There was a time when the astounding fraudulence of military contracting was
common knowledge, thanks to some hard-hitting mainstream exposés of the
outrageous padding by US defense contractors. Back then–this would be
the Eighties–people generally knew that their tax dollars were being
squandered on, say, toilet seats that somehow cost around $200 @, and other
mundane items that might as well have been made out of gold.

So what made everyone–that is, the media, and, therefore, the people–
suddenly forget all that, so that the DoD is still routinely charging several
hundred dollars for a toilet seat, and doing much worse besides, to the tune
of well over $5 trillion since 2001 (as Saul Landau points out here)?

What made everyone forget all that was the Gulf War of 1991. That propaganda
masterpiece was, among other things, a vast sales job for the DoD itself, wiping
all those scandals clean out of the public mind. Suddenly that bloated and corrupt
bureaucracy could do no wrong; and so its fraudulence, which had been covered
by the New York Times and CBS, is now a matter handled, if at all, out in the
blogosphere (in this case, by

So, for this grotesque situation, we can thank George Bush the Elder and his
merry men, including Dick Cheney (Secretary of Defense back then), James
Baker, Colin Powell and other malefactors of great influence.


Defense Elephant in America’s Living Room
By Saul Landau

History quiz: Name the greatest robbery committed in the last 100 years.

A: Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme
B: Nazi theft of art treasures from conquered nations
C. Diamonds stolen from Africa by Belgians
D. The Pentagon budget.

This is not a tricky multiple choice question where all the answers could be correct. Only one stands out as the criminal conspiracy of the century, an ongoing fraud perpetrated by tens of thousands of beneficiaries.

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