Vested Interests Can Stink

By Nick Mottern, Director, ConsumersforPeace.Org

– Keane devises and pushes Bush’s “surge”.
– McCaffery wants more arms and money for Iraqis.
– Hoar and Odom, little connected to military business,
call for withdrawal.
– The importance of “contractors” in sustaining the war; “doing the patriotic bit.”

As Congress weighs action on the escalation of the Iraq War, it may want to consider the business connections of retired generals who have been making recommendations, particularly those of retired four-star Army general John M. “Jack” Keane, who is one of the authors of President Bush’s “surge” policy.

Reviewing the testimony of Mr. Keane and three other former generals on January 18 before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, there is a distinct pattern. Those most involved in the military industry, Mr. Keane and former four-star army general Barry McCaffery, endorsed, respectively, escalation and continued investment in the Iraq War. Those with the least involvement in the military industry, former Marine General John P. Hoar and former army Lt. Gen. William Odom were for withdrawal.

JACK KEANE, who rose to the level of acting Chief of Staff and Vice Chief of Staff of the Army before retiring in December 2003, told the committee that President Bush’s “surge” plan, which calls for sending 21,500 more troops to Iraq, “is remarkably similar” to the plan he devised last fall with Fredrick Kagan, a staffer of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a Washington think tank that has provided analysis and justification for the Iraq War from its beginning. He told the committee that he presented the plan directly to President Bush and Vice President Richard Cheney.

Keane, who is a commentator for ABC News, is a member of the board of directors of General Dynamics, among the top 10 largest military contractors, with reported revenues in 2005 of $21 billion. The company’s 2005 annual report, appearing on its website, notes:

“The conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan fueled continued strong demand for several of our largest programs, including the Stryker wheeled infantry vehicle, the M1 Abrams tank and the Marine Corps’ Light Armored Vehicle (LAV). The high operational tempo of the U.S. military also generated increased requirements for the company’s ammunition and high-performance armaments.”

Read the rest here.

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