Dunford Joins Ex-Boss Mattis on Lockheed Martin Board
Until a few months ago the commander of the entire United States Armed Forces joins the ex-Secretary of Defense
Here was the headline that recently caught my eye: “Former Top U.S. General Dunford Joining UNICEF.”
Okay, you knew it was a joke immediately, right? There’s really only one conceivable headline of that sort when you’re talking about a figure like four-star general Joseph Dunford, Jr., who commanded the 5th Marine Regiment in the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and all US (and NATO) forces in Afghanistan from 2012-2014, then became commandant of the Marine Corps, and, until last October, was the only chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Trump era. I’m sure you’ve already more or less guessed, but here’s the actual headline that caught my eye the other day: “Former Top US General Dunford Joining Lockheed Martin’s Board.”
How boringly (or do I mean boardingly) everyday can you be? After all, where else but to big defense contractors do top US military commanders go to rake in the spoils of the system they’ve promoted and supported all their lives?
Here, for instance, is a headline from last year about former Trump-era Secretary of Defense James “Mad Dog” Mattis, a four-star with a similarly impressive military CV: “Jim Mattis Rejoining General Dynamics Board of Directors.” That’s right! Unlike Dunford, he wasn’t even joining, but rejoining the board of a giant weapons maker, since he had initially signed on in 2013, having just retired from the Marine Corps.
And as the Washington Post has reported, those two generals now are part of a roiling mass of former military and national security figures who “sit” on such boards or work as lobbyists for the giant defense contractors. As Lockheed CEO Marillyn Hewson so sagaciously put it when talking about her most recent acquisition, “General Dunford’s service to the nation at the highest levels of military leadership will bring valuable insight to our board.”
The only question here is “insight” into what exactly in a world in which generals like Dunford have overseen America’s unsuccessful forever wars for years before passing through that famed Washington revolving door into the “industrial” part of the military-industrial complex with their military ties intact. What a system for victory, if you’re talking not about the wars themselves but those triumphant defense giants – and what a loss if, like retired US Air Force lieutenant colonel, historian, and TomDispatch regular William Astore, you’re talking about our otherwise “self-defeating military.”
Source: Tom Dispatch