traditional defenses provided by the National Guard have been substantially weakened to allow the Pentagon to insert itself into domestic affairs and establish an ongoing military presence within the United States. Donald Rumsfeld has already stated that the military will play a greater role in dealing with the aftereffects of any future terrorist attack. There’s no doubt that he will honor that commitment.
The media has echoed the government line that transformation is simply intended to revamp the military for the wars of the next century. They have highlighted the effects of base closures on local economies and unemployment. They have also emphasized the Pentagon’s intention to create smaller, more agile military units that can be quickly deployed anywhere around the world in less than 48 hours. But, the media have avoided analyzing the overall objectives of these changes or their effect on homeland security.
Rumsfeld has savaged the National Guard; 40% of who are now serving in Iraq. That means, that the American people are 40% “less safe” in the event of terrorist attack or a natural disaster, like Hurricane Katrina, regardless of how one looks at it. Instead of strengthening the damaged Guard, Rumsfeld is executing a plan that will wreak further havoc on domestic preparedness and expose the American public to even greater risk.
For example, “Rumsfeld called for 30 Air Guard units scattered around many states to lose their aircraft and flying missions.” (Liz Sidot; Ass Press 8-27-05) How can the states be expected to conduct routine patrols or reconnaissance missions if their planes have been taken by Washington? And, why would Rumsfeld want to take them when more terrorist attacks are expected in the future?
In Pennsylvania Rumsfeld tried to “dissolve the Pennsylvania Air National Guard division without the Governor’s authority”. (Ass Press)
The move was a conspicuous attempt to undermine Pennsylvania’s defenses and put more power under the direct control of the Defense Dept.
Rumsfeld also tried to “transfer” all 15 “Pacific Northwest and Oregon National Guard fighter jets that patrolled Seattle’s skies after 9-11″; leaving the region with no protection from aerial assault. (Northwest’s F-15’s Should Stay Put” Seattle PI staff, 8-27-05) Consider the risk to a “target-rich” area like the Pacific Northwest, with its exposed industries, harbors and nuclear power plants, if it was stripped of its first line of defense?
Rumsfeld’s behavior has been identical everywhere across the country. He is determined to undermine the National Guard and limit the states’ ability to protect themselves against attack. His intention is to smash America’s internal defenses, which are currently under control of the states’ governors, and introduce the military into homeland security. It is a clear attempt to centralize authority and further militarize the country.
By weakening America’s defenses, Rumsfeld has paved the way for deploying troops and aircraft within the country and setting the precedent for a permanent military presence within the nation. It is one giant step towards direct military rule.
There is no other conceivable reason for weakening national defense during a period when there is an increased likelihood of a terrorist incident.
Rumsfeld’s conduct is hardly surprising. He has a long history of support for military regimes. Just months ago he was coaching South American leaders to resume their use of the military in domestic policing activities to undercut the Leftist political movements that are at the forefront of change throughout the region. It’s clear that he has something similar in mind for the American people.
Are we talking about the possibility of martial law?
We only need to look at developments in England to know what Americans could be facing following another terrorist attack. Tony Blair has managed to manipulate the London bombings into a mandate for regressive “anti-terror” legislation that suspends habeas corpus, due process, and the presumption of innocence.
Blair is now claiming the right to deport Muslims without judicial review, suspend free speech, and use deadly force against terrorist suspects. At the same time, he has concealed his motives behind a public relations smokescreen that make his actions look like they are a reasonable response to a national security threat. In fact, Blair’s actions are part of a broader strategy to eviscerate civil liberties for the Islamic community. The Prime Minister’s “The rules of the game have changed” speech; was a carefully scripted declaration of martial law for Muslims.
The American people can expect similar edicts from Washington following the next terrorist attack at home.
Transformation and Foreign Policy
When the military is adapted to the narrow interests of elites it becomes little more than a resource-acquisition tool; a bloody-weapon to be used by private industry. We can see the effects of this in both Iraq and Afghanistan, where the military is providing security for the corporations that are extracting the regional resources. It’s nothing more than massive “protections-racket” designed to legitimize theft.
The goal of transformation is to make the military conform to the corporate model; converting it into a top-down, highly-technological mechanism programmed for maximum efficiency and lethality. The Pentagon is no longer expecting to fight large territorial conflicts, but instead is developing a fighting force to “preemptively” attack those nationalist or revolutionary forces that may disrupt global commerce.
When Bush says, “We will confront emerging threats before they fully materialize,” he is articulating the theory of aggression on which transformation is based. The new military is designed to initiate hostilities wherever America can expand its grip on vital natural resources. This is the only way that Washington can maintain its dominant position in the world economy.
The Cost of Global War
One official from the World Bank estimated that the US will spend in excess of $900 Billion per year to maintain the global military presence that the Bush administration has in mind; nearly double the current Pentagon budget.
This is probably accurate. The New World Order requires a gluttonous, iron-fisted military to maintain its supremacy and to preserve the existing economic paradigm.
So far, the dream of a transformed military has proved to be a dismal failure. The insufficient number of soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq has spawned violent resistance-movements in both countries that show no sign of abating. Rumsfeld’s dream of small groupings of elite warriors striking with lightening speed and subduing entire populations has turned out to be a catastrophic fantasy. America now has 8 battalions bogged-down in a desert maelstrom where high-tech wizardry is less help than a few more “boots on the ground”. At home, the National Guard is in a shambles. The men who would normally be assisting the victims of America’s greatest natural disaster are now hunkered-down in encampments outside Baghdad and Falluja unable to help in the task for which they were trained. As the costs and casualties of the Iraq debacle continue to mount, Rumsfeld’s crazed vision of transformation will be exposed as one of the principle theories that led the country down this ruinous path.
MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
ALEXANDER COCKBURN, JEFFREY ST CLAIR, BECKY GRANT AND THE INSTITUTE FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF JOURNALISTIC CLARITY, COUNTERPUNCH
We published an article entitled “A Saudiless Arabia” by Wayne Madsen dated October 22, 2002 (the “Article”), on the website of the Institute for the Advancement of Journalistic Clarity, CounterPunch, www.counterpunch.org (the “Website”).
Although it was not our intention, counsel for Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi has advised us the Article suggests, or could be read as suggesting, that Mr Al Amoudi has funded, supported, or is in some way associated with, the terrorist activities of Osama bin Laden and the Al Qaeda terrorist network.
We do not have any evidence connecting Mr Al Amoudi with terrorism.
As a result of an exchange of communications with Mr Al Amoudi’s lawyers, we have removed the Article from the Website.
We are pleased to clarify the position.
August 17, 2005