The Pentagon Goes Rogue

The Obama Administration deserves credit. What other government ever reached such staggering achievements?

On the home front, as we reported last week, over the last 4 years more people have been declared disabled than have found jobs.

And overseas, an American soldier shipped out to serve in Afghanistan is more likely to be killed by himself than by the enemy. That is, the suicide rate is higher than the rate of combat losses.

Which raises a question. What kind of military force would fight a war in which its soldier’s worst enemy was himself?

Answer: one that has gone rogue.

What happens when a military establishment goes rogue? Simple, it stops serving the country and begins serving itself. Instead of protecting the nation from war, it deliberately causes wars. Instead of defending the country’s most sacred principles, it over-turns them in the interests of national security. Instead of holding expenses to those that are actually necessary and appropriate, it sucks up so many resources it weakens…and ultimately destroys…the economy it is meant to serve.

Typically, as the nation becomes more financially desperate, it also becomes more disorganized and unhappy. Strikes, mob violence, terrorist attacks increase. Then, to the noise of cheering crowds, the military makes its move.

That is what happened, for example, in Argentina in 1975. Isabelita Peron was making a mess of the economy. Her chief economist was a fellow named Celestino Rodrigo, who believed he was the Archangel Gabriel reincarnated. No kidding.

Rodrigo knew no more about economics than, say, Ben Bernanke. On July 17, 1975, he devalued the peso…yes… by “more than 100%.” Which proves our point about money from “out of nowhere.” Take away 100% of something and what do you have left? Nothing. So, what do you take away the “more than 100%” from? The same place you got the money in the first place.

At first, the crowds were delighted with Rodrigo. Then, he raised prices and the fickle mobs of Buenos Aires turned on him. They coined the term “rodrigazo” to describe the fiasco. He was gone in a few weeks. So was Isabelita, who had to be rescued from the roof of the president palace by helicopter.

Then what happened? Another election? Nope. Robert Cox tells us:

“…the armed forces, encouraged by the establishment, the media and public opinion, not to speak of the guerrilla/terrorist organizations, preferred another military dictatorship…”

When economic policies fail, people soon get sick of the politicians. They want a more muscled form of leadership. Uri Avnery describes what happens:

In some countries, they arrest the president, occupy government offices and TV and annul the constitution. They then publish Communique No. 1, explaining the dire need to save the nation from perdition and promising democracy, elections etc.

In other countries, they do it more quietly. They just inform the elected leaders that, if they don’t desist from their disastrous policies, the officers will make their views public and precipitate their downfall.

Such officers are generally called a “junta”, the Spanish word for “committee” used by South American generals. Their method is usually called a “putsch”, a German-Swiss term for a sudden blow. (Yes, the Swiss actually had revolts some 170 years ago.)

What almost all such coups have in common is that their instigators thrive on the demagoguery of war. The politicians are invariably accused of cowardice in face of the enemy, failure to defend national honor, and such.

Don’t expect a military coup in America. It won’t be necessary. The security industry already gets 8% of GDP — about the same amount as America’s deficit. With that kind of money to spend, there is barely a single member of Congress or a single corporation that the Pentagon can’t buy.

More to come…


Bill Bonner
for The Daily Reckoning