Thanks to a vigilant reader, I’ve come across the website of America’s largest, oldest, busiest, and most successful corporation. At least, that’s how this outfit defines itself.
It is not Wal-Mart, Exxon Mobil, or GM – it’s the Pentagon. Go to www.defenselink.mil and you’ll find “DoD 101: An introductory overview of the department of defense.” This official site presents the U.S. military not as a government agency, but as a corporation.
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The Pentagon puffs itself up like a corporation running an image ad. It brags that the DoD is “the nation’s largest employer” with more than two million employees, and that it has the highest level of annual revenues of any company in the country. The site points out that DoD Inc. far outdistances such competitors as Wal-Mart, the number two employer and revenue generator.
In a section titled “Who we work for,” the Pentagon goes completely corporate: “Our chief executive officer is the President of the United States,” it declares. “Congress… acts as our board of directors.” And – get this one – “our stockholders are the American people.”
Excuse me, but in our democratic society government is not a business, it’s a government. It has very broad and deep democratic responsibilities that no corporation can achieve. By their very nature, corporations are top-down, hierarchical operations that exist not to serve the public good, but to profit the few. They are anti-democratic, excluding the vast majority of people (including shareholders) from decision-making. They operate in a closed culture of secrecy and are aggressive expansionists, relying on PR, lawyers, and lobbyists to cover up their waste, fraud, corruption, environmental contamination, and abuse of people.
This is Jim Hightower saying… The corporate model is anathema to a free, just, democratic society – and it’s both telling and damning that the Bushites view the Pentagon as a corporate entity.
“Pentagon defines itself through corporate analogy on its website,” www.defenselink.mil, January 5, 2006.
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