"What's all that money buying, aside from endless overkill through the defense
contractors' cornucopia of hi-tech weaponry? It's buying a far-flung empire
of 1,700 bases upon which the sun never sets!"
American Militarism: Is The USA Addicted To War?
First Consider The Evidence, Then Draw Your Own Conclusions
Posted May 22, 2005 thepeoplesvoice.org
By: Evan Augustine Peterson lll, J.D.
Let us consider the possibility that the USA has become addicted, in an
economic sense, to war. While the evidence offered below is by no means exhaustive,
it is directly relevant and highly probative. Therefore, the reader should
consider ALL of the evidence in Exhibits A through D before judging whether or
not a prima facie case has been made that America is economically addicted to
EXHIBIT A: US Military Budget Will Equal Rest Of World's Combined "Within 12
A new study by the Price Waterhouse Cooper corporate-finance group concluded
that the USA's military "defense" budget: (A) reached $417.4 billion in 2003;
(B) equaled nearly half - 46% - of the rest of world's ("ROW") combined
military expenditures in 2003; and
(C) is growing so fast that it will equal the ROW combined "within 12
Hence, the American military-industrial complex is poised to monopolize the
global armaments industry. And yet the War Party's leaders and the Pentagon'
brass deem these astronomical expenditures so inadequate that they're
requesting considerably larger expenditures to sustain - or expand - their romanesque
Pax Americana Imperium. 
Americans should be asking themselves WHY they're being advised that they
cannot feel safe after they've made grossly disproportionate investments, by
global standards, in what is by far the world's largest military? What do these
exorbitantly expensive forces exist to do? Could it be that war's tangible
rewards are so much greater for militarists than they are for the average citizen
that the militarists are exaggerating the need for a "Global War On Terror"
merely to justify their empire?
EXHIBIT B: The Far-Flung Global Empire Of American Militarism.
What's all that money buying, aside from endless overkill through the defense
contractors' cornucopia of hi-tech weaponry? It's buying a far-flung empire
of 1,700 bases upon which the sun never sets! Unbeknownst to most Americans,
the Department of Defense ("DOD") currently lists 725 official US military bases
outside of the country, and another 969 inside the 50 states (not to mention
numerous secret bases). According to UCSD Emeritus Professor of International Relations Chalmers
Johnson, this vast military empire constitutes proof that the "Unites States
prefers to deal with other nations through the use or the threat of force rather
than through negotiations, commerce, or cultural interaction." 
Dr. Johnson correctly concludes that American power has shifted from the
people to the Pentagon with such dramatic finality that "a revolution would be
required to bring the Pentagon back under democratic control." Eight factors have caused this anti-democratic power shift:
the culture of American ultranationalist militarism is deeply entrenched;
the enormous military budget has been used for gross overinvestment in
offensive - not defensive - warmaking capabilities under the pretext of "national
the worldwide archipelago of military bases is being misused to expand the
neocolonialist Pax Americana Imperium;
Byzantine layers of bureaucracy and secrecy inside the
government-military-industrial complex allow it to perpetrate illegalities and evade public
scrutiny with impunity;
the DOD commands a large private army of mercenaries to conduct secret
black-ops actions that remain ethically and legally unaccountable;
the DOD has successfully manipulated "national-security crises" as
pretext for centralizing the independent intelligence services under its
the State Department's statesmen have been replaced by career soldiers, oil
barons, and arms barons, who think the militarization of US foreign policy is
the federal government's practically-nonexistent ethical code unwisely
permits close ties between high-level politicians and arms-industry executives. 
EXHIBIT C: The Carlyle Group, The Bush Family, The War Party, And World
For at least the last twelve years, George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush have
been engaging in war-profiteering through the CARLYLE GROUP ("CG"). CG is a
consortium of wealthy conservatives who operate worldwide as a merchant banking
firm. CG is also a major player in the defense and telecommunications
industries. CG has been averaging a whopping 34% return for its investors over the
past 15 years, and its current estimated worth is $18 billion. Largely through
war-profiteering, CG's worth soared from $12 billion to $18 billion between 2000
So who's involved in the Carlyle Group? Among many others: former President
George H.W. Bush (CG's adviser from 1993 to October 2003, and current
investor); Bush I Secretary of State James Baker (CG's $180 million partner)
Colin Powell before he was Bush II's SOS; Reagan Secretary of Defense Frank
Carlucci (CG's chairman); Bush I National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft;
former conservative British Prime Minister John Major (head of CG's European
operations); and the former right-wing presidents of the Philippines and South
In the typical revolving-door style that has made postmodern Washington an
ethics-free zone, the Carlyle Group is managed and staffed by former Republican
employees of the CIA, the State Department, and the DOD. The Saudi royal
family also is - and the Bin Laden family recently was - a major investor in
Additionally, many prominent international bankers are CG investors.
But wait! What about George W. Bush? He was a director in the Carlyle Group'
subsidiary, Caterair, before he managed the Texas Rangers baseball team.
Then, as Governor of Texas, he induced the board of the Texas teachers' pension
fund - the members of which he appointed - to invest $100 million in CG.
Finally, GWB stands to inherit a multimillion dollar portion of whatever his
father reaps through his consultations with, and investments in, CG. That
might explain why GWB was so adamant both that his illegal elective war against
Iraq MUST commence in March 2003, and that the estate tax MUST be repealed
(which his party did in April 2005). Now when Poppy Bush dies, he can receive 100%
of that blood-soaked windfall inheritance. 
EXHIBIT D: The War-Profiteering Leviathans Bechtel And Halliburton.
BECHTEL is a gargantuan multinational construction firm. The US-based
Bechtel's war-profiteering activites are so prodigious that they're the stuff of
legends. Knowledgeable defense experts have characterized Bechtel as "more
powerful than the US Army."
After 9/11, George Schultz, the Bechtel CEO and former Secretary of State,
lobbied vigorously for the invasion of Iraq. The Bush administration rewarded
Schultz by granting Bechtel exclusive no-bid, gold-plated contracts for the
reconstruction of Iraq, then reducing Iraq's infrastructure to rubble during
"shock and awe" blitzkreig.
These Iraq War contracts enabled Bechtel to reap record profits of $17
billion in 2003, and $17.4 billion in 2004.
The firm was founded by the San Francisco-based Bechtel family, who are old
friends with the Saudi-based Bin Laden family. These two families have worke
together on many construction projects in the Mideast. Indeed, they're
currently collaborating on a $20 billion deal with the Saudi government to excavate
two new ports. Furthermore, the Bin Laden family owns a $10 million stake in
Bechtel Corporation's investment subsidiary, The Fremont Group. Of course, the
Bin Ladens are also old friends with the Bush family. It's a small world, after
HALLIBURTON has vaulted to the forefront as the USA's premier - and most
corrupt - war profiteer. Before revolving-door gamesman Dick Cheney became Bush
II's running mate in 2000, he was receiving a multimillion dollar salary as
Halliburton's CEO. Upon becoming Vice President Cheney, he oversold the invasion
of Iraq by falsely alleging that an imminent threat was posed by Iraq's
nonexistent WMD arsenal. Since the invasion, his cronies at Halliburton have
profits of at least $18 billion from their Iraq War contracts. And
Halliburton's revenues increased by 80% between 2003 and 2004.
Meanwhile, Halliburton was perpetrating countless acts of fraud, stealing
multimillions through overbilling, and taking millions in kickbacks to its
executives. For instance, the Defense Contract Audit Agency recently concluded that
Halliburton overbilled US taxpayers by $212.3 million for fuel transportation
in Iraq. And Halliburton is currently
under investigation by both the FBI and the Securities Exchange Commission
for numerous illegalities. Nevertheless, Halliburton and its subsidiary KBR
continue to receive lucrative no-bid, gold-plated defense contracts from the
Noting this blatant cronyism, CorpWatch disgustedly concludes that
"Halliburton's agenda is so merged with that of the Bush administration that
raised by auditors, inspectors-general, and other independent agencies - not
mention corporate accountability groups - languish silently in Congress and
the White House." 
Furthermore, these same major defense contractors - the Carlyle Group,
Bechtel, Halliburton, and their subsidiaries - donated millions to the Republican
Party and the Bush-Cheney campaign. Additionally, they paid for extravagant
parties at the 2004 political conventions and the 2005 presidential inauguration.
In short, war is a lucrative business that pays the elite war-profiteers and
the Washington bribe-ocrats handsomely, while it impoverishes the taxpayers,
drains the federal coffers, decimates the target nations, and kills the
combatants and their innocent victims hideously.
Overarching Conclusions: 21st-Century America Is Repeating Militarism's Historical Pattern Of Economic Addiction To War.
Warlust eventually ravages nations just like a highly-addictive narcotic
ravages people. Warfare's savagery inflicts destruction on prey nations
immediately, whereas it destroys predator nations gradually. War initially produces a
stimulative "high" for the predator's domestic economy. Leaders in predator
nations ignore this opiate-like economic addiction to war because it serves to
enrich their upper classes. Warfare is instantaneously lucrative for the
military-industrial complex's depraved war-profiteers, but can cause an entire
region's economy to become war-addicted over time.
For instance, the Pentagon's Base Realignment and Closure Commission ("BRAC"
recently issued its report on military base closings. In response, US
Senators insisted that they CANNOT close any military bases in their states,
bases provide jobs and generate income for local economies (e.g., $42 billion
annually for California's economy). And US Representatives like House Armed
Services Committee Chairman Duncan Hunter (R-CA) insisted that their distric
CANNOT survive without the income generated by military bases (e.g., $18
billion annually for San Diego's economy).
In other words, most states and large cities cannot survive without
taxpayer-funded monetary injections from military bases, and this vast archipelago of
bases cannot be justified without an endless succession of wars, so our
regional economies are addicted to war. Hence, BRAC proposed closing only 33
1,700 bases. And no bases will be closed in Chairman Hunter's
militarily-dependent district, San Diego.
That's 1,000 less base closures than is necessary to provide adequate funding
for America's indispensable social safety-net programs. And a reduction to
700 bases would still allow the USA to have three bases in each of the 50
states, and at least one in every nation in the world. Folks, that's more than
Furthermore, consider that the economic "high" from an addiction to war is always a
Faustian bargain. It compels the addicted nation to start an endless succession of
destructive wars in order to avoid severe withdrawal symptoms, which otherwise
would appear in the form of recessions and depressions. Ultimately, it
forces the working class to pay the highest price in blood and treasure. Their
children become cannon fodder and their taxes are squandered to finance military
adventures. Militaristic nations always collapse because their criminal acts
of aggression are not only morally indefensible but also economically
unsustainable. Ultimately, war destroys empires as well as it does people. 
Maybe the progressive journalists who "speak truth to power" should bestow a
more accurate name on the DOD: the "Department of Aggression" ("DOA").
The Bottom Line: Might As Well Face It, We're Addicted To War.
One certainly need not be a pacifist to recognize that the Exhibits A-D
provide powerful evidence that the USA is economically addicted to war. If so, this
would explain why our political system is dominated by the ultra-militarist
War Party and the crypto-fascist Bush family (i.e., the pushers), while our
economic system is dominated by the military-industrial complex and its
mafiosiesque war-profiteers (i.e., the kingpins).
Finally, if the USA is economically addicted to war, that raises some
important moral questions. Readers of good conscience should be asking themselves:
"Am I willing to engage in loving acts of nonviolent noncooperation with evil in
order to stop my nation's wars of aggression? Or will I watch in craven
silence as this nation descends - like the Bush family's multigenerational
war-profiteers - into a vampiric career of bloodthirsty murderousness? If it
latter, won't I be sending America's children the depraved message that it's
permissible to murder people, so long as it's profitable? Which destiny am I
to choose -- nonviolent redemption or militaristic perdition?" 
In short, we've proved in Iraq that violence only begets more violence, and
war more wars. It's time to show the world the force of our example, not the
example of our force.
 Guy Anderson's 5-4-05 Janes Defence Industry article, "US Defence Budget
Will Equal Rest Of World's Combined Within 12 Months":
 Siobhan McDonough's 5-15-05 GU article, "Senate Panel OKs Defense
Spending Boost" [The USA's "defense" budget will be at least $500 billion in
 UCSD Professor Emeritus Chalmers Johnson's book, The Sorrows Of Empire:
Militarism, Secrecy, And The End Of The Republic (Metropolitan Books, 2004).
 Ibid. Also see these essays about militarism and nationalism:
A. Norman Solomon's 5-16-05 CD essay, "News Media And The 'Madness of
B. Howard Zinn's 5-16-05 CD/TP essay, "The Scourge Of Nationalism":
 These articles provide the factual details about the Carlyle Group.
A. HereInReality's article, "The Carlyle Group: Former World Leaders
And War-Profiteering" [Articles and videos about CG.]:
B. AngelFire's "Meet The Carlyle Group" [Similar to 5A, but better
C. Naomi Klein's 10-13-04 GU article, "Why War? Bush Special Envoy And
Carlyle Group In Scandal Over Iraq Debt Relief" [In 2004, a Carlyle partner
with a $180-million share, James Baker III, functioned both as the USA's
debt-envoy to Iraq to achieve international debt relief and as the Carlyle Group's
stealth representative for debt-collection from Iraq on war reparations owed
Kuwait, which is a classic conflict of interest.]:
D. William Thomas' must-read 2004 WT article, "Inside The Bush-Carlyle
E. Jamie Doward's 3-25-03 Rense/TO article, "Bush Sr's Carlyle Group
Gets Fat On War And Conflict" [Backs up his title with probative facts from
Briody's exposť book, Iron Triangle: Inside The Secret World Of The Carlyle
F. Christopher Bollyn's 11-3-01 PP/AFP article, "War Is Sell:
Washington's Power Elite Are The Beneficiaries of War" [Reports that the Bus
h family is
getting financially fat off of Dubya's "War on Terror," because 30% of CG's
investments are in defense-related companies, while two-thirds of CG's
investments are in defense and telecommunications.]:
G. LT has collected the "Carlyle Group Articles," ranging from 2001 to
 Jeffrey St. Clair's 5-9-05 CP essay, "Straight to Bechtel: More Powerful
Than The US Army" [Excerpted from his forthcoming book, Grand Theft Pentagon:
How War Contractors Rip Off America And Threaten The World (Common Courage
Press, July 2005).]: http://www.counterpunch.org/stclair05092005.html
 These articles address Halliburton's sleazy cronyism and
A. Andrea Buffa and Pratap Chatterjee's 5-17-05 CD/CW essay, "Houston,
We Still Have A Problem": http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0517-33.htm
B. Scott Parkin's 5-10-05 CP essay, "Pride Cometh Before A Fall: Taking
Direct Action Against Halliburton":
C. The Commitee on Government Reform Minority Office's 5-2-05 article,
"Halliburton Asked To Explain Discrepancies Between Testimony And Indictment
D. The Committee on Government Reform Minority Office's 4-11-05
article, "DOD Audit Reports On Halliburton" [Government auditors find that
Halliburton fraudulently overbilled US taxpayers by $212.3 million on its Iraq oil
 These essays address the politics and economics of military base closings.
A. Barbara Starr's 5-13-05 CNN article, "Lawmakers Scramble To Save
B. Associated Press' 4-25-05 CNN article, "Base Closing Have Enormous
Political Ramifications: Republicans Have as Much To Lose As Democrats":
 The following two essays have been excerpted from BU Professor of
International Relations Andrew Bacevich's outstandng book, The New American
Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced By War (Oxford U. Press, 2005).
A. Andrew Bacevich's must-read 4-21-05 CD/TD essay, "The Normalization
of War" [Correctly describes the symptoms, and diagnoses the causes, of
America's descent into militarism and perpetual war.]:
B. Andrew Bacevich's 4-22-05 CD/TD essay, "New Boys In Town" [Explains
the neocons' disastrous role in ratcheting up America's addiction to war.
They're the warmongering public-relations division of the military-industrial
 In addition to son George W. Bush and father GHWB, GWB's paternal uncle
"Bucky" Bush, is a war profiteer, as were his paternal grandfather, Prescott
Bush, and his maternal great-grandfather, George Herbert Walker. Is this
America's destiny too?
A. Evan Augustine Peterson III's 2-28-05 TPV essay, "On Bush Nepotism
And American War-Profiteering" [Reports that: (1) the American war machine
feeds big business, as illustrated by the fact that entire military-industrial
complex is profiting mightily from its wars; and (2) certain relatives within the
Bush Family -- including Dubya's uncle, William "Bucky" Bush -- are making
substantial windfall earnings off of Mr. Bush's elective wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan. In short, war is business as usual for the Bush family war-profiteers
specifically and the US military-industrial complex generally.]:
B. Evan Augustine Peterson III's 2-6-05 NFPNZ essay, "Of Militarism,
Fascism, War And National Consciousness: Any Authentic Pilgrimage Toward A
Nonviolent Society Requires A Clearer Understanding Of The Beast Within"
[Concisely explains from a social sciences perspective the genesis of American
militarism, the possibility that we are devolving into fascism, and the alternative
possibility of becoming an authentically nonviolent society.]:
About The Author:
Evan Augustine Peterson III, J.D.,
is the Executive Director of the
American Center for International Law ("ACIL").
© 2005 EAPIII EvPeters8@aol.com