Why Can’t We Talk about Peace in Public?
By Matt Taibbi, RollingStone.com. Posted February 28, 2007.
America’s growing economic dependence on the hi-tech defense industry is creating a culture that views peace and nonviolence as seditious concepts.
“The fellas from 121 started showing up the other day. It’s starting to sink in… I’ll have to go home, the opportunities to kill these fuckers is rapidly coming to an end. Like a hobby I’ll never get to practice again. It’s not a great war, but it’s the only one we’ve got. God, I do love killing these bastards. … Morale is high, the Marines can smell the barn. It’s hard to keep them focused. I still have 20 days of kill these motherfuckers, so I don’t wanna take even one day off. ” — letter home from an unnamed Marine F/A -18 pilot in Iraq.
The above letter arrived in my inbox via an email circular sent by an acquaintance of mine, a defense analyst and former congressional aide named Winslow Wheeler. It came alongside a pained commentary by another former Pentagon analyst named Franklin (Chuck) Spinney, who is probably best known for the famous “Spinney report” of the mid-’80s which exposed the waste and inefficiency of many hi-tech Defense Department projects.
Spinney’s career followed the classic whistleblower arc; after sending his courageous Jerry Maguire letter on Pentagon waste up the bureaucratic flagpole, he was nearly buried by his own bosses only to be saved from ignominy at the last minute by the intercession of Senator Chuck Grassley, who invited him to air his findings in Congress.
Spinney ended up on the cover of Time magazine a week later and soon thereafter began a new career as a much sought-after expert on the inner workings of the military-industrial complex. Like another famous post-Watergate whistleblower, Karen Silkwood, Spinney ended up inspiring a Hollywood feature film — although in this case no Oscars were forthcoming, as the key role in the lighthearted comedy The Pentagon Wars was played by Cary Elwes instead of Meryl Streep. Brutally, Kelsey Grammer also made an appearance as the film’s heavy.
Read all of it here.