What’s Your State’s Part in the MIC?

by Mary Beaudoin Women Against Military Madness Newsletter, Vol. 41, No. 3, Summer 2023

Every one of the states in the United States is probably engaged in thousands of different ways in the Military Industrial Complex (MIC). It so thoroughly permeates our country that former intelligence analyst Ray McGovern now refers to it as the Military-Industrial-Congressional-Intelligence-Media-Academic-Think-Tank MICIMATT). Here are just a few obvious examples of how Minnesota is directly involved:

The Minnesota National Guard in Iraq

It’s widely accepted that the U.S. war on Iraq was wrong, but that it ended. However, it never did end completely. It only courses through different phases occupying a U.S. foothold in the region,[1]as well as implementing the other original goal, initiated through the neocons of the Bush administrations, of taking Iraq’s oil which is still being pumped out, unmetered, by U.S. (many Texas-based) and international corporations.

It’s estimated that 12 to 25 U.S. military installations still exist in Iraq. In April of 2022, the Minnesota Army National Guard was sent to one of these, Al Asad Air Base, in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.[2]

According to the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), Operation Inherent Resolve was established in 2014 with the mission of eradicating ISIS, the ruthless zealots who were allowed to travel from Syria to Iraq and take control of large swaths of land, including cities and towns in those two neighboring countries. ISIS then served as a rationale for the U.S. military to be in Syria and Iraq. [3]

Operation Inherent Resolve was established under a Combined Joint Task Force, the military component of “the Coalition” which the DoD variously describes as “the world community.” It specifically worked with Iraq Security Forces and U.S.-approved Syrians and asserts that it has always been in coordination with the Iraqi government. (This operation was directed by the U.S. military, but when you are occupying a country, it always sounds better to claim you have compliant hosts and partners.)

The Department of Defense boasts that “as of Aug. 9, 2017, the Coalition conducted 13,331 strikes in Iraq, and 11,235 strikes in Syria, for a total of 24,566 strikes total in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.”


Image: Costs of War. Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs, Brown University

The DOD further states that, “as of June 30, 2017, the total cost of operations related to ISIS since kinetic operations started on Aug. 8, 2014, was $14.3 billion and the average daily cost was $13.6 million for 1,058 days of operations.”[4]

When the end of combat was announced in 2018, Operation Inherent Resolve transitioned to act as a military advisory group to Iraqi Security Forces, in case of a resurgence of ISIS – in other words, holding the ground with continued occupation.

It’s important to consider what can happen to U.S. military personnel when their presence isn’t wanted? Stars and Stripes reported in 2023 that military personnel who were at Asad Air Base in 2020 continue to suffer from devastating brain injuries from when a missile hit the base.[5]

Do we want to put our citizen soldiers, or any of our military, in conditions so hazardous to their health far from our country?

The Minnesota National Guard in the Arctic

The Minnesota Air National Guard has been receiving SERE (survival, evasion, resistance, and escape) training in the Arctic with British Army and Canadian specialists and Rangers. According to U.S. Air Force Sargent Cody Hallas, “The Arctic environment is constantly trying to kill you; every task is harder in the cold…the risk of serious injury is always present. Moisture management and the inability to dry gear is a huge issue. Cold, wet gear is miserable to wear and work in and extremely dangerous in the Arctic.”[6]

Oh, why would our military ever be training for the Arctic?

The Minnesota National Guard also trains with Norwegian forces. While the U.S. seeks Arctic oil, Norway is conducting exploration in its northernmost region and reviving plans to drill for oil there, accelerated by the loss of the Russian pipeline to Germany.[7]

If Minnesota is sending its citizen soldiers to Iraq, Alaska, and the Arctic, there can be no doubt that it’s not the only state sending theirs around the world, as well, endangering themselves and potentially others.

A Merchant of Death Returns

Weapons manufacturers came to be known as “merchants of death” when people began to recognize – and President Eisenhower warned – that such businesses encouraged war for the sake of profit and were giving rise to a military industrial complex (MIC) as a basis of the U.S. economy. Lockheed Martin is one such company.[8]

Antiwar protesters vigiled weekly for several years at the Minnesota corporate offices of the military industrial giant in the suburb of Eagan, vigorously opposing the defense contractor, until it left in 2010.

Research and development and manufacture of weapons are so compartmentalized now that parts can be made in many different facilities before they are put together for lethal use. Lockheed Martin has announced that its microelectronics subsidiary, Forward Edge ASIC, which designs parts for its “commercial, defense, and security customers”, will be installed on the West Side of St. Paul. Based on supplying 113 jobs, the state of Minnesota is rewarding it with a forgivable loan and a capital investment rebate, totaling $1.3 million.[9]

Another Minnesota connection is that of a U.S. Navy warship built by Lockheed Martin and launched and christened as the USS Minneapolis-St.Paul in the port of Duluth on Lake Superior. Lockheed Martin reported that in May of 2022, “the Freedom-class Littoral Combat Ship for the first time deployed to U.S. 6th Fleet as a measure of assurance for NATO allies and partners in Europe and Africa.”[10]

While Sister Cities have been established between Minneapolis and St. Paul and the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and Minneapolis became a Sister City with Najaf, Iraq to further mutual friendship and peace, it’s outrageous that a warship can navigate the world’s waterways literally bearing the names of our cities.

[1] Talk by Sami Rasouli, “Iraq Today: since 1991 – 32 years of war, sanctions, and occupation,” sponsored by Women Against Military Madness at St. Albert’s Church, Minneapolis May 17, 2023

[2]Department of Defense Operation Inherent Resolve dod.defense.gov/OIR

[3]Independent and foreign news sources, have reported on the enabling of ISIS, but are too numerous to list here. Some revelations have also appeared mainstream news in the BBC, on CBS, and in The New York Times. One article that is particularly revealing: Seymour Hersch’s exposure of arms and “rebels” in The Red Line and the Rat Line,” London Review of Books, Vol. 36, No. 8, April 17, 2014. tinyurl.com/24zv7h7m

[4]Department of Defense https://dod.defense.gov/OIR

[5]Lawrence, J.P. Veterans Open Up About Toll of 2020 Iranian missile attack. Stars and Stripes. January 5, 2023. tinyurl.com/49tds3yb

[6]133rd Airlift Wing Courtesy Story. Surviving the Canadian Arctic. The Ripley Reporter, Supplement of the Morrison County Record. April 30, 2023.

[7]Meredith, Sam. Norway faces backlash from campaigners for reckless pursuit of Arctic gas and oil. CNBC. May 22, 2023

[8]William Hartung’s 2010 book, Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military Industrial Complex (Nation Press) focused on this.

[9]Kumar, Kavita. Lockheed subsidiary on its way to St. Paul. Star Tribune May 25, 2023

[10]Lockheed Martin. U.S. Navy Commissions Littoral Combat Ship 21 (Minneapolis-St. Paul). May 23,   2022.tinyurl.com/mvh6svtc

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