Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Crotchety Andy (and Robert)

Bless'm. Andy Rooney takes a break from railing against junkmail and delivers the goods. (also available here and here). You can read the transcript at his cbsnews site.

Since he brought it up, I think it's useful to remember why Eisenhower felt it necessary to warn America about the Military Industrial Complex (MIC). Clearly, he was as worried as anybody about a "missile gap" with the Soviets. That said, he was increasingly uncomfortable with the broadening influence of private companies like RAND and the expansion of Livermore labs etc. Dudes like Edward Teller (The Real Dr. Strangelove) scared the bejeebus out of him with their talk of "Super" thermonuclear weapons. More importantly, it was the influence of men like Teller on significant portions of the Pentagon and US Senate that kept Ike up nights. As well it should have (Star Wars, anyone? Aw, c'mon! Everyone's doin' it!).

Anyone doubting that we live in bizarre times should curl up with this beaut from 2004 (originally published in the LA Times). You know things are f'd up when Mr. MIC himself, Robert McNamara, and anti-nuke goddess Helen Caldicott are writing op-eds together!

What?! Not that Robert McNamara? Yep. That's the one. I don't know if it's guilt or what, but the guy's been on fire these last few years (pardon the pun). In fact, he was a vocal presence at the latest (failed) UN talks for disarmament in August. McNamara is greatly discouraged by the current administration's opting out of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and it's push to develop new nukes. Here's a snippet from his Spring 2005 Foreign Policy article:

"the Bush administration is planning an extensive and expensive series of programs to sustain and modernize the existing nuclear force and to begin studies for new launch vehicles, as well as new warheads for all of the launch platforms. Some members of the administration have called for new nuclear weapons that could be used as bunker busters against underground shelters (such as the shelters Saddam Hussein used in Baghdad). New production facilities for fissile materials would need to be built to support the expanded force. The plans provide for integrating a national ballistic missile defense into the new triad of offensive weapons to enhance the nation’s ability to use its “power projection forces” by improving our ability to counterattack an enemy. The Bush administration also announced that it has no intention to ask congress to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), and, though no decision to test has been made, the administration has ordered the national laboratories to begin research on new nuclear weapons designs and to prepare the underground test sites in Nevada for nuclear tests if necessary in the future. Clearly, the Bush administration assumes that nuclear weapons will be part of U.S. military forces for at least the next several decades."

So who's behind all of this? Well, obviously RAND corp is still alive and kickin' around. But it's much bigger than those guys. One of these days, I'll post a list of admin people & their associations with various MIC companies. I know Karl Rove, Lynne Cheney, and Andy Card have holdings or board-positions with Lockheed, Boeing and so forth but I can't keep them straight anymore.


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