Civilian Control: The Pentagon Speaks

by | Jan 15, 2021 | Headline News | 18 comments

Do you LOVE America?


    This article was originally published by Jacob Hornberger at The Future of Freedom Foundation. 

    The Joint Chiefs of Staff have spoken. Issuing a remarkable memorandum to all members of the Armed Forces, the JCS have declared that Joe Biden will be the new president of the United States. The memo may have been not only one to military personnel but also to President Trump: No matter how convinced you are that the election was stolen from you, don’t even think about remaining in power because we will ensure your forcible exit from the White House.

    Unfortunately, relatively few people, including libertarians, comprehend that the Pentagon, along with the CIA and the NSA and, to a certain extent, the FBI, are the part of the federal government in which ultimate power is being wielded. They are the ones who are ruling the roost in America. That’s why that memo is so important. It’s declaring how things will be.

    This overwhelming power is usually exercised behind the scenes in order to make Americans feel comfortable that their government is different from other national-security governments. While the national-security branch of the government is driving the overall direction America will take, especially with respect to foreign affairs, it permits the other three branches to maintain the appearance of power. The idea is to convince Americans that the federal government operates the same as a national-security state as it did when it was a limited-government republic.

    But it’s a lie, a very dangerous lie, one that unfortunately is lived by all too many Americans, especially those within the mainstream press.

    If you haven’t read the book National Security and Double Government by Michael J. Glennon, you owe it to yourself to do so so. This is Glennon’s thesis — that the national-security establishment is the part of the federal government that is wielding and exercising the ultimate power within the governmental structure. At the same time, however, it permits the legislative, judicial, and executive parts of the government to continue appearing to be in charge.

    Glennon is not some crackpot writer. He is a professor of international law at the Fletcher School at Tufts University. He has served as a consultant to various congressional committees, the US State Department, and the International Atomic Energy Agency. You can read a more complete biography here.

    If Glennon is right — I firmly believe that he is — then it requires people, including libertarians, to reevaluate everything they understand about the country, especially foreign affairs.

    Consider, for example, the many laments against America’s “forever wars.” It’s a popular mantra, including among libertarians. But what good does it do to complain about “forever wars” if the root cause of such wars is left in place, where it is in charge?

    In other words, the national-security establishment needs those forever wars, just as it needed the Cold War. Any national-security state necessarily depends on fear, crises, chaos, and emergencies — or “threats” of such things to sustain its existence, its power, and its money. They will always find something for people to be afraid of, even if they have to instigate it. Communism, terrorism, drug dealers, illegal immigrants, Muslims, Russia, China, North Korea, Cuba, ISIS, al-Qaeda, Iran, Syria, insurrectionists, revolutionaries, invaders, or whatever. Without such fearful things, people are apt to ask why they need a national-security state instead of a limited-government republic, which was the type of governmental structure on which America was founded.

    What is the distinguishing characteristic of a national-security state, as compared to a limited-government republic? Power — raw, unadulterated power. With its vast military and arsenal of weaponry, along with extreme powers of assassination and surveillance, a national-security establishment has the means of imposing its will on government and on society. No one wields the countervailing power to resist.

    This why precisely why our American ancestors opposed the creation of a national-security state or what they called “standing armies.” They understood that once such a governmental apparatus comes into existence, there is no practical way for the citizenry, even a well-armed citizenry, to oppose it. In fact, if the Constitutional Convention had proposed a Constitution that called into existence a federal government that was a national-security state, rather than a limited-government republic, there is no way that Americans would have approved the Constitution.

    Practically from the beginning of the conversion to a national-security state, the other three branches have deferred to the overwhelming power of the Pentagon and its vast military-industrial complex, the CIA, and the NSA. All three of those branches have understood the nature of power.

    For example, in the 1950s the Pentagon insisted that the Supreme Court grant it a state-secrets doctrine. Ordinarily, that is a legislative function; that’s the way things are ordinarily done in a democracy. The Supreme Court went along with what the Pentagon wanted, thereby circumventing the legislative process.

    Consider assassination. The Constitution did not delegate such a power to the federal government. The Bill of Rights expressly prohibits the federal government from killing anyone without due process of law. Nonetheless, when the national-security establishment insisted on having the power to assassinate people, including Americans, the Supreme Court acceded to its demand.

    Look at Gitmo, where people have been held for more than a decade without trial. Never mind that the Bill of Rights requires the federal government to grant people speedy trials. That doesn’t matter when it comes to the military and the CIA. The federal judiciary is not going to interfere.

    Congress has proven to be just as deferential. For one thing, Congress is filled with people who could be considered to be self-designated assets of the national-security establishment. This especially includes military and CIA veterans. They are almost certain to go along with whatever the national-security establishment wants. For those who strenuously object, they encounter the threat of having military bases or projects in their districts canceled, in which case the mainstream media in their districts will go after them with a vengeance. And there is always the possibility of being “Hoovered” with the threat of having friendly assets in the mainstream press reveal compromising secrets about one’s personal life.

    And woe to any president who takes on the national-security establishment. They all know this. That’s why there hasn’t been a president since John F. Kennedy willing to challenge them. For a while, it looked like Trump was going to do so but it wasn’t long before Americans saw that he too quickly fell into line.

    It’s time for Americans to do some serious soul-searching and to ask themselves some penetrating questions: Is a root cause of America’s many woes the fact that it is a national-security state, just like China, Russia, and North Korea? Is it time to restore America’s founding system of a limited-government republic? Which governmental structure is more likely to lead to liberty, peace, prosperity, and harmony?


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      1. Thank you Mac Slavo for another thoughtful article. It’s great to challenge group-think prior to cancel-culture removing any dissent. I agree that ABSOLUTE POWER has been the goal of those that do NOT embrace Constitutional values. The concept of a LIMITED FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, as spelled-out in the Constituion, has been abandoned by a majority of those in POWER. Power mongers have failed to study & learn the basic concepts of our Founding Documents. The effort to study those documents, including the Federalist Papers (written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, & John Jay) required more effort than our ruling class would give.

        Now we have the folks that failed to study, failed to develop analytical skills, have NO sense of logic, failed to study history, NO sense of perspective & context, running all 3 “houses” of the Federal Government. What could possibly go wrong?

      2. The JCSs are screwed now. Watch the next couple of days in Awe.

      3. Treason is the reason, you can’t impeach before an in investigation, a thing called Due Process of Law.

      4. We all know what this pandemic etc is all about, The Monarchy , Vatican and the rest of the wealthy bastards are fighting to protect their wealth. That’s what’s been happening since time began. They use the concept of God to scare us so we don’t fight back.

        • Before Gutenberg, an independent Bible was probably a capital offense, but noone needs a cleric, statesman, or shaman, to play mediator between man and God. Religion can be independent and not a monopoly of the state — particularly, if the price has been paid, for all times, on a cross.

      5. You can always ‘spot’ the JCS in a room full of people; you’ll know them by the GIANT SHIT STAINS on the end of their noses.

      6. FM 34-52

        Winter days were made for reading this stuff while cozied up by the fire.

        Actually quite comical when you think of the reality as opposed to to this fictional version.

      7. One of the greatest fears, expressed by the philosophers of Communism, was not a direct challenger, nor a direct secession, but a co-equal, separatist, parallel economy, or state-within-a-state. Independence of services and worldviews is radicalization, without necessarily lifting one finger to do harm.

        Your productive job skill is, all by itself, a discreet form of resistance. So is any independent means of social support, which you can offer to an in-group. The in-group is itself a form of sedition. Voluntary brotherhood or the freedom of association, without the compulsion or supervision of state enforced tolerance under the gun.

      8. Trump’s fat butt is coming out of the White House on January 20. He is a chicken shit pansy rich boy and so no match for the military who will make sure he leaves.

        • Frank you came in here for weeks on end slobbering all over Melania Trump shortly after President Trump was elected .
          It was an embarrassment for all of us.

          Apparently you have finally come to your senses that no respectable woman would ever have anything to do with you.

          So I will assume you have now set your sights on Kameltoe?

        • I tend to agree but If Trump couldn’t do it then nobody can. Stay focused. The beginning of the end started Christmas eve 1913. One must correctly identify their real enemies. Save your wrath for them not those who lifted the veil. Too ugly to kiss, eh? Too late, we are married now. Divorce is the only way out. We are upset because it was an arranged marriage. Blame the veil. It is too heavy for one man to lift. We have to speak in metaphors now to give plausible deniability for any effort at free speech. I am talking about the bride with treasonous poisonous lips. Should have slammed that veil down a long time ago. Peak and shudder is now our future. Good luck to you Frank always enjoy your comments. BTW does Mac have back up comms? We will need them soon.

        • What’s one man suppose to do, all of Washington is against him? He sure tried his best!!! So buckle up, and stop criticizing him? You in this shit show that’s coming just like the rest of us. Trump just bought them to light, he’s done more for the working people of this country than any president in my lifetime! God help us all.

        • Agreed.

          He had the chance to turn this around; after all he campaigned on draining the swamp. But he folded and allowed the swamp to dominate his cabinet and consolidate power. Not only that …. did Trump and Kushner really extort a cool 10 BILLION (with a “B”) from Qatar? Look up Kushner’s failed property at 666 Fifth Ave. for details.

          If Trump allows Biden to take power, I sincerely hope the dems ruin his private life. It would be a good message to pretenders-to-the-throne. This emperor truly has no clothes.

      9. They allow the legislature to operate and it’s no problem that 99% are grifters and corrupt on both sides of the aisle. As long as the MIIC (Military Industrial Intelligence Complex) is permitted to have it’s own way without interference, it turns a blind eye to the corruption domestically.

        Weapons of war and financial oppression are the two main exports of the USA.

        By the way, Obama used to be the best gun salesman ever in the US. I see Trump has taken that title now.



        Rick Sanchez; Media in Crisis.

        A must watch for anyone seeking better understanding of captured media today. Worthy of posting as it’s own article, because it’s that good. Timeless, wise, informative. He confronts the military industrial complex directly. Please watch and share.

        Then if you’d like a more historical take which is becoming increasingly more relevant as the yellow dawn ticks nearer;

        Russell Means; Welcome to the Reservation.

      12. ‘The memo may have been not only one to military personnel but also to President Trump: No matter how convinced you are that the election was stolen from you, don’t even think about remaining in power because we will ensure your forcible exit from the White House.’

        With a military that aids and abets ISIS and al Qaeda in the Middle East, would one expect anything less from our ‘Khaki Heroes’?

        And people wonder why I so intensely dislike our ‘heroes’? Why I scoff at ‘Wounded Warriors’ ads

        Obviously, they like the chances for a new war – probably with Iran – from this incoming admin.

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