FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Surplus Military

U.S. President Barack Obama has ordered a review of the distribution of military hardware to state and local police. Great. Now can we have a review of the distribution of military influence throughout US society?

What we’ve learned so far is that under a federal program, more than $5 billion worth of military equipment has gone to more than 8,000 city and state agencies since 1997. I found out this weekend that one small town not far from me received six military HumVees for a police department where just 25 officers work.

Mine-resistant trucks aren’t the only war tools showing up in US suburbs. Take those gunshot wounds. Michael Brown, the unarmed teen shot by a police in Ferguson August 9, was shot six times, twice in the head. Ever wonder why so many gun shot victims show up with multiple bullets in their flesh?  It’s certainly the cop, it’s also the gun.

As the Atlantic Magazine reported this summer, every time that Congress pays a military contractor to develop a new killer weapon for the battlefield, it almost at once shows up at High Street gun shops – and in Hollywood movies, like Lethal Weapon 1, 2, 3 and 4.

Obama’s review has been sparked by public shock at images from Ferguson, but what do people think happens when war profiteers dominate the marketplace, the media and Congress?

There’s a lot of surplus out there because defense contractors lobby for it. The top five companies spent more than $65 million last year persuading Congress to cancel promised cuts. As a result the 2014  budget gave them everything they asked for, including the controversial F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the most expensive weapon system ever, and a tank that we already know that nobody wants.

Weapons makers don’t just do war work of course. Lockheed Martin, the maker of that costly fighter, has also snapped up government contracts to do data collection for everyone from the Postal Service to the IRS, despite a history of fraud.

Now the country’s SWAT teams are lobbying to keep their military surplus and there’s about to be more of it because Congress is already hearing the Pentagon’s $555 billion budget for next year, isn’t sufficient, in light of the threat posed by the Islamic State. That’s good news for the SWAT teams and probably for ISIS. In Syria and Iraq, ISIS has seized an arsenal of US military gear –  even more than the Ferguson police!

So by all means yes, let’s examine the surplus program. But let’s not stop at that. And while we’re at it, Obama says the review will be done by White House Staff and “relevant” agencies including Homeland Security and the Departments of Defense. We can guess what will come of that. How about the residents in towns with all this firepower review the program?  Especially the ones who’ve been shocked, not just by the images  — but by the experience of having police point assault rifles at their heads.

Laura Flanders is the host of GRITtv now seen on the new, news channel TeleSUR English – for a new perspective. 

More articles by:

Laura Flanders is the host of GRITtv now seen on the new, news channel TeleSUR English – for a new perspective. 

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
August 16, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Uncle Sam was Born Lethal
Jennifer Matsui
La Danse Mossad: Robert Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein
Rob Urie
Neoliberalism and Environmental Calamity
Stuart A. Newman
The Biotech-Industrial Complex Gets Ready to Define What is Human
Nick Alexandrov
Prevention Through Deterrence: The Strategy Shared by the El Paso Shooter and the U.S. Border Patrol
Jeffrey St. Clair
The First Dambuster: a Coyote Tale
Eric Draitser
“Bernie is Trump” (and other Corporate Media Bullsh*t)
Nick Pemberton
Is White Supremacism a Mental Illness?
Jim Kavanagh
Dead Man’s Hand: The Impeachment Gambit
Andrew Levine
Have They No Decency?
David Yearsley
Kind of Blue at 60
Ramzy Baroud
Manifestos of Hate: What White Terrorists Have in Common
Evaggelos Vallianatos
The War on Nature
Martha Rosenberg
Catch and Hang Live Chickens for Slaughter: $11 an Hour Possible!
Yoav Litvin
Israel Fears a Visit by Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib
Neve Gordon
It’s No Wonder the Military likes Violent Video Games, They Can Help Train Civilians to Become Warriors
Susan Miller
That Debacle at the Border is Genocide
Ralph Nader
With the Boeing 737 MAX Grounded, Top Boeing Bosses Must Testify Before Congress Now
Victor Grossman
Warnings, Ancient and Modern
Meena Miriam Yust - Arshad Khan
The Microplastic Threat
Kavitha Muralidharan
‘Today We Seek Those Fish in Discovery Channel’
Louis Proyect
The Vanity Cinema of Quentin Tarantino
Bob Scofield
Tit For Tat: Baltimore Takes Another Hit, This Time From Uruguay
Nozomi Hayase
The Prosecution of Julian Assange Affects Us All
Ron Jacobs
People’s Music for the Soul
John Feffer
Is America Crazy?
Jonathan Power
Russia and China are Growing Closer Again
John W. Whitehead
Who Inflicts the Most Gun Violence in America? The U.S. Government and Its Police Forces
Justin Vest
ICE: You’re Not Welcome in the South
Jill Richardson
Race is a Social Construct, But It Still Matters
Dean Baker
The NYT Gets the Story on Automation and Inequality Completely Wrong
Nino Pagliccia
Venezuela Retains Political Control After New US Coercive Measures
Gary Leupp
MSNBC and the Next Election: Racism is the Issue (and Don’t Talk about Socialism)
R. G. Davis
Paul Krassner: Investigative Satirist
Negin Owliaei
Red State Rip Off: Cutting Worker Pay by $1.5 Billion
Christopher Brauchli
The Side of Trump We Rarely See
Curtis Johnson
The Unbroken Line: From Slavery to the El Paso Shooting
Jesse Jackson
End Endless War and Bring Peace to Korea
Adolf Alzuphar
Diary: What About a New City Center?
Tracey L. Rogers
Candidates Need a Moral Vision
Nicky Reid
I Was a Red Flag Kid
John Kendall Hawkins
The Sixties Victory Lap in an Empty Arena
Stephen Cooper
Tony Chin’s Unstoppable, Historic Career in Music
Charles R. Larson
Review: Bruno Latour’s Down to Earth: Politics in the New Climatic Regime
Elizabeth Keyes
Haiku Fighting
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail