The military-industrial-congressional complex (MICC) has a huge advantage over its critics. Its proponents are united by greed and power. They know exactly what they want. Like Johnny Rocco in “Key Largo,” they want MORE. More money. More authority. And obviously more weapons and more war.

Whereas critics of the MICC tend to approach the beast from different angles with different emphases.  Tactical differences lead to fissures. Fissures prevent coalitions from forming. Unity is lacking, and not for want of trying. And so the MICC rumbles on, unchallenged by any societal force that is remotely its size.

A colleague of mine, Dennis Showalter, was fond of a saying that helps to explain the situation. Critics and intellectuals, he said, have a propensity to see the fourth side of every three-sided problem. Analysis leads to paralysis. The tyranny of small differences prevents unanimity of purpose.

Another key strength of the MICC is

reflected in an alternate acronym: the

MICIMATT, which adds the intelligence

“community,” the mainstream media,

academe, and various think tanks to the

military, industry, and Congress. To that

we might also add the world of sports,

entertainment (Hollywood and TV

especially), and the very idea of

patriotism in America with all its potent

symbols. I’d even add Christianity here,

the muscular version practiced in the

U.S. rather than the compassionate

version promulgated by Christ.

When people focus just on the MICC, you

miss the wellsprings of its power. It’s not

just about greed and authority, it’s about

full-spectrum dominance of all aspects of

American life and society.

America hasn’t won a major war since

World War II, but the MICC has won the

struggle for societal dominance in

America. Serious challenges to it will

require Americans to put aside

differences in the name of a greater

cause of peace and sanity. The wildcard

here, of course, is the ever-present

hyping of fear by the MICC.


FDR told Americans the only thing we

truly needed to fear was fear itself. Fear

paralyzes the mind and inhibits action.

Fear is the only darkness, Master Po said

in “Kung Fu.”

If we can overcome our fear and our

differences to focus on building a more

compassionate world, a world in

harmony with nature and life, then

maybe, just maybe, we can see the

foolishness of funding and embracing an

MICC based on an unnatural pursuit of

destruction and death.

BC guest Commentator WJ Astore is the

Creator of Bracing Views. Contributor to

TomDispatch, Truthout, HNN, Alternet,

Huffington Post, Antiwar, and other sites.

Retired AF lieutenant colonel and

professor of history. Senior fellow,

Eisenhower Media Network.

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