Why does Uncle Sam take such a big bite out of your paycheck? Those scoundrels in the government must be paying for welfare loafers to be squired around in taxpayer-funded limousines. Or paying outrageous amounts to schools when all they produce are criminals. Or … Or … Or …
Or you might want to eye something called the Pentagon’s “Team B.” Not many people have heard of it, because powerful forces in Washington, D.C., and the media prefer to bury the truth about Team B.
Here’s the tale, and how your wallet is a lot lighter because of it:
In the mid-1970s, President Gerald Ford was trying to stabilize the Republic after the resignation of Richard Nixon. Embedded inside the Ford Administration were several gents—notably Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney—who catapulted into the war machine’s driver’s seat after a November 4, 1975, cabinet reorganization called the “Halloween Massacre.” That ousted a number of moderates from top jobs at the CIA and the Defense Department. Basically, the nation’s “War Party” was taken over by George H.W. Bush at CIA, and Rumsfield and Cheney at Defense.
For those guys, the next few decades would be gold mines, as they mingled business and government to start wars, and steered companies for which the phrase “war profiteering” achieved hitherto unrealized status as corporate America’s profitable pastime. When they weren’t top guys in government, they were key players at Halliburton Co., Carlyle Group, Bechtel Group and others in the corporate wing of the War Party, and then they went back to government, and then back to business.
Team B and the War Party—made up of Democrats and Republicans—turbo-charged defense spending and it hasn’t stopped.
After the April 1975 loss of the Vietnam War, Americans were in no mood for another conflict. Ford was facing a loss to the less militaristic Jimmy Carter, and no one was clamoring for a major armaments buildup.
No one, that is, except the fellows from Team B and their patrons, the military-industrial complex. The War Party lobbied the CIA to do an “independent” study on Soviet military strength. The outcome would be a preordained certainty—that the Soviet Union had the economy, technical superiority and sophisticated armaments to bury the United States. The only “realistic” strategy would be a massive arms race.
Professional intelligence people were of the opinion that the threats posed by the Soviet Union were significant but far less dire than the superhawks claimed. The then CIA director, William Colby, balked at the idea of highly politicized, pro-armaments “experts” stepping on the CIA’s toes. Colby was ousted, one of the victims of the “Halloween Massacre.”
No surprise, Team B claimed that the Soviets posed a threat of overwhelming superiority in nuclear forces, and that the United States should embark on many new, technologically sophisticated weapons platforms. That was the origin of what became Ronald Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative. That program was almost universally derided because it was unrealistic, costly and failed as a deterrent to nuclear buildup.
Team B—with its scare tactic of nuclear annihilation—was leaked to the press right after Carter’s inauguration. The war hawks, including Cheney and Rumsfeld, would employ the same tactic to scare America into the Iraq War two decades later.
The consensus of smart opinion about Team B was that it contained fabricated dangers and falsified data. CNN’s well-regarded Fareed Zakaria decried Team B’s conclusion as “wildly off the mark.” Top academic Anne Hessing Cahn said of Team B, “All of it was fantasy.” Time magazine Editor Strobe Talbott stated that Team B’s “intentions … seemed extreme at the time and look ludicrous in retrospect.”
Team B and the War Party—made up of Democrats and Republicans—turbo-charged defense spending and it hasn’t stopped. Adjusted for inflation, the military budget under Ford, about $406.7 billion annually, soared to $664.8 billion in 2011.
Do those bloated budgets equal security? Certainly not. Madmen with box cutters caused 9/11. Thirteen years after the Iraq War began, “Mission Accomplished” signs notwithstanding, the Middle East is a hellhole—despite the U.S. having the largest defense budget in the world.
It would be one thing if tons of money were well spent. But in this issue of Freedom, we prove this is not the case in the cover story by Associate Editor Bruce Leonard titled, “The War on Taxpayers”: Inefficiency, antiquated weapons and a complicit Congress allow the military-industrial complex to fleece the American public.
Elsewhere in this issue, we talk about whistleblowers. Love ’em or hate ’em, people who disclose sensitive information provide much of what we know about crimes in government, business and other institutions.
In our Media & Ethics column, Executive Editor John Sugg has a few conspiracy theories he’d like to throw at you, and explains why the media love them.
And, if the world is going to hell in a handbasket, we have some people who are picking up that handbasket and taking it in another direction. Scientology’s Volunteer Ministers go where most people won’t. Whether at the site of catastrophe, the outskirts of civilization, or the heart of the largest cities, scores of yellow-shirted Volunteer Ministers with their motto, “Something can be done about it,” are on scene. Read about their high adventures in saving lives and providing solace.
Finally, the Church of Scientology opens its 51st Ideal Church, in Atlanta, and salutes that landmark in the expansion of the religion. This is a story about how humanity can deal with the ever-enlarging cascade of crises that may overwhelm the planet—and how the Church of Scientology intends to reverse civilization’s decline.
A column by L. Ron Hubbard rounds out this issue, suggesting the way to overcome oppression is that people of goodwill unite and make their voices count.