Fortress On A Hill: Understanding The War Industry

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Christian Sorenson stops by the podcast to discuss his new book “Understanding the War Industry”, a detailed look at contracting within the U.S. military industrial complex and how its giant war chest gets funneled to an endless list of contractors, without question to its necessity or what could have been purchased in its place.

Everyone from libertarians to mainstream liberals to anarchists utters the words “military-industrial complex,” often as a catchall for murky forces that press the U.S. government into war. But what is this complex? More accurately rendered as the “military-industrial-congressional complex,” it is comprised of the Pentagon, the headquarters of the U.S. Armed Forces; industry, the corporations that sell goods and services to the Pentagon and allied governments; and Congress, which authorizes funding for the Pentagon to purchase industry’s products. Large corporations—the “industrial” side—steer the triangle.

Understanding the War Industry is a critical examination of corporate influence on matters of war. The book throws back the veil on how the corporations comprising the U.S. war industry wield authority and exploit financial structures and legal code. Sorensen demonstrates how corporate aggressors profit through such business sectors of war as information technology, nuclear weaponry, drones, space, and special operations. Sales to foreign governments (“foreign military sales,” or FMS) provide a major source of revenue for U.S. war corporations. Large swaths of U.S. academia function as part of the war industry instead of advancing the public’s understanding of the world or incubating innovation that benefits human progress. Other revelations within Understanding the War Industry include insight into how corporate boardrooms view the troops, overseas bases, and warzones.

Understanding the War Industry can be read as a call for peaceful mobilization or as a detailed journey covering the ins and outs of corporate dominance. Drawing upon an impressive body of research, Sorensen demonstrates how industry commands the other two sides of the military-industrial-congressional triangle and how it subverts democracy in the process. Stunning in its depth and analytical perspective, Understanding the War Industry instructs the reader about the state of the nation and offers hope for a future in which “national security” involves caring for the public instead of waging elective global war.