The Pentagon’s Perpetual Crisis Machine

MILITARISM, 6 Feb 2023

Jacob Hornberger | The Future of Freedom Foundation – TRANSCEND Media Service

26 Jan 2023 – Given President Biden’s decision to send 31 of its top-ranked M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, it is clear that the Pentagon has decided to escalate its war against Russia. Biden’s decision was followed by Germany’s decision to deliver 14 Leopard 2 A6 tanks to Ukraine. I’ll guarantee you there isn’t a Russian alive who doesn’t know about the time in the 1940s when Germany sent its tanks deep into Russia, killed millions of Russians, and almost succeeded in conquering the country.

If the increasing pressure that the Pentagon is putting on Russia does not result in a nuclear war between the United States and Russia, the advocates of this highly dangerous interventionist and escalatory strategy will later exclaim, “You see, we told you that there was never a risk of nuclear war.” But what’s interesting about the Pentagon’s strategy is that if it does result in nuclear war, there won’t be anyone around to point out how wrongheaded it was.

This is obviously no way to live. But this is what life is like under a national-security state form of governmental structure. The military-intelligence establishment needs a constant stream of crises to keep people agitated, hyped-up, afraid, anxious, and tense. In that way, they’ll look to the military-intelligence establishment to keep them “safe.” Without the constant stream of crises, people might be apt to ask, “Why do we need a national-security state? Why can’t we have our limited-government republic back?”

Moreover, a constant stream of crises ensures ever-increasing taxpayer-funded largess for the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA, which are the three principal components of the national-security establishment. That amount will soon reach $1 trillion per year. I’ll guarantee you that the manufacturers of tanks are uncorking the champagne bottles today. After all, those tanks being sent to Ukraine have to be replaced. Hard-pressed American taxpayers will pay for them, either directly through taxes or indirectly through more federal debt (now at $31.5 trillion and climbing every day) and inflation.

That’s what the entire Cold War racket was all about — keeping Americans agitated, hyped-up, afraid, anxious, and tense. Everyone was inculcated with the notion that the Russian Reds were coming to get us. Only the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA could save us from a communist takeover. The only president who has ever been willing to confront this scam was President Kennedy, and we all know what happened to him.

When the Cold War came to an end, unfortunately the Cold War racket didn’t. The national-security establishment kept their old Cold War dinosaur NATO in existence. Breaching their promise to Russia, the Pentagon began using NATO to absorb former members of the Warsaw Pact. The Pentagon knew precisely what it was doing — setting the stage for the continuation of its old Cold War racket, at least with respect to Russia.

When the Pentagon ultimately crossed what Russia had repeatedly emphasized was a “red line” by threatening to absorb Ukraine into NATO, the Pentagon achieved what it wanted — the continuation of its old Cold War racket, except for the part that the Reds were coming to get us.

But they’re still not willing to let go of the Red part of their Cold War racket. That’s why they’re now doing their best to gin up a crisis with China over Taiwan. That crisis will enable them to exclaim, “See, you need us to protect you from both Russia and the Chinese Reds.”

And don’t forget — they still have their perpetual war-on-terrorism racket. Sure, they’re not killing people en masse anymore in Afghanistan and Iraq, but they still are killing people in the Middle East and Africa. The potential terrorist retaliation from those continuous killings are enough to justify the continuation of their forever war-on-terrorism racket as well as the continuous destruction of our rights, liberties, and financial security here at home, as part of the process of keeping us “safe” from the terrorists who supposedly hate us for our “freedom and values.”

The important thing is that a life of permanent, perpetual crises is neither necessary nor inevitable. There is a way to restore normal life to America — one that isn’t based on a continuous stream of crises. That way is to dismantle the national-security state form of governmental structure and restore our founding governmental system of a limited-government republic. The only question is whether Americans have the will and the fortitude to do this. One thing is for sure: Our freedom, well-being, and possibly even our survival depend on it.


Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born in Texas and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years and a professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, he left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. Send him email.

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