The American public and its political leadership will do anything for the military except take it seriously. The result is a chickenhawk nation in which careless spending and strategic folly combine to lure America into endless wars it can’t win.James Fallows on the Tragedy of the American Military: "honoured" but not taken seriously.
Vote all you want. The secret government won’t change says Michael J. Glennon, author of ‘National Security and Double Government’.
SOFEX: The Business of War (video, ad). VICE magazine reports on 'experiencing the military-industrial complex's trade show' [more inside]
The United States Department of Defense has generously "decided to give NASA two telescopes as big as, and even more powerful than, the Hubble Space Telescope." They apparently had some antiquated spy satellite hardware sitting around unused and unwanted. NASA still needs to find money to outfit them with recording instruments and pay a team to manage them, which may take 8 years
The Sad Odyssey of the F-22: America’s Big Broken Toy [SLGM]. 'The F-22 has been okayed to fly again, after being grounded, cleared, grounded, then cleared once more—all within a year. And yet, the Air Force hasn't fixed the plane's life threatening flaw. It doesn't seem like it cares.' [more inside]
How two American kids became big-time weapons traders - "Working with nothing but an Internet connection, a couple of cellphones and a steady supply of weed, the two friends — one with a few college credits, the other a high school dropout — had beaten out Fortune 500 giants like General Dynamics to score the huge arms contract. With a single deal, two stoners from Miami Beach had turned themselves into the least likely merchants of death in history." (via; previously on arms contractors)
Dan Tague is an artist who takes pictures of dollar bills after folding them to spell out political messages and social commentary. Additional galleries linked on the left of his page. Some of his work is in NYC this week as part of the VOLTA Art Fair.
From the Pentagon to the private sector - In large numbers, and with few rules, retiring generals are taking lucrative defense-firm jobs [more inside]
Top Secret America: The top-secret world the government created in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work. [more inside]
Mission Creep: "Bush and Rumsfeld may be history, but America's new global footprint lives on." [more inside]
Undark and the Radium Girls is the fascinating true story of several female employees of the US Radium Corporation at the turn of the 20th Centry. The women were employed to paint radioactive "Undark", a glow-in-the-dark paint for military application (dials that needed to be seen at night, etc) onto the machinery. The women were given lethal amounts of paint & fine brushes, which they all routinely kept sharp by wetting the tips in their mouths. Twenty years later, as their jawbones disintegrated & the tumors began to spread, they started down the path to figuring out who had murdered them, and how.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Army awarded one of its favored defense contractors, Raytheon, a $70 million contract to develop a new system to combat rocket-propelled grenades, which have killed nearly 40 Americans in Afghanistan and more than 130 in Iraq. Raytheon’s “Quick Kill” solution — which the Army concedes will not be fielded before 2011 at the earliest — won out over Trophy, the Israeli system championed by the Pentagon’s Office of Force Transformation.
About Face: The Role of the Arms Lobby In the Bush Administration's Radical Reversal of Two Decades of U.S. Nuclear Policy.
About Face: The Role of the Arms Lobby In the Bush Administration's Radical Reversal of Two Decades of U.S. Nuclear Policy. A detailed look at their relationship and the influence of the defense industry on the policies which they profit from.