CENTCOM: Planning for Empire
In May of 2007, Admiral William J. Fallon, then head of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), asked Congress for $62 million for an ammunition storage facility at the Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, a station he called "the centerpiece for the CENTCOM Master Plan for future access to and operations in Central Asia." What is the U.S. military leadership doing and planning to do in that region? Adm. Fallon discussed CENTCOM's operations in terms of five broad goals: 1) setting conditions for stability in Iraq, 2) expanding governance and security in Afghanistan, 3) degrading violent extremist networks and operations, 4) strengthening relationships and influencing states to contribute to regional stability, and 5) posturing the force to build and sustain joint and combined war fighting capabilities and readiness.
"Notice that except possibly for the third item listed ("degrading violent extremist networks and operations"), none of this has more than a very remote connection with defending the people of the United States against foreign enemies," writes Independent Institute Senior Fellow Robert Higgs.
Higgs pulls no punches in his assessment of Fallon's testimony rationalizing U.S. military involvement in Central Asia and beyond. Referring to Fallon's impeccable delivery in "bureaucratese"--and its apparently favorable reception by members of Congress--Higgs writes the following: "Of course, it's all a solemn face, a polished and meaningless charade staged purely for public-relations purposes--a ceremonial hors d'oeuvres served in public before the diners consume the entrée, which consists of a massive amount of the taxpayers' money ladled out to the armed forces and their civilian contractors." On Iraq, Higgs writes: "Indeed, a mere pullout is nearly inconceivable, despite the great amount of talk that goes on about it on both sides. On the Iraqi side, this talk is sincere; on the U.S. side, it is all for show." On Afghanistan, he writes: "The likelihood that outside forces will ever impose their designs on Afghanistan's backward but fiercely resilient tribesmen verges on nil." On U.S. friends in the Persian Gulf, he writes: "An honest observer feels compelled to recognize, however, that every one of the filthy-rich sheiks in these desert despotisms would gladly cut Fallon's throat if they weren't raking in such fabulous amounts of money from the current arrangements." Higgs concludes by arguing that Fallon omitted a fundamental truth about CENTCOM's operations on in that part of the world: "He fails to mention, however, that the people of southwest Asia would harbor no grievances whatsoever against Americans if the U.S. government had only possessed the intelligence and the decency to stay out of their affairs."
"CENTCOM's Master Plan and U.S. Global Hegemony," by Robert Higgs (7/22/08)
Depression, War, and Cold War, by Robert Higgs
Neither Liberty nor Safety: Fear, Ideology, and the Growth of Government, by Robert Higgs
Resurgence of the Warfare State: The Crisis Since 9/11, by Robert Higgs
Opposing the Crusader State: Alternatives to Global Interventionism, edited by Robert Higgs and Carl P. Close