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Blog: The Pentagon Labyrinth

Mar 30, 2011 | By Jean Sammon

"Ordinary people" need to be involved in order to clean up the mess at the Pentagon. Experts who are now retired from their careers in the Pentagon are trying to get that message out.

Franklin (Chuck) Spinney, Pierre Sprey, and Thomas Christie have been advocates for military reform, both inside and outside the Pentagon, for many years. I heard them speak recently at an event to introduce the new book "The Pentagon Labyrinth: 10 Short Essays to Help You Throught It" where they talked about their reasons for contributing to this book. 

These guys are passionate about the "grotesque diversion of scarce resoures to a bloated defense budget that is leading the United State into ruin" and also the "damage to America's defenses and to the integrity of its politics." (The Pentagon Labyrinth, p. 2) 

They know the odds of reforming the system are long, but they are still committed to trying to change the Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex (MICC), and they are looking for our help.

Here's how they described the situation:

After the Cold War ended in the 1990s, the MICC and some think tanks created a "political economy" that depends on continuing small wars to justify the money flow that allows the defense corporations to survive. The corporations engaged in "political engineering" -- contracting out weapons development in as many states as possible. They contribute money to the members of Congress in those states to gain allies who will make sure that the federal government spends money to produce weapons in their states, so that the weapons contractors will create jobs and stay profitable enough to continue to contribute money to their political campaigns to keep them in a position to keep the cycle going. 

I'd heard about this before, but hadn't considered all the consequences. Making parts of military aircraft, ships, tanks and guns in as many states as possible not only increases the costs (no one keeps track of how much) but also produces weapons of shabby quality when all the disparate parts are brought together. This endangers our troops, when the weapons turn out to be unusable in combat, which has happened m