Trump’s waging a phony war against the military-industrial complex

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“America First” is both a campaign slogan and a flexible iteration of right-wing nationalism, used over decades to justify everything from isolationism in the face of literal Nazis — “not our problem” — to invading Iraq in unilateral defiance of the United Nations and liberal busybodies in Europe.

The flexibility of the slogan-doctrine is embodied by Donald Trump, a US president who has advocated for war crimes while bashing “forever wars.” He has escalated nearly every conflict he inherited while withdrawing troops from peacetime Germany; and all the while calling his generals both “p—ies” and warmongers. His is a foreign policy of erratic militarism, one that disdains any action that reeks of helping others — sometimes mistaken for a principled, noninterventionist mindset — but eager to drop a bomb if it’ll play well on American television.

Outside of a peculiar deference to Russian interests, the only real constant is opportunism: saying, but only sometimes doing, that which seems popular at the moment.

So, in a jam over reportedly calling dead US soldiers “losers” and “suckers,” Trump this week picked up on a tactic adopted by some of his supporters, acting as if the disparaging leaks were merely a byproduct of his war on the deep state. While denying the report, the president who put a defense industry lobbyist in charge of the Pentagon, implied its anonymous sources were only serving the military-industrial complex.

“They want to do nothing but fight wars,” Trump said of US military leaders, “so that all of those wonderful companies that make the bombs and make the planes and make everything else stay happy.”

This is an odd line of attack. This US president has increased spending on the US military — and by extension, its suppliers and contractors — each year that he has been in office up to the proposed $705 billion for this year. He has also used that military in a way that benefits the makers of bombs and planes, and by design.

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It only took Trump 48 months to authorize as many drone strikes as Barack Obama did over eight years. Just weeks into his administration, a US airstrike in Syria resulted in a massacre: dozens of civilians killed as they worshipped inside of a mosque. That proved just to be the first shot in a ramped US war on terror across Syria and Iraq — one that saw an average of 80 civilian deaths each month, under the previous administration, jump to more than 360.

In 2019, the president dropped a record number of bombs on Afghanistan, in the process killing more civilians than the Taliban, and mused about wiping Afghanistan “off the face of the earth.” Even a pandemic didn’t hinder this administration’s propensity to escalate: by April 2020, more US bombs had been dropped on Somalia than in any previous year on record. 

That’s a lot of money for the US defense industry. But expanding a US-led war is not the only …read more

Source:: Business Insider

      

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