About ten years ago now I put out a book titled The War State: The Cold War Origins Of The Military-Industrial Complex And The Power Elite. Most books when they appear get some sales for a few weeks and then disappear, but that book has been a steady seller for years, garnering hundreds of positive reviews on Amazon.
The book is about the emergence of the United States as a global superpower after World War II and how that helped to not only create an “imperial presidency” but what one presidential advisor called a “permanent government” inside the executive branch. The term “deep state” started to get bandied around with the 2016 election of Donald Trump, but I tend to avoid using it, because the people who use it the most very rarely are clear exactly of what they are talking about and the masses who use the term have no idea what it is or what they are talking about, usually referring to some vast conspiracy, Jeffrey Epstein types, or as a simple political label to blame a shadow group for everything they are against or do not like.
Last week Vanity Fair published a long essay by a reporter who “embedded” with Donald Trump’s outgoing Secretary of Defense, Christopher Miller, for the final weeks of his presidency. He also hung around people such as Ezra Cohen, who was serving as Undersecretary for Intelligence. Towards the end of the article the reporter talk writes of his last meeting with these two men:
“We’re in a crisis mode,” Cohen had told me earlier. He said he and others had discovered that the Joint Chiefs were creating their own “security compartments” containing operational planning details “for the express purpose of hiding key information from career civilian and political leaders in the Pentagon”—up to and including the secretary of Defense. Talk about a deep state. “That means that policymakers were basing their decisions on partial information. It’s very dangerous and irresponsible, and that’s something I’ve actually highlighted in my conversations with [Biden’s] transition team.” I’ll admit it sounded loopy. To me it had all the elements of a Trump fever dream: The military and intelligence establishment was somehow scheming against the renegades. That is, until two other senior national security officials—with Miller and company—confirmed Cohen’s assertion.
“The entire system,” Miller stated, “the intelligence community [included], is complicit in setting up all these compartments—so that only very select people actually have perspective and access to the entire picture. And then your question is, ‘Well, who are these people that have the complete picture?’ I felt like I finally did as acting SECDEF—to a point. I’m sure there’s still some stuff that was being compartmented. But I don’t know that for a fact.”https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2021/01/embedding-with-pentagon-leadership-in-trumps-chaotic-last-week
The reality is what they are talking about is the group of people who are truly the most important people inside of the Pentagon and the national security state, because they are at the place where plans are created that are used to generate action. They are the real “deep state” inside of national security state, but they are nothing new and what Miller and Cohen describe is nothing new either. It is just that the general public knows nothing about it.
How and why policy is made is never talked about, because the media fixates on personalities and stories around the politically appointed leaders of the bureaucracies.
I don’t touch on this group in my book The War State. That book really functions as an introduction to the topic, but my new book Why The Vietnam War? does. In fact it shows exactly how the group operates and how it helped create the Vietnam War itself.
You can buy it now on Amazon.com. Just click here.