The New Fascism, or Corporate Statism, American-Style
Here's the most recent installment about a subject I have discussed many times before:
Hundreds of U.S. military and government officials routinely leave their posts for jobs with private contractors who deal with the government, a process that has eroded the lines between government and the private sector, according to report released by a watchdog group on Tuesday.This is the issue I have discussed at great length here, and here (and here's a post about the"outsourcing" of torture). And although the article does not mention him, one of the preeminent examples of this kind of conflict of interest is David Kay, famous WMD-hunter extraordinaire. I discussed Kay's intriguing history many months ago, here. The media never did pursue that story.
"There is a revolving door between the government and large private contractors where conflict of interest is the rule, not the exception," said the report by the Project on Government Oversight (POGO), a Washington-based group that monitors military expenditures.
"The revolving door has become such an accepted part of federal contracting in recent years that it is frequently difficult to determine where the government stops and the private sector begins," adds the report, titled"The Politics of Contracting."
The document says that the current contracting system where current and former public servants use their positions for private gain means powerful private contractors can potentially rig the system in their own favor.
The group examined the current top 20 federal government contractors from January 1997 through May 2004 and found that in fiscal year 2002, those top 20 contractors received over 40 percent of the 244 billion dollars in total contracts awarded by the federal government.
The group says that it also identified 291 instances involving 224 high-ranking government officials who moved to the private sector to serve as lobbyists, board members or executives of the contractors.
The report found that at least one-third of the former senior government employees who went to work for or served on the board of a government contractor were in official positions allowing them to influence government contracting decisions, and that accountability rules were not enough to control them.
And it certainly would be nice if, one of these fine days, some of the defenders of our"new,""muscular" foreign policy of unending war and foreign occupation -- especially those defenders to be found among self-proclaimed"libertarians" and"Objectivists" -- would discuss this phenomenon, and how it influences and distorts our nation's policies in almost every respect. It also would be lovely if they devoted at least a little time to analyzing how this melding of the public and private spheres has shaped events in Iraq over the last year, and will continue to do so for decades to come. Do you think that's likely to happen any time soon?
No? Really? Nah, me neither.
(Cross-posted at The Light of Reason.)
Brian Dijjaji - 6/13/2008
See, this is why I hate HNN. We get one guy's screed, preaching to the converted, with absolutely no historical perspective.
Fascism... Really? I remember that being a 1930s movement that embraces the cult of the nation as the vessel for human progress combined with a disdain for the individual and a propensity to territorial expansion.
Love them or hate them, the Bush administration's reaction [and it is totally reactive--these guys aren't in the driver's seat of the relationship] to global jihad is timid by comparison. In their wildest dreams the most rabid neocon thinker pales by comparison to any actual fascists.
But a historical comparison with real fascism doesn't advance the author's histrionics, so it goes by the wayside.
Google "Pinkerton" and you get more historical perspective on the outsourcing of law enforcement/foreign policy than you get from anything on the History News Network.
Isn't one reason we are supposed to pay attention to historians is that they offer valuable historical perspective?
Can we just call this "Some beardy college professors rant about how much they hate George Bush" and get it over with?
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