The metastasized Military Industrial Complex (and how one man is trying to expose this bipartisan beast)
By Kent R. Kroeger (August 29, 2020)
Robert Morris first came to my attention with his 2015 book, “Throw Away Your Vote! Why voting for a third party candidate is the only path to real change in 2016,” which someone shared with me on their Kindle at a time when Trump was a mere glint in the Republican base’s eye and mention of Hillary Clinton’s home-brew email server still made me think of craft beer instead of subpoenaed emails and bleached hard drives.
It was a gentler, more naive time.
“The Democrats and the Republicans really want us to believe they are different,” Morris writes. “The problem is that they are not. But we are told that we don’t have any other choice.”
The minimal policy distinctiveness of the two major U.S. parties has long been basic canon for the marginalized left and right in this country, but rarely do people from the center establishment make such a claim. [Why would they? It destroys the major basis of their power over civil society.]
What kind of radical lefty (or righty) is this guy? I thought. After poking around, I found the author’s website: The More Freedom Foundation.
Christ! The More Freedom Foundation?! With a name like that, I assumed the site is where John McCain acolytes go to jack off over their latest regime change fantasy.
After a little more digging, however, I discovered Mr. Morris was a trained lawyer, former stockbroker, and author of five (political and foreign policy-related) books who had lived in Turkey as an expat for a number of years before returning to New York. On the surface, at least, his biography would be a good fit for any elite-educated establishment-bootlicker (i.e., your prototypical neoliberal, CNN/MSNBC analyst).
Morris describes himself as a “recovering attorney, ex-ex-pat, author and YouTube popularizer of unpopular views” who promises “to do a better job covering them them than any Cable News Channel.”
Not exactly a stretch goal.
As he puts it, “There are a lot of YouTube channels out there who will give you a warm bath of ideology…(and) are perfectly happy to tell you how you should feel about whatever piece of garbage has been served up by the news cycle that day.”
Fine. Its easy to say you are an intellectual outlander, but show us the evidence…
On Iran, Saudi Arabia, international terrorism, Afghanistan, Yemen, ISIS, Syria, Turkey, China and much more, Morris challenges U.S. foreign policy orthodoxy at most every turn and does so sans any stale or predictable anti-U.S. ideology.
To the contrary, as his website’s name attests, Moore’s worldview appears to align nicely with classic neoliberalism. All else equal, more freedom is good for everyone.
Morris is more inquisitive than subversive; and, despite his often withering critiques of U.S. policy (particularly in the Middle East), Moore doesn’t rage against the machine a la Jimmy Dore as much as he expresses a strong annoyance over how it works.
More importantly, Moore doesn’t attempt to preach to the converted. Moore knows when he’s bucking intelligentsia norms and goes to great lengths to explain his dissension. He feels no need to tell you what you want to hear.
Nowhere is this more evident than Morris’ video essay on how analysts often exaggerate Israel’s influence over U.S. foreign policy in which he describes the metastasized U.S. military-industrial complex.
Morris forgoes the deferential and frothy cadences most academics and mainstream media analysts bring to such discussions:
“To be clear, the U.S. government is not doing the bidding of the sinister puppet masters at AIPAC. There are many reasons why the U.S. supports Israel so firmly, but at the end of the day it’s about money, pure and simple. Israel’s hardline leadership makes a ton of money for U.S. investors and workers. This is what I call the metastasized Military Industrial Complex (MIC).
Put briefly, this complex has spread like a cancer over the past 75 years. There are now tens or perhaps hundreds of thousands of people across the US and the world whose livelihoods depend on the US defense department. [My note: That number is easily in the millions, in the U.S. alone.]
This decades old project of war socialism is the biggest jobs program in world history. And it all depends on instability. If you know this 75 year history, then the true role of Israel’s current leadership becomes very clear. They are just one part of a much longer term project.
The only through line to U.S. foreign policy is feeding the Military Industrial Complex. We need instability to feed the beast with outsize military budgets. Israel’s hardline leadership is an important part of this strategy, but they’re not calling the shots. They’re just the latest in a long line of stooges that help us do the job. It’s not Israel’s interests that are being served here. Turning Israel’s neighbors into smoking ruins does not serve the long-term health and stability of the Zionist project. The current Israeli leadership works for the U.S. government, not the other way around.”
[Note: Morris offers a more detailed discussion of the MIC in this video.]
Morris is not the first person to make this observation about the MIC. Its an old (and enduring) argument. Go here and here for a couple of recent politicians who have been saying something similar for over 30 years. And, as far as I’m concerned, no American is fully educated until they’ve memorized President Dwight Eisenhower’s end-of-presidency warning about the MIC (which you can find here along with some analysis).
But Morris doesn’t bring a formulaic, cable-news-friendly partisan hue to his analyses. Sure, he’s expressed his disgust with President Trump’s policies — he’s the only analyst I’ve heard to rightfully observe that the U.S. is already (and wrongfully) at war with Iran — but he’s also offered equally damning analyses of Barack Obama’s foreign policies, particularly with respect to Yemen and Syria. And how many mainstream media analysts knew enough to identify NATO’s role in Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine?
Its easy to bully the facts to support your own opinions, the challenge is to bully the real world to do the same.
Dr. Meredith Grey on ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” said it even better: “Sometimes reality has a way of sneaking up and biting us in the ass. And when the dam bursts, all you can do is swim.”
Moore is proving he’s capable and willing to handle the swim.
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