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February 02, 2007

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Ken Larson

Your post has some excellent points. Here's some additional data:

The U.S. Department of Defense, headquartered in the Pentagon, is one of the most massive organizations on the planet, with net annual operating costs of $635 billion, assets worth $1.3 trillion, liabilities of $1.9 trillion and more that 2.9 million military and civilian personnel as of fiscal year 2005.

I am a 2 tour Vietnam Veteran who recently retired after 36 years of working in the Defense Industrial Complex on many of the weapons systems being used by our forces as we speak.

It is difficult to convey the complexity of the way DOD works to someone who has not experienced it. This is a massive machine with so many departments and so much beaurocracy that no president, including Bush totally understands it.

Presidents, Congressmen, Cabinet Members and Appointees project a knowledgeable demeanor but they are spouting what they are told by career people who never go away and who train their replacements carefully. These are military and civil servants with enormous collective power, armed with the Federal Acquisition Regulation, Defense Industrial Security Manuals, compartmentalized classification structures and "Rice Bowls" which are never mixed.

Our society has slowly given this power structure its momentum which is constant and extraordinarily tough to bend. The cost to the average American is exhorbitant in terms of real dollars and bad decisions. Every major power structure member in the Pentagon's many Washington Offices and Field locations in the US and Overseas has a counterpart in Defense Industry Corporate America. That collective body has undergone major consolidation in the last 10 years.

What used to be a broad base of competitive firms is now a few huge monoliths, such as Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and Boeing.

Government oversight committees are carefully stroked. Sam Nunn and others who were around for years in military and policy oversight roles have been cajoled, given into on occasion but kept in the dark about the real status of things until it is too late to do anything but what the establishment wants. This still continues - with increasing high technology and potential for abuse.

Please examine the following link to testimony given by Franklin C. Spinney before Congress in 2002. It provides very specific information from a whistle blower who is still blowing his whistle (Look him up in your browser and you get lots of feedback) Frank spent the same amount of time as I did in the Military Industrial Complex (MIC) but in government quarters. His job in government was a similar role to mine in defense companies. Frank's emphasis in this testimony is on the money the machine costs us. It is compelling and it is noteworthy that he was still a staff analyst at the Pentagon when he gave this speech. I still can't figure out how he got his superior's permission to say such blunt things. He was extremely highly respected and is now retired.

http://www.d-n-i.net/fcs/spinney_testimony_060402.htm

The brick wall I often refer to is the Pentagon's own arrogance. It will implode by it's own volition, go broke, or so drastically let down the American people that it will fall in shambles. Rest assured the day of the implosion is coming. The machine is out of control.

If you are interested in a view of the inside of the Pentagon procurement process from Vietnam to Iraq please check the posting on this blog entitled, "Odyssey of Armaments"

http://rosecoveredglasses.blogspot.com/2006/11/odyssey-of-armaments.html

On the same subject, you may also be interested in the following sites from the "Project On Government Oversight", observing it's 25th Anniversary and from "Defense In the National Interest", inspired by Franklin Spinney and contributed to by active/reserve, former, or retired military personnel. More facts on the Military Industrial Complex can be gleaned from "The Dissident" link, also posted below:

http://pogo.org/

http://www.d-n-i.net/top_level/about_us.htm

http://dissidentnews.wordpress.com/2007/01/30/the-military-industrial-complex-and-the-business-of-war/


brenda

By my own admission I am out of touch with the Iraq war. I have two nephews and a niece who have done at least one tour each. Shame on me for not paying attention! This article answered questions and gave me a better understanding of where we are and what we are still hoping to accomplish. Well done!

The Fish

I just found your blog~~ well done!

Flag Gazer

Thank you for this interview. It is good to hear this from someone who understands what he is talking about.

Lisa

My concern is that the Iraqi people simply don't want this enough to make the sacrifices needed to assist in this war. We have men and women who have sacrificed their lives for the freedom of these people... It's time they step up to the plate... NOW.

Papa Ray

First, thanks Ken for the links, I have read one or two before you posted, but I am only one of a very few that have.

Your right that it is all about to implode.

Next, thanks for this interview, it helps to see that someone of this Officers character and experience believes the same as the group of vets I hang with and myself do.

This is one of the kickers:

"The Iraqi police and military must develop a secular-neutral agenda and the government must crackdown on the various militias"

This could take years and we don't have years. The IA and the Police (both National and Local) are so polluted with militia and corruption and just plain criminals that they are more a part of the problem than they are the fix for it.

Also, as I think most people are starting to understand, politics in Iraq (in the ME) is nothing more than an extention of tribal and sect law, or I might say lawlessness.

If we can manage to maintain two or so Mega-Bases in Iraq without having to kill hundreds each month, I think we can call this battle (not a war) a win. That and keeping the oil flowing for at least the next 20 or so years.

Thanks again.

Papa Ray
West Texas
USA

Thom

I served with Colo. N. in the 75th. I agree he's the best.

Eric

CTT: “My interview with him is after the jump” My question for CTT is which jump you were referring to. The 509th into Iraq?

I was surprised with the colonel’s comments on ROE. Personally, I had thought that the current ROE were not aggressive enough, but he surely knows more about it than I do.

Col. Nightingale: “90% of Iraq is having a quality, productive experience, 10% is utter chaos. Guess what’s reported?" [by CNN] Thank you, Colonel! I too, detest CNN, but would have liked to know your opinions of FOX. Perhaps I should pay more attention to the BBC

I also would support a mandatory draft for all teens out of high school. As the Colonel suggested, there are many ways to serve this great country of ours in addition to the military: Red Cross, VA, police, fire, as well as those that were suggested. Two years in any of these is a small price to pay for our freedom. Perhaps this would also bring some cohesion to the country.

I believe the colonel’s advice to the president is right on target, and I hope that the president has planned for that. I fully support our president. While he has made mistakes, he has truly had a lot dumped on his plate after he took office. I believe he is still the right man for the job. Let’s get every single soldier we need in Iraq… 20,000 or 50,000… whatever it takes. Let’s get the job done and get the hell out of there. The Iraqi police, army and government need to step-it-up (now) or watch it all deteriorate. Those of us who have been patient with Iraq are losing it. Its time for Iraq to step up to the plate.

Thanks, CTT. Great piece. Thank you, too, Colonel.

Kelly

Excellent interview Mike. I especially liked his suggestion of every HS grad doing some sort of volunteer work for the country.

What an asset he is to our country, thank Col. Nightingale for your service.

Yeah, and you too Mike.

Mortarman11c

The Colonel was my battalion commander when I was in B Co. 2/505th PIR. I'd follow him anywhere!! Hubba Hubba, On to Moscow!!!!

CopTheTruth

I completely agree. The Cabbage Patch kids were the best! Thanks for reading, Big Al!

Jim

We went into Iraq based on lies. We've pretty much destroyed the country. We have created more terrorism than we are preventing. We have killed thousands of Iraqi civilians. We have killed thousands of young Americans. We have alienated our allies and most of the rest of the world. We have destabilized the middle east.

You supporters of this war and this president have a lot to answer for. You are going to be held accountable in the years to come. The country is paying for your mistakes.

Cop The Truth

It's funny how your "we" changed to "you" halfway through your rant. Typical left-winger. Thanks for commenting.

Andrew J Aguirre

Then LTC Keith M. Nightingale pinned the CIB on my pocket flap at Ft Bragg ,NC on 15 Dec 83 and our Plt Ldr SSG Roderick O Williams; we pinnned our squad leaders and they pinned the grunts; an honor to be led in combat by LTC Nightingale and Maj Mike Canavan; later Gen Canavan during Grenada operations.

Mike

He was the best I ever served with, Andrew. And it's an honor to now conisder him a friend.

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