In his recent “What if…” common-sense call to reject US military interventionism around the world, Republican Representative Ron Paul sadly failed to mention the military intervention rampant in the economy of his own district. Using the search tool at the website governmentcontractswon.com, I managed to find that between 2000-2007, tens of millions of dollars of defense contracts have been awarded every year to businesses in his 14th District of Texas. Some examples by Zip Code follow; each code lies within Congressman Paul’s district:
(Partial List, Zip Code followed by dollars 2000-07)
- 77590 $67,868,434
- 77592 $154,858
- 77550 $2,112,329
- 77551 $217,746
- 77554 $1,665,942
- 77539 $883,327
- 77546 $270,639
- 77573 $2,028,275
That means that for at least four election victories of the eleven he’s won so far, the plucky Congressman, an internet hero to people who hate the government that created the internet, has been happily bringing home the federal bacon and actually supports the local branch of the military-industrial complex he seems to have such a problem with. Indeed, his district contains bedroom communities to the south of Houston, whose own defense contracting totals run to the hundreds of millions of dollars. The people who keep sending Ron Paul to Washington are defense industry workers and management – tens of thousands whose livelihoods depend on the very military interventionism he says he opposes.
What if Ron Paul’s isolationist posturing wasn’t just a load of Texas-brand Republican horseshit? What if the firebrand rouser of angry white people who dwell in the country’s many remote areas actually meant what he said at the lectern? What if he acted on it? What if he insisted that the defense contractors in his district who profit from and enable runaway US hegemony, who build its weapons and systems and support, close their doors? What if he told them to move to another district? What if he adopted the slightest consistency in his positions? What if he quit pretending to be against US war machinery and moved to stop manufacturing it in his own backyard?
Of course, he can’t. And that is the truly insidious nature of the military-industrial complex that he is, after all, absolutely right to rail against. The gargantuan work of spending an amount on defense that is larger than all foreign defense spending combined is a project spread out evenly across every state and every congressional district in the United States. We are, and have been since 1941, on a coast-to-coast war-footing economy that employs millions. Practically nobody in Congress can stand up against the true nature of the problem without endangering their seats – base closures and factory closures mean lost votes. And the factories are everywhere, just like in the Texas 14th District.
So practically all elected representatives keep their heads down on the problem, the decades drag on, and the wars of choice add up. Injustice intensifies, the country becomes far poorer, and Ron Paul supporters post comments on YouTube blaming the problem on, of course, Jews.
I have a better idea.
Let me ask the Paulies reading this to contact the Congressman – preferably by FedEx or UPS so as not to use the Big Government Post Office – and urge him to capitalize off the head-start he has earned by opposing US interventionism. Call for him to shut down defense contracting in the Texas 14th district. Now.
Otherwise, Ron Paul is just another hypocrite. What if he wasn’t?