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How the Military-Industrial Complex Preys on the Troops

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  • The Scandal of Pentagon Spending 
  • Your Tax Dollars Support Troops of Defense Contractor CEOs 

William Hartung, Tom Dispatch

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http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/default/files/Young%20Woman%20Laying%20Prostrate%20at%20Military%20Headstone.jpgOctober 10, 2017 | I’m sure you’ve heard about the $65 million.  Or was it $86 million?  Or was it even more?  You know, the funds the Pentagon sunk into that hotshot plane it was preparing for its Afghan drug interdiction program. You haven’t?

Well, as Megan Rose reported at ProPublica, with its “electro-optical infra-red video capacity,” that counternarcotics plane was supposed to lend a significant hand in surveilling and disrupting the Afghan heroin trade. Only one small problem. That single plane never made it out of a warehouse in Delaware or flew a mission in Afghanistan, whatever its cost (which the Pentagon was typically incapable of tracking), and when it was recently offered for sale at auction, no one wanted to put down a red cent for it.  And lest you think of that as a bizarre anomaly, consider, as Rose points out, the $3 million patrol boats for Afghanistan the Navy purchased that never made it out of Virginia or the 20 planes for the Afghan air force that the Pentagon spent a mere $486 million on, even though they never flew and finally brought in just $32,000 as scrap metal.  Or think for a moment about the more than $65 billion (yep, billion!) that went into the woefulAfghan military, an inept force long mentored by the U.S. military that remains filled with “ghost soldiers” and plagued by soaring casualties and staggering desertion rates.  Or since America’s war zones have, in these years, been sinkholes of corruption, just recall the $43 million gas station built by the Pentagon in the middle of an Afghan nowhere, or the similarly infamous “highway to nowhere,” or the state-of-the-art U.S. military headquarters in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, that doubled in cost to $25 million while under construction and was never used, or the $1.2 billion to $1.6 billion in cash that was somehow stolen from the U.S. in Iraq, which itself was just a drop in the bucket, given the $60 billion lost to waste and fraud in that particular morass of a war zone.  And mind you, that’s just to start down a list of catastrophic “investments” in this country's wars.

William Hartung, a TomDispatch regular, is the director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy.  His most recent book is Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military-Industrial Complex.

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Gun Violence Created the United States

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The foundation of the United States is embedded in gun violence. (Photo: Joe Loong)

  • Until the US comes to terms with its historical embrace of state violence as the key to so-called "American exceptionalism," the horrifying nightmare of gun violence will continue in this country, as the result of white masculine rage and domination.
  • Related: From the Archives | How the NRA Enables Massacres

Mark Karlin, Buzzflash at Truthout

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http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/default/files/Editor%20Comment%20icon.jpg Evergreene Digest Editor's Note: Previously I wrote that Evergreene Digest would no longer … provide accounts, descriptions, visuals, comments, discussions, analysis, and suggestions for action of gun massacres from the event in Las Vegas, NV, going forward until and unless the issue, now a dog bites man story, becomes a man bites dog one. Here's two stories that provide an entirely different approach to the issue, so we offer it in hopes it may be the beginning of the end of the bloody horror of mass shootings in this country. 

Wednesday, 04 October 2017 | It happens after every mass shooting. Corporate media outlets have a formula for coverage. They publish stories for a week or so ascertaining a "motive" for the shooter, talking about the details of high-tech -- usually military-style firearms -- used in the massacres and speculating on what gun control would have stopped the specific shooting of the moment. Of course, we can't forget the pro forma, with rare exception, neighbor or relative who can attest that the shooter "was a wonderful guy and always helped when you needed him."

According to the Guardian, there have been 1,516 mass killing sprees in the US in the last 1,735 days. That's a lot of fodder for the templated coverage of the mainstream media.

Mark Karlin: Editor, Buzzflash at Truthout

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Related:

From the Archives | How the NRA Enables MassacresCliff Schecter, Daily Beast

As a shooting spree leaves seven dead in California, the gun lobby is trying to thwart attempts to study gun deaths and officials who see gun violence as a public health crisis.

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In Memoriam: Paul Wellstone

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Sen. Paul Wellstone, D-Minn. Photo credit: US Senate / Wikimedia.

  • Outspoken Senator Was A Lonely Voice Against Iraq War
  • Perhaps if more members of Congress had displayed the courage and conscience that Wellstone showed during that season of jingoistic fervor 15 years ago, the situation in Iraq, and the Middle East as a whole, might be far different today  — and far less hazardous to peace prospects, and to American interests as well, in the region.

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Jeff Clyburn, Who.What.Why



http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/default/files/Paul%20Wellstone%20Iraq%20War%20Speech.jpgOctober, 2017 | A lot of attention has been given recently to Sens. Bob Corker (R-TN) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) for finally displaying acts of conscience in defiance of an increasingly erratic and reactionary White House. One former Senator who never waited around to speak out was Paul Wellstone.

Wellstone was described by some as “the conscience of the Senate.” When the progressive Democrat from Minnesota addressed the Senate chamber on Oct. 9, 2002, pleading against the nation’s reckless rush to war during the Iraq Resolution debate, he could not have been more prescient.

Jeff Clyburn: Copy editor/Page designer, WhoWhatWhy.org

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Tomgram: Michael Klare, The New Face of "War" at Home

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  • Beyond Harvey and Irma: Militarizing Homeland Security in the Climate-Change Era
  • Our potential saviors, at a moment when the very environment that has for millennia welcomed humanity is up for grabs, might be thought of as the Keystone Cops of the twenty-first century.

Michael T. Klare, TomDispatchhttp://evergreenedigest.org/sites/default/files/Support%20Independent%20Media_0.jpg

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http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/ABPub/2011/04/04/2014681395.gifSeptember 17, 2017 | Deployed to the Houston area to assist in Hurricane Harvey relief efforts, U.S. military forces hadn’t even completed their assignments when they were hurriedly dispatched to Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands to face Irma, the fiercest hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean. Florida Governor Rick Scott, who had sent members of the state National Guard to devastated Houston, anxiously recalled them while putting in place emergency measures for his own state. A small flotilla of naval vessels, originally sent to waters off Texas, was similarly redirected to the Caribbean, while specialized combat units drawn from as far afield as Colorado, Illinois, and Rhode Island were rushed to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Meanwhile, members of the California National Guard were being mobilized to fight wildfires raging across that state (as across much of the West) during its hottest summer on record.

Michael T. Klare is a professor of peace and world security studies at Hampshire College and the author of Resource Wars and Blood and Oil. Consider this essay a preview of his newest book, Rising Powers, Shrinking Planet: The New Geopolitics of Energy, which has just been published by Metropolitan Books.

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