Alwaght- US President Donald Trump said Monday that the Pentagon and military-industrial complex launch wars to hand billions of dollars to arms makers and keep them "happy".
“The top people in the Pentagon probably aren't because they want to do nothing but fight wars so that all of those wonderful companies that make the bombs and make the planes and make everything else stay healthy,” the president said at a White House press conference on Monday.
Trump: "I'm not saying the military's in love with me. The soldiers are. The top people in the Pentagon probably aren't because they want to do nothing but fight wars, so all of those wonderful companies that make the bombs and make the planes and make everything else stay happy" pic.twitter.com/uu1UnBnHbT
— CBS News (@CBSNews) September 7, 2020
The comments came days after an article was published in The Atlantic in relation to a 2018 trip to France, where Trump reportedly disparaged US service members killed in World War I.
The US president had called American soldiers buried at a French cemetery “losers” and “suckers.” Trump has denied the allegations, which were based on the claims of anonymous officials and aides, reiterating on Monday, “Who would say a thing like that? Only an animal would say a thing like that.”
“The story is a hoax, written by a guy who’s got a tremendously bad history,” Trump said. “The magazine itself, which I don’t read, I hear is totally anti-Trump ... He made up the story, it’s a totally made-up story.”
Trump’s attack on the Pentagon set off a wave of reactions, with bellicose foreign policy commentators and media pundits voicing horror at the “unprecedented public attack” on the military.
“Perhaps [Pentagon Chief Mark Esper] should defend the honor of those with whom he serves at the Pentagon? He has little to lose, since he's probably going to be fired anyway. Why not go out on a high note?” tweeted neoconservative luminary Bill Kristol, a top booster of the disastrous US invasion of Iraq and a vocal #NeverTrumper.
A CNN correspondent slammed Trump’s comments, saying that after insulting military veterans, Trump now accused military leaders of being warmongers.
Wait, so after insisting he'd never insult military veterans, Trump goes on live television and accuses military leaders of being warmongers?
— Josh Campbell (@joshscampbell) September 7, 2020
In an unprecedented public attack by a sitting US president on the leadership of the US military, President Trump has accused US military leaders of seeking to start wars to boost the profits of defense contractors
— Ryan Browne (@rabrowne75) September 7, 2020
The president’s son, Donald Trump Jr. also said a series of former officials who left their posts in the Pentagon for cushy jobs in the weapons industry, where retired officers often work as lobbyists helping to grease the skids for lucrative government contracts, RT said.
Trump's attack on the Pentagon came as he himself has been “complicit” in expanding US military budgets and feeding billions to arms dealers, progressive lawmaker Ro Khanna (D-California) said.
The US president, who had railed against America’s “endless wars” in the Middle East and told voters he will bring US troops home, has failed to live up to his anti-war rhetoric and instead boasted of “rebuilding” the US armed forces with vast military expenditures.
The US president has also touted multi-billion dollar arms sales to Saudi Arabia and other allies, insisting that they support American jobs and bring money into the country.
The term “military-industrial complex” was coined by Dwight D. Eisenhower, a five-star general during World War II who became president.
“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist,” he said in his farewell address to the nation in 1961.
The US invaded Afghanistan to overthrow a ruling Taliban regime in 2001. American forces have since remained bogged down in the country through the presidencies of George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump.
About 2,400 US soldiers have been killed in the war. Over 100,000 Afghans have also been killed or injured since 2009, when the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan began documenting casualties.
19 years after the invasion, the US has held talks with the Taliban as the country is still mired in militancy, war and poverty.
In March 2003, the US, backed by the United Kingdom, also invaded Iraq in 2003 claiming that the former regime of Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction.
No such weapons, however, were ever found.
The US Iraq invasion is often referred to today, even by Trump, as an example of an unjustified and politically motivated decision.
More than one million Iraqis were killed as a result of the lengthy occupation of the country, according to the California-based investigative organization Project Censored.