Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell’s former Chief of Staff, derided the US military-industrial complex, warning that corporate interests have taken over America’s security apparatus
“We are the death merchant of the world”: Ex-Bush official Lawrence Wilkerson condemns military-industrial complex
The military-industrial complex “is much more pernicious than Eisenhower ever thought,” says the retired US colonel
“I think Smedley Butler was onto something,” explained Lawrence Wilkerson, in an extended interview with Salon.
In his day, in the early 20th century, Butler was the highest ranked and most honored official in the history of the U.S. Marine Corps. He helped lead wars throughout the world over a series of decades, before later becoming a vociferous opponent of American imperialism, declaring “war is a racket.”
Wilkerson spoke highly of Butler, referencing the late general’s famous quote: “Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.”
“I think the problem that Smedley identified, quite eloquently actually,” Wilkerson said, “especially for a Marine — I had to say that as a soldier,” the retired Army colonel added with a laugh; “I think the problem is much deeper and more profound today, and much more subtle and sophisticated.”
Wilkerson expanded on his observation. “Was Bill Clinton’s expansion of NATO – after George H.W. Bush and James Baker had assured Gorbachev and then Yeltsin that he wouldn’t go an inch further east – was this for Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon, and Boeing, and others, to increase their network of potential weapons sales?” Wilkerson asked. “You bet it was,” he said.
Since the middle of the 20th century, the US military-industrial complex has branched out from simple weapons manufacture to promulgating think tanks and other forms of legal and tax-exempt non-profit organizations that purport to be impartial, writing editorials and policy proposals that support the agenda of the military-industrial infrastructure, and often adopted as policy by Congress and the executive branch.
“Is there a penchant on behalf of the Congress to bless the use of force more often than not because of the constituencies they have and the money they get from the defense contractors?” Wilkerson asked. “You bet.”