Military Industrial Complex: A Necessary Danger To Civilization

Military Industrial Complexes are necessary, and have existed since cities came to be, 10,000 years ago. President Eisenhower warned against the danger the US Military Industrial Complex presented to the USA, and the world, in all sorts of ways. Now we can say we are right in the midst of what Ike was afraid of. However, there is another face to that coin.

Great Military Industrial Complexes (“MIC”) are characteristic of great civilizations. One can argue, that’s what civilizations are all about. Rome, the Franks and the Chinese had MICs. So did Japan. The Japanese Military Industrial Complex was able to confine behind walls the invading Mongols (who already had captured China). The Samurai, and their excellent steel, destroyed the Mongol beachheads, and Japan stayed Japan.

In The USA, The Military Industrial Complex, With The Exception Of WWI and WWII, Has long Been At The Service Of Plutocracy, and Its Corporations

In The USA, The Military Industrial Complex, With The Exception Of WWI and WWII, Has long Been At The Service Of Plutocracy, and Its Corporations

Interesting cases of Military Industrial Complexes were entangled with Greek civilization: Greece would not have existed without MICs.

The importance of war during the rise of Western Civilization was colossal. It could never have risen without it.

For example Sparta intervened and threw out Athens’ tyranny, establishing the great age of Athens’ direct democracy. The first thing the newly liberated Athenians did, was to establish a powerful MIC. Themistocles ran for office on a massive MIC program, to establish a powerful war fleet (after the first Persian invasion this grew to a 200 warships fleet). In the process the Athenian state ran a massive debt, and devastated the forests of Attica (to build the triremes). Themistocles’ argument was that Persia was going to attack. It did attack, twice, and was defeated, twice, in a number of battles, including the one at Marathon.

If anything, not enough violence was applied against plutocrats, early enough. Especially against the enemies of the Athenian and Roman empires. This is something peaceniks understand not at all, making them dedicated enemies of what they pretend to defend.

Twelve (12) centuries later, the Muslim invaders, having suffered grievous defeats from the Roman fleet and its Grecian fire, decided to use their military superiority on land: take Constantinople from behind, by invading Europe from West to East. The Islamists invaded Spain, and then attacked Francia (thrice). The Franks replied by boosting the size of their already considerable MIC. Propelled by a nationalization of the church, the Franks established the greatest army since the heydays of the Roman Republic, and mobilized all of Francia.

Ever since, France has been at war with Literal Islam. It was, it is, hard work: just in the second week of April 2016, three French soldiers died in combat in the middle of the Sahara. Frankish armies delivered Rome in 846 CE. The Islamists landed by surprise several armies in several places, and converged on Rome. The outskirts of the imperial capital were sacked, including the Vatican, but the formidable, 16 metres tall, 19 kilometer long Aurelian Wall held the invaders out of the city’s most sacred core. The Aurelian Wall is a beautiful example of MIC: it was used as a military asset, and involved in combat, for 17 centuries. The Aurelian Wall gave enough time for the Frankish Dux, Guy, grandson of Charlemagne, to arrive, and throw the Islamists out of the Latium.

When Genghis Khan and his Mongols invaded Northern China, some of his generals suggested to kill all the Chinese, and also kill the Chinese ecology (by destroying forests, etc.), and make Northern China like Mongolia. Genghis Khan refused to do so. However, notice that China came very close to extermination. Exterminated civilizations have existed before: Genghis Khan exterminated two, including the largest Buddhist empire, ever. The Hittites, and others, were exterminated during the invasion of the “People of the Sea”.

So civilization needs MICs. No MIC, no civilization.

However, a mighty MIC implies a deep militarization of society. The fundamental principle of militarization is the Fascist Principle: obey your superior as if s/he were god.

The fascist principle has long been an instinct with primates. Or at least those who invaded the savannah: baboons are intrinsically military, they move in armies, and the alpha males, the baboons are zoological equivalents to Roman generals. Complete with the right of death inflicted, whenever contradicted severely.

The fascist principle allows a social animal to behave as if it were a super-organism, with just one coordinated mind.

That principle is explicitly stated in the Qur’an. It was also the fundamental principle of organization of the Roman army, and, later, under the empire, of all of Roman society: the superior Roman officer had right of life and death on its subordinates, and would inflict it to encourage the others.

O YE WHO BELIEVE! Obey Allah, and obey the messenger and Obey Those Of You Who Are In Power.” (Qur’an’s fascist principle, Sura 4; verse 59).

The principal drawback of a fascist society is that intellectual progress comes only from contradicting what was known before, hence, from contradicting one’s superiors. Thus, a society organized around the fascist principle will stagnate intellectually. And, in particular scientifically and, thus, technologically. Hence, being ruled by a MIC brings lethal stupidity (and a very inegalitarian society).

Thus the Barbarians will catch up in technological military prowess. This is exactly what happened to the Romans: under the Republic, buying the best military metallurgy from the (highly divided) Gauls, the Romans dominated in the quality of their weapons (Hannibal defeated the Romans many times, but, arguably, his best troops were Gallic). Under the empire, the savages, such as the Franks, had better weapons than the standard Roman army (so they were co-opted into it!)

However, by the time of Marcus Aurelius, that wind bag, a certified intellectual fascist with a sugar-coating still mesmerizing the naive, the barbarians caught up with Roman military technology… In no small measure because Roman emperors, those professional fascists, paid inventors not to invent.

Nowadays we can observe similar phenomena: US corruption has brought the reign of the F35, an obsolete, but extremely expensive weapon. Meanwhile, the Barbarians, including Kim of Korea, are catching up technologically, at a torrid space.

Civilization has to keep a balance between MIC and innovation in all ways, lest imagination collapses, bringing a weaker MIC.

Reciprocally, though, a MIC is a friend of fascist rule, and thus of oligarchy. But oligarchy is sustainable only in a satanic form, known as the rule of Satan (an older name of which being Pluto). So uncontrolled MICs bring plutocracy: Rome was the paradigm there.

We are in the process of creating another such example, because we did not heed general-president Eisenhower’s warning, that the Military Industrial Complex:

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.”

http://coursesa.matrix.msu.edu/~hst306/documents/indust.html

Eisenhower stays modern to this day. He saw the rise of plutocratic universities coming, with their fake thinkers, all dedicated to the power of money:

Eisenhower: “The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded.”

A few days before democrats are going to surrender democracy to the power of money, once again, let me remind them, that this can happen only so many times.

Democracy needs to be defended, but, first, some will say that it needs to be worthy of a defense. Right.

However, democracy needs a strong enough Military Industrial Complex. The Athenians and other Greek democrats were initially successful at defeating Antipater. But then Krateros, hyper dangerous with his hardened troops arrived from the Orient, and the Athenian fleet, of 170 triremes, the largest since the wars against Persia, was defeated. Twice.

As I explained in “Aristotle Destroyed Democracy” the friendliness of Aristotle to Alexander, Antipater and Krateros, and thus, to the idea of monarchy, goes a long way to explain that the Greek MIC came short of the Macedonian MIC. The philosopher Demosthenes was not heard enough, in his strident, fully justified, prescient warnings against the savage, tyrannical Macedonians.

So here we are: pretty much 23 centuries of trampling of direct democracy, the one and only, by the forces of oligarchy, and, or, when oligarchy is not enough to rule, plutocracy. Ever since official plutocracy was installed in Athens by Antipater.

All this because the direct democratic military industrial complex came short to the one of the Macedonians. So let’s not despise the MIC. It can save the best. But now, we don’t have to worry about foreign enemies first: the plutocrats are already in power.

Patrice Ayme’

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23 Responses to “Military Industrial Complex: A Necessary Danger To Civilization”

  1. Paul Handover Says:

    Coincidentally I was at a meeting earlier today where I was given a leaflet pointing out that the true cost of total U.S. military spending was 44% of the budget not 25%.

    That latter figure did not include past military commitments, some $589 billion, making a total of $1,357 billion.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Total Fed Budget is 3,7 trillion, defense, 583 billion… 16%
      at least that’s what I read in:

      (and that corresponds to what I thought I knew…)

      BTW, the EU evaluates tax fraud at one trillion, in the EU alone. And that’s in euros…

      • Paul Handover Says:

        I will publish the link to the figures later today.

      • picard578 Says:

        You should differentiate between defense *budget* and defense *spending*… plutocrats tend to cook the books. Last time I accounted Pentagon’s budget (few years ago), defense budget was in 600-700 billion mark, and defense spending was in 1,2-1,4 trillion mark.

        • Patrice Ayme Says:

          Well this is what this “War Resister” site is claiming. However, when they say half of NASA is military, and 80% of debt payment is also military, they are going on a red herring chase. Away from the main problem, the plutocracy. Plutocracy wants power for itself, not to defend We The People. The F35 is exemplary that way: it’s a big pork in the sky, more than a defense obsessed device.

          And the debt trick has everything to do with financiers not paying tax, while gathering credit, and the piling up of debt augments their power…

          • picard578 Says:

            Agreed, I have long argued that the F-35s main (if not the only) purpose was not a weapon – a device to be used to defend or attack in a war – but rather a corporate social project, one more way of transferring money from the people to the defense establishment. Consequently, its high cost is an asset, not a problem, and its combat capabilities are irrelevant to its true purpose.

  2. Gmax Says:

    Another nuanced post: MIC is bad. Long live MIC, because we, the civilized ones, need it.

    I thought that Massimo guy, the paid philosopher in New York, had told you to stop with history?

  3. Kevin Berger Says:

    Related (if parochial) :

    http://lavoiedelepee.blogspot.fr/2016/04/defeat-program.html

    http://lavoiedelepee.blogspot.fr/2014/09/apocalypse-bientot.html

    http://lavoiedelepee.blogspot.fr/2013/09/la-france-troisieme-puissance-militaire.html

  4. Kevin Berger Says:

    Related, if parochial :

    http://lavoiedelepee.blogspot.fr/2016/04/defeat-program.html

  5. Kevin Berger Says:

    Same vein : http://lavoiedelepee.blogspot.fr/2013/09/la-france-troisieme-puissance-militaire.html

  6. Kevin Berger Says:

    http://lavoiedelepee.blogspot.fr/2014/09/apocalypse-bientot.html

  7. Paul Handover Says:

    Further to my previous comment:

    “Current military” includes Dept. of Defense ($586 billion) and the military portion ($182 billion) from other departments as noted in current military box above. “Past military” represents veterans’ benefits plus 80% of the interest on the debt.* For further explanation, please go to warresisters.org.
    These figures are from an analysis of detailed tables in the Analytical Perspectives book of the Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 2017. The figures are Federal funds, which do not include Trust funds — such as Social Security — that are raised and spent separately from income taxes.
    What you pay (or don’t pay) by April 18, 2016, goes to the Federal funds portion of the budget. The government practice of combining Trust and Federal funds began during the Vietnam War, thus making the human needs portion of the budget seem larger and the military portion smaller.

    *Analysts differ on how much of the debt stems from the military; other groups estimate 50% to 60%. We use 80% because we believe if there had been no military spending most (if not all) of the national debt would have been eliminated.

    The pie chart is the government view of the budget. This is a distortion of how our income tax dollars are spent because it includes Trust Funds (e.g., Social Security), and most of the past military spending is not distinguished from nonmilitary spending. For a more accurate representation of how your Federal income tax dollar is really spent, see the large graph.

    oooo

    View the pie charts and supporting information here: https://www.warresisters.org/resources/pie-chart-flyers-where-your-income-tax-money-really-goes

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Dear Paul: I have several problems with the chart. First FY Budget is 3.7 trillion. Second they add to military items such as half of NASA and 80% of national debt payment… So they implicitly confuse military and plutocracy… To boot, total gov spending should include the states…

  8. EugenR Says:

    The Soviet military industry, buried the Soviet State into economic disaster. The result was a total collapse. Since every political entity needs a myth that forges the tribe, nation, empire to one unit, when the economy failed to supply what the myth (communistic, materialistic Ideology) promised, the Soviet Empire fell apart. The military industry may be as contraproductive as productive.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      The Soviet MIC sure did not help. This said, without its MIC, the USSR could not have survive…

      Putin has tried an encore, I doubt it works. Still his military worked very efficiently in Syria, I must recognize.

  9. Picard578 Says:

    picard578 said
    April 17, 2016 at 6:53 am
    “Great Military Industrial Complexes (“MIC”) are characteristic of great civilizations.”

    Indeed. But they have to be kept under the leash else they run rampant and damage or destroy democracy. Such a thing happened in Rome (establishment of the Empire), United States…

    “When Genghis Khan and his Mongols invaded Northern China, some of his generals suggested to kill all the Chinese, and also kill the Chinese ecology (by destroying forests, etc.), and make Northern China like Mongolia. Genghis Khan refused to do so. However, notice that China came very close to extermination. Exterminated civilizations have existed before: Genghis Khan exterminated two, including the largest Buddhist empire, ever. The Hittites, and others, were exterminated during the invasion of the “People of the Sea”.”

    There is also the Muslim genocide of Hindus.

    “So civilization needs MICs. No MIC, no civilization.
    However, a mighty MIC implies a deep militarization of society. The fundamental principle of militarization is the Fascist Principle: obey your superior as if s/he were god. That principle is explicitly stated in the Qur’an. It was also the fundamental principle of organization of the Roman army, and, later, under the empire, of all of Roman society: the superior Roman officer had right of life and death on its subordinates, and would inflict it to encourage the others.”

    Indeed. In fact, MIC if well managed can advance civilization. But if left without proper oversight, it can easily destroy that same civilization.

    “Reciprocally, though, a MIC is a friend of fascist rule, and thus of oligarchy. But oligarchy is sustainable only in a satanic form, known as the rule of Satan (an older name of which being Pluto). So uncontrolled MICs bring plutocracy: Rome was the paradigm there. ”

    It is in fact a closed circle. Military is a hierarchical institution by necessity (democracy is not very good for making quick decisions required in war). But hierarchy promotes obedience without thought (unless countered by certain practices, such as WWII German practice of mission orders).

    Obedience in turn breeds complacency and stagnation, which encourages hierarchy and oligarchy. These values are useful to plutocrats, so they use them to subvert democracy (many military coups are an example of that). This means that military has to be overseen by the democratic institutions, lest it become a danger to the very society it is supposed to defend.

    But if MIC does manage to subvert democracy, or even outright destroy it, typical result is ironically loss of military power – as John Boyd observed, moral is to material as three is to one. If soldiers do not know what they are fighting for, they will not fight well. Consequence of this is that democratic nation state is the ultimate expression of organization in civilization and military terms: only through powerful nationalism can people be made loyal enough to each other and the nation so as to allow coexistence of strong democratic society and a strong military. If there is no nationalism, military becomes simply a tool that plutocrats use to keep fragmented populace under their rule.

    But due to its many inherent contradictions – democratic society defended by authoritarian military organization, hierarchical political organization supposed to promote liberty and democracy – representative democracy is inherently fragile, and can dissolve without anyone noticing (e.g. United States, European Union). The only way to avoid this is through proper nationalism, which makes multicultural / multinational states inherently hostile to democracy.

    But nationalism in its extreme forms can also be used to subvert democracy through encouraging the unquestionable loyalty to authority figures – take a look at United States and Russia, as well as Nazi Germany.

  10. altandmain Says:

    altandmain said
    April 18, 2016 at 10:25 pm
    There does seem to be something dark within the military that acts and enables authoritarian tendencies.

    Perhaps as Picard notes, it is the hierarchical tendency within the military. The irony is of course that this is not an effective way to wage war. Short OODA loops that can react quickly to changing circumstances.

    The other big problem is that the leadership becomes more obsessed with itself rather than improving the organization’s overall effectiveness. This becomes worse the more top heavy the military is.

    Similarly in the civilian world, politicians care about their own personal advancement rather than the public good of society. It also breeds a dangerous short term focus.

  11. Patrice Ayme Says:

    Another silly propaganda is using electric cars as reserve for the electric grid:
    [Sent to John Baez, May 7, 2016]

    Seems rather silly in the present state of tech, as Lithium Ion batteries have only 5,000 cycles in them, when discharging only 10%. (A 100% discharges enables only 500 cycles.) So if used massively, that system would shorten considerably the life of the battery of an electric vehicle.

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