National Security State
The national security state operates in its own interest primarily and gives lip service to the national interest when appropriate. Since World War II the Secretary of State has been the hawkish voice and the Secretary of Defense the dovish voice in internal debates. This is because the army is a tool of the diplomat, while the leader of the armed forces is protective of the troops. After the decision is made, then the armed forces pursue their mission and the diplomats start looking forward to the end of the conflict. The only exception to this pattern was Colin Powell as Secretary of State, but with deep roots in the army, while a former chief of staff, Donald Rumsfeld, led the military. So this is the exception that proves the rule.
American Military Tradition
James Madison feared the loss of civil liberties that always came historically with high levels of military spending. So he fought the War of 1812 on the cheap. The White House burned, but otherwise it worked. George Washington warned us about keeping a standing army and excessive foreign entanglements in his farewell address. For 150 years we heeded that advice and developed our military traditions around a small army between wars and volunteers to fill out the army when a war came along. Then that all changed in 1947 with the passage of the National Security Act. Truman took the Secretary of State’s side in the argument, as did Eisenhower. The opposition was led by the Department of War and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who favored the George Washington tradition of a small peacetime army. But the Cold War was on, with the help of Churchill’s Iron Curtain speech given in Truman’s home state of Missouri, a former slave state with strong ties to the South.
National Security Act
The National Security Act changed the name of the Department of War to the Orwellian name of the Department of Defense. So when George Orwell wrote his famous book 1984 the next year, 1948, precedent for newspeak was already set, where black was white, and white was black, and war was peace. Later in 1984 I reread that book and sure enough it predicted the language of the presidential election of that year with so-called peacekeeper missiles in Western Europe. A missile defense program had been launched ostensibly to keep Russian missiles at bay, but in fact to enable a first strike capability where we could attack without worry of retaliation. In other words, offense was sold under the name of defense. The act also changed the OSS into the CIA, where covert operations and infiltration of the American press by Operation Mockingbird allowed the US to meddle with and change other countries governments, just the kind of excessive foreign entanglement Washington warned us about.
So instead of the traditional 1% of the economy for the military in peacetime, Truman kept the military at five times that rate, 5% of the economy, and later Eisenhower doubled down on that with 10% to the military in the fifties peacetime, the highest peacetime rate of the entire Cold War.
Loss of the free press in national security matters was the first casualty of the 1947 National Security Act with Operation Mockingbird. Soon we had leading men of the press like Walter Cronkite of the OSS in the so-called Greatest Generation war, and Bob Woodward and Ted Koppel of Naval Intelligence. And the CIA was made operational for the Cold War by letting the Nazi spy network in the Soviet Union join them. Not a good influence. Soon we had the whole world mad at us by deposing Baktiar in Iran to install the hated Shah, and Allende in Chile to install the hated Pinochet, and various other outrages. Some might think the purpose of the CIA covert operations was to keep the permanent war economy going by supplying an endless number of foreign outrages guaranteed to generate blowback wars sooner or later, here or there. In the seventy years of empire since World War II we have seen the 4th Amendment right to privacy systematically eliminated, most recently with the Edward Snowden revelations of mass surveillance without a search warrant since about 2006. The constitutional protection of requiring congress to declare a war has similarly been eviscerated by the imperial presidency, not unlike when the Senate run republic of Rome was replaced by the Emperor system.
President Kennedy was appalled by how far our country had moved from traditional American ideals of fair play. He infuriated the CIA at the Bay of Pigs. He infuriated the Military in the Cuban Missile Crisis. He infuriated the FBI director by his brother going after the Mafia. He infuriated Lyndon constantly humiliating him. He infuriated the mob going after their women. He infuriated the banks and the fed printing silver certificates. He planned to eliminate covert operations and negotiate reduced arms with the Soviets in his second term. No wonder many believe all combined to make Lyndon president instead. Just like what happened to Julius Caesar.
Here are the stages of empire to take a long term look at what has happened:
Hint: to read this paper for free, you must click on the tiny word “read” in the middle of the bottom of the screen after you go to the above link on academia.edu.
Professor Robert Reuschlein, Dr. Peace,
Real Economy Institute, Madison,Wisconsin