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Introduction: Colonel (ret) Douglas Macgregor is a decorated combat veteran, the author of four books. He is also Executive Vice President of Burke-Macgregor Group LLC, a consulting and intellectual capital brokerage firm based in Reston, Virginia. Macgregor was commissioned in the US Army in 1976 after one year at the Virginia Military Institute and four years at West Point. Macgregor has testified as an expert witness on national security issues before the House Armed Services Committee and the House Foreign Relations Committee. He is a supporter of Ron Paul (R-Tex) and a spokesperson for veterans’ groups that are organizing marches and demonstrations on behalf of Republican candidate for president, Ron Paul.
Daily Bell: Give us some background on yourself and the US military-industrial complex.
Colonel Douglas Macgregor: Let’s be clear. I think we are spending far more on defense than we need to and that’s been true for a very long time. It’s become a self-perpetuating industry, sometimes referred to as a self-licking ice cream cone. I think it’s a good way to depict the American defense establishment at this point, though. I am by no means anti-defense or anti-defense industry but I think we can extract more for our money and we can do business much better than we are or what we have been doing for a very long time. One of the reasons that I wrote the books on military reform and reorganization is because until you go after the defense system and reorganize it and change it, the defense industry is not going to be changed. The defense industry has organized itself to support the client and it mirrors a very Byzantine, bloated defense establishment that we maintain in the United States.
Unlike many people, I walked away in 1991 from Desert Storm with the view that we had failed strategically to achieve our objective. The generals were, as usual, very timid and reluctant to fight. We assembled this monumental military force designed to take on and defeat the Soviet Armed Forces in Europe and we didn’t use it effectively. We didn’t use it effectively for a whole range of reasons because we were organized to refight WWII, which was a mistake, but also because the people at the top were very much bureaucrats who had risen through the ranks in peace time and they failed.
The political leadership chose to ignore that failure because they could, and I’m talking about George Bush Sr. and others, who thought they could capitalize on this great strategic achievement, which was not a great strategic achievement politically in the next election. As we know, that did not work. The American people, as usual, were not terribly engaged. They were happy to lead cheers, happy to receive the usual glowing reports regardless of whether or not they were accurate.
And so I walked away from the desert and that experience and we should have taken it more seriously than we did and made fundamental changes in reforms. Again we did not because there was no interest in the senior ranks to do so and no one in Congress was either sufficiently well informed or interested to make any changes. So the result is you have this trillion-dollar defense establishment that is still designed for the most part to maintain large numbers of generals and admirals and headquarters and to feed politicians’ re-election campaign coffers and sustain this bloated defense industry. Again, it’s all linked together but it all begins fundamentally with the nature of this military establishment.
Daily Bell: What was key to your realization that the US military was not what you thought it was?
Colonel Douglas Macgregor: The key to realizing that was seeing the various people in the chain of command operate, the various senior officers. I describe it in great detail in my book, Warrior’s Rage, which describes the largest tank battle the US Army fought since the end of the Second World War. It describes the enemy and it describes the generals and their failure to come to terms with the weakness of the Iraqi enemy, and the opportunities that were presented, because they really weren’t interested in fighting at all. To sum it up briefly, they were much more worried about losing the fight than they were about winning it. So their objective was to emerge without having lost as opposed to having won anything. And that’s the mentality that continues to this day. We’ve seen it again and again in Afghanistan and Iraq and the consequences have been destructive and disastrous for the American people and the American taxpayer.
Daily Bell: What is it?
Colonel Douglas Macgregor: I think it’s a self-licking ice cream cone. The generals are not oriented on waging war; they’re pre-occupied with maintaining the bureaucratic status quo. Remember, depending on at what level you retire, the higher obviously the better, you can make a great deal of money in the defense industry. The defense industry hires you not because you know anything or you are a particular expert; they hire you because you can call your friends on active duty and tell them to buy things or do things in return for which when they retire, they too will be rewarded with handsome retirements inside the defense industry. This extends to Congress; it’s kind of a form of what I would call legalized corruption.
So the last thing anyone is concerned about is the quality of the fighting formations, the people in them, what happens to them and their readiness to deploy and fight against anyone who can fight back. I think that’s the most important feature that your readers should keep in mind, that certainly since 1991, we have not fought anyone who has armies, air forces, navies or air defenses. In fact, we haven’t fought anyone who is capable of presenting real resistance or fighting back so we haven’t had real wars, in that sense. What we’ve had are colonial expeditions reminiscent of what the British and the French conducted in the late 19th century.
Daily Bell: Is it a danger to the US republic?
Colonel Douglas Macgregor: Very much so but there are a couple of things to keep in mind. I think your readers will appreciate this. We are on the threshold of budgetary Armageddon. There are people, of course, in Washington in fact, the majority at this point who don’t seem to think that matters. They seem to think we can borrow money in perpetuity at 2% interest, that the world is so dependant on this enormous American consumption machine that people will lend us money regardless of the circumstances.
I don’t happen to share that view. My view is quite the opposite. Debt matters. It’s always mattered and it’s going to crush us. The United States within the next two to three years is going to be in a position very similar to Greece, Italy and Spain. And long before that occurs, of course, we are going to watch the Eurozone collapse along with London, I suspect, and the British economy and then it will reach us and Japan. The Chinese, who are already in the throws of a downturn, if you will, is going to have an effect on them and on us, in ways that today no one really appreciates.
So in the final analysis, budgetary Armageddon is going to provide us with an opportunity to make fundamental changes, not just in the defense establishment but also in the organization of our government. Because it’s not a question right now of simply tinkering on the margins and making modest reforms. The whole structure is in serious trouble because it doesn’t work very well and it no longer performs the tasks for which it was designed. To understand why this budgetary Armageddon will make a difference, just keep in mind that the British ultimately left India not when they should have left India that was probably immediately after WWI, because certainly from the beginning of the 20th century onward, the British were investing more in their empire than they were taking out of it. So the empire was mortgaged to British vanity and you can make the argument that our bloated military establishment, the way we do business, is mortgaged to American vanity.
There are lots of Americans who equate bombing people in remote places who can’t fight back with the demonstration of American greatness. There are lots of them on the Hill but there are lots of citizens who simply don’t understand that war has consequences because, again, we have been faced with adversaries who couldn’t fight back. So again, the whole idea of war is no longer understood. Its consequences and impacts are not appreciated because it doesn’t hit home.
Well, we are going to go through something very similar. We are going to make profound change in this country not because we should but because we will have no choice. There will simply be no more money to finance the kind of insanity that we’re engaged in right now, both overseas and at home. We’re not going to be able to finance social security, Medicare, Medicaid or the defense establishment in the scale we have in the past. This is going to be a very difficult time for the United States – a true catharsis for the English-speaking public.
Daily Bell: Is there a US republic?
Colonel Douglas Macgregor: Well, there certainly are the outlines of one. I have great confidence and faith in the people who I call Americans. Not everybody in the United States today is an American, unfortunately. We have a country that is Balkanized and divided. Multiculturalism ultimately equates to multinationalism and a multilingual state. We’ve been on this road now since the late ’60s and early ’70s and I think the proverbial chickens have come home to roost. We have large numbers of people who are divided along racial as well as economic lines, and unfortunately, much of the economic divide overlaps with the racial divide.
Again, these issues of prosperity have effectively submerged and no one really wants to deal with them. But the collapse in prosperity, the downturn in living standards that will come as a consequence of this crisis that looms on the horizon, which Ron Paul has talked about for decades, as you know. This is going to throw all of these divisions into very sharp relief. And at that point we are going to discover, first of all, the answer to your question, which is, is this republic real? Does it still exist? I think it does but I think it’s going to be a very serious crisis. And then we are going to discover who is an American and that’s going to be another catharsis. We are going to define ourselves. What are we who are we that is something we have not had to do for a very long time, certainly not since the Second World War.
Daily Bell: Were the Founders in favor of a standing army?
Colonel Douglas Macgregor: Well, I think the Founders were concerned about the experience with Cromwell and the English civil wars even though Cromwell frankly had a huge impact on the development of the United States. If you want to understand the American Constitution and you want to understand the development of the American people, you have to go back to the Protestants from Great Britain who came to the United States in the 17th century, their experiences and backgrounds. They really defined us. What we thought of our religious freedom and the American Constitution, contrary to what people think today, they were not talking about all religions at all. We were talking about religious freedoms for Christians and those Christians at the time, as I am sure your readers know, where Protestants, and largely Baptists, Presbyterians, a few Lutherans thrown in, these people had been oppressed and suppressed by the Anglican Church and before that the Roman Catholic Church. So they were very concerned about religious freedom for those sects.
At the time, no one considered the possibility that we would have large numbers of Muslims come to the United States and I doubt seriously if that had occurred to anyone at the time that they would have wanted it. These are divisive issues. We now have more Muslims in the United States than we have Jews. Again, where do they fit in? Do they assimilate? Do they become Americans, particularly in an environment where we have renounced assimilation? In fact, the Obama administration is encouraging all these people from the Third World to set up and establish their own independent states inside the United States for all intents and purposes. The lessons of history are that great nations that go through this don’t survive. Austria/Hungary is gone. Czarist Russia and the success of the Soviet Union are gone. Yugoslavia is gone. Czechoslovakia is gone. Nations that tolerate that kind of division and Balkanization inside their countries do not last.
Again, this is a catharsis. We are going to have go through it and deal with it and answer to it and all of it overlaps with the economic problem. We know from our study in history that it is the economic crisis, the downturn in economic prosperity, the collapse of economic strength that inevitably brings on these developments. So when you ask about a standing army, the same thing is true for the English-speaking people, that they are uncomfortable with large standing professional military establishments because historically the English people haven’t needed them. Britain is an island; it has no need for a large standing professional military establishment. It needed a professional military organization, which it had, which was a small but effective professional army and a confident navy that was designed to protect access to markets. We in the United States were very similar but in the last 50 or 60 years we have become quite confused. We have become effectively an imperial power, something the Founders never thought would happen and would object to, and that I object to, I don’t think we need to be an imperial power. I don’t think we need to be but we now have inside the United States, interests, single-issue interest groups, with agendas that are frankly divorced from the American people.
Daily Bell: Give us some specifics on the Iraq war. Afghanistan. Success or failure?
Colonel Douglas Macgregor: Iraq and Afghanistan are disasters and anyone who asserts otherwise is misinformed. I recently met with someone who is an advocate for Mitt Romney and he was unhappy with me because I pointed out that the differences between Governor Romney and President Obama are marginal at best. He was trying to demonstrate how profoundly different they were. He was unsuccessful but one of the things he insisted on was that Obama had somehow or another sacrificed our great gains in Iraq. I looked at him and said, "You can’t be serious." He said, "What do you mean?" He seemed to be completely unaware, as many Americans are, that Iraq is effectively a satellite for Iran. That the United States Army and it’s generals did a brilliant job of consolidating the power and influence of Iran inside Iraq, by backing Mr. Maliki who is always Tehran’s chosen candidate and utterly destroying the Sunni Arab population’s influence and power. He was stunned and he said, "I don’t understand what you are talking about." I said, "Of course you don’t but consider this. If you think we were successful in any way in Iraq, then why did our columns of troops leave at 2:00 in the morning in the dead of night, along a road that was more secured than any penitentiary in the United States? And why, once we arrived in Kuwait, did we celebrate the fact that no one had been killed during the withdrawal in the middle of the night?" I said, "If that is evidence for victory then you certainly define victory very differently from me." I think Afghanistan will be perhaps even worse.
Daily Bell: You are a supporter of Ron Paul. Why … and how?
Colonel Douglas Macgregor: What appeals to me about Ron Paul can be summed up by one of his performances during the debates. He was asked a question by someone, after they had criticized Romney, Gingrich and Santorum for lobbying activities that characterized them to a greater or lesser extent as having behaved or acted like lobbyists. When they got to Ron Paul they asked him about lobbyists and he said, "You know, I don’t know any lobbyists. I won’t meet with them."
Now, for your readers who may not be Americans it is important that they understand that lobbying is an enormously important and influential industry inside Washington. Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent by both foreign powers as well as corporate entities inside the United States and various private organizations to shape and influence legislation. The fact that Ron Paul knew no lobbyists and wouldn’t meet with them is a measure of the man’s integrity. And frankly, a demonstration to the extent that he is not corrupt. He is there not only to represent his district but as Edmund Burke suggested, to also think clearly about what is in the interest of the American people and try and act in accordance with that larger national interest as well as the interest of his constituents. So I think that is more than anything else what appeals to me about Ron Paul.
Daily Bell: How have your politics changed?
Colonel Douglas Macgregor: I like to think of myself as a politically conservative person not in the sense that I am interested in using big government to shove my views down other people’s throats. Again, that is something that appeals to me about Ron Paul. He sees government as something that needs to shrink because it’s too intrusive, and so do I. Again, I see the traditional English-speaking paradigm in the United States where the best decisions are made at the local level, inside people’s families, in their communities, towns, cities and states – not in Washington. So I have great confidence in the ability of the majority of Americans to make good decisions if they are allowed to do so. I am not interested in legislation on the federal level. It is designed to re-engineer how people think, how they live, where they go to school, what they eat and so forth in the United States.
Daily Bell: What about areas such as globalization and the so-called new world order?
Colonel Douglas Macgregor: These terms you just used are really Trojan Horses for the socialist elite that dominates both western Europe and North America, to essentially re-engineer society to suit themselves. And as you can imagine, like all ruling elite they are corrupt. This also goes to the issue of the central bank and the origins of not only the Federal Reserve System but the central banking system in Europe. These things have turned out to be destructive because not only do they seek to socialize losses by shifting the burden by compensating the losses to the taxpayers in both Europe and North America, but it also allows them to manipulate countries and states into conflicts with each other that otherwise would probably not occur. That, again, is another reason I have been very supportive of Ron Paul because I think central banking has turned out to be a disaster.
But again, the socialist is very beguiling in his approach promising vast numbers of people in countries if only they will surrender their influence, surrender their rights for all intents and purposes to the socialist ruling elite, that somehow the ruling socialist elite will postpone or eliminate entirely the business cycle, that no one need ever suffer again. I think this is the thing that appeals to me about Ron Paul. Ron Paul wants to live in a world where we are not sedated consumers ready to make ourselves dependent on the whims of the ruling elite that masquerade as democrats – and I am using democrats with a small d. In fact, the ruling elite is like the ruling elite in any society. It’s about itself. It’s about abridging itself, maintaining and controlling everyone that it can in order to stay in power.
I don’t want to live in that world, Ron Paul doesn’t want to live in it and I don’t think most Americans really want to live in that world. But again, the catharsis is coming, the fight is coming and we are going to have to sort this out and decide just what do we want, just where we want to live, what kind of America do we want? And this economic crisis is going to compel us to answer those questions.
Daily Bell: Are you helping to organize veterans’ marches for Ron Paul?
Colonel Douglas Macgregor: No, I haven’t organized any of that. That’s being done by an entirely different group of people. They asked me to be a spokesperson for them. I have to tell you I grew so angry over time. Going to the funerals for young people, soldiers, sergeants, lieutenants and captains. People I knew in active duty. People I taught at West Point. I was very, very willing to speak on their behalf because these are veterans and they’re an enormous number, well over 100,000. These are people who’ve actually served and done something. They not only showed up and did their duty as Americans as they were asked to; they have done more than that. They’ve seen action, they’ve been under fire as I have, and they understand what combat means and what warfare means. And they understand what devastating impact these colonial expeditions that we call Iraq and Afghanistan have had on the Americans in uniform and on the people in these countries who are caught in the middle. They know that we have killed, wounded or incarcerated hundreds of thousands of Arabs and Afghans and we have done so unnecessarily and pointlessly, in pursuit of this Utopian notion that we can transform millions of Muslims and Afghans into Anglo-Saxon democrats. It’s absurd nonsense. It needs to die once and for all but in the meantime the damage we have done to ourselves, between the 4 trillion dollars at least that we have lost indirectly and trillions more that we’ll lose as a consequence of trying to help the damaged human beings that are trying to emerge from these conflicts, then you have the human toll, which we occasionally read about and we pay lip service to but really people don’t understand. This sort of thing is why I was drawn to the veterans’ thing for Ron Paul and that is why I am happy to speak for them.
Daily Bell: What happens if he drops out?
Colonel Douglas Macgregor: First of all, those of us who support the man never thought that Ron Paul was the sort of candidate in the current environment that would win the nomination. We always understood that his campaign was about a great deal more than this particular electoral contest and a great deal more than just this nomination. Ron Paul has been making these arguments about the criticality of reform and reorganization of our government, the way we do business, restoring the free market or Austrian economics for a very long time. He has also warned against the damage that these interventions are causing here at home and he’s pointed to the link between the large intrusive government domestically and the large intrusive government that leads us to intervene in other people’s countries overseas. Those are the things that he has been talking about.
We are now at that point where these things are going to be thrown into very short release. In the next two to three years everything that Ron Paul has warned against will come to fruition. I think that Ron Paul’s great contribution at that point will be to act as a beacon of light in this very dark period of our nation’s history. Ultimately he will illuminate the way out of this by espousing the principals that he has. So I think that’s what we’re all about, that’s why we support him and that’s why we don’t regard the failure of the Republican Party, which has strayed very, very far from it’s underlying principals and ideas. I don’t think we’re too worried about the failure of the Party at this point because this party has strayed very far from its ideals, and it’s going to be compelled to regain its old position inside our American society or it will be replaced.
Daily Bell: Will you support another GOP candidate perhaps Mitt Romney?
Colonel Douglas Macgregor: I think there are many people running for office in the Republican Party, in the House and the Senate, who agree with Ron Paul. What I think is very interesting in this current electoral contest is both Gingrich and Santorum, who continue to espouse silliness overseas, in a domestic sense, largely adopted the Ron Paul economic agenda. They adopted his view of the business world, the private sector and the kinds of things that can be done in terms of legislation and change to reinvigorate prosperity in the United States. I think that’s a glimpse of where we’re headed. They might not want to admit that publicly, although I think Newt Gingrich objectively has and so did Santorum. The problem for us, of course, is the status quo individuals like Mitt Romney and the people that surround him who aren’t very different than the people surrounding Obama and none of this will last. At this point, they are nearing the end of their tenure. The coming economic catharsis is going to sweep them away. I think there are lots of people who know Ron Paul is right, most of them Republicans, and I will certainly support them for office in the United States.
Daily Bell: On your website you speak about the Japanese striking Pearl Harbor. Did Roosevelt know about the strike in advance? Did he help facilitate it?
Colonel Douglas Macgregor: Well, what I will tell you is this. As with most things in history, the truth really begins to emerge 40 or 50 years after the event. That’s not because no one told the truth at the time but because it simply becomes very difficult to break through the status quo. One of the things that I say about Ron Paul is one of the things that George Orwell said: When deceit is universal, speaking the truth is a revolutionary act. Ron Paul has been speaking the truth for years and that in itself is a revolutionary act. The things that I am saying are viewed by the status quo in the mainstream media and in the government as revolutionary, but really aren’t.
So when you talk about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and you point to the obvious decisions that were made in the lead-up to that unfortunate tragedy that involved the embargo, that left the Japanese very little choice and made it abundantly clear that we were their enemies, then you begin to reach the conclusion that perhaps, in fact, this was something the FDR administration wanted to bring on, because they saw it as a means to extricating us from the economic depression, which I am sure as many of your readers know was very bad in 1939 and 1940. It made matters worse than it had been previously. One of the reasons that FDR implemented the draft in 1939 was to reduce unemployment. The universal draft meant that you took large numbers of people off the street that otherwise had no employment. So you see in retrospect there is a systematic approach that leads to an inevitable conclusion.
But yes, war was a means to an end, and having said that, it would be a mistake to argue that FDR necessarily wanted to go to war in Europe. Some people will assert that but the truth of the matter is that in 1941, if Adolf Hitler had renounced his treaty with the Japanese on the grounds that he would not go to war with the United States, we would not have gone to war with Nazi Germany because there was very little support in the United States for war with Germany. Our experience in WWI was still very fresh in everybody’s minds and everyone concluded that we had no business going to war in 1917, that we rescued British and French imperialism, that the Germans, the Austrians and the Hungarians were never our enemies and we should never have involved ourselves. Remember, we suffered 310,000 casualties in about five months of fighting. That’s worse than any other conflict that we have ever been involved with. That had a huge impact. I can tell you from my own family and from others whose relatives were in the First World War, everybody came back and made the decision to vote Republican and that never again will American forces be used on behalf of another nation’s interests, which in 1917 was the British Empire.
Daily Bell: You write, "Today, the same voices that advocated war with Iraq on specious grounds are urging an attack on Iran." Who are these voices? Why do they want a war?
Colonel Douglas Macgregor: This is a different set of circumstances. Iraq was the unfinished war. As I point out in my book, our failure in 1991 to accomplish our mission, which was to destroy or capture the Republican Guard thus making it impossible for Saddam Hussein and his regime to survive in power, was the reason we went back in 2003. All this business about weapons of mass destruction was subterfuge and utter nonsense. Lots of people lied to do that. The real reason was to finish the war, remove Saddam and restore Iraq’s oil to the world market.
All of that could have been done very easily, with relatively few forces and very little damage to Iraq, had we stuck to the original plan, which was not to dismantle the army, the state, effectively try to make Iraqi society into something it could never be. But the neocons, Wolfowitz, Feith, Libby, Cheney and others, managed to prevail upon George Bush to do something that we shouldn’t have done, which was adopt this position that we could turn Iraq into the Middle East’s first liberal democracy and make this Arab liberal democracy in Iraq friendly to Israel. Once we adopted that particular goal in the aftermath of Bagdad’s fall, then we started down this road to disaster. The lesson in history in the Middle East is very simple. Muslims will not tolerate government and administration from Christians European Christians, any Christians. We knew that and we did it anyway, supposedly for Utopian reasons. Serious mistake and we paid a terrible price for it.
Afghanistan was a little different. We initially went in there with a white footprint, which made sense. We tried to work with the locals. We capitalized on brilliant intelligence provided to us by Iran and Russia and we were successful until we were unsuccessful in Tora Bora and we allowed Osama bin Laden to escape. Having allowed them to escape we had to maintain a presence in the country and then, of course, this same group of people, the same kinds of mentality that admired us in Iraq, pursued us to do something similarly stupid in Afghanistan.
So you have this influence of over 100,000 conventional combat forces as we embark upon a nation-building mission and, of course, we declare the Taliban and a host of others to be our enemies when, in fact, they were irrelevant to us. We were only interested in Al-Qaeda. Al-Qaeda is not and was not in the country yet. Al-Qaeda is extremely unpopular with the Taliban and I dare say once the Taliban reasserts it’s control over the country, anyone who shows up who is a foreigner from Al-Qaeda won’t likely be welcomed.
Again, we are saddled with ideology and the same ideology in the foreign policy arm that thinks that we can transform the world into a replica of the United States and can export English speaking liberal democracy and its underlying values to peoples where the conditions to these things don’t exist for reasons of culture and economics. They are also responsible for the Utopian dream that we can simply print or borrow money in perpetuity, the Keynesian illusion. That illusion is going to die very hard with very terrible consequences for all of us and it’s unfortunate but this is usually the case with Utopian ideologies. They have to be destroyed before people will abandon them.
Daily Bell: Where does Israel fit into all this?
Colonel Douglas Macgregor: I think the Israeli thing has to be understood in the following sense. It is a mistake to insist, as I increasingly hear from people, that "all Jews are somehow or another unconditional supporters of whatever the Israeli state wants to do regardless of what is in American interest." That’s simply not true. What you have are numbers of people who call themselves neocons. They operate in a variety of settings in the government and in the media, and they support or advocate, for all intents and purposes, unconditional support for whatever the Israeli government wants to do. They are no means the majority and they are by no means representative of what I would call Americans who happen to be Jewish.
I say that because I fear anti-Semitism. I fear it because I think there is growing discontent with this sense that we have people making decisions in Washington that in their minds are beneficial to a foreign power and are not necessarily good for the American people or the United States. That’s a bad thing and I don’t think it’s unique because we have been down this road before. What will happen in the future? I don’t know. What will happen with Iran? I don’t know. They are a nation of 78 million people that spends less on defense than Greece, a nation of 11 million. The Iranians cannot project any military power beyond their border. They are very weak. Currently they are very fragmented as a society. There is great discontent. The economy is in serious trouble. The living standards are poor and there is a growing awareness inside that country that things could be very different and much better.
At the same time, Iran’s trump card is subversion, it’s ability to operate through Shia populations in adjoining or neighboring countries. That’s what’s happening in Iraq, that’s what goes on in Bahrain and eastern Saudi Arabia. In that sense, the Iranians do present a real security challenge to those countries except in Iraq where Shia’s are a majority and they have now established themselves so that’s why effectively Iraq is an Iranian satellite. But other than that, Iran’s ability to take material like enriched uranium and turn it into a warhead and make it work or subsequently integrate to a missile or an aircraft to deliver it, those are much more challenging things that more people are aware of, as we have seen recently with North Korea, which is more confident technically than the Iranians. This is the second attempt to launch an intercontinental ballistic missile, which has been a dismal failure. Iranians are looking at inter-ballistic missiles, for use inside their own region, because they feel threatened.
We continue to quote them out of context and often quote them inaccurately. We’ve got this bandwagon that’s trying to drag us into yet another conflict with them on the assumption that doing so will be good for us and Israel. I don’t think either is the case. I think it’s a very short-term view and a very misleading one. Iran is evolving. It’s going to continue to do that over the decade. We could wake up to discover that we are dealing with a very different state of the future than the one we see today. There are lots of reasons to look forward to the time when we can work with as opposed to work against Iran.
On the other hand, the evolution in the Sunni Muslim world is very different. The Turks have retreated dramatically from the secular state that he created and you now have an Islamist Turkish government with a perfectly nationalistic population and that also, in contrast to Iran, has a very proper military establishment and a very strong martial tradition. Turkey is in a position over the next ten years to become the leading Muslim power that not only dominates on the basis of its military power but is recognized as the de facto leader of the Sunni Muslim world in the Middle East and North Africa. You could see over the next several years an alliance emerge in the region, a Sunni Muslim alliance that is anti-western, anti-European and anti-Israel. That, I think, is more prominently our concerns for the future than anything in Iran. But then again, I am a minority on that point right now in the United States.
Daily Bell: Is a military dictatorship in the cards for the US?
Colonel Douglas Macgregor: A military dictatorship in the United States is not going to happen. There’s no danger of that and there never has been. Most of the people in the military are like myself; the last thing they want to be involved with after what they have been dragged into for the last 20 years is civil administration. That destroys military establishments. It’s one of the reasons that the US Army and Marines, in my judgment, are in very serious trouble right now because they have been involved in everything other than war fighting. There is no appetite for it at all and I think that is the least of everyone’s concerns.
Daily Bell: What kind of military would you like to see in the US?
Colonel Douglas Macgregor: What we need is a military establishment with a unified military command structure. That is, a joint integrated command structure. We have too many single-service headquarters, massively bloated bureaucratic overhead that we don’t need and we need to change that. Then we need to go into the services and reduce the rank structures, reduce the echelons of commanding control, consolidate many of the activities much as the British have done and the United Kingdom where they have created joint integrated acquisition and procurement and so forth. All of these things will allow us to preserve critical military capabilities that we need to defend the United States and its interests while at the same doing so much more inexpensively and economically.
But again, that’s not a popular approach. Reducing overhead, bloat and the way you do business, ensuring that there are no proprietary systems, and systems that are all compelled to talk to each other, work with each other and collaborate with each other. These things threaten interests and they threaten people who make a great deal of money from proprietary systems. Through acquisition they threaten huge bureaucracy employing large numbers of flag officers. And all of this will have to go away but, again, I think we have the opportunity for all this because of the economic downturn that will come as a result of the fiscal meltdown.
Daily Bell: Any final thoughts?
Colonel Douglas Macgregor: I would like to say to your readers, don’t be misled. There are lots of men in uniform who feel the way I do. I am just willing to speak publicly and I have written books and so forth and that’s not something most people do. I think you would be surprised at the attitudes of people in uniform. Again, remember that many of them are worried. If you are on active duty you can’t say anything about these things or you risk everything. If you are retired and you are dependant for income on what you referred to earlier, the military-industrial complex, those jobs and access to them are controlled by retired flag officers who will quickly move to remove you if you say things that, in their view, undermine the income stream, the revenue stream. Bottom line is, there are lots of people who share these views but, for the reasons I have outlined, are not going to go public with it.
Daily Bell: Any other points you want to make? Any websites you want to mention for readers to look at?
Colonel Douglas Macgregor: Just thank you for talking to me and your efforts to inform the public. We need every alternative we can find to the mainstream media, which is simply not interested in information. As we discussed, they are in the business of preserving the status quo and they support the self-appointed ruling elite that we have been discussing. That’s the problem.
Daily Bell: Thanks for sitting down with us.
Colonel Douglas Macgregor: Thank you.
Daily Bell After Thoughts
Colonel Douglas Macgregor is one of a few military men willing to speak out at what is surely a dark time for America’s military. If you read between the lines, he is intimating, in our view, a good deal more than he is saying. We are, in fact, sensitive to that because of our views on the subject.
The wars in which the US is now engaged are, in our opinion, part of a power elite drive toward global government; they are not wars of "American defense" but offensive efforts designed to create certain globalist outcomes supervised by interests that promote internationalism.
The American government, from a military perspective, has been engaged in the support of this elite element for at least a century. Macgregor himself makes the point that World War I was a war fought by Americans to support British interests. However, British interests in this case were synonymous with international ones.
A significant result of World War I was the League of Nations. When the League foundered, it seems to us that World War II was launched in part to continue the globalist impetus. Germany’s military buildup was funded partially by Western interests and the post World War II structure implemented the current globalist paradigm that includes the UN, IMF, World Bank, etc.
The dual function of the American military, whereby it supposedly serves the interest of an American nation but actually supports the interests of globalism, continues to this day. Macgregor obviously recognizes it, as does Ron Paul. So do 100,000 veteran soldiers who are willing to march in support of Ron Paul and his views on limiting American military involvement to engagements that actually affect US interests and the people who are citizens of what once was a US republic.
We are sure the elites are worried about the discontent in the US military but ongoing, endless wars have certainly been responsible for growing anti-war sentiment among many who have served in these wars and have grown tired of them. The wars have caused untold overseas suffering for both US soldiers and civilian populations caught up in the violence. They have supposedly come about as a result of 9/11, but this too is a questionable matter, with some on the 9/11 committee itself distancing themselves from the current narrative of the attacks.
Macgregor has now decided to speak up. Readers may believe he has not gone far enough, or made his sentiments clear enough, but from our point of view there is no doubt Colonel Macgregor is sending a message, just as the vets supporting Ron Paul are sending a message … that wars without cause and without end are simply not tolerable. We hope this message gathers force and resonates.
Anthony Wile is an author, columnist, media commentator and entrepreneur focused on developing projects that promote the general advancement of free-market thinking concepts. He is the chief editor of the popular free-market oriented news site, TheDailyBell.com. Mr. Wile is the Executive Director of The Foundation for the Advancement of Free-Market Thinking — a non-profit Liechtenstein-based foundation. His most popular book, High Alert, is now in its third edition and available in several languages. Other notable books written by Mr. Wile include The Liberation of Flockhead (2002) and The Value of Gold (2002).