Incompetence, Corruption or Both
By FRANKLIN C. SPINNEY
On 3 March 2010, CounterPunch carried my critique of the Pentagon’s 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), which was released in February. QDRs have a long history of producing rubbish, and President Obama’s first attempt was no exception. Indeed, notwithstanding the expenditure of tens of thousands of man hours and over a year of preparation, Mr. Obama’s QDR set a new low for ducking the hard decisions needed to fix the real problems afflicting the military, and by extension, the taxpayers who pay the bill. Recent events, however, show why it would be a mistake to consign the 2010 QDR to the dustbin of history. The QDR serves a useful purpose for the gamesters inhabiting the hall of mirrors that is Versailles on the Potomac.
The players in the Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex (MICC) regard hogwash like that produced in the QDR as essential weapons for waging their unremitting budget war to extract money from the American people. Sun Tzu would have recognized the QDR for what it is: a Cheng (a dazzle) to set up a Ch’i (a stroke). When I worked in the Pentagon, we had a more prosaic name for Master Sun’s timeless principle of using a distraction to set up a decisive maneuver: The QDR is part of a cape job to set up a phony debate over the need for ever rising defense budgets while putting the rest of the government on a diet (in a recession).