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How the Defense Industry Bankrolls Pro-War Pundits

The US military media industrial complex is corrupting our airwaves.

Former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger, left, visits with former Army Vice-Chief of Staff Gen. Jack Keane during a Defense Policy Board meeting at the Pentagon on Tuesday, Nov.29, 2011. (Photo: Glenn Fawcett / DoD)

The US military media industrial complex is corrupting our airwaves.

As the debate over ISIS and US actions against that terrorist group continues, we’re seeing more and more so-called “policy experts” appearing on the mainstream media, explaining why American military action against ISIS is our only choice.

Well, as it turns out, these “policy experts” who are so quick to pitch war and military conflict are often really just shills for our nation’s military industrial complex, and they’re being paid very handsomely for all of their fear-mongering.

Lee Fang over at The Nation has revealed the truth about just a couple of the many, many “policy experts” that have been flooding our airwaves in recent weeks.

For example, there’s retired General Jack Keane.

Keane is the head of the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), which also employs Liz Cheney and neoconservative firebrand Bill Kristol. The ISW itself is backed by a handful of the United States’ largest and most profitable defense contractors.

Keane’s views and opinions on the current ISIS crisis have appeared in a variety of news outlets, including The New York Times and the BBC.

He’s also been on “Fox So-Called News” almost a dozen times to promote his defense industry-backed views on ISIS and the role the US military should be playing

But as Lee Fang points out, when Keane isn’t being interviewed by the mainstream media, he’s a very busy man.

Keane is a special adviser to the military contractor Academi (formerly Blackwater), a board member for tank and airplane maker General Dynamics, and a “venture partner” with an investment firm that partners with various defense contractors.

For his work with General Dynamics alone, Keane has been paid a six-figure salary every year since 2004, and last year, he made over $250,000.

So, is it really any surprise that someone who’s being paid so handsomely by some of the nation’s biggest defense contractors is going on TV and pitching more war and military conflict?

More war means more profits for defense contractors, which means more money for retired General Jack Keane.

Then there’s CNN regular Frances Townsend, a former Bush administration official, who has repeatedly called for more military action against ISIS during her television appearances.

Well, like retired General Keane, Ms. Townsend has multiple connections to defense contractors and the US military industrial complex.

According to the Public Accountability Initiative, Townsend has positions with two investment firms that deal with defense contractor money, and also serves as an advisor for the defense contractor Decision Sciences.

Again, is it really a surprise that, given her connections and work history, Ms. Townsend is on CNN saying that the US needs to use more military might against ISIS?

Basically, legalized mass-murder is being sold to us by a bunch of well-paid shills for te nation’s multibillion-dollar defense contractors.

Unfortunately, as despicable as that may seem, it’s been going on for some time.

As Lee Fang points out, back in 2008, The New York Times revealed a network of retired military generals on the payrolls of some of the nation’s largest and most profitable defense contractors, who were backing the Bush administration’s invasion of Iraq via television appearances.

As the current crisis involving ISIS continues to grow, the American people deserve to get unbiased and independent commentary on the situation, not commentary that’s being directly funded by those who would make more money from more military conflict.

There are just too many conflicts of interest with the media today, and it’s time for that to change.

When a network has pundits on to talk about ISIS, the military, or anything else, the network should disclose their conflict of interests and their sources of income.

If you’re being bankrolled by a billion-dollar defense contractor, then the American people have a right to know that you may have mixed loyalties when it comes to promoting military conflict and action.

It’s that simple.

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