President George W. Bush launched the current wave of elective global war (with Senator Joe Biden’s help). President Obama expanded those wars. Under President Trump, war profiteers (James Mattis and Mark Esper) ran the Pentagon and the U.S. dropped a record amount of ordnance overseas. Under President Biden, another war profiteer — retired general and ex-Raytheon director Lloyd Austin — runs the Pentagon and the wars continue, including the recent bombing of Syria and Somalia, surprising some. But U.S. aggression is no shocker. Harming other countries is evidence of the military-industrial-congressional complex (MIC) functioning as designed — and it’s neither intended to, nor actually, improving American security.
The MIC is an insulated authority consisting of the U.S. military establishment, headquartered in the Pentagon; the war industry, the corporations that market and sell goods and services to the U.S. military and allied governments; and Capitol Hill, the elected representatives who fund the military and pass legislation abetting the war industry. This triad creates a permanent warfare state which helps cause our endless wars.
Few people inside the MIC recognize the gravity of the situation — that funneling so much money toward the permanent warfare state actually harms U.S. security by draining manpower and time, distorting research and development, and forestalling social care — but most fear the consequences of speaking up.
The Business of War
Expanding business in order to increase profit doesn’t just involve building new factories to produce more goods from which to multiply returns. War corporations also put money toward funding and lobbying politicians who then advocate for war and broad military deployments; awarding military officers who support enduring conflict overseas; recruiting retired military officers to leverage their knowledge for profit and placing industry executives into the Pentagon’s civilian offices to steer the ship; and funding media and think tanks to propagandize and generate pro-war narratives. Yet, even a cursory look at two decades-worth of war state track record demonstrates that the resultant wars have actually proven counterproductive.