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The Military Industrial Virus

Ralph welcomes acclaimed journalist, Andrew Cockburn, who argues that the more we spend on the armed forces the weaker we actually get. And energy security expert Joel N. Gordes explains how best we can safeguard our vulnerable power grid from a cyber attack.

Andrew Cockburn is a journalist, who has been covering defense and national security affairs since the height of the last Cold War and has published numerous books on the​se​ topic​s. Now, he is the Washington editor of Harper’s Magazine and the author, most recently, of Kill Chain: The Rise of the High-Tech Assassins. His latest article in Harper’s is entitled “The Military Industrial Virus: How Bloated Defense Budgets Gut Our Armed Forces.”

“People tend to say – and it always seems obvious – we have these bloated defense budgets because we have these foreign wars… I think people get it the wrong way around. I think we have these foreign wars because of the bloated defense budgets. They (the wars) are there to justify the budget, not the other way around.” Andrew Cockburn, author of “The Military Industrial Virus: How Bloated Defense Budgets Gut Our Armed Forces.”

Joel N. Gordes is military combat veteran, who flew over 130 combat missions over Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. formerly President of Environmental Energy Solutions and the Center for Energy Security Solutions, both energy consultancies involved in multidisciplinary aspects of energy and environment, especially as it relates to security.

“We need microgrids as hopefully a panacea to the problem (of cyber-security). A microgrid is not the same as a ‘smart’ grid. A smart grid has made extensive use of ‘smart’ technology. So, they’re often confused. A microgrid has certain characteristics that separate it from the main grid. It has its own fuel supply. It has its own physical security. It is less dependent on external supply chains. And in general, it allows you to cut off from the main grid.” Joel N. Gordes, cyber security expert.

RALPH NADER RADIO HOUR EP 272 TRANSCRIPT(Right click to download)


  1. stan moore says:

    The interview with Andrew Coburn and Ralph’s input is absolutely excellent! Thank you! … In 1953 (!) President Eisenhower told us: “The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement. We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people.” … It’s long past the time we should have stopped this insane imperialistic boondoggle … In 1959, Eisenhower predicted, “I like to believe that people, in the long run, are going to do more to promote peace than our governments. Indeed, I think that people want peace so much that one of these days governments had better get out of the way and let them have it.” I say let’s make that prediction a reality.

  2. Sunshine says:

    The price of freedom is not free. With all the downsizing not enough people to do the job makes us one of weakest military forces in the world where we were once a force to be reckoned with. There’s a reason why there has been so many accidents, budget cuts means less training and more military members losing their lives.

  3. Glen Bennett says:

    For your consideration….I recently, (May 28), participated in a meeting with Senator Jack Reed of RI. Reed is the Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Rhode Island Peace Alliance, comprised of representatives of Pax Christi, RI Anti – War Committee, Brown (university students) War Watch, Tuesday Morning Group, and The Green Party of RI met for 30 minutes in the conference room of the senator’s RI office. His staff was cordial and helpful. He too was cordial and attentive. Each of us gave a prepared 1 1/2 minute presentation as he listened. Then there was discussion. The following is my talk to the Senator. ( a signed copy was also left with his assistant)
    Statement to Senator Reed
    I’m Glen Bennett a member of the Green Party of Rhode Island and a National Committee delegate.
    I turned 18 in 1971 while the U.S. military was involved in a war in Vietnam. I was opposed to that undeclared war and have been critical of excessive spending on war and weapons and the militarization of U.S. foreign policy ever since.
    Mankind has made some important attempts to manage and reduce its’ reliance on war, but too often the United States government exempts itself from participation in international treaties or outright opposes them.
    George Washington and Dwight Eisenhower both issued warnings that reflect on today.
    Authorization for the Use of Military Force is abused by administrations and the Constitutional provision for Congress’ role in declaring war is ignored. The present ‘war on terror’ is designed to never end.
    Governor Raimondo believes that jobs in the ‘defense’ industries are ‘good middle class jobs’. We don’t. States allocate millions of tax dollars to train workers thus subsidizing the industry. Incentives are provided to lure or keep weapons manufactures. This does not reflect our values. There are corporations who’s entire bottom line is dependent on preparations for war and the selling of weapons. The Pentagon is never successfully audited. Cost overruns are ignored. There is a revolving door between military officers and defense contractors.
    The U.S. is the major arms exporter in the world. Weapons made are weapons used. There is an environmental cost. Collateral damage is unacceptable. The U.S. military is the largest consumer of oil on the planet. Nuclear weapons cause asymmetrical warfare. Regime change is not our right.
    There are proven solutions to the challenge of replacing well paying technical and support jobs in the weapons sector. Ask me.
    Thank You.
    Glen Bennett

  4. George says:

    Niels Harrit: In Terms of Exposing the military industrial virus and What Happened on 9/11, We Have Already Won!

  5. Charlotte says:

    You’d mentioned that I could get a copy of “No Holds Barred” on your program. How could I have that sent? The amazon pricing is shockingly high.

    Thank you!