Military Contractors

MILITARY CONTRACTORS….Lorelei Kelly, channeled by Hendrik Hertzberg, has an interesting comment about the increasing use of contractors by the U.S. military:

Ms. Kelly observed that here has been very little public debate or discussion about military privatization. In that connection, she made another point that was new to me. The military-industrial complex produced by the Cold War (which still consumes untold billions even though the weapons systems it builds are perfectly useless for the national-security threats the country now faces) was and is able to prosper in the absence of actual fighting. The purpose of piling up all those missiles targeted on the Soviet Union, after all, was to avoid using them. But the kind of privatization represented by the gun-toting Iraq war contractors has created what she called “a live war military-industrial complex” — that is, an industry that depends for its profits, even its existence, on hot wars, wars that kill people. “Free-market conservatives have given us this,” she said. “In conversations with military people, it’s an opening to all sorts of other issues.”

Hmmm. Is this really true? It might be, but the old military-industrial complex seemed to be pretty good at nudging us into hot wars too, and it’s not manifestly clear that the new one is really any better at it. Still, it’s an interesting idea to noodle over. So here it is.

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation