Caitlin Johnstone today.
The mass media are reporting that the Biden camp has selected former general Lloyd J. Austin III to be the next secretary of defense, assuaging fears among antiwar activists that the position would go to bloodthirsty psychopath Michele Flournoy as commonly predicted.1
As has become the standard ritual for Biden’s cabinet picks, the mass media are holding a parade to celebrate the fact that Austin would be the first Black chief of the US war machine while virtually ignoring the murderous agendas he has facilitated throughout his career. As head of Central Command Austin actively campaigned to resurrect the Pentagon’s spectacularly failed program of trying to arm “rebels” in Syria to fight ISIS, and in 2014 he backed immunity for US troops from war crimes prosecutions by the government of Afghanistan. He helped spearhead the Iraq invasion, and is a member of the same private equity fund which invests in defense contractors as Flournoy and Biden’s warmongering pick for Secretary of State Tony Blinken.
Breaking News: Joe Biden plans to tap retired Gen. Lloyd Austin to be his defense secretary. He would be the first African-American to lead the Pentagon. https://t.co/3Tfq1spY3l
— The New York Times (@nytimes) December 8, 2020
Austin is also a member of the board of directors for the war profiteering corporation Raytheon, where he went immediately after his military career. Raytheon spends millions of dollars a year actively lobbying the US government to advance policies which are beneficial to the multibillion-dollar arms manufacturing giant, which of course means lobbying for military expansionism and interventionism. The previous Secretary of Defense Mark Esper also worked for Raytheon, working for years as one of the top corporate lobbyists in DC under the position “Vice President for Government Relations“.
And you know what? I say why not.
Seriously, why not? Why shouldn’t the head of the US murder machine come from a corporation which has made billions of dollars facilitating war crimes in Yemen? Why shouldn’t the most depraved and bloodthirsty regime on this planet have its depravity and bloodshed advanced by a professional war profiteer? The mass military slaughter of the US and its allies has only ever been about power and profit, so why not be honest about it?
Hell, why stop there? Why not make Raytheon itself the Secretary of State? Didn’t the Supreme Court rule that corporations are people anyway? Make Raytheon the Secretary of Defense, make Goldman Sachs the Secretary Treasurer, make ExxonMobil the head of the EPA, make Amazon the CIA Director and Google the Director of National Intelligence. Then you’d have a completely honest face on the head of the US empire.
The person Biden has reportedly picked to lead the Department of Defense is on the board of Raytheon, a key supplier of bombs to the U.S.-Saudi war in Yemen that has lobbied aggressively in opposition to curbs on arms sales to the Saudi-led coalition. https://t.co/vAVTwIRp8S pic.twitter.com/IfmCiEpTRr
— Sarah Lazare (@sarahlazare) December 8, 2020
It’s absolutely insane that our world is being dominated by war profiteers who actively push for more violence and bloodshed because they make money selling the weapons used to perpetrate it. It’s no less evil than if plutocrats were cruising the world murdering people and selling their skins for money; the same number of people would be killed for the same profit incentive, yet people who would recoil in horror at that idea pay no mind to the fact that functionally the same thing is happening with corporate powers like Raytheon.
The only difference between the US war machine and a band of armed crooks murdering people for money is that the US war machine does it at a far greater scale. As long as that’s going on there’s no reason to pretend otherwise. Hopefully people start looking past the smiley faced mask of the empire and begin opening their eyes to the blood-spattered face beneath it.
- Like Tony Blinken, also named in Caity’s post today, Michele Flournoy was profiled on this site last month, when she rather than Austin – though all three are textbook beneficiaries of the revolving door between US government and what Eisenhower dubbed “the military-industrial complex” – was the hot favourite for Secretary of Defense.