Here are words to pin to the Bush years like
a wilting corsage: "We don't know what we paid for." That's a quote
from Mary Ugone, the Defense Department's deputy inspector general for auditing,
concerning massive Pentagon payments made during the occupation and war in
Iraq for which there is no existing (or grossly inadequate) documentation.
In fact, according
to the inspector general for the Defense Department, "the Pentagon cannot
account for almost $15 billion worth of goods and services ranging from trucks,
bottled water, and mattresses to rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns
that were bought from contractors in the Iraq reconstruction effort." An internal
audit of $8 billion that the Pentagon paid out to U.S. and Iraqi private contractors
that "nearly every transaction failed to comply with federal laws or regulations
aimed at preventing fraud, in some cases lacking even basic invoices explaining
how the money was spent."
This is, admittedly, chump change for the Pentagon in the age of Bush. And
even when "reform" is attempted, the medicine is often worse than the disease.
Congressional critics and others have, for instance, accused the Houston-based
private contractor KBR, formerly a division of Halliburton, of "wasteful spending
and mismanagement and of exploiting its political ties to Vice President Dick
Cheney" in fulfilling enormous contracts to support U.S. troops in Iraq. Now,
the Pentagon is planning to make amends by dividing the latest contract for
food, shelter, and basic services in Iraq between KBR and two other large contractors,
Fluor Corporation and DynCorp International. According to the
New York Times, "[T]he new three-company deal could actually result
in higher costs for American taxpayers and weak oversight by the military."
These telling details rose last week from the subterranean depths of a bloated
Bush-era Pentagon. As Frida Berrigan indicates in one of the more important
pieces TomDispatch has posted, the Pentagon's massive expansion on just about
every front during George W. Bush's two terms in office may be the greatest
story never told of our time. It might, in fact, be the most important American
story of the new century, and, while you can find many of its disparate parts
in your daily papers, the mainstream media has yet to offer a significant overview
of the Pentagon in our time. This suggests a great deal about what isn't being
dealt with in our world. How, for instance, is it possible to have a presidential
election campaign that goes on for years in which the size of the Pentagon
never comes up as an issue (unless the candidates are all plunking for an expansion
of American troop strength)?
As part of its ongoing consideration of the legacy Bush is leaving the American
people, TomDispatch today launches a three-part exploration of the Pentagon's
role in the Bush years. (The other two parts will appear in the coming months.)
The series is in the able hands of Frida
Berrigan and Bill Hartung,
military experts at the New America Foundation's
Arms and Security Initiative. It is not to be missed. Tom
Entrenched, Embedded, and Here to Stay
The Pentagon's expansion will be Bush's lasting legacy
by Frida Berrigan
A full-fledged cottage industry is already focused
on those who eagerly await the end of the Bush administration, offering calendars,
magnets, and T-shirts
for sale, as well as counters
and graphics to download onto blogs and Web sites. But when the countdown ends
and George W. Bush vacates the Oval Office, he will leave a legacy to contend
with. Certainly, he wills to his successor a world marred by war and battered
by deprivation, but perhaps his most enduring legacy is now deeply embedded
in Washington-area politics – a Pentagon metastasized almost beyond recognition.
The Pentagon's massive bulk-up these last seven years will not be easily
unbuilt, no matter who dons the presidential mantle on January 19, 2009.
"The Pentagon" is now so much more than a five-sided building across the
Potomac from Washington or even the seat of the Department of Defense. In
many ways, it defies description or labeling.
Who, today, even remembers the debate at the end of the Cold War about what
role U.S. military power should play in a "unipolar" world? Was U.S. supremacy
so well established, pundits were then asking, that Washington could rely
on softer economic and cultural power, with military power no more than a
backup (and a domestic "peace dividend" thrown into the bargain)? Or was
the U.S. to strap on the six-guns of a global sheriff and police the world
as the fountainhead of "humanitarian interventions"? Or was it the moment
to boldly declare ourselves the world's sole superpower and wield a high-tech
military comparable to none, actively discouraging any other power or power
bloc from even considering future rivalry?
The attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, decisively ended that debate. The Bush administration
promptly declared total war on every front – against peoples, ideologies, and,
above all, "terrorism" (a tactic of the weak). That very September, administration
officials proudly leaked the information that they were ready to "target" up
to 60 other
nations and the terrorist movements within them.
The Pentagon's "footprint" was to be firmly planted, military base by military
base, across the planet, with a special emphasis on its energy heartlands.
Top administration officials began preparing the Pentagon to go anywhere
and do anything, while rewriting, shredding, or ignoring whatever laws, national
or international, stood in the way. In 2002, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld
officially articulated a new U.S. military posture that, in conception, was
little short of revolutionary. It was called – in classic Pentagon shorthand
– the 1-4-2-1
Defense Strategy (replacing the Clinton administration's already none-too-modest
plan to be prepared to fight two major wars – in the Middle East and Northeast
Asia – simultaneously).
Theoretically, this strategy meant that the Pentagon was to prepare to defend
the United States, while building forces capable of deterring aggression
and coercion in four "critical regions" (Europe, Northeast Asia, East Asia,
and the Middle East). It would be able to defeat aggression in two of these
regions simultaneously and "win decisively" in one of those conflicts
"at a time and place of our choosing." Hence 1-4-2-1.
And that was just going to be the beginning. We had, by then, already entered
the new age of the Mega-Pentagon. Almost six years later, the scale of that
institution's expansion has yet to be fully grasped, so let's look at just
seven of the major ways in which the Pentagon has experienced mission creep
– and leap – dwarfing other institutions of government in the process.
1. The Budget-Busting Pentagon: The Pentagon's core budget – already
a staggering $300 billion when George W. Bush took the presidency – has almost
doubled while he's been parked behind the big desk in the Oval Office. For
fiscal year 2009, the regular Pentagon budget will total roughly $541
billion (including work on nuclear warheads and naval reactors at the Department
The Bush administration has presided over one of the largest military buildups
in the history of the United States. And that's before we even count "war
spending." If the direct costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well
as the Global War on Terror, are factored in, "defense" spending has essentially
As of February 2008, according to the Congressional Budget Office, lawmakers
have appropriated $752 billion for the Iraq war and occupation, ongoing military
operations in Afghanistan, and other activities associated with the Global
War on Terror. The Pentagon estimates that it will need another $170 billion
for fiscal 2009, which means, at $922 billion, that direct war spending since
2001 would be at the edge of the trillion-dollar mark.
As New York Times columnist Bob
Herbert has pointed out, if a stack of bills roughly six inches high is
worth $1 million, then a $1 billion stack would be as tall as the Washington
Monument, and a $1 trillion stack would be 95 miles high. And note that none
of these war-fighting funds are even counted as part of the annual military
budget, but are raised from Congress in the form of "emergency
supplementals" a few times a year.
With the war added to the Pentagon's core budget, the United States now
spends nearly as much on military matters as the rest
of the world combined. Military spending also throws all other parts
of the federal budget into shadow, representing 58 cents of every dollar
spent by the federal government on "discretionary programs" (those that Congress
gets to vote up or down on an annual basis).
The total Pentagon budget represents more than our combined spending on
education, environmental protection, justice administration, veteran's benefits,
housing assistance, transportation, job training, agriculture, energy, and
economic development. No wonder, then, that, as it collects ever more money,
the Pentagon is taking on (or taking over) ever more functions and roles.
2. The Pentagon as Diplomat: The Bush administration has repeatedly
exhibited its disdain for discussion and compromise, treaties and agreements,
and an equally deep admiration for what can be won by threat and force. No
surprise, then, that the White House's foreign policy agenda has increasingly
been directed through the military. With a military budget more than 30 times
that of all State Department operations and non-military foreign aid put
together, the Pentagon has marched into State's two traditional strongholds
– diplomacy and development – duplicating or replacing much of its work,
often by refocusing Washington's diplomacy around military-to-military, rather
than diplomat-to-diplomat, relations.
Since the late 18th century, the U.S. ambassador in any country has been considered
the president's personal representative, responsible for ensuring that foreign
policy goals are met. As one
ambassador explained; "The rule is: if you're in country, you work for
the ambassador. If you don't work for the ambassador, you don't get country
In the Bush era, the Pentagon has overturned this model. According to a 2006
congressional report by Sen.Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), "Embassies
as Command Posts in the Anti-Terror Campaign," civilian personnel in many
embassies now feel occupied by, outnumbered by, and subordinated to military
personnel. They see themselves as the second team when it comes to decision-making.
Even Defense Secretary Robert Gates is aware of the problem, noting as he did
that there are "only about 6,600 professional Foreign Service officers – less
than the manning for one aircraft carrier strike group." But, typically, he
added that, while the State Department might need more resources, "Don't get
me wrong, I'll be asking for yet more money for Defense next year." Another
ambassador lamented that his foreign counterparts are "following the money"
and developing relationships with U.S. military personnel rather than cultivating
contacts with their State Department counterparts.
The Pentagon invariably couches its bureaucratic imperialism in terms of "interagency
cooperation." For example, last year U.S.
Southern Command (Southcom) released "Command Strategy 2016,"
a document which identified poverty, crime, and corruption as key "security"
problems in Latin America. It suggested that Southcom,
a security command, should, in fact, be the "central actor in addressing …
regional problems" previously the concern of civilian agencies. It then touted
itself as the future focus of a "joint interagency security command … in support
of security, stability, and prosperity in the region."
As Southcom head Admiral James Stavridis vividly put the matter, the command
now likes to see itself as "a big Velcro cube that these other agencies can
hook to so we can collectively do what needs to be done in this region."
The Pentagon has generally followed this pattern globally since 2001. But
what does "cooperation" mean when one entity dwarfs all others in personnel,
resources, and access to decision-makers, while increasingly controlling the
very definition of the "threats" to be dealt with?
3. The Pentagon as Arms Dealer: In the Bush years, the Pentagon has
aggressively increased its role as the planet's foremost arms dealer, pumping
up its weapons sales everywhere it can – and so seeding the future with war
By 2006 (the last year for which full data is available), the United States
for more than half the world's trade in arms with $14 billion in sales.
Noteworthy were a $5 billion deal for F-16s to Pakistan and a $5.8 billion
agreement to completely re-equip Saudi Arabia's internal security force.
U.S. arms sales for 2006 came in at roughly twice the level of any previous
year of the Bush administration.
Number two arms dealer, Russia, registered a comparatively paltry $5.8 billion
in deliveries, just over a third of the U.S. arms totals. Ally Great Britain
was third at $3.3 billion – and those three countries account for a whopping
85 percent of the weaponry sold that year, more than 70 percent of which went
to the developing world.
Great at selling weapons, the Pentagon is slow to report its sales. Arms
sales notifications issued by the Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation
Agency (DSCA) do, however, offer one crude way to the take the Department
of Defense's pulse; and, while not all reported deals are finalized, that
pulse is clearly racing. Through May of 2008, DSCA had already
issued more than $9.1 billion in arms sales notifications including smart
bomb kits for Saudi Arabia, TOW missiles for Kuwait, F-16 combat aircraft
for Romania, and Chinook helicopters for Canada.
To maintain market advantage, the Pentagon never stops its high-pressure
campaigns to peddle weapons abroad. That's why, despite a broken shoulder,
Secretary of Defense Gates took to the skies in February, to push weapons
systems on countries like India and Indonesia, key growing markets for Pentagon
4. The Pentagon as Intelligence Analyst and Spy: In the area of "intelligence,"
the Pentagon's expansion – the commandeering of information and analysis
roles – has been swift, clumsy, and catastrophic.
Tracing the Pentagon's takeover of intelligence is no easy task. For one
thing, there are dozens of Pentagon agencies and offices that now collect
and analyze information using everything from "humint" (human intelligence)
to wiretaps and satellites. The task is only made tougher by the secrecy
that surrounds U.S. intelligence operations and the "black budgets" into
which so much intelligence money disappears.
But the end results are clear enough. The Pentagon's takeover of intelligence
has meant fewer intelligence analysts who speak Arabic,
Farsi, or Pashto and more dog-and-pony shows like those four-star
generals and three-stripe admirals mouthing administration-approved talking
points on cable news and the Sunday morning talk shows.
Intelligence budgets are secret, so what we know about them is not comprehensive
– but the glimpses analysts have gotten suggest
that total intelligence spending was about $26 billion a decade ago. After
9/11, Congress pumped a lot of new money into intelligence so that by 2003,
the total intelligence budget had already climbed to more than $40 billion.
In 2004, the 9/11
Commission highlighted the intelligence failures of the Central Intelligence
Agency and others in the alphabet soup of the U.S.
Intelligence Community charged with collecting and analyzing information
on threats to the country. Congress then passed an intelligence "reform"
bill, establishing the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, designed
to manage intelligence operations. Thanks to stiff resistance from pro-military
lawmakers, the National Intelligence Directorate never assumed that role,
however, and the Pentagon kept control of three key collection agencies –
the National Security Agency, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency,
and the National Reconnaissance Agency.
As a result, according to Tim Shorrock,
investigative journalist and author of Spies for Hire: The Secret World
of Intelligence Outsourcing, the Pentagon now controls more than 80 percent
of U.S. intelligence spending, which he estimated at about $60 billion in 2007.
As Mel Goodman,
former CIA official and now an analyst at the Center for International Policy,
observed, "The Pentagon has been the big bureaucratic winner in all of this."
It is such a big winner that CIA Director Michael Hayden now controls only
the budget for the CIA itself – about $4 or 5 billion a year and no longer
even gives the president his daily helping of intelligence.
The Pentagon's intelligence shadow looms large well beyond the corridors
of Washington's bureaucracies. It stretches across the mountains of Afghanistan
as well. After the U.S. invaded that country in 2001, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld
recognized that, unless the Pentagon controlled information-gathering and
took the lead in carrying out covert operations, it would remain dependent
on – and therefore subordinate to – the Central Intelligence Agency with
its grasp of "on-the-ground" intelligence.
In one of his now infamous memos, labeled "snowflakes"
by a staff that watched them regularly flutter down from on high, he asserted
that, if the War on Terror was going to stretch far into the future, he did
not want to continue the Pentagon's "near total dependence on the CIA." And
so Rumsfeld set up a new, directly competitive organization, the Pentagon's
Support Branch, which put the intelligence gathering components of the
U.S. Special Forces under one roof reporting directly to him. (Many in the
intelligence community saw the office as illegitimate, but Rumsfeld was riding
high and they were helpless to do anything.)
As Seymour Hersh, who repeatedly broke stories in the New Yorker
on the Pentagon's misdeeds in the Global War on Terror, wrote in January
2005, the Bush administration had already "consolidated control over
the military and intelligence communities' strategic analyses and covert
operations to a degree unmatched since the rise of the post-Second World
War II national-security state."
In the rush to invade Iraq, the civilians running the Pentagon also fused
the administration's propaganda machine with military intelligence. In 2002,
Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith established the Office
of Special Plans (OSP) in the Pentagon to provide "actionable information"
to White House policymakers. Using existing intelligence reports "scrubbed"
of qualifiers like "probably" or "may," or sometimes simply fabricated
ones, the office was able to turn worst-case scenarios about Saddam Hussein's
supposed programs to develop weapons of mass destruction into
fact, and then, through leaks, use the news media to validate them.
Former CIA Director Robert Gates, who took over the Pentagon when Donald
Rumsfeld resigned in November 2006, has been critical of the Pentagon's "dominance"
in intelligence and "the decline in the CIA's central role." He has also
signaled his intention to rollback the Pentagon's long intelligence shadow;
but, even if he is serious, he will have his work cut out for him. In the
meantime, the Pentagon continues to churn out "intelligence" which is, politely
put, suspect – from torture-induced
confessions of terrorism suspects to exposés of the Iranian
origins of sophisticated explosive devices found in Iraq.
5. The Pentagon as Domestic Disaster Manager: When the deciders
in Washington start seeing the Pentagon as the world's problem solver, strange
things happen. In fact, in the Bush years, the Pentagon has become the official
first responder of last resort in case of just about any disaster – from
tornadoes, hurricanes, and floods to civil unrest, potential outbreaks of
disease, or possible biological or chemical attacks. In 2002, in a telltale
sign of Pentagon mission creep, President Bush established the first domestic
military command since the civil war, the U.S. Northern Command (Northcom).
Its mission: the "preparation for, prevention of, deterrence of, preemption
of, defense against, and response to threats and aggression directed towards
U.S. territory, sovereignty, domestic population, and infrastructure; as
well as crisis management, consequence management, and other domestic civil
If it sounds like a tall order, it is.
In the last six years, Northcom
has been remarkably unsuccessful at anything but expanding its theoretical
reach. The command was initially assigned 1,300 Defense Department personnel,
but has since grown into a force of more than 15,000. Even criticism only
seems to strengthen its domestic role. For example, an April 2008 Government
Accountability Office report found that Northcom had failed to communicate
effectively with state and local leaders or National Guard units about its
newly developed disaster and terror response plans. The result? Northcom
says it will have its first brigade-sized unit of military personnel trained
to help local authorities respond to chemical, biological, or nuclear incidents
fall. Mark your calendars.
More than anything else, Northcom has provided the Pentagon with the opening
it needed to move forcefully into domestic disaster areas previously handled
by national, state, and local civilian authorities.
For example, Northcom's deputy director, Brig. Gen. Robert Felderman, boasts
that the command is now the United States' "global
synchronizer – the global coordinator – for pandemic influenza across the
combatant commands." Similarly, Northcom is now hosting annual hurricane preparation
conferences and assuring anyone who will listen that it is "prepared to fully
engage" in future Katrina-like situations "in order to save lives, reduce suffering
and protect infrastructure."
Of course, at present, the Pentagon is the part of the government gobbling
up the funds that might otherwise be spent shoring up America's Depression-era
public works, ensuring that the Pentagon will have failure aplenty to respond
to in the future.
Society for Civil Engineers, for example, estimates that $1.6 trillion
is badly needed to bring the nation's infrastructure up to protectable snuff,
or $320 billion a year for the next five years. Assessing present water systems,
roads, bridges, and dams nationwide, the engineers gave the infrastructure
a series of C and D grades.
In the meantime, the military is marching in. Katrina, for instance, made
landfall on Aug. 29, 2005. President Bush ordered troops deployed to New Orleans
on Sept. 2 to coordinate the delivery of food and water and to serve as a deterrent
against looting and violence. Less than a month later, President Bush asked
Congress to shift responsibility for major future disasters from state governments
and the Department of Homeland Security to the Pentagon.
The next month, President Bush again offered the military as his solution
– this time to global fears about outbreaks of the avian flu virus. He suggested
that, to enforce
a quarantine, "One option is the use of the military that's able to plan
Already sinking under the weight of its expansion and two draining wars,
many in the military have been cool to such suggestions, as has a Congress
concerned about maintaining states' rights and civilian control. Offering
the military as the solution to domestic natural disasters and flu outbreaks
means giving other first responders the budgetary short shrift. It is unlikely,
however, that Northcom, now riding the money train, will go quietly into
oblivion in the years to come.
6. The Pentagon as Humanitarian Caregiver Abroad: The U.S. Agency
for International Development and the State Department have traditionally
been tasked with responding to disaster abroad; but, from Indonesia's tsunami-ravaged
shores to Myanmar after the recent cyclone, natural catastrophe has become
another presidential opportunity to "send in the Marines" (so to speak).
The Pentagon has increasingly taken up humanitarian planning, gaining an
ever larger share of U.S. humanitarian missions abroad.
from the Philippines to Peru, the U.S. military is also now regularly the
one building schools and dental clinics, repairing roads and shoring up bridges,
tending to sick children and doling out much needed cash and food stuffs,
all civilian responsibilities once upon a time.
The Center for Global Development finds that the Pentagon's share of "official
development assistance" – think "winning hearts and minds" or "nation-building"
– has increased from 6 percent to 22 percent between 2002 and 2005. The Pentagon
is fast taking
over development from both the NGO community and civilian agencies, slapping
a smiley face on military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and beyond.
Despite the obvious limitations of turning a force trained to kill and destroy
into a cadre of caregivers, the Pentagon's mili-humanitarian project got
a big boost from the cash that was seized from Saddam Hussein's secret coffers.
Some of it was doled out to local American commanders to be used to deal
with immediate Iraqi needs and seal deals in the months after Baghdad fell
in April 2003. What was initially an ad hoc program now has an official
name – the Commander Emergency Response Program (CERP) – and a line in the
Before the House Budget Committee last summer, Gordon England, the deputy
secretary of defense, told members of Congress that the CERP was a "particularly
effective initiative," explaining that the program provided "limited but immediately
available funds" to military commanders which they could spend "to make a concrete
difference in people's daily lives." This, he claimed, was now a "key part
of the broader counter insurgency approach." He added that it served the purpose
of "complementing security initiatives" and that it was so successful many
commanders consider it "the most powerful weapon in their arsenal."
In fact, the Pentagon doesn't do humanitarian work very well. In Afghanistan,
for instance, food-packets dropped by U.S. planes were the same
color as the cluster munitions also dropped by U.S. planes; while schools
and clinics built by U.S. forces often became targets before they could even
be put into use. In Iraq, money doled out to the Pentagon's sectarian-group-of-the-week
for wells and generators turned out to be just as easily spent on explosives
7. The Pentagon as Global Viceroy and Ruler of the Heavens: In the
Bush years, the Pentagon finished dividing the globe into military "commands,"
which are functionally viceroyalties. True, even before 9/11, it was hard
to imagine a place on the globe where the United States military was not,
but until recently, the continent of Africa largely qualified.
Along with the creation of Northcom, however, the establishment of the U.S.
Africa Command (Africom) in 2008 officially filled in the last Pentagon empty
spot on the map. A key military document, the 2006 National Security Strategy
for the United States signaled the move, asserting that "Africa holds growing
geo-strategic importance and is a high priority of this administration." (Think:
oil and other key raw materials.)
In the meantime, funding for Africa under the largest U.S. military aid program,
Foreign Military Financing, doubled from $10 to $20 million between 2000 and
2006, and the number of recipient nations grew from two to 14. Military training
funding increased by 35 percent in that same period (rising from $8.1 million
to $11 million). Now, the militaries of 47 African nations receive U.S. training.
In Pentagon planning terms, Africom
has unified the continent for the first time. (Only Egypt remains under the
aegis of the U.S. Central Command.) According to President Bush, this should
"enhance our efforts to bring peace and security to the people of Africa
and promote our common goals of development, health, education, democracy,
and economic growth in Africa."
Theresa Whelan, assistant secretary of defense for African affairs, continues
to insist that Africom has been formed neither to facilitate the fighting of
wars ("engaging kinetically in Africa"), nor to divvy up the continent's raw
materials in the style of 19th-century colonialism. "This is not," she says,
"about a scramble for the continent." But about one thing there can be no question:
It is about increasing the global reach of the Pentagon.
Meanwhile, should the Earth not be enough, there are always the heavens to
control. In August 2006, building on earlier documents like the 1998 U.S.
Space Command's Vision for 2020 (which called for a policy of "full-spectrum
dominance"), the Bush administration unveiled its "national space policy."
It advocated establishing, defending, and enlarging U.S. control over space
resources and argued for "unhindered" rights in space – unhindered, that is,
by international agreements preventing the weaponization of space. The document
also asserted that "freedom of action in space is as important to the United
States as air power and sea power."
As the document put it, "In the new century, those who effectively utilize
space will enjoy added prosperity and security and will hold a substantial
advantage over those who do not." (The leaders of China, Russia, and other
major states undoubtedly heard the loud slap of a gauntlet being thrown down.)
At the moment, the Bush administration's rhetoric and plans outstrip the resources
being devoted to space weapons technology, but in the recently announced budget,
the president allocated nearly a billion dollars to space-based weapons programs.
Of all the frontiers of expansion, perhaps none is more striking than the
Pentagon's sorties into the future. Does the Department of Transportation offer
a Vision for 2030? Does the Environmental Protection Agency develop plans for
the next 50 years? Does the Department of Health and Human Services have a
team of PowerPoint professionals working up dynamic graphics for what services
for the elderly will look like in 2050?
These agencies project budgets just around the corner of the next decade.
Only the Pentagon projects power and possibility decades into the future,
colonizing the imagination with scads of different scenarios under which,
each year, it will continue to control hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars.
Complex 2030, Vision 2020, UAV Roadmap 2030, the Army's Future Combat Systems
– the names, which seem unending, tell the tale.
As the clock ticks down to Nov. 4, 2008, a lot of people are investing hope
(as well as money and time) in the possibility of change at 1600 Pennsylvania
Avenue. But when it comes to the Pentagon, don't count too heavily on change,
no matter who the new president may be. After all, seven years, four months,
and a scattering of days into the Bush presidency, the Pentagon is deeply entrenched
in Washington and still aggressively expanding. It has developed a taste for
unrivaled power and unequaled access to the treasure of this country. It is
an institution that has escaped the checks and balances of the nation.
Frida Berrigan is a senior program associate at the
New America Foundation's Arms and Security Initiative. She is a
columnist for Foreign Policy in Focus
and a contributing editor at In These Times magazine. She is the author
of reports on the arms trade and human rights, U.S. nuclear weapons policy,
and the domestic politics of U.S. missile defense and space weapons policies.
She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright 2008 Frida Berrigan