Military contractors are proud of their influence in the 2016 elections in shifting presidential candidates towards increased militarism.
As if the United States required another reason to remain at war in perpetuity, defense contracting industry lobbyist group, Americans for Peace, Prosperity, and Security (APPS), recently praised itself for “driving the debate on foreign policy during the 2016 presidential election” — as though there were some debate concerning continued U.S. military involvement just about everywhere on the face of the planet.
Headed by former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, the obliquely-monikered defense industry agenda, er, interest group claims “the American president’s understanding of the challenges and benefits of American leadership around the globe has been vital,” in the video prominently displayed on its website’s home page. “The threat-matrix facing America today has never been broader,” Rogers’ narration of the video continues, “from ISIS and radical Islam, a nuclear Iran, to cyber-hacking attempts to disrupt our very way of life: our presidential leadership and emphasis on American security has never been more critical.”
Oh, how the smug irony — of military contractors whose interests lie in the same continuing military action that builds international resentment and fuels extremist actions against U.S. and allied troops and civilians — hurts.
As reported by Lee Fang in the Intercept, APPS’ self-laudatory tone continued in an email to supporters, praising the group for “pushing candidates on national security,” as pointed out by “highlights from many of our Iowa, South Carolina, and New Hampshire forums showcasing the candidates’ views on defeating ISIS.”
With Rogers’ assertion in the promotional video that APPS’ mission is “to ensure the next president is prepared to address today’s threats on Day One” by “moving the candidates beyond just rhetoric and talking points” in order to “help elect a president who supports American engagement and a strong foreign policy,” those highlights read as if pulled directly from a pro-war propagandist’s pep talk.
“We also need to decide, in terms of these radical jihadists, what do we want to do?” Ben Carson asked an APPS forum in Dubuque, Iowa. “Do we want to contain them or do we want to destroy them? I vote for the latter, because you know they want to destroy us and there is no such thing as containing people like that.”
“I am sick and tired of hearing people on my side avoid the idea of an American ground component,” Lindsey Graham asserted at a Charleston APPS forum.
Mike Huckabee bemoaned lost opportunities at an APPS forum in Greenville, saying, “We should have been running hundreds, if not thousands, of A-10 Warthogs busting every time a truck with supplies was on its way to ISIS soldiers.”
During separate APPS events, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio implied the need for drawn-out action against ISIS. The former advised preparedness for the “long haul,” while the latter compared future engagement against the Islamic State to past fighting against the Taliban in Afghanistan — because that was such a stunning success. Yes, that’s sarcasm.
As if APPS’ support from former politicians, military officials, and current and former defense industry specialists weren’t telling enough, the site’s referencing of Thomas Jefferson’s involvement in the Barbary War, Madison and the buildup to the War of 1812, Truman and the “unthinkable challenges” of the second World War, the “Soviet bear on the march” as Reagan came to office, George W. Bush’s difficulties in the aftermath of 9/11, and Obama beginning his first term with “terrorists still plotting,” are truly indicative of the group’s attempt to appeal to an emotional, nationalist mindset.
“History has shown that American presidencies are often defined by foreign crises,” APPS’ Historical Perspective states — and it appears the group fully intends to ensure the next presidency will be no exception.
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