The all-too-smooth transition from general to arms salesman

An important piece of work from the Boston Globe:

An hour after the official ceremony marking the end of his 35-year career in the Air Force, General Gregory “Speedy’’ Martin returned to his quarters to swap his dress uniform for golf attire.

He was ready for his first tee time as a retired four-star general.

But almost as soon as he closed the door that day in 2005 his phone rang. It was an executive at Northrop Grumman, asking if he was interested in working for the manufacturer of the B-2 stealth bomber as a paid consultant. A few weeks later, Martin received another call. This time it was the Pentagon, asking him to join a top-secret Air Force panel studying the future of stealth aircraft technology.

Martin was understandably in demand, having been the general in charge of all Air Force weapons programs, including the B-2, for the previous four years.

He said yes to both offers.

The Globe goes on to document that 80 percent of three-star and four-star officers now go immediately into consulting work with the defense industry. In many cases, they arrange the contracts well before they retire, a process that inevitably creates temptations. And when, once retired, they also serve as consultants to the Pentagon, they are not required to disclose that they are serving two masters nor how much they are being paid to do so.

The consequences — and advantages to defense contractors — can be significant, as the Globe reports:

“There was a clear sense of urgency as top Army officials and advisers converged on the National Defense University’s campus on the banks of the Potomac River for a high-level meeting in June 2009.

Their goal: develop ideas for the Army’s next ground combat vehicle. The Army badly needed to get a new tank program rolling after its previous effort resulted in an embarrassing, $14 billion flop.

A veil of secrecy surrounded the event. The Army did not publicly disclose the guest list for the meeting. It required participants to sign nondisclosure agreements.

And to block potential bidders from gaining an unfair advantage, defense contractors were pointedly excluded.

Yet, defense contractors had a robust presence inside.

At least six retired generals invited by the Army were also consultants or executives of defense companies that would bid on the new tank contracts, according to a meeting roster obtained by the Globe. The roster did not list their private-sector affiliations. Each was listed by the Army only as ‘distinguished participant.’”

It’s hard to imagine such a system being accepted so blithely in any other line of government contracting. And that’s the larger point, I suppose: There is no other line of government contracting like Pentagon contracting.

Cost overruns, bidding scandals, the absence of competitive bidding, congressional meddling and expensive weapons systems that fail to perform are all more or less accepted features in that world, at great cost to the taxpayer and to those “at the tip of the spear,” where lives depend on weapons that work.

A half century ago next month, a man who knew a thing or two about such things left us a prescient warning:

“Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peacetime, or indeed by the fighting men of World War II or Korea.

Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence – economic, political, even spiritual – is felt in every city, every Statehouse, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

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.”

I’m far from confident that we have heeded President Eisenhower’s warning.

– Jay Bookman

276 comments Add your comment

Lil' Barry Bailout

December 29th, 2010
7:22 am

And they say Obama isn’t creating enough jobs…this fellow just got two!

Normal

December 29th, 2010
7:23 am

Jay,
This is why we have continuing “Police Actions” and not declared wars. Declared wars will end some day, like WWII, and the military standd own that would follow would be bad for the business of the Contractors. On the other hand, “Police Actions” can go on forever ensuring lots of profits…

I am personally surprised that Defense Contractors haven’t gone into the Casket business, yet.

Normal

December 29th, 2010
7:26 am

Posted this below, but I want to make sure everybody can see it and be “proud”…

Normal

December 29th, 2010
7:01 am
Today, in 1890, was not one of our finest days in history…

On this day in 1890, in the final chapter of America’s long Indian wars, the U.S. Cavalry kills 146 Sioux at Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota.

Throughout 1890, the U.S. government worried about the increasing influence at Pine Ridge of the Ghost Dance spiritual movement, which taught that Indians had been defeated and confined to reservations because they had angered the gods by abandoning their traditional customs. Many Sioux believed that if they practiced the Ghost Dance and rejected the ways of the white man, the gods would create the world anew and destroy all non-believers, including non-Indians. On December 15, 1890, reservation police tried to arrest Sitting Bull, the famous Sioux chief, who they mistakenly believed was a Ghost Dancer, and killed him in the process, increasing the tensions at Pine Ridge.

On December 29, the U.S. Army’s 7th cavalry surrounded a band of Ghost Dancers under the Sioux Chief Big Foot near Wounded Knee Creek and demanded they surrender their weapons. As that was happening, a fight broke out between an Indian and a U.S. soldier and a shot was fired, although it’s unclear from which side. A brutal massacre followed, in which it’s estimated almost 150 Indians were killed (some historians put this number at twice as high), nearly half of them women and children. The cavalry lost 25 men.

The conflict at Wounded Knee was originally referred to as a battle, but in reality it was a tragic and avoidable massacre. Surrounded by heavily armed troops, it’s unlikely that Big Foot’s band would have intentionally started a fight. Some historians speculate that the soldiers of the 7th Cavalry were deliberately taking revenge for the regiment’s defeat at Little Bighorn in 1876. Whatever the motives, the massacre ended the Ghost Dance movement and was the last major confrontation in America’s deadly war against the Plains Indians.

Conflict came to Wounded Knee again in February 1973 when it was the site of a 71-day occupation by the activist group AIM (American Indian Movement) and its supporters, who were protesting the U.S. government’s mistreatment of Native Americans. During the standoff, two Indians were killed, one federal marshal was seriously wounded and numerous people were arrested.

Granny Godzilla

December 29th, 2010
7:33 am

…and there are those who still consider defense spending sacrosanct.

Bill Orvis White

December 29th, 2010
7:39 am

Hello McFly:

They want to kill us! We need to have every resource at our disposal to defeat the enemy. And this is much different than what we faced in Vietnam which was another war where we waved the white flag of surrender.

Today, the enemy is in every crevice of the world ready to attack us through low tech means (9/11, shoe bomber etc.) and high tech means (nuke suitcases, messing with satellites, banks, the Internets etc.)

Why not have decorated fighting men who know weapons and the world’s terrain become our defense experts? Who better to buy the equipment that we need to fight the enemy? This seems like a no-brainer to me and hardly “damning” as you suggest.

Amen,
Bill

Keep up the good fight!

December 29th, 2010
7:41 am

LBB — wow that was great that Obama, elected in 2008, helped a general get 2 jobs in 2005. Is he working on the time machine too?

Normal…there have been some shameful events in US history that apologies (and ever reparations) can never make up for.

Its past time for some serious changes in defense spending, but unforunately reality and addressing real issues is not in the political mindset.

Granny Godzilla

December 29th, 2010
7:43 am

Tangentially on topic….

Sen. Shelby’s Pork Lust Forces NASA To Spend $500 Million On Canceled Rocket Program

The money quote:

Nearly all of the money for the program will go to two defense contractors building the Ares rocket, Alliant Techsystems (ATK) and Lockheed Martin, with ATK receiving the bulk. Defense contractors have been a consistent source of financial support for Shelby’s campaigns, contributing to him at higher rates than to other politicians in his state. In particular, Shelby’s 2010 reelection campaign was the top recipient of funds from ATK’s PAC, receiving the maximum $10,000. And the company’s employees appear to have given more to Shelby than to any other politician in the 2010 election cycle.

Shelby certainly has a flair for the dramatic when it comes to extracting pork money for defense contractors in his state. In a “nearly unprecedented” move in February, Shelby placed a blanket hold on every single presidential nominees being considered by the Senate — more than 70 in total, including “top Intelligence officers at the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security as well as the number three civilian at the Pentagon” — in order to pressure to Obama administration to do the bidding of Northrop Grumman on a $40 billion contract for which they were being considered.

earmarks, lettermarks and phonemarks….oh my.

Joel Edge

December 29th, 2010
7:43 am

Let’s see. We are ahead of everyone on stealth. Weapons like the Abrams tank, F-16, Stryker, etc. are top of the line and some of the best we’ve ever had. Those b@#$%$ds. How could they screw us like this?

Granny Godzilla

December 29th, 2010
7:49 am

Joel

Does that include the Yahont, I understand China has aquired them.

Jack

December 29th, 2010
7:53 am

I’ll pay my share of sacrosanct tax dollars to support the military in the hope the generals help keep us safe.

stands for decibels

December 29th, 2010
7:54 am

Ignoring for a moment the trollish,revisionist history/FNC talking point regurgitation posted in Bill Orvis’ first two grafs @ 7.39, he does ask one reasonable question, to wit:

“Why not have decorated fighting men who know weapons and the world’s terrain become our defense experts? Who better to buy the equipment that we need to fight the enemy?”

Well, if you read the Globe piece, you’ll see the answer, here:

[...] a number of retired generals contacted by the Globe said they are uncomfortable with the laxity of the system and refuse to use their Pentagon contacts to win private clients.

Air Force Lieutenant General Kenneth E. Eickmann, who frequently dealt with defense contractors when he was on active duty, is among them.

“I always felt uncomfortable dealing with former generals working for those companies,’’ said Eickmann, who retired in 1998 and is now a senior fellow at the Energy Institute at the University of Texas. “Sometimes I felt like they were relying on a past friendship to get me to do something.’’

William “Buck’’ Kernan, a retired Army four-star general who recently left Military Professional Resources, Inc., a company that provides training, logistics, and other support to the military, believes trading on such access and influence raises difficult questions.

“I didn’t like people doing it to me when I was a four-star, a three-star, even a two-star — using a previous relationship as an entree to selling me something,’’ he said. “The perception from the outside of a previous superior now dealing with a previous subordinate can cause all kinds of questions.’’

That’s why.

Reading. It’s fun-da-mental. Try it, won’t you?

Normal

December 29th, 2010
7:54 am

Joel,
Tell me, How effective have those toys been on the terrorists? Modern Armies do not win against irregular forces. Proof is all over the pages of history. Those “tools” you mention are for the cold war, not the “war” on terror.

Joel Edge

December 29th, 2010
8:00 am

Granny Godzilla@7:49
“Does that include the Yahont, I understand China has aquired them.”
Did we develop that? I suspect there’s probably some of our technology on it. Seeing how we tend to give away the shop at every opportunity. Ain’t free trade great.

stands for decibels

December 29th, 2010
8:02 am

I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that most of the heat (as opposed to the light) generated by the comments that will spring forth from Jay’s piece, will arise over something Ike touched on in his famous speech, emphasis mine:

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.”

And that will be a shame. I really think too much of the debate on this winds up hinging the “sought or unsought” business; essentially, it winds up coming down to just how evil the M-I-C is or isn’t, and how much malice aforethought went into the creation of the M-I-L. And I humbly submit that such things are both a) generally unprovable and b) largely irrelevant, and we’d all be better served by rationally discussing just how much influence the industry should have over retired service personnel, and maybe in a larger sense, just how much of the world really needs policing.

Just thought I’d leave you good folks with that to chew on. Later, all.

Granny Godzilla

December 29th, 2010
8:02 am

Joel

I am not your personal homework hotline.

ken

December 29th, 2010
8:02 am

And China is on a roll with our money. We better look over our sholders. The price of Freedom guess ??..Bunch of bed buddies.

stands for decibels

December 29th, 2010
8:04 am

“M-I-L”? oy. You know what I meant…

Joel Edge

December 29th, 2010
8:05 am

Normal@7:54
The Apache is a pretty expensive “toy”. Speaking from the perspective of one of the guys on the ground, I loved seeing those “toys” overhead.
I was also unaware that Desert Storm, and Operation Iraqi Freedom was part of the cold war. Thanks for correcting me.

Joel Edge

December 29th, 2010
8:08 am

Granny Godzilla@8:02
“I am not your personal homework hotline.”
Then why bring it into the conversation. Don’t try to make a useless comment and think you’ve gained something. Relating foreign armament to American weapons development is apples to oranges.

dougmo2

December 29th, 2010
8:11 am

In the immortal words of a great blogger (me), so what. It’s called free enterprise or capitalism. It’s been around forever, deal with it.

Lil' Barry Bailout

December 29th, 2010
8:12 am

Keep up the good fight!: LBB — wow that was great that Obama, elected in 2008, helped a general get 2 jobs in 2005.
————–

Heh heh, missed that, thanks for pointing out my error.

Well, I tried to give the Idiot Messiah a little credit. Never mind!

Lil' Barry Bailout

December 29th, 2010
8:13 am

In all your libbtarded hater mau-mauing about the military industrial complex, please note that at no time did President Eisenhower advocate for disbanding the military.

Atlanta1

December 29th, 2010
8:13 am

Let’s try and be a little more balanced here. First, Jay’s article is dead on. Every part of government where contracts are involved, usually equates to former powerful government officials ‘consulting’, basically giving someone out there an advantage. Or former congressmen become lobbist. It is a real problem. And as the writer states, the stakes are even higher here, since lives are at risk and the security of our country is at risk.

Referencing ‘wounded knee’ has nothing to do with today. No doubt that it was tragic; but has nothing to do with today. Making statements where a person is surprised that Defense Contractors are not in the coffin business is vicious.

Lobbyist, hiring from straight from government to private sector industry calling on government should have at least a 3 year period where this cannot be done. The problem you have is getting enough support on both sides of the aisle to support something like this.

This is not just a military problem. It is a government problem.

dougmo2

December 29th, 2010
8:14 am

Joel, Granny cannot help it. Her girlfriend CT is off this week and sne needs to spout her failed arguments somewhere.

Lil' Barry Bailout

December 29th, 2010
8:17 am

Atlanta1, it would be less of the problem if the government did not involve itself in spending so much of the people’s money.

Lil' Barry Bailout

December 29th, 2010
8:20 am

Joel Edge: Ain’t free trade great.
—————–

If you’re opposed to free trade, don’t engage in it. Otherwise, mind your own business and keep your laws off my business.

TaxPayer

December 29th, 2010
8:22 am

Well, this is one case where a tax cut is truly what the doctor should order. That way, they’ll get increased tax revenues to help fund their blunders.

Bob

December 29th, 2010
8:22 am

The defense dept has been out of control since before LBJ and his hacks decided to go to war in vietnam. It’s funny that the right gets blamed for the “war machine” that was ramped up under a dem congress.

@@

December 29th, 2010
8:24 am

Experience counts, jay. So tell us….does Obama know about the revolving door?

It’s amusing to see left-wingers outraged when Wesley Clark is both a lobbyist AND investment banker. He’s one of their darlings.

Ultimately as Clark himself put it, however, he decided he was a Democrat because “I was pro-affirmative action, I was pro-choice, I was pro-education… I’m pro-health care… I realized I was either going to be the loneliest Republican in America or I was going to be a happy Democrat.” Clark said he liked the Democratic party, which he saw as standing for “internationalism”, “ordinary men and women”, and “fair play.”

Why? Because he was opposed to the war in Iraq. Other than that, left-wingers are behind the multifaceted general.

jconservative

December 29th, 2010
8:29 am

We have military bases, foreign and domestic, that the Pentagon does not want; but some Congressman or Senator does want. We have weapon systems that the pentagon did not want, but some Congressman or Senator did want.

And some are amazed that the National Debt is $13.8 trillion.

Idea. Let’s divide the $13.8 trillion National Debt by 308,745,538, the official 2010 census, and send a bill to every taxpayer for his family’s share and give them 12 months to pay it off. Those who think Pentagon spending, as it is currently practiced, is a wonderful thing would be thrilled to pay and the rest of us would pay to keep our property from being sold on the courthouse steps.

No more National Debt and we could then cut taxes and increase spending and be back to our usual ways of doing things.

Normal

December 29th, 2010
8:30 am

Joel,
You’re a trip. Your “answer to Granny G. at 0800, you say “ain’t free trade great” sarcastically, so I must ask, would you rather have a socialistic system. I bet that would keep secrets, you betcha.

And to me you come back with a toy not mentioned in your earlier tirade…good move, but busted.

and, for the record, I too think the Apache is a good, but limited terrorist deterrent. Like the Hind the Soviets used in Afghanistan….

Lil' Barry Bailout

December 29th, 2010
8:32 am

It wouldn’t work, jconservative…too many parasites wouldn’t be able to pay their fair share.

Granny Godzilla

December 29th, 2010
8:32 am

Joel

Wow you really shot me down there didn’t ya!

Why bring it up? Because you seemed at the time to maybe possibly know what you were talking about so (I admit I was giving you the benefit of the doubt) I asked a question. You couldn’t/didn’t answer it and asked me to do your homework.

All you had to say way that you didn’t know.

dougmo2

bitchin’ cool stealth attack there dude….

Barry

“mau-mauing”? wow, that’s really disgusting.

Bob

So you favor defense budget cuts?

Normal

December 29th, 2010
8:32 am

“In all your libbtarded hater mau-mauing…”, then I quit reading…nothing intellegent there.

AmVet

December 29th, 2010
8:33 am

Good morning all.

Ike was the last competent and decent GOP president.

Now all we get is more blustering and chest-pounding from those never-served, never-will heroes in the Party of Parasites and Permanent Republican War.

They use idiotic slogans like War on Terror and the ever popular “national security”.

Thus they can justify their quasi-fascistic actions, BIG BIG BIG goivernment and being slaves to their corporate handlers.

The whiners complain ENDLESSLY about paying too much in taxes to Uncle Sam, but educate them to the fact that the DoD budget is a HUGE part of those taxes and that we spend as much as the rest of the planet *combined* on our war machine, and all you get are vacuous stares.

Tell them how the DoD budget is over-flowing with fraud, waste, abuse, turf wars and counter-productive pork that makes no one safer and all you will get in response are their idiotic, faketriotic slogans, such as those spewed by the once King’s puppet master and Chief Coward, Dick Cheney.

Anybody with even a high school ability (sorry, neo-cons) could easily and quickly list pages and pages of many of those DoD contractors and their crimes, including payoffs, extortion, bribes, known faulty equipment, deadly malfeasance, etc. who are constantly ripping off you and me. Year after year after year. (Wink, wink, nudge, nudge)

And because Uncle Sam is SO emasculated by these criminals, he KEEPS ON DOING BUSINESS WITH THEM ANYWAY.

Given the track record of George of the Bungle, the corporate wh0res and the neo-cons, these incompetent and cowardly “crusading” chickenhawks must never again be allowed to make any more decisions regarding the United States military…

TaxPayer

December 29th, 2010
8:33 am

So, how big a dent will the newly elected Republicans be looking to make in that war machine’s one trillion dollar annual budget and how will tax cuts play into it. After all, if we decrease the DoD’s budget, won’t that require a tax increase in order to reduce the tax revenue by a corresponding amount.

Paul

December 29th, 2010
8:35 am

Jay

The Globe understated General Martin’s last position with “Martin was understandably in demand, having been the general in charge of all Air Force weapons programs, including the B-2, for the previous four years.”

General Martin was Commander, Air Force Material Command, the largest command in the Air Force.

http://www.af.mil/information/bios/bio.asp?bioID=6314

AFMC does the research, testing and development of weapons systems. It buys the systems. It maintains the systems once they’ve been sent to the users. General Martin was in charge of all that.

The article noted “With few exceptions, all the Pentagon requires now is for retired officers to wait one year before directly advocating for a contract before the specific military branch they served in.”

and “The fundamental question,” (retired General Robert “Doc’’ Foglesong, who retired as the second-ranking Air Force officer in 2006} “is whether this is shaping the acquisition system and influencing what the Pentagon buys. I think the answer is yes.’’

It’s all about money and power. General Martin receives $160,000 a year in retired pay, plus benefits. Retired generals can earn several times that working for defense contractors.

Congress needs to remind these guys what “service before self” is all about by strengthening disclosure rules, prohibiting any form of employment for a certain number of years with companies doing business with DoD and attach draconian penalties for violations.

Granny Godzilla

December 29th, 2010
8:41 am

“Congress needs to remind these guys what “service before self” is all about by strengthening disclosure rules, prohibiting any form of employment for a certain number of years with companies doing business with DoD and attach draconian penalties for violations”

Very well said Paul.

Huzzah!

Paul

December 29th, 2010
8:42 am

@@

“It’s amusing to see left-wingers outraged when Wesley Clark is both a lobbyist AND investment banker.”

I believe the overriding theme here is retired general officers who trade upon their rank to influence the procurement process within the Pentagon.

Are you aware of any lobbying General Clark does for defense contractors, or are his lobbying/board/employment activities with civilian-sector companies?

Mary Elizabeth

December 29th, 2010
8:46 am

“Our evolved consciousness as individuals will guide us in electing those officials who will best serve our interests, collectively, and best serve our common wills. Bear in mind that those interests and wills will evolve over time – hence, the communication of ideas.”

The words above are the words that I posted on this blog yesterday at 11:57 a.m.

I had in mind, the tendency in our nation to glorify the military – by peer pressure and by regional norms – when I stated those words. As long as there is large monetary gain to be had from military pursuits, the average person will be persuaded, by those in power, of the necessity of using military force to solve world problems with other nations.

We would be wise to heed President (General) Eisenhower’s words above:

“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.”

Hopefully, over time, the “citizenry” of the U.S. will start to question the U.S.’s heavy-handed investment in military arms over human investment to solve worldwide political problems. And, then, hopefully, citizens will elect officials who share their modified values.

An evolved consciousness. A communication of ideas.

@@

December 29th, 2010
8:48 am

Paul:

He lobbies for ethanol.

One of the most prominent General’s in defense spending is General Electric.

Daltry

December 29th, 2010
8:50 am

Bookman is such a hack going with Ike’s warning. Cliche bitten hackings like this are not professional.

The military industrial complex, MIC, (sic) is a lazy reference. I swear, Bookman is driving me to drink. (hic).

bwa

jt

December 29th, 2010
8:51 am

Yesterday’s New York Times carried an interesting article about North Korea that in some ways reminds one of the United States. The country is suffering severe economic depression but the government is promising that prosperity is just around the corner. Meanwhile, everyone must sacrifice for the sake of the military, which protects the country from the ever-present threat of foreign attack (by the U.S. military).

Like so many Americans, North Koreans believe that it is government’s job to take care of them, even while recognizing that sometimes people must sacrifice for the sake of the military.

How is that different from the mindset of the average liberal and conservative in America?

The following statement by a North Korean university student in response to 2,000 new desktop computers installed in the university would easily express the sentiments of American liberals: “This is a very good present from Chairman Kim Jong-il.” And don’t liberals always justify cuts in military spending by showing how the government could use the money to better take care of the American people, with schools, food, housing, and the like?

On the other hand, don’t conservatives constantly remind us that we must continue making sacrifices for the sake of the military, the military-industrial complex, and the CIA, so that they can keep us safe from the terrorists, the communists, the Muslims, the illegal aliens, and the drug dealers? The following statement by a North Korean maid would easily serve as a model for American conservatives: “Even if we don’t eat, we give the military everything we can.”

Sound familiar?

We should join hands in Brotherhood with North Korea.

Granny Godzilla

December 29th, 2010
8:52 am

Ike was lazy?

Imagine what Europe would have looked like if he were motivated!

Joel Edge

December 29th, 2010
8:52 am

Normal@8:30
You did notice the “etc” at the end right? If you don’t think an Apache overhead isn’t a deterrent, you might want to suit up and join up.
If you support free trade, fine. Don’t care. We’ve sold our technology overseas for years. What hasn’t been sold has been stolen. Barking about the evil of the military industrial complex is merely a smoke screen. Complaining about US weapons systems by pointing out a Chinese anti-carrier missile is pointless. What’s the option? Scrap the carriers? If you don’t want development on weapons, just say so. We’ve been the worlds police force for decades. that was all well and good for you liberals. This can’t continue, people. You have to make a choice. If you a world class military to intervene in all of this third world countries, it’s gonna cost. If not, then it’s time for the withdrawal to begin.

Lil' Barry Bailout

December 29th, 2010
8:55 am

Mary Elizabeth

As long as there is large monetary gain to be had from government pursuits, the average person will be persuaded, by those in power, of the necessity of using government to solve all problems.
————————————————-

Fixed. You’re welcome.

Joel Edge

December 29th, 2010
8:55 am

granny godzilla@8:32
“Wow you really shot me down there didn’t ya!”
Yes, I did. The comment was pointless. If you don’t know anything the subject, and you obviously don’t, don’t bring it up.

Lil' Barry Bailout

December 29th, 2010
8:58 am

The bedwetters who think the Chinese anti-ship missile spells game over for aircraft carriers might want to Google CIWS.

Granny Godzilla

December 29th, 2010
8:59 am

Joel

When your kids ask you a question to you self righteously tell them to STFU?

That’s not very nice.

Got class?

Paul

December 29th, 2010
8:59 am

@@

I think that misses the point. He’s not working for General Electric. He’s trying to do business with General Electric, isn’t he? According to Money, he’s co-chair of an upstart ethanol trade group.

Case One: work for a company that has multibillion dollar contracts with the Pentagon.

Case Two: work for a company that seeks to sell to a company, one of whose purposes is to do business with the Pentagon.

See the difference?

Charles

December 29th, 2010
9:01 am

Normal@7:54- Modern weapons CAN defeat terrorists- They’re call NUKES!!

Granny Godzilla

December 29th, 2010
9:01 am

Let’s review

Joel says:

“Let’s see. We are ahead of everyone on stealth. Weapons like the Abrams tank, F-16, Stryker, etc. are top of the line and some of the best we’ve ever had. Those b@#$%$ds. How could they screw us like this?”

I ask about the Yahont…..cause Joel claims to know about how fat ahead we are on stealth weapons….

and he just gets rude.

Lovely

JDW

December 29th, 2010
9:01 am

Far from confident that we have heeded President Eisenhower’s warning…I am confident what he feared has come to pass.

Just for fun think about Eisenhower, a staunch Republican, for a moment. I don’t think he would recognize today’s Party of No much less have a snowballs chance of actually getting elected.

Doggone/GA

December 29th, 2010
9:02 am

“Modern weapons CAN defeat terrorists”

Ever heard of the Herculean task of the Hydra?

Lil' Barry Bailout

December 29th, 2010
9:03 am

Since you’re so into Eisenhower, do you think he’d be proposing trillion-dollar budget deficits?

Lil' Barry Bailout

December 29th, 2010
9:06 am

My guess would be…”no”

Ragnar Danneskjöld

December 29th, 2010
9:08 am

Good morning all. The thesis today reflects the twin core-deficiencies of leftist thought, that (1) experience has no value in making important decisions, and (2) competence should be disposed of at retirement.

Whereas most bureaucrats serve no real purpose, our noble military certainly does, “killing bad guys.” I am pleased to see that our culture has evolved to allow us to continue to use the skills of the woefully underpaid military servants At least until the leftists work their usual magic, the same one that fatally infects every well-functioning system it touches.

@@

December 29th, 2010
9:09 am

Paul:

And a whole bunch of those congress critters are behind Clark’s lobbying efforts. Ethanol was the way to a cleaner tomorrow until it wasn’t. After years of promoting ethanol as the answer to all our environmental problems, the environmentalists are now saying “Oops! Bad idea…we didn’t realize the negative impacts of ethanol back when…”

Passion, all too often, interferes with logic, but still, Clark plods on. There’s money to be made.

Granny Godzilla

December 29th, 2010
9:09 am

Barry

Nope.

He believed in paying taxes.

From politifact:

“during the eight years of the Eisenhower presidency, the top rate averaged roughly 90 percent, typically hitting individuals making $200,000 a year or couples making $400,000 a year.”

If y’all want all the expensive toys – fine.

Just open your wallet!

Lil' Barry Bailout

December 29th, 2010
9:09 am

Yes, and it touches so many.

Joel Edge

December 29th, 2010
9:10 am

granny godzilla@8:59
“tell them to STFU?”
Kindly point out where I told you that. I merely pointed out your comment was meaningless. Resorting to making up your own comments an attributing them to me is also pointless.

Adam

December 29th, 2010
9:10 am

This is another illustration of how we spend money on the military, believing we fund different projects, but once the Pentagon gets the money they use it for whatever they feel like using it for. Congress says make 6 B-2s and scrap some old planes, and don’t you dare fund that top secret project we hate… and they make 4 B-2s, keep the old planes, and they overfund the top secret project. It’s just how it works in there.

Lil' Barry Bailout

December 29th, 2010
9:10 am

Your Idiot Messiah likes expensive toys–health care systems for example. And he just lowered taxes on the rich.

Normal

December 29th, 2010
9:11 am

Joel,
1. Even being ex-Navy, I think the modern aircraft carrier is dead meat in a shooting war. More smaller, expendable carriers would be better. The Soviets doctrine against our carrier task forces was to, through air and naval power, overwhelm our defenses by shooting more missles than we could defend against. We even have a ship designated to make itself look like the carrier electronically and try to take the hits meant for the carrier. Love to be on that ship, huh? The Hornets may get off the ship and do damage but they would most likely be landing in the ocean when they get back.

2. Free trade is above my pay grade. I had hoped national security would have been the order of the day, but with the MIC, making a buck is more important, it seems. I can’t stop it, so I don’t worry about it.

3. I don’t know if I qualify under your definition of what a “Liberal” is. I DO NOT WANT OUR TROOPS PLAYING WORLD POLICEMEN…E-V-E-R!!! If they must, then let it be on somebody elses dime…and pay the military men and women real wages when they are putting their asses on the line.

4. Todays enemy’s have changed and the MIC has to change with it…super weapons aren’t it.

Keep Up the Good Fight!

December 29th, 2010
9:12 am

Ragnar…puesdo-intellectual dishonest hogwash.

The question is NOT disposing of experience or competence. The question is conflict of interest and its interrelationship with costs and program viability.

You People Need Jobs

December 29th, 2010
9:13 am

Nice the pointless bickering isn’t just confined to CT’s blog anymore… Wonder what its like to know about EVERYTHING and be an authority on it like the posters here on the AJC obviously think they are.

Lil' Barry Bailout

December 29th, 2010
9:13 am

Thanks for pointing out that your revered Ike wouldn’t be so reckless as to propose trillion dollar deficits, as the Idiot Messiah has done.

I wonder what Ike would say about the Government-Labor Union complex?

Normal

December 29th, 2010
9:13 am

Lil’ Barry Bailout

If the GOP had another Eisenhour, I’d be a Republican.

TH

December 29th, 2010
9:14 am

Today is December 29.

WEEPER OF THE HOUSE, WHERE ARE THE JOBS CREATED FROM THE BUSH TAX CUTS FOR THE WEALTHY?

Paul

December 29th, 2010
9:14 am

Ragnar

The Pentagon conducts planning to determine future threats and the weapons to defeat those threats. They specify requirements and have defense contractors build those systems.

Is your position that the firms whose purpose it is to build the weapons systems would not be able to provide them if retired general officers were not lobbying the Pentagon to buy from them?

@@

True, true. But the salient point is, General Clark is not lobbying for a major Defense contractor to sell ethanol.

Mary Elizabeth

December 29th, 2010
9:15 am

jt @ 8:51

Just to simplify somewhat. We will either be taxed to support military pursuits, or human pursuits.
Pursuits of war or of peace. (Very simplified because both will be necessary; it is the degree to which each is given merit that is really the concern.)

Or, a third choice, as Chuck said yesterday, is that we could simply pay for our own individual interests ourselves (which would eliminate the need for being taxed altogether, of course.)

The benefit of social programs is that others are lifted – possibly into the middle classes – and the nation itself prospers when the lower classes are lifted. Of greater value is that we learn that by working together with other citizens, in how we use our collective money, we are a better nation spiritually, which manifests in peace.

The alternative is a nation whose values are essentially that every man or woman must look after only himself or herself, which – spiritually – can foster greed, the same greed to which today’s article refers when generals sell their souls for monetary gain in becoming “consultants” with the defense industry.

Joel Edge

December 29th, 2010
9:15 am

granny godzilla@9:01
“I ask about the Yahont…..cause Joel claims to know about how fat ahead we are on stealth weapons….”
Again, the Yahont is a carrier killer. Not exactly stealthy. They don’t relate. And we are ahead on stealth, unless we’ve sold it or it’s been stolen.

Road Scholar

December 29th, 2010
9:15 am

AmVet: “Anybody with even a high school ability (sorry, neo-cons) could easily and quickly list pages …”

Good post, but remember this is Georgia! I think you may have overestimated their reading and comprehensive skills, let alone their memories!

Ragnar Danneskjöld

December 29th, 2010
9:16 am

Good morning Keep @ 9:12, twin sides of the same coin. Throw away the experience to avoid conflict of interest. Cost controls are, of course, the province of Congress. I can appreciate your cynicism based on the experience of the Congresses we have suffered lately.

Normal

December 29th, 2010
9:16 am

“Your Idiot Messiah likes …” Then I quit reading. Nothing intellegent here either…Oh well.

JDW

December 29th, 2010
9:16 am

@@

December 29th, 2010
8:48 am
“One of the most prominent General’s in defense spending is General Electric.”

Actually not so much. GE’s defense business can best be described as incidental. In 2009 they did right at $1 billion in defense revenue ranking 24 on the list of top 100 contactors.

http://washingtontechnology.com/toplists/top-100-lists/2009.aspx

However GE’s 2009 revenue was $156 billion…Defense contracting is ground noise. There is no unit dedicated to Defense. All that business comes as a result of disjointed efforts from individual units.

kayaker 71

December 29th, 2010
9:17 am

For all you anti-military libs out there, take note. Those F-16s out there flying up and down the East coast keeping you safe are a bargain at 18 million per aircraft. Just let the first dirty bomb go off in some Indianapolis shopping center and listen to all of the libs rant about our lack of bomb detecting technology, which, BTW, costs money. Libs want protection from the bad guys but don’t want to pay for it.

RB from Gwinnett

December 29th, 2010
9:17 am

“Cost overruns, bidding scandals, the absence of competitive bidding, congressional meddling and expensive weapons systems that fail to perform are all more or less accepted features in that world,”

What part of the federal government DOESN’T operate that way, Jay? This is just another example what what we “smaller government” conservatives keep telling you is wrong with big government and you just don’t listen. This is how things work when people can’t get fired for incompetence from the DMV on up.

the original and still the best John Galt

December 29th, 2010
9:17 am

I think Wounded Knee has relevance today in a number of ways. Most importantly, the Bigfoot band was disarmed before being shot down. And, a number of Congressional Medals of Honor were awarded for action that day. Makes me sick.

In today’s U.S. military, to make O-5, O-6, and O-7, not to mention higher rank, war fighting capability means nothing. Many if not most of today’s generals and admirals have very little time in command. What matters is the candidate’s ability to further the Military Industrial Congressional Complex. Oh, and don’t forget the fulfillment of quotas for minority status and gender, and brownnosing talent.

Lil' Barry Bailout

December 29th, 2010
9:17 am

TH: WEEPER OF THE HOUSE, WHERE ARE THE JOBS CREATED FROM THE OBAMA TAX CUTS FOR THE WEALTHY?
—————

I DUNNO BUT THANKS FOR EXTENDING THEM!

Paul

December 29th, 2010
9:18 am

Adam

“This is another illustration of how we spend money on the military, believing we fund different projects, but once the Pentagon gets the money they use it for whatever they feel like using it for. (emphasis added) Congress says make 6 B-2s and scrap some old planes, and don’t you dare fund that top secret project we hate… and they make 4 B-2s, keep the old planes, and they overfund the top secret project. It’s just how it works in there.”

That is fundamentally incorrect. The system you describe would be a violation of public law.

Appropriation law states funds are available to be spent only for those projects specifically appropriated by Congress. “New starts” such as the ‘black’ program you describe require funding action. By law.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

December 29th, 2010
9:18 am

Dear Paul @ 9:14, yes. I realize leftists think there is no such thing as “military intelligence,” but they are wrong. The skills acquired over a career include an intimate knowledge of real-world application – one ought not fault a corporation for attempting to acquire that knowledge cheaply.

Lil' Barry Bailout

December 29th, 2010
9:21 am

The Obama administration is allergic to “real-world application” of knowledge.

Granny Godzilla

December 29th, 2010
9:22 am

Joel

You are correct-a-mundo, you never used those 4 words. And I apologize for assuming the worst about you.

So let me rephrase,

when your kids come to you and ask you a question about something you have led them to believe you know about, do you
tell them their question is meaningless?

Like WC Fields….go away kid…ya’ bother me?

Or do you politely answer the question

I asked you a question and for some reason you got your jockey pants all in a wad.

Overreaction. Melodrama. Whatever.

@@

December 29th, 2010
9:23 am

Paul:

True, true. But the salient point is, General Clark is not lobbying for a major Defense contractor to sell ethanol.

Well ’scuse me for derailing from the topic at hand. I’ll wait until jay puts up a thread on recipes, at which time, I will opt out.

schnirt

Paul

December 29th, 2010
9:23 am

kayaker71

“For all you anti-military libs out there, take note. Those F-16s out there flying up and down the East coast keeping you safe are a bargain at 18 million per aircraft…Libs want protection from the bad guys but don’t want to pay for it.”

Which is why libs, with assistance from these lobbyist generals, want to kill the $18 million F-16 and replace it with the (cost so far) $60 million F-35…..

Joel Edge

December 29th, 2010
9:23 am

normal@9:11
“4. Todays enemy’s have changed and the MIC has to change with it…super weapons aren’t it.”

This is the only part I’ll disagree with. Air support being critical in all aspects. This super weapon allows for (how do you squids put it) “4 1/2 acres of sovereign American real estate” to be put where we need it. Handy in times of small wars and at flash points. The Yahont makes you Navy types job a lot harder. The rest I generally agree with. We’re going to have to spend MORE money to counteract this little issue. Or we can scrap and withdraw, pick one.

Lil' Barry Bailout

December 29th, 2010
9:24 am

when your kids come to you and ask you a question about something you have led them to believe you know about, do you tell them their question is meaningless?
—————-

I do. It makes them more self-reliant, rather than learning to be a spoon-fed, dependent loser libbtard.

Keep Up the Good Fight!

December 29th, 2010
9:25 am

Ragnar…again hogwash. The oversimplistic mentality of claiming that “Libs want X” is trite and tired. Not one single “left” poster on this blog has suggested that any experience or intelligence be thrown away.

Paul

December 29th, 2010
9:25 am

Ragnar 9:18

So I understand you do not think America’s defense posture would be weakened and our defense contractors would be unable to provide appropriate weapons systems to the military if retired generals were prohibited from trading on their rank and influence to sell certain systems?

Granny Godzilla

December 29th, 2010
9:27 am

Joel

yes the yahont is a carrier killer…a stealth carrier killer…
intended to fly at very low altitude to defeat radar detection, and strike its target at supersonic speed and the big plus they can tip them off with depleted uranium…..(see how much fun that has been in the middle east)

oh how i miss those depleted uranium tipped cannolis we used to have at the O of O meetings…..

Paul

December 29th, 2010
9:27 am

@@ 9:23

I just did not see how, on a topic about retired general influence peddling, you comment about “oh yeah, well… what about General Clark? He’s a lobbyist for ethanol and General Electric uses ethanol and they sell to the Pentagon!!!” was exactly…… much of anything but a shot at a Democrat.

TaxPayer

December 29th, 2010
9:30 am

We should just let the corporations fight the wars since they do everything so much better than government. Let the people that want the protection that these corporations have to offer pay for it, in true capitalist form. Bring back the Pinkertons.

Normal

December 29th, 2010
9:30 am

Joel,
I say bring them home.

Joel Edge

December 29th, 2010
9:32 am

granny godzilla@9:22
“when your kids come to you and ask you a question about something you have led them to believe you know about, do you tell them their question is meaningless?”
Again, did I lead you to believe anything? NO. You made a statement. I pointed out that it was a useless comment. Explain to me how stealth applies in relation to a carrier killing weapon.
You stated (rather rudely I might add) “I am not your personal homework hotline.”
Well I’m not yours either, honey.

JDW

December 29th, 2010
9:33 am

Lil’ Barry Bailout

December 29th, 2010
9:13 am
“Thanks for pointing out that your revered Ike wouldn’t be so reckless as to propose trillion dollar deficits, as the Idiot Messiah has done.”

Nice view of history you have there…I think if you do your research (I know…fat chance) you will find that the current Administration inherited the deficit problem from the prior one…led by that bastion of conservative values Duhbya.

Deficits since 2008…

FY2008 budget approved by Duhbya…deficit about $438 Billion
FY2009 budget approved by Duhbya…deficit about $1.42 TRILLION
FY2010 budget approved by Obama…deficit about $1.29 TRILLION

None of them are good, but only a moron would not see where the problem started.

Joel Edge

December 29th, 2010
9:34 am

Normal@9:30
Amen, brother.

TaxPayer

December 29th, 2010
9:34 am

We must have a program to develop a stealth carrier to carry our stealth planes or we are doomed. Doomed. DOOMED.

@@

December 29th, 2010
9:37 am

Paul:

I’ve never been a fan of General Clark, but he wasn’t my target…just a means to an end.

My shot (as you call it) was aimed at left-wingers. They’ll support lobbyists, with whom they share a common agenda. Any other time, lobbyists are bad…Bad…BAD!!!!

Ragnar Danneskjöld

December 29th, 2010
9:37 am

Dear Keep @ 9:25, one perceives you enjoyed an abundance of hog wash for Christmas, given your willingness to share it. Leftists lack the courage to say what they mean, but the plain implication of the posts above is to prohibit defense companies from hiring military expertise. Unless you are willing to affirm your commitment to enshrining same…..

The typical leftist rant blames anyone other than the guilty party. So if one is unhappy about Congressional expenditures, it cannot be the fault of the appropriators, it must be blamed on the lobbyists. Leftism has distinct patterns of deception built into the DNA.