By MG Paul E Vallely US Army (Ret)

DC’s Dirty Little Secret: ‘Endless Wars’ Haven’t Benefited Anyone Besides Defense Contractors1

Bernie Sanders has shed some light on the profit-making bonanza being enjoyed by American weapons makers amid the proxy conflict in Ukraine, pointing out that the Stinger missile systems the US is making today cost seven times more than they did in 1991. What’s behind the ballooning costs? Sputnik turned to a senior ex-Pentagon analyst for clarity.

Senator Sanders’ concerns over “war profiteering” by defense contractors aren’t to be taken lightly and represent a deep and perhaps insurmountable rot in the US defense establishment, Michael Maloof, a former senior security policy analyst at the Pentagon, says.

“The claim that Senator Bernie Sanders has [made], there’s a lot of truth to it,” Maloof told Sputnik, referring to Sanders’ pithy Foreign Affairs article criticizing the “war profiteering” going on in Ukraine.

“In his recent Foreign Affairs article he points out that prices for war have gone up astronomically, and that’s basically what we’ve been seeing here, endless wars for the United States, at least from 2001 to now, and we have nothing to show for them in terms of what came out of them in terms of benefits for the world, let alone the American people,” the observer emphasized.

“The only people who benefit from it are the military contractors,” Maloof added, pointing to the nexus between neoconservatives in Washington and the defense-industrial complex to “push for military solutions to impose the American ‘democratic way’ on the world.”

US Military-Industrial Complex Jacks Up Prices Amid Ukraine Proxy War: Here’s by How Much

From Iraq and Ukraine to Israel, only the defense contractors have come out on top, according to the ex-DoD insider, with arms makers able to get away with jacking up prices thanks to a “well-greased” machine of lobbying and control in Congress and the Pentagon, and ample readiness by lawmakers to pass supplemental funding when cost overruns become inevitable, and to allow the DoD to fail audits year after year.

“The Defense Department in particular, and I’ve seen this firsthand, has made a point when they make defense contracts on weapon systems – they make sure that as many congressional districts as possible share in the job hiring and the production of those [arms]. That way, if any weapons system is to be cut out of the budget, they can send the people in that district yelling and screaming to their congressmen. And invariably it gets reestablished, or even increased for that matter,” Maloof said, citing the example of the astronomically pricey F-35 fighter as a case in point.

“The procurement system is one of the worst in the Defense Department. And no one knows how to put their arms around this problem to figure out how to resolve it and get true accountability. The way it’s all structured today, it’s almost impossible,” Maloof believes. “Along with that, you have a Congress – even though they have proper oversight responsibilities, they have failed in this job as well…They can’t even pass a budget for the government to run, let alone oversee how efficiently or inefficiently it’s running. It’s a walking disaster.” To maintain the cycle of arms spending and arms manufacture, the Military Industrial Complex (MIC) essentially needs “constant war.”

However, according to Maloof, Washington’s problem is that the developing Global South has caught onto the US strategy and is now actively working to challenge the unipolar order.

“We are the richest country in the world; there’s no doubt about it. But we’ve applied [our wealth] primarily to the military rather than to help other countries build constructively. And yet we’re seeing that, for example, China, with its Belt and Road Initiative, is trying to do that. Yeah, it’s got problems, but it’s building infrastructure, not destroying, as we have been doing in the Middle East and Central Asia all these years,” the observer summed up.

Michael Maloof is the Director of the Legacy National Security Group, a Stand Up America US Foundation section.

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  1. Sputnik International Ilya Tsukanov 3.19.2024