Obama and the Military: Purely Tactical Disagreements
The Role of the US Military-Industrial Complex

by Alexander Frolov
Global Research, June 15, 2009
Strategic Cultural Foundation

In his last presidential address, US President D. Eisenhower warned his countrymen against the unchecked growth of influence of the political, ideological, economic, financial, and industrial militarily oriented machine which had emerged in the US by that time. To describe it, he coined the term military-industrial complex which later became commonly adopted. Since then the US military-industrial complex has gained a much greater clout. Quite possibly President Obama is not yet fully aware of the great extent to which the military-industrial complex is able to exert influence on him and his policies, but no doubt he is already being influenced by it. This fact must be taken into account to understand Obama's politics in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The US military-industrial complex – the world's largest – is not limited to the US armed forces and companies manufacturing weaponry. It also includes the federal and private organizations oriented towards the war, including a number of legislative and executive bodies. It is also fair to say that the US intelligence community belongs to the country's military-industrial complex. The US military-industrial complex has enormous financial resources at its disposal and is extremely influential, largely due to its symbiotic relationship with transnational corporations which routinely employ the US military might and the potential of its intelligence agencies to promote their interests worldwide.

The whole enormous monster functions according to its own laws and it takes a tremendous effort to make it adjust its plans. Can President Obama make such an effort?

During Obama's presidential campaign his dovish ideas concerning the settlement of conflicts in various parts of the world – mainly in Iraq and Afghanistan - were warmly welcomed by the public and seemed to draw no comments from the military. In the White House, President Obama confirmed that his plan would be to withdraw most of the US forces from Iraq within 16 months. The army generals immediately responded by suggesting a withdrawal within 23 months citing a number of unresolved strategic problems. Eventually a compromise – 19 months – was reached, but options to prolong indefinitely the presence of the US group of forces which is due to stay in Iraq after the general withdrawal in 2010 were invoked at the same time.

Evidently Obama expected to meet with opposition from the military in dealing with Afghanistan as well. To ensure clarity from the start he called his plan the “withdrawal strategy