President-elect Joe Biden has made so many excellent appointments to his Cabinet, particularly in the areas of the economy and health, that it is stunning to see such a worrisome appointment to the Pentagon. The nomination of retired Army General Lloyd J. Austin III will lead to an unnecessary battle over his required waiver as well as his confirmation. The opposition should not be dismissed as the usual progressive voices against a leading member of the military-industrial community, which Austin represents, but the need to maintain civilian control of the military as the Founding Fathers wished.
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Recent News and Latest Book
More Bloat For Bloated Defense Spending
The justification for additional defense spending is reminiscent of traditional Cold War justifications. The Senate’s defense authorization act even empowers the Pentagon to establish a “strategic competition initiative” for the U.S. African Command, which would lead to an expanded U.S. military presence in Africa. The United States has already trained leaders of coups in Mali and Guinea, and provided aid to repressive regimes in Uganda and Niger. The Pentagon can’t even provide an accurate inventory of the military equipment it has provided to African countries.
American Exceptionalism: Our Gun Culture at Home and Abroad
There is an insidious and unspoken connection between our gun culture at home and abroad. U.S. politicians and pundits believe that huge defense budgets provide international security for the United States, and many Americans believe that personal weapons provide safety at home. We don’t question the use of deadly weaponry in unnecessary wars overseas; Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan are the most recent examples. At home, there are more guns than people — 120 guns for every 100 people. The United States is exceptional because some of the same weapons designed for war are available to teenagers fighting their personal demons.