Scott McClellan's new Book, What Happened, is just one of many resounding alarms that have occurred since the end of World War II. The former White House Press Secretary describes his disillusionment over President George W. Bush's inability to change Washington DC and its powerful institutions. Due to September 11, the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan and a misguided pre-emptive war against Iraq, Mr. McClellan claims, "I spent countless hours defending the administration from the podium in the White House briefing room. Although the things I said then were sincere, I have since come to realize that some of them were badly misguided." He adds, "A more fundamental mistake was... to turn away from candor and honesty" and engage in a "carefully orchestrated campaign to shape and manipulate sources of public approval.. in making the case for war."
Mr. McClellan also states the invasion of Iraq was a means for "achieving the far more grandiose objective of reshaping the Middle East as a region of peaceful democracies" but was "based on a confluence of events (the shock of 9/11 and our deceptively quick initial military success in Afghanistan), human nature (ambition, certitude and self-deceit) and a divinely inspired passion." He admits that President Bush believed "only a wartime president is likely to achieve greatness, in part because the upheavals of war provide the opportunity for the transformative change that he hoped to achieve. In Iraq, Bush saw his opportunity to create a legacy of greatness."
Mr. McClellan's book, however, should have been titled Why It Happened and exposed the rise of the Warfare State. In 1961, General/President Dwight Eisenhower prophetically spoke of the driving forces behind the current wars in the Middle East and the retaliatory attacks on September 11 when he warned of "an immense military establishment and a large arms industry." After requesting a balance of funding and power between the military establishment and socioeconomic programs, President Eisenhower said, "Until the latest of our world conflicts (World War II and Korea), the United States had no armaments industry... but we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions" that influences economic, political, and spiritual decisions that "is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government... In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex."
After World War II, instead of demobilizing the military and its industries, as had happened in the past, the U.S. remobilized its armaments production and mislabeled the Department of War the Department of Defense. The U.S. Government and Pentagon added the Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Council (which the Korean War was a godsend), National Security Agency, and the Senate and House Armed Services Committees. Permanently added to the Warfare State was the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the top brass of the Air Force, Army, Marines, and Navy, along with veterans organizations and a fearful and unquestioning public. With 85,000 businesses and institutions receiving federal dollars for military research in such categories as education, space, medicine, technology, science, culture, agriculture, mass media, and labor; the Pentagon, U.S. Government, military corporations, and working-class voters became intertwined. It was only a matter of time for "citizen activist" to become "citizen soldier," "civilian president" to become "militant president" and the establishment of a military democracy in which war was the only course of action.
Since World War II, the Military Industrial Complex has fought over 150 declared and undeclared wars. It has established over 750 permanent military bases around the globe causing international outrage. This behemoth has become an alternative government and continually seeks to find new conflicts like Vietnam, Guatemala, Iran, Grenada, Iraq, Panama, Afghanistan, Haiti, Somalia, Serbia, etc... The Military Industrial Complex not only imports hysteria but exports billions of dollars of conventional and nuclear weaponry. Power has been radically altered and shifted and is taken away from the people and given to the Pentagon and its favored corporations. As Sheldon S. Wolin writes in Democracy Inc., Managed Democracy And The Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism, with patriotic wars "the majority of people are excluded through the blurring of the lines separating reality from fancy and truth telling from self-deception... there is an attempt to control education, culture, newspapers, and mass media in make-believing there is a foreign enemy."(1)
In the end, the Pentagon/Warfare State needed President Bush, and President Bush needed the Pentagon/Warfare State. The Military Industrial Complex "rules by enslaving: The system becomes God and submission to the will of God becomes submission to the will of the system.."(2) To question such a system is to question God! It is interesting that President Eisenhower ended his speech by saying, "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." Scott McClellan was only a cog in the wheel, like you and me. If only one cog drops out, the wheel keeps spinning. If the majority of cogs quit working, though, the wheel stops. Unless the Pentagon and Warfare State is confronted and transformed, September 11, Afghanistan, pre-emptive wars like Iraq and possibly Iran, and leaders like George W. Bush may only be a small foretaste of things to come. At the same time, "The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist," and we will unfortunately have more books that should have been titled "What Happened: Inside the Pentagon and the Warfare State's Culture of Deception."