America Is Completely Broke, And
Here We Are Funding Fantasy Wars at the Pentagon
by Chalmers Johnson, Tomdispatch.com
www.alternet.org/, February 3,
Like much of the rest of the world, Americans
know that the U.S. automotive industry is in the grips of what
may be a fatal decline. Unless it receives emergency financing
and undergoes significant reform, it is undoubtedly headed for
the graveyard in which many American industries are already buried,
including those that made televisions and other consumer electronics,
many types of scientific and medical equipment, machine tools,
textiles, and much earth-moving equipment -- and that's to name
only the most obvious candidates. They all lost their competitiveness
to newly emerging economies that were able to outpace them in
innovative design, price, quality, service, and fuel economy,
among other things.
A similar, if far less well known, crisis
exists when it comes to the military-industrial complex. That
crisis has its roots in the corrupt and deceitful practices that
have long characterized the high command of the Armed Forces,
civilian executives of the armaments industries, and Congressional
opportunists and criminals looking for pork-barrel projects, defense
installations for their districts, or even bribes for votes.
Given our economic crisis, the estimated
trillion dollars we spend each year on the military and its weaponry
is simply unsustainable. Even if present fiscal constraints no
longer existed, we would still have misspent too much of our tax
revenues on too few, overly expensive, overly complex weapons
systems that leave us ill-prepared to defend the country in a
real military emergency. We face a double crisis at the Pentagon:
we can no longer afford the pretense of being the Earth's sole
superpower, and we cannot afford to perpetuate a system in which
the military-industrial complex makes its fortune off inferior,
poorly designed weapons.
Double Crisis at the Pentagon
This self-destructive system of bloated
budgets and purchases of the wrong weapons has persisted for so
long thanks to the aura of invincibility surrounding the Armed
Forces and a mistaken belief that jobs in the arms industry are
as valuable to the economy as jobs in the civilian sector.
Recently, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs
of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen began to advocate nothing less
than protecting the Pentagon budget by pegging defense spending
to a fixed percentage of gross domestic product (GDP, the total
value of goods and services produced by the economy). This would,
of course, mean simply throwing out serious strategic analysis
of what is actually needed for national defense. Mullen wants,
instead, to raise the annual defense budget in the worst of times
to at least 4% of GDP. Such a policy is clearly designed to deceive
the public about ludicrously wasteful spending on weapons systems
which has gone on for decades.
It is hard to imagine any sector of the
American economy more driven by ideology, delusion, and propaganda
than the armed services. Many people believe that our military
is the largest, best equipped, and most invincible among the world's
armed forces. None of these things is true, but our military is,
without a doubt, the most expensive to maintain. Each year, we
Americans account for nearly half of all global military spending,
an amount larger than the next 45 nations together spend on their
Equally striking, the military seems increasingly
ill-adapted to the types of wars that Pentagon strategists agree
the United States is most likely to fight in the future, and is,
in fact, already fighting in Afghanistan -- insurgencies led by
non-state actors. While the Department of Defense produces weaponry
meant for such wars, it is also squandering staggering levels
of defense appropriations on aircraft, ships, and futuristic weapons
systems that fascinate generals and admirals, and are beloved
by military contractors mainly because their complexity runs up
their cost to astronomical levels.
That most of these will actually prove
irrelevant to the world in which we live matters not a whit to
their makers or purchasers. Thought of another way, the stressed
out American taxpayer, already supporting two disastrous wars
and the weapons systems that go with them, is also paying good
money for weapons that are meant for fantasy wars, for wars that
will only be fought in the battlescapes and war-gaming imaginations
of Defense Department "planners."
The Air Force and the Army are still planning
as if, in the reasonably near future, they were going to fight
an old-fashioned war of attrition against the Soviet Union, which
disappeared in 1991; while the Navy, with its eleven large aircraft-carrier
battle groups, is, as William S. Lind has written, "still
structured to fight the Imperial Japanese Navy." Lind, a
prominent theorist of so-called fourth-generation warfare (insurgencies
carried out by groups such as al-Qaeda), argues that "the
Navy's aircraft-carrier battle groups have cruised on mindlessly
for more than half a century, waiting for those Japanese carriers
to turn up. They are still cruising today, into, if not beyond,
irrelevance Submarines are today's and tomorrow's capital ships;
the ships that most directly determine control of blue waters."
In December 2008, Franklin "Chuck"
Spinney, a former high-ranking civilian in the Pentagon's Office
of Systems Analysis (set up in 1961 to make independent evaluations
of Pentagon policy) and a charter member of the "Fighter
Mafia" of the 1980s and 1990s, wrote, "As has been documented
for at least twenty years, patterns of repetitive habitual behavior
in the Pentagon have created a self-destructive decision-making
process. This process has produced a death spiral."
As a result, concluded Spinney, inadequate
amounts of wildly overpriced equipment are purchased, "new
weapons [that] do not replace old ones on a one for one basis."
There is also "continual pressure to reduce combat readiness,"
a "corrupt accounting system" that "makes it impossible
to sort out the priorities," and a readiness to believe that
old solutions will work for the current crisis.
Failed Reform Efforts
There's no great mystery about the causes
of the deep dysfunction that has long characterized the Pentagon's
weapons procurement system. In 2006, Thomas Christie, former head
of Operational Test and Evaluation, the most senior official at
the Department of Defense for testing weapons and a Pentagon veteran
of half a century, detailed more than 35 years of efforts to reform
the weapons acquisition system. These included the 1971 Fitzhugh
(or Blue Ribbon) Commission, the 1977 Steadman Review, the 1981
Carlucci Acquisition Initiatives, the 1986 Packard Commission,
the 1986 Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization
Act, the 1989 Defense Management Review, the 1990 "Streamlining
Review" of the Defense Science Board, the 1993-1994 report
of the Acquisition Streamlining Task Force and of the Defense
Science Board, the late 1990s Total System Performance Responsibility
initiative of the Air Force, and the Capabilities-Based Acquisition
approach of the Missile Defense Agency of the first years of this
Christie concluded: "After all these
years of repeated reform efforts, major defense programs are taking
20 to 30 years to deliver less capability than planned, very often
at two to three times the costs and schedules planned." He
also added the following observations:
"Launching into major developments
without understanding key technical issues is the root cause of
major cost and schedule problems Costs, schedules, and technical
risks are often grossly understated at the outset There are more
acquisition programs being pursued than DoD [the Department of
Defense] can possibly afford in the long term
"By the time these problems are acknowledged,
the political penalties incurred in enforcing any major restructuring
of a program, much less its cancellation, are too painful to bear.
Unless someone is willing to stand up and point out that the emperor
has no clothes, the U.S. military will continue to hemorrhage
taxpayer dollars and critical years while acquiring equipment
that falls short of meeting the needs of troops in the field."
The inevitable day of reckoning, long
predicted by Pentagon critics, has, I believe, finally arrived.
Our problems are those of a very rich country which has become
accustomed over the years to defense budgets that are actually
jobs programs and also a major source of pork for the use of politicians
in their reelection campaigns.
Given the present major recession, whose
depths remain unknown, the United States has better things to
spend its money on than Nimitz-class aircraft carriers at a price
of $6.2 billion each (the cost of the USS George H. W. Bush, launched
in January 2009, our tenth such ship) or aircraft that can cruise
at a speed of Mach 2 (1,352 miles per hour).
However, don't wait for the Pentagon to
sort out such matters. If it has proven one thing over the last
decades, it's that it is thoroughly incapable of reforming itself.
According to Christie, "Over the past 20 or so years, the
DoD and its components have deliberately and systematically decimated
their in-house technical capabilities to the point where there
is little, if any, competence or initiative left in the various
organizations tasked with planning and executing its budget and
Gunning for the Air Force
President Obama has almost certainly retained
Robert M. Gates as Secretary of Defense in part to give himself
some bipartisan cover as he tries to come to grips with the bloated
defense budget. Gates is also sympathetic to the desire of a few
reformers in the Pentagon to dump the Lockheed-Martin F-22 "Raptor"
supersonic stealth fighter, a plane designed to meet the Soviet
Union's last proposed, but never built, interceptor.
The Air Force's old guard and its allies
in Congress are already fighting back aggressively. In June 2008,
Gates fired Secretary of the Air Force Michael W. Wynne and Air
Force Chief of Staff General T. Michael Moseley. Though he was
undoubtedly responding to their fervent support for the F-22,
his cover explanation was their visible failure to adequately
supervise the accounting and control of nuclear weapons.
In 2006, the Air Force had managed to
ship to Taiwan four high-tech nose cone fuses for Minutemen ICBM
warheads instead of promised helicopter batteries, an error that
went blissfully undetected until March 2008. Then, in August 2007,
a B-52 bomber carrying six armed nuclear cruise missiles flew
across much of the country from Minot Air Force Base in North
Dakota to Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana. This was in direct
violation of standing orders against such flights over the United
As Julian Barnes and Peter Spiegel of
the Los Angeles Times noted in June 2008, "Tensions between
the Air Force and Gates have been growing for months," mainly
over Gates's frustration about the F-22 and his inability to get
the Air Force to deploy more pilotless aircraft to the various
war zones. They were certainly not improved when Wynne, a former
senior vice president of General Dynamics, went out of his way
to cross Gates, arguing publicly that "any president would
be damn happy to have more F-22s around if we had to get into
a fight with China." It catches something of the power of
the military-industrial complex that, despite his clear desire
on the subject, Gates has not yet found the nerve -- or the political
backing -- to pull the plug on the F-22; nor has he even dared
to bring up the subject of canceling its more expensive and technically
complicated successor, the F-35 "Joint Strike Fighter."
More than 20 years ago, Chuck Spinney
wrote a classic account of the now-routine bureaucratic scams
practiced within the Pentagon to ensure that Congress will appropriate
funds for dishonestly advertised and promoted weapons systems
and then prevent their cancellation when the fraud comes to light.
In a paper he entitled "Defense Power Games," of which
his superiors deeply disapproved, Spinney outlined two crucial
Pentagon gambits meant to lock in such weaponry: "front-loading"
and "political engineering."
It should be understood at the outset
that all actors involved, including the military officers in charge
of projects, the members of Congress who use defense appropriations
to buy votes within their districts, and the contractors who live
off the ensuing lucrative contracts, utilize these two scams.
It is also important to understand that neither front-loading
nor political engineering is an innocent or morally neutral maneuver.
They both involve criminal intent to turn on the spigot of taxpayer
money and then to jam it so that it cannot be turned off. They
are de rigueur practices of our military-industrial complex.
Front-loading is the practice of appropriating
funds for a new weapons project based solely on assurances by
its official sponsors about what it can do. This happens long
before a prototype has been built or tested, and invariably involves
the quoting of unrealistically low unit costs for a sizeable order.
Assurances are always given that the system's technical requirements
will be simple or have already been met. Low-balling future costs,
an intrinsic aspect of front-loading, is an old Defense Department
trick, a governmental version of bait-and-switch. (What is introduced
as a great bargain regularly turns out to be a grossly expensive
Political engineering is the strategy
of awarding contracts in as many different Congressional districts
as possible. By making voters and Congressional incumbents dependent
on military money, the Pentagon's political engineers put pressure
on them to continue supporting front-loaded programs even after
their true costs become apparent.
Front-loading and political engineering
generate several typical features in the weapons that the Pentagon
then buys for its arsenal. These continually prove unnecessarily
expensive, are prone to break down easily, and are often unworkably
complex. They tend to come with inadequate supplies of spare parts
and ammunition, since there is not enough money to buy the numbers
that are needed. They also force the services to repair older
weapons and keep them in service much longer than is normal or
wise. (For example, the B-52 bomber, which went into service in
1955, is still on active duty.)
Even though extended training would seem
to be a necessary corollary of the complexity of such weapons
systems, the excessive cost actually leads to reductions in training
time for pilots and others. In the long run, it is because of
such expedients and short-term fixes that American casualties
may increase and, sooner or later, battles or wars may be lost.
For example, Northrop-Grumman's much touted
B-2 stealth bomber has proven to be almost totally worthless.
It is too delicate to deploy to harsh climates without special
hangars first being built to protect it at ridiculous expense;
it cannot fulfill any combat missions that older designs were
not fully adequate to perform; and -- at a total cost of $44.75
billion for only 21 bombers -- it wastes resources needed for
real combat situations.
Instead, in military terms, the most unexpectedly
successful post-Vietnam aircraft has been the Fairchild A-10,
unflatteringly nicknamed the "Warthog." It is the only
close-support aircraft ever developed by the U.S. Air Force. Its
task is to loiter over battlefields and assist ground forces in
disposing of obstinate or formidable targets, which is not something
that fits comfortably with the Air Force's hot-shot self-image.
Some 715 A-10s were produced and they
served with great effectiveness in the first Persian Gulf War.
All 715 cumulatively cost less than three B-2 bombers. The A-10
is now out of production because the Air Force establishment favors
extremely fast aircraft that fly in straight lines at high altitudes
rather than aircraft that are useful in battle. In the Afghan
war, the Air Force has regularly inflicted heavy casualties on
innocent civilians at least in part because it tries to attack
ground targets from the air with inappropriately high-performance
Using the F-22 to Fight the F-16
The military-industrial complex is today
so confident of its skills in gaming the system that it does not
hesitate to publicize how many workers in a particular district
will lose their jobs if a particular project is cancelled. Threats
are also made -- and put into effect -- to withhold political
contributions from uncooperative congressional representatives.
As Spinney recalls, "In July 1989,
when some members of Congress began to build a coalition aimed
at canceling the B-2, Northrop Corporation, the B-2's prime contractor,
retaliated by releasing data which had previously been classified
showing that tens of thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions
in profits were at risk in 46 states and 383 congressional districts."
The B-2 was not cancelled.
Southern California's biggest private
employers are Boeing Corporation and Northrop-Grumman. They are
said to employ more than 58,000 workers in well-paying jobs, a
major political obstacle to rationalizing defense expenditures
even as recession is making such steps all but unavoidable.
Both front-loading and political engineering
are alive and well in 2009. They are, in fact, now at the center
of fierce controversies surrounding the extreme age of the present
fleet of Air Force fighter aircraft, most of which date from the
1980s. Meanwhile the costs of the two most likely successors to
the workhorse F-16 -- the F-22 Raptor and the F-35 Joint Strike
Fighter -- have run up so high that the government cannot afford
to purchase significant numbers of either or them.
The F-16 made its first flight in December
1976, and a total of 4,400 have been built. They have been sold,
or given away, all over the world. Planning for the F-22 began
in 1986, when the Cold War was still alive (even if on life support),
and the Air Force was trumpeting its fears that the other superpower,
the USSR, was planning a new, ultra-fast, highly maneuverable
By the time the prototype F-22 had its
roll-out on May 11, 1997, the Cold War was nearly a decade in
its grave, and it was perfectly apparent that the Soviet aircraft
it was intended to match would never be built. Lockheed Martin,
the F-22's prime contractor, naturally argued that we needed it
anyway and made plans to sell some 438 airplanes for a total tab
of $70 billion. By mid-2008, only 183 F-22s were on order, 122
of which had been delivered. The numbers had been reduced due
to cost overruns. The Air Force still wants to buy an additional
198 planes, but Secretary Gates and his leading assistants have
balked. No wonder. According to arms experts Bill Hartung and
Christopher Preble, at more than $350 million each, the F-22 is
"the most expensive fighter plane ever built."
The F-22 has several strikingly expensive
characteristics which actually limit its usefulness. It is allegedly
a stealth fighter -- that is, an airplane with a shape that reduces
its visibility on radar -- but there is no such thing as an airplane
completely invisible to all radar. In any case, once it turns
on its own fire-control radar, which it must do in combat, it
becomes fully visible to an enemy.
The F-22 is able to maneuver at very high
altitudes, but this is of limited value since there are no other
airplanes in service anywhere that can engage in combat at such
heights. It can cruise at twice the speed of sound in level flight
without the use of its afterburners (which consume fuel at an
accelerated rate), but there are no potential adversaries for
which these capabilities are relevant. The plane is obviously
blindingly irrelevant to "fourth-generation wars" like
that with the Taliban in Afghanistan -- the sorts of conflicts
for which American strategists inside the Pentagon and out believe
the United States should be preparing.
Actually, the U.S. ought not to be engaged
in fourth-generation wars at all, whatever planes are in its fleet.
Outside powers normally find such wars unwinnable, as the history
of Afghanistan, that "graveyard of empires" going back
to Alexander the Great, illustrates so well. Unfortunately, President
Obama's approach to the Bush administration's Afghan War remains
deeply flawed and will only entrap us in another quagmire, whatever
planes we put in the skies over that country.
Nonetheless, the F-22 is still being promoted
as the plane to buy almost entirely through front-loading and
political engineering. Some apologists for the Air Force also
claim that we need the F-22 to face the F-16. Their argument goes
this way: We have sold so many F-16s to allies and Third World
customers that, if we ever had to fight one of them, that country
might prevail using our own equipment against us. Some foreign
air forces like Israel's are fully equipped with F-16s and their
pilots actually receive more training and monthly practice hours
than ours do.
This, however, seems a trivial reason
for funding more F-22s. We should instead simply not get involved
in wars with former allies we have armed, although this is why
Congress prohibited Lockheed from selling the F-22 abroad. Some
Pentagon critics contend that the Air Force and prime contractors
lobby for arms sales abroad because they artificially generate
a demand for new weapons at home that are "better" than
the ones we've sold elsewhere.
Thanks to political engineering, the F-22
has parts suppliers in 44 states, and some 25,000 people have
well-paying jobs building it. Lockheed Martin and some in the
Defense Department have therefore proposed that, if the F-22 is
cancelled, it should be replaced by the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter,
also built by Lockheed Martin.
Most serious observers believe that this
would only make a bad situation worse. So far the F-35 shows every
sign of being, in Chuck Spinney's words, "a far more costly
and more troubled turkey" than the F-22, "even though
it has a distinction that even the F-22 cannot claim, namely it
is tailored to meet the same threat that ceased to exist at least
three years before the F-35 R&D [research and development]
program began in 1994."
The F-35 is considerably more complex
than the F-22, meaning that it will undoubtedly be even more expensive
to repair and will break down even more easily. Its cost per plane
is guaranteed to continue to spiral upwards. The design of the
F-22 involves 4 million lines of computer code; the F-35, 19 million
lines. The Pentagon sold the F-35 to Congress in 1998 with the
promise of a unit cost of $184 million per aircraft. By 2008,
that had risen to $355 million per aircraft and the plane was
already two years behind schedule.
According to Pierre M. Sprey, one of the
original sponsors of the F-16, and Winslow T. Wheeler, a 31-year
veteran staff official on Senate defense committees, the F-35
is overweight, underpowered, and "less maneuverable than
the appallingly vulnerable F-105 'lead sled' that got wiped out
over North Vietnam in the Indochina War." Its makers claim
that it will be a bomber as well as a fighter, but it will have
a payload of only two 2,000-pound bombs, far less than American
fighters of the Vietnam era. Although the Air Force praises its
stealth features, it will lose these as soon as it mounts bombs
under its wings, which will alter its shape most un-stealthily.
It is a non-starter for close-air-support
missions because it is too fast for a pilot to be able to spot
tactical targets. It is too delicate and potentially flammable
to be able to withstand ground fire. If built, it will end up
as the most expensive defense contract in history without offering
a serious replacement for any of the fighters or fighter-bombers
currently in service.
The Fighter Mafia
Every branch of the American armed forces
suffers from similar "defense power games." For example,
the new Virginia-class fast-attack submarines are expensive and
not needed. As the New York Times wrote editorially, "The
program is little more than a public works project to keep the
Newport News, Va., and Groton, Conn., naval shipyards in business."
I have, however, concentrated on the Air
Force because the collapse of internal controls over acquisitions
is most obvious, as well as farthest advanced, there -- and because
the Air Force has a history of conflict over going along with
politically easy decisions that was recently hailed by Secretary
of Defense Gates as deserving of emulation by the other services.
The pointed attack Gates launched on bureaucratism was, paradoxically,
one of the few optimistic developments in Pentagon politics in
On April 21, 2008, the Secretary of Defense
caused a storm of controversy by giving a speech to the officers
of the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. In
it, he singled out for praise and emulation an Air Force officer
who had inspired many of that service's innovators over the past
couple of generations, while being truly despised by an establishment
and an old guard who viewed him as an open threat to careerism.
Colonel John Boyd (1927-1997) was a significant
military strategist, an exceptionally talented fighter pilot in
both the Korean and Vietnamese war eras, and for six years the
chief instructor at the Fighter Weapons School at Nellis Air Force
Base in Las Vegas. "Forty-Second Boyd" became a legend
in the Air Force because of his standing claim that he could defeat
any pilot, foreign or domestic, in simulated air-to-air combat
within 40 seconds, a bet he never lost even though he was continuously
Last April, Gates said, in part:
"As this new era continues to unfold
before us, the challenge I pose to you today is to become a forward-thinking
officer who helps the Air Force adapt to a constantly changing
strategic environment characterized by persistent conflict.
"Let me illustrate by using a historical
exemplar: the late Air Force Colonel John Boyd. As a 30-year-old
captain, he rewrote the manual for air-to-air combat. Boyd and
the reformers he inspired would later go on to design and advocate
for the F-16 and the A-10. After retiring, he would develop the
principals of maneuver warfare that were credited by a former
Marine Corps Commandant [General Charles C. Krulak] and a Secretary
of Defense [Dick Cheney] for the lightning victory of the first
"In accomplishing all these things,
Boyd -- a brilliant, eccentric, and stubborn character -- had
to overcome a large measure of bureaucratic resistance and institutional
hostility. He had some advice that he used to pass on to his colleagues
and subordinates that is worth sharing with you. Boyd would say,
and I quote: 'One day you will take a fork in the road, and you're
going to have to make a decision about which direction you want
to go. If you go one way, you can be somebody. You will have to
make compromises and you will have to turn your back on your friends.
But you will be a member of the club and you will get promoted
and get good assignments. Or you can go the other way and you
can do something -- something for your country and for your Air
Force and for yourself. If you decide to do something, you may
not get promoted and get good assignments and you certainly will
not be a favorite of your superiors. But you won't have to compromise
yourself. To be somebody or to do something. In life there is
often a roll call. That's when you have to make a decision. To
be or to do' We must heed John Boyd's advice by asking if the
ways we do business make sense."
Boyd's many accomplishments are documented
in Robert Coram's excellent biography, Boyd: The Fighter Pilot
Who Changed the Art of War. They need not be retold here. It was,
however, the spirit of Boyd and "the reformers he inspired,"
a group within Air Force headquarters who came to be called the
"Fighter Mafia," that launched the defense reform movement
of the 1980s and 1990s. Their objectives were to stop the acquisition
of unnecessarily complex and expensive weapons, cause the Air
Force to take seriously the idea of a fourth generation of warfare,
end its reliance on a strategy of attrition, and expose to criticism
an officer's corps focused on careerist standards.
Unless Secretary Gates succeeds in reviving
it, their lingering influence in the Pentagon is just about exhausted
today. We await the leadership of the Obama administration to
see which way the Air Force and the rest of the American defense
Despite Gates's praise of Boyd, one should
not underestimate the formidable obstacles to Pentagon reform.
Over a quarter-century ago, back in 1982, journalist James Fallows
outlined the most serious structural obstacle to any genuine reform
in his National Book Award-winning study, National Defense. The
book was so influential that at least one commentator includes
Fallows as a non-Pentagon member of Boyd's "Fighter Mafia."
As Fallows then observed (pp. 64-65):
"The culture of procurement teaches
officers that there are two paths to personal survival. One is
to bring home the bacon for the service as the manager of a program
that gets its full funding. 'Procurement management is more and
more the surest path to advancement' within the military, says
John Morse, who retired as a Navy captain after twenty-eight years
in the service.
"The other path that procurement
opens leads outside the military, toward the contracting firms.
To know even a handful of professional soldiers above the age
of forty and the rank of major is to keep hearing, in the usual
catalogue of life changes, that many have resigned from the service
and gone to the contractors: to Martin Marietta, Northrop, Lockheed,
to the scores of consulting firms and middlemen, whose offices
fill the skyscrapers of Rosslyn, Virginia, across the river from
the capital. In 1959, Senator Paul Douglas of Illinois reported
that 768 retired senior officers (generals, admirals, colonels,
and Navy captains) worked for defense contractors. Ten years later
Senator William Proxmire of Wisconsin said that the number had
increased to 2,072."
Almost 30 years after those words were
written, the situation has grown far worse. Until we decide (or
are forced) to dismantle our empire, sell off most of our 761
military bases (according to official statistics for fiscal year
2008) in other people's countries, and bring our military expenditures
into line with those of the rest of the world, we are destined
to go bankrupt in the name of national defense. As of this moment,
we are well on our way, which is why the Obama administration
will face such critical -- and difficult -- decisions when it
comes to the Pentagon budget.
Chalmers Johnson is the author of three
linked books on the crises of American imperialism and militarism.
They are Blowback (2000), The Sorrows of Empire (2004), and Nemesis:
The Last Days of the American Republic (2006).