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A Public Service Message from the American Income Life Insurance Co.Waco, TexasBernard Rapoport, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer Part V Feeding the “Trillion-Dollar Rat Hole” This is the fifth in a series of reprints from Tristram Coffin’s newsletter, The Washington Spectator, describing the Pentagon’s extravagance and mismanagement of military contracts. MANIFEST DESTINY The Civil War was started by “the planters and courthouse politicians of the Deep South . . . intoxicated by visions of a new ‘Manifest Destiny.’ Once they were free, they said, they would build a slaveholding empire all the way down to the Amazon Valley.’ \(The American Later in the 19th century, another emotional appeal became imbedded in the American psyche. Editor William Allen White of the excited the nation with these inflamed words: “Only AngloSaxons can govern themselves. The Cubans will need a despotic government for many years to restrain anarchy until Cuba is filled with Yankees. . . . It is the Anglo-Saxon’s manifest destiny to go forth as a world conqueror. He will take possession of the islands of the sea. . . . This is what fate holds for the chosen people.” touch: “He [God] has made us the master-organizers of the world to establish system where chaos reigns. . . . He has made us adept in government that we may administer government among savage and senile peoples. . . . He has marked the American people as His chosen nation to lead in the regeneration of the world.” President Reagan struck a similar note, quoting from the Bible in his appeal for $313 billion in military spending. This was “misuse of Scripture,” according to the Rev. Emmett W. Cocke, Jr., of the Mount Vernon Methodist Church. \(A Herblock cartoon shows Reagan clutching the Bible, a smiling general behind him, addressing a glum farmer, “So it says here in Scriptures somewhere they shall beat their plowshares into MATERIAL INDUCEMENTS There are a number of material inducements to persuade Congressmen to vote for huge arms budgets: Locating arms contracts in districts of key members. In 1954, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services uphill fight for reelection. The Navy conveniently shifted a contract for three destroyers from the Bath Iron Works in Maine to the Bethlehem shipyards at Quincy, Mass. by placing the huge C5A transport plane contract in Marietta, Ga. This, President Johnson hoped, would satisfy his concerns about the Vietnam war. When ship contracts were awarded to Pascagoula, Miss. Giving political contributions to deserving members. contractors for “Star Wars” and MX missile components gave a combined total of $931,995 to key Senate races in 1984, reports the Defense Budget Project. Eighteen leading MX and “Star Wars” merchants focused their gifts on members of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee who were up for reelection. For example, Armed Services, received a tidy $73,549. The arms PACs took a long look ahead and gave the Wall Street Journal. This year Aspin was elected chairman of the House Armed Services. It helps also to have friends in the White House. When the Navy ruled against giving General Dynamics a major contract, alleging faulty workmanship and a $100 million cost overrun on a prior job, company chairman David S. Lewis went to Edwin Meese at the White House. The Navy made what the Washington Post called “a startling reversal” after the White House meeting. Awarding reserve commissions to key Congressmen, which allows them not only to bear noble titles but also to receive hefty pensions. Sid Taylor, research director of the National Taxpayers Union, reports: “Some members of Congress with military reserve officers’ commissions have been receiving the equivalent of $50,000 in ‘pension pay-offs’ delivered by the Pentagon for the past 20 years. In the 1960s, it was common practice for the Pentagon to award military reserve officer commissions to newly elected members of Congress. In one case, two newly elected Congressmen a former peacetime Army private and a hardship discharged former Navy enlisted man were made instant captains.” Two Senate committee chairmen, Barry Goldwater \(RJudiciary, were promoted from Lieutenant Colonel to Major General. Taylor advises, “Military reserve status gives some Senators or Congressmen a ‘double-vesting’ advantage by acquiring pension time in two Federal pension systems, Congressional and military retirement, at one time. We now have about 53 members of Congress holding military reserve commissions, plus about 600 key staff members or other employees of Congress with military reserve status.” Reprinted by permission from the April 1985 issue of The Washington Spectator, Tristram Coffin, Editor. A oneMerrifield, Virginia 22116. 14 NOVEMBER 22, 1985