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Lost in a Military Industrial Complex

Contributed by Alex Shrugged

"Were the Soviet Union to sink tomorrow under the waters of the ocean, the American military-industrial complex would have to remain, substantially unchanged, until some other adversary could be invented."
-- George F. Kennan, 1987. [1]

President Dwight D. Eisenhower says farewell to the nation a few days before John F. Kennedy takes office. In his television address, Eisenhower warns the nation of the problem that "the military industrial complex" can present and the responsibility the informed citizen has in judging whether their tax dollars are being spent wisely. After all, in this modern world, a large military is required so as to discourage other countries (like the Soviet Union) from warring with the United States or its European allies. On the other hand, the military should not become so large that it simply becomes a means of keeping military suppliers swimming in dough... so to speak. And with his closing remarks, Eisenhower steps down from the world stage, the last President to measure each of his actions against the Constitution, and to limit himself when he judged that it did not grant him the power to act. [2]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
The economist Friedrich Hayek warned that industrialists who have tasted the power that a war-time economy gives them will not be satisfied when the war is over. That is true. With the US-backed NATO presence in Europe, European nations no longer spend as much on their military to defend against the looming Soviet threat. What Soviet threat, you ask? Good question. The Soviets are long gone. While Russia is not exactly the angel of the world, it is not Satan either, but NATO needs a reason to live, and so does the industrial complex that supplies it. Thus whether or not President Trump has a cozy relationship with Russia, it is not clear to me why we were being so aggressive against Russia under the Obama Administration. It was like President Obama was trying to start a war. Unhappy with Russia? OK. Start a War? No way. [3] [4] [5]

The CIA's Invasion of Cuba

Contributed by Alex Shrugged

Many Cubans escaped to the United States after Fidel Castro nationalized all their property. Now they want payback, so the CIA has been training a cadre of exiled Cubans called Assault Brigade 2506 (Brigada Asalto 2506). The objective is the Bay of Pigs on the south side of Cuba. (Havana is on the north side, a little northwest of the Bay of Pigs.) Originally conceived and funded by President Eisenhower (R), President Kennedy (D) signs off on this invasion. They launch from Guatemala and Nicaragua. It does not go well. B-26 bombers hit the coastal areas of Cuba before the invasion, and 4 are shot down making it obvious that the US government is involved. Kennedy withdraws the promised air cover, and naval coverage is nonexistent leaving the Assault Brigade with their backsides hanging out in the wind. After three days, Assault Brigade 2506 surrenders. By next year, private donors will negotiate through the United States to give $53 million in food and medicine to Cuba in exchange for over a thousand prisoners taken in the Bay of Pigs Invasion. President Kennedy and First Lady Jackie Kennedy will greet them at a welcome back ceremony held at the Orange Bowl. [6]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
President Bill Clinton nearly did the same thing when Haiti was taken over by a military junta. While using fiery language to threaten the military junta, Clinton sent President Jimmy Carter, General Colin Powell and Senator Sam Nunn to read them the riot act. Colin Powell explained to them how easy it was for US bombers to drop a smart bomb down the chimney of any building they'd care to name. He wasn't threatening. He was explaining to them, man-to-man, what kind of trouble they could be in if it came to a real battle of arms. Meanwhile, back at home, Clinton was getting agitated with all the delays, so he released the air assault forces. Colin Powell, called Clinton and told him that if the assault came too soon, that would make Carter, Powell and Nunn automatic hostages. (And the heads of a dead President, Senator and General on pikes wouldn't look too good on TV.) Luckily, the negotiations concluded in success and Haiti was returned to a democracy. God save us from young Presidents who think they know how to fight a war. [7] [8] [9]

And it's a fake.

Contributed by Southpaw Ben

On January 5, 1961, a man walks into the US consulate in Rome, signs a confession and provides a severed thumb that had been kept as a memento as proof of the crime. The crime? The forgery of 3 terracotta warrior statues, and the man was sculptor Alfredo Fioravanti who was hired to assist in the forgeries. Between 1915 and 1921 the Riccardi family sold 3 forged statues to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, with just one of the statues going for $40,000. In 1960 testing cast some suspicion onto the authenticity of the sculptures[10], and when the confession was made, it provided all the proof needed for the Museum to officially declare the three statues as forgeries on February 15.

My Take by Southpaw Ben
While this story on it's own isn't very important in the grand scheme of history when compared to other events taking place this year, it provides a good lesson to keep in mind when looking through history. When there's a conspiracy involving multiple people, the more people there are, and the more elaborate the conspiracy, the more likely there is to be a leak. The Riccardi family had done several smaller forgeries in the past, and hadn't been caught until they decided to go big, and hire outside help for it. That outside help was Alfredo Fioravanti who eventually came clean about what happened. When people start talking about giant conspiracies and no one has let anything slip or come clean about it, it's a lot less likely that it's true than something that only involved a few people.

Notable Births

  • Diana, Princess of Wales (died 1997, age 36): Died in a car crash. Conspiracy theories abound. [11]
  • Barack Obama: 44th President of the United States (D). [11]
  • George Stephanopoulos: Bill Clinton campaign operative and ABC news reader. [11]
  • Sean Hannity: Fox News TV host, radio talk show host and conservative commentator. [11]
  • Ann Coulter: Syndicated columnist, conservative author and Fox News contributor. [11]
  • And in Entertainment...
  • -- Eddie Murphy: Comedian and actor in Beverly Hills Cop, Coming to America and more. [11]
  • -- In Music: Toby Keith, and Billy Ray Cyrus. [11]
  • -- George Clooney: O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Ocean's Eleven, and The Monuments Men. [11]
  • -- Michael J. Fox: Back to the Future, Doc Hollywood, and The American President. [11]
  • -- Lea Thompson: Back to the Future, and Red Dawn. [11]

This Year in Film

  • West Side Story: Puerto Ricans and white hoodlums sing and dance their way into the mainstream. [12]
  • Flower Drum Song: Chinese people sing and dance their way into the mainstream. [12]
  • The Parent Trap: Twins separated at birth switch places to meet their divorced parents. (Divorce is brought into the mainstream.--alexshrugged) [12]

This Year in Music

  • Stand By Me: Ben E King. [13]
  • Let's Twist Again: Chubby Checker. [13]
  • Surrender: Elvis Presley. [13]

In Other News

  • Yuri Gagarin becomes the 1st man to orbit the Earth: 3-weeks later Alan Shepard goes sub-orbital and lands 300 miles away. (Essentially, straight up and down.--alexshrugged) [14] [15] [16]
  • The K-19 Soviet submarine suffers a near nuclear meltdown: 22 crewmen sacrifice themselves to jury-rig a new cooling system for the reactor and save the boat. Thereafter, it is nicknamed "The Hiroshima". [14] [17] [18]
  • The US experimental nuclear reactor melts down: The central control rod is pulled out too far. The sudden vaporization of water causes an explosion. 3 men die of their injuries, but were already overexposed to radiation. [14] [19]
  • The portrait of the Duke of Wellington is "misappropriated": The thief is convicted of an unauthorized removal of an object on public display. (Stealing is such an ugly word.--alexshrugged) [20]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1961, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. Kennan, George Frost. At a Century's Ending: Reflections, 1982-1995. W.W. Norton. ISBN 0393038823. “Constituting as it now does the greatest single purchaser in the American market, with all the power that implies, anchored in long-term contractual obligations that defy the normal annual budgetary discretion of Congress, its tentacles now reaching into almost every congressional district and distorting the electoral situations wherever they reach, this military-industrial establishment has become a veritable addiction of American society -- an addiction from which American society could no longer free itself without the most severe withdrawal pains. Were the Soviet Union to sink tomorrow under the waters of the ocean, the American military-industrial complex would have to remain, substantially unchanged, until some other adversary could be invented. Anything else would be an unacceptable shock to the American economy.” 
  2. Military–industrial complex - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 2 March 2017. “A driving factor behind this relationship between the government and defense-minded corporations is that both sides benefit--one side from obtaining war weapons, and the other from being paid to supply them.”
  3. von Hayek, Friedrich A.. Road to Serfdom, The. G. Routledge & sons. “Another element which after this war is likely to strengthen the tendencies in this direction will be some of the men who during the war have tasted the powers of coercive control and will find it difficult to reconcile themselves with the humbler roles they will then have to play.” 
  4. Obama White House threatens war with Russia to score political points for Hillary Clinton. Washington Times (Opinion) (October 15, 2016). Retrieved on 2 March 2017. “Okay, now it is getting personal. As my son, and many other like him, prepare to enter a service academy next year, the Obama administration threatens war with Russia in an overt political move to enable Hillary’s election and stop Trump. The 'Russians are coming!’ narrative is getting dangerous, but they don’t care.”
  5. US sends special forces to Russian border as NATO is poised to strike back against Vladimir Putin's 'aggression'. The Sun (4 January 2017). Retrieved on 2 March 2017. “The US and its Nato allies will send battalions of up to 1,200 to each of the three Baltic states – Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia – and Poland by spring this year, reports the New York Times.”
  6. Brigade 2506 - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 2 March 2017. “Brigade 2506 (Brigada Asalto 2506) was the name given to a CIA-sponsored group of Cuban exiles formed in 1960 to attempt the military overthrow of the Cuban government headed by Fidel Castro. It carried out the abortive Bay of Pigs Invasion landings in Cuba on 17 April 1961.”
  7. Operation Uphold Democracy - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 2 March 2017. “As a final effort to force the dictator to step down without violence, the delegation presented General Cédras a video feed of the entire 82nd Airborne Division loading aircraft. While allowing Cédras to process the panic-inducing sight, he was informed that while he assumed he was watching a live-feed, he was in fact viewing a video captured more than 2 hours before. As such, they explained unnecessarily, the lead elements of the 15,000 paratrooper strong airborne assault force had already launched from Fort Bragg, N.C. and were currently over the Atlantic Ocean. They further informed him of the United States' commitment to supporting democracy and that a forced-entry airborne assault on the island nation would result in all likelihood, in Haiti being under U.S. control before the sun came up the next morning. The delegation had issued a final ultimatum to the dictator. His choices were to recognize the wish of the Haitian people as expressed through the democratic election of Father Jean-Bertrand Aristide and quietly retire, or continue to deny the election's outcome in which case the U.S. would forcibly wrest control of his country and see justice done. To remove all uncertainty from the dictator's mind, he was reminded by the delegation that the 82nd Airborne Division had also spearheaded overwhelmingly decisive victories during Operation Urgent Fury in Grenada and Operation Just Cause in Panama in the recent past. Within minutes General Cédras capitulated under the most favorable terms available to him at that time.”
  8. Timeline . Clinton . American Experience . WGBH - PBS (2017). Retrieved on 2 March 2017. “September 15, 1994: Haiti: Clinton appears on national television to argue for using force to overthrow a military junta in Haiti. He describes the brutality of the regime and, speaking directly to the junta's leaders, says, 'Leave now, or we will force you from power.'”
  9. "SHOWDOWN WITH HAITI - DIPLOMACY - Carter, in Haiti, Pursues Peaceful Shift - NYTimes.com", September 18, 1994. Retrieved on 2 March 2017. “Opening a fresh diplomatic effort to avert an American invasion of Haiti, former President Jimmy Carter, Gen. Colin L. Powell and Senator Sam Nunn flew here Saturday and met with Haitian military officials who seized power in a coup three years ago.” 
  10. Etruscan terracotta warriors. Retrieved on 2 March 2017.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 11.6 11.7 11.8 11.9 1961 Births - Wikipedia (2017).
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 1961 in film - Wikipedia (2017).
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 1961 in music - Wikipedia (2017).
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 1961 - Wikipedia (2017).
  15. Yuri Gagarin - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 2 March 2017. “He was the first human to journey into outer space, when his Vostok spacecraft completed an orbit of the Earth on 12 April 1961.”
  16. Mercury-Redstone 3 - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 2 March 2017. “Under automatic control, the spacecraft had developed a slight movement as it passed through peak altitude; Shepard now switched into the 'fly-by-wire' mode, where the pilot used a controller to order the automatic system to fire the rockets for the desired positioning, rather than manually controlling the individual jets. Adjusting roll and yaw, he found the pitch position was around ten degrees too shallow – 25 degrees rather than the desired 35 for reentry – and as he began to correct it, the timed retrorockets fired to send him into reentry. The retrorocket pack – strapped atop the heatshield and so requiring release before reentry – was successfully jettisoned, but the confirmation light failed, requiring Shepard to activate the manual override for the jettison system before it confirmed that the rockets were fully released.”
  17. Soviet submarine K-19 - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 2 March 2017. “The boat was hurriedly built by the Soviets, who were anxious to catch up with the United States' lead in nuclear submarines. Before it was launched, 10 civilian workers and a sailor died due to accidents and fires. After it was commissioned, it was plagued with breakdowns and accidents, several of which threatened to sink the sub. On its initial voyage on 4 July 1961, it suffered a complete loss of coolant to its reactor. With no backup system, the captain ordered members of the engineering crew to find a solution to avoid a nuclear meltdown. Sacrificing their own lives, the engineering crew jury-rigged a secondary coolant system and kept the reactor from a meltdown. Twenty-two crew members died from radiation sickness during the following two years. The sub experienced several other accidents, including two fires and a collision. The series of accidents inspired crew members to nickname the sub Hiroshima.”
  18. Horror of Soviet Nuclear Sub's '61 Tragedy Told. Los Angeles Times (January 3, 1994). Retrieved on 2 March 2017. “Korchilov, Zateyev, Kolokov and 136 other men were sailors aboard the K-19, a Soviet nuclear submarine whose reactor went haywire in 1961. Zateyev, the captain, sent 22 volunteers to their deaths in a heroic struggle to save the boat. The men won that struggle; the reactor did not explode. But the radiation made it a voyage from hell, with men dying in agony and begging their shipmates to kill them.”
  19. SL-1 - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 2 March 2017. “Maintenance procedures required that the main central control rod be manually withdrawn a few inches to reconnect it to its drive mechanism. At 9:01 p.m., this rod was suddenly withdrawn too far, causing SL-1 to go prompt critical instantly. In four milliseconds, the heat generated by the resulting enormous power excursion caused water surrounding the core to begin to explosively vaporize. The water vapor caused a pressure wave to strike the top of the reactor vessel, causing water and steam to spray from the top of the vessel. This extreme form of water hammer propelled control rods, shield plugs, and the entire reactor vessel upward.”
  20. Kempton Bunton - Wikipedia. wikipedia.org (November 17, 2016). Retrieved on November 17, 2016.

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