VIEWS FROM VETS IN THE DEFENSE SECTOR: STRAIGHT TALK

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DEFENSE AND SECURITY INDUSTRY FOLKS, VETERANS GROUPS, OUR COMMUNITY

By Gordon Duff STAFF WRITER

A group of us work in and around the security industry.  By group, I mean, maybe  a few dozen of us.  We are friends, mostly people who worked in counter insurgency or counter terrorism as younger people and never grew up quite right. 

Backgrounds go from Marines to Special Forces, Seals, FBI, MI -5, Special Branch, SAS and a series of XYZ agencies in the US, Britain, France, Israel, Russia and a few other countries.  Military ranks go from bottom to as high as it gets.  Oddly, the nicest and funniest guys, the ones who take themselves the least seriously wear stars.

     

Our friends work from Indonesia to Nigeria, Rwanda, Iraq, Afghanistan and anywhere they can make a living.  Other friends retired and moved into major defense contractors or cutting edge companies all over the world.  It is the only growth industry we have left, other than bilking the government out of bailout money.

We could just as easly be writing on UAV aircraft, police and military training or threat assessments for high security installations.  Some of us are the top experts in this field.  Mixed into this group of well know and not so well known troublemakers are veterans advocates, political consultants, a smattering of diplomats, medical folks, former elected officials and "ordinary regular folk," meaning, people who can actually do things and not just talk about it.  I spend time every day lecturing them on economics but mostly we talk about car repair, guns or reloading, real life things.

Almost all of us are veterans and many of us have kids in the military.  In a better world, we would have all been grocery clerks.  Now  we live in countries run by them, failed grocery clerks at that. 

I am typically the "crazy aunt" with the background in banking and foreign policy.  Jimmie is an intel expert, former Military Attache to Israel.  Mark is in Dubai now.  He was Reagan’s UN Ambassador.  George (one of them) just sent me Philips announcement on the 35th anniversary of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus.  As we also have friends in Turkey, this gets dicey.  This George, a Cyrpiot who runs security companies, is family.  We have been so for decades. 

The new baby is on YouTube.  Babies can be a good reminder of what matters.

Our other George is in Iraq.  Between the editors, writers and their friends, you may have a thousand years of military, military contracting or security agency experience.  Even the lawyers we know, Bob Walsh, Jan Heger and others are all Vietnam veterans.  Ted lives in Zurich but is a Vietnam vet.  He and I fight politics continually as I do with Fred, retired FBI.  They are still great friends.

Edmund is in Singapore, retired Navy guy and US trained.  Others are from around the world.  We all share some things.  Even those who aren’t American feel American in some way or love America.  Many outside the US admire America more than most people who live here.  I think they don’t see the flaws.

I wonder how so many of us from opposite ends of the political spectrum can work together so well, with so much loyaty and friendship, there isn’t any one of these people I can’t trust with my life or have, and yet this same ethic is so missing from elsewhere.

Honesty and trust, honor, is supposed to be the basic value that defines us.  I am lucky to have the friends I do, at VT or those I work with and meet around the world. 

Whenever faced with a problem, worst case, people who have jobs with major corporations, the same teamwork used in a rifle squad in Vietnam or elsewhere always comes out.  No two of us have similar political beliefs, OK, Jimmie and I are liberals who still want to invade everywhere and blow everything up.

Not everyone is white.  If you look me up on facebook, my entire page is Nigerian.  We are Kurds, Jews, Arabs, too many Greeks, way too many, but it does’t make any difference, not really. 

Where am I going with this?  Everyone I know has the same values, the same ideas of friendship, some different ideas on religion which we enjoy discussing occasionally but share common ideas.  We live like we were in the same town or village somewhere, whether 100 miles or 8000 miles apart. 

Why then does nothing a government does reflect any of the things people do?  I wrote about Kurdisatan yesterday.  I have many friends there.  Some are Christian, some are Shiite.  As people, they are wonderful.  They have lived through total hell and everyone hopes it is over and they can bring their surviving children, as many are dead, back from hiding in nearly every country on Earth.

Cypriots have the same problem.  35 years ago, an army came and half their country disappeared.  Thousands died. 

I can’t even write about Israel.  There is so much pain there and I have so many Israeli friends that it is like a nightmare that never ends.  How do I lecture people whose kids are being blown up by rockets or shot on the street about actions in Gaza?  Americans have not paid those dues as I am continually reminded, and not in a shy or retiring way.

Americans are expected, somehow, to fix all things, from the problems in the delta regon of Nigeria to the economic collapse of Zimbabwe to Sudan and the Darfur crisis.  Mark has been there 15 times.  Many of us have worked on this.  Things may be changing, and thousands have done much to accomplish this.  Many have been Americans, religious leaders, politicians and even spies.

I am heading for Europe tomorrow.  Half the countries there are in trouble.  Unemployment riots in France marred Bastille day again.  Burning cars, by the hundreds, is considered almost normal now.  Greece had riots this year.  Harry called me from London.  We are trying to get together for a few days.  He says things there are depressing, unemployment, economic collapse.

Email just came from Germany.  I am to pick up kids and take them to Spangdahlem AFB to buy Oreo’s, a coveted item there, normally unaffordable or unavailable.  Germany is supposed to be rich, successful and represent the easy life.  Trying getting a job there, even as an engineer or teacher. It won’t be easy at all.

I look at the people I know, a pretty diverse group, and I look at the newspaper.  How the hell did we let things get this far?  We talk so much about China.  I have friends there.  They, not only like America, but admire us.  I am glad millions don’t starve in China anymore.  This is what went on for centuries and now people work, eat, drive cars and freely travel,  I would just like them to give us back some of our money.

How did we let things get this far?  I can’t even begin to mention global warming.  My email inbox will explode. 

Is everyone who works in government or for a newspaper insane?  I am thinking, mostly yes.  In a world where things are supposed to be simple, make money, feed your kids, send them to school, try to keep safe and healthy, government has turned all of this into a racket, with the help of people I suspect must be cut from a different cloth than the rest of us.

Americans woke up, a few at least, realizing that our economic system was a con job and hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars that had gone into the hands of a wealthy minority had, mostly, been stolen.  To a rational person, it would mean that every word that economic experts had said for decades was delusional and these people should be locked up.

Instead, we have the same people who screwed everyone fix the problem.  What was their solution?  Borrow more money from the rest of us and give it to the thieves?  Should we be surprised?

Should we all be lobotomized for allowing it?  No, of course not.  Why lobotomize someone already brain dead to begin with?

Today our news has stories of how the government of Iraq, one of the most corrupt on Earth, designed and built by one of the other most corrupt governments on Earth, our own, wants to lock our troops in their bases.  The reason?  They think they have enough power and organization to start acting American.  They want to start stealing on a massive basis themselves and they don’t want to have to compete with Haliburton and associates, the real professionals.

While whatever is going on around the world, Congress is running its usual circus of scams.  The healthcare debate is a huge moneymaker for everyone.  Nobody wants to make a decision because millions of dollars are being spent on graft of every imaginable kind to keep drug companies, medical racketeers and the insurance companies, one of the worst of the worst of the financial sector, in the same mode they have been in for years.

That mode?  Stealing everything they can get their hands on while buying our government to look the other way.

Their method?  Massive payoffs in Washington while spending millions fooling the idiot fringe into supporting them.  We had people picketing here in Toledo yesterday, worried about health care reform.  Half the picketers were either on Medicaid or unable to afford a dental visit for themselves or their kids.  Obviously, none of them were getting adequate mental health care.

The thing we do best is look the other way.  If you don’t you will start taking things you read seriously.  Veterans issues can be especially troublesome.  I had someone who thought they knew what was going on google: "Keith Roberts" the other day.  I had to tell them that he was one of many being prosecuted for angering the VA.

Ignoring the fact that Gulf War vets have been dying like flies while millions of dollars of nothing has been done is now in the news.  That’s ok.  Wait awhile and they will all be dead.  We did it with Agent Orange, we can do it with them too.

We may have leaned about this from dealing with Vietnam POWs.  We brought a few home.  We left hundreds abandoned.  We lied for years and had morons like John McCain, the carnival barker for POW denialism, front for the worst of it. 

We hid intelligence, actually destroyed it for years.  Jimmie, Colonel Hanke USA Special Forces, was POW intel officer in Thailand.  Live sightings of POWs went right into the garbage can as part of an official US government coverup we still lie about.  Now we can only hope they are all dead.  The idea of Americans suffering and being tortured for decades is sickening.  Oh, wait, we don’t mind the idea of torturing people year after year anymore. 

While I am on a plane tomorrow, a few vets will be in West Los Angeles, protesting again.  Why do they matter?  Stealing land from veterans is just another version of stealing land from the native Americans.  Rich people want it.  Rich people have friends in government.  Government is above the law.  Rich people get veterans land.  Why don’t the vets out there just accept that nobody cares about them or their land? 

It is hard to balance celebrating the good things and still pushing the bad forward enough to make being evil uncomfortable.  Since evil is so tied to power and money, it seems to have a massive lobby while doing good has become an afterthought.

We now have fewer troops killing themselves.  If you visit a military facility, you can see the new efforts being made.  We couldn’t do it because it was right, though.  We had to prove that when soldiers killed themselves or murdered their families, it caused a financial loss for the government.  Does this sound like the same rationale as the healthcare debate?

Why do people think like this?  If this "Reagan" thinking was really all that economcally effective, why has decades of it left us broke, unemployed and totally screwed?  Is reality telling us something?


Gordon Duff is a Marine combat veteran and regular contributor on political and social issues.gduff

 

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Gordon Duff posted articles on VT from 2008 to 2022. He is a Marine combat veteran of the Vietnam War. A disabled veteran, he worked on veterans and POW issues for decades. Gordon is an accredited diplomat and is generally accepted as one of the top global intelligence specialists. He manages the world's largest private intelligence organization and regularly consults with governments challenged by security issues. Duff has traveled extensively, is published around the world, and is a regular guest on TV and radio in more than "several" countries. He is also a trained chef, wine enthusiast, avid motorcyclist, and gunsmith specializing in historical weapons and restoration. Business experience and interests are in energy and defense technology.