The Trillion Dollar Silencer: Why There Is So Little Anti-War Protest in the United States

The Trillion Dollar Silencer: Why There Is So Little Anti-War Protest in the United States

As the notion of perpetual war and a militarized society are normalized, notably absent are antiwar protests by faith-based organizations, civil rights groups, academics, and others. A new book, The Trillion Dollar Silencer, details this absence while laying bare the devastation wrought in the United States and abroad by the military industrial complex.

Author Joan Roelofs delves into the pervasive role of military contractors and bases that have come to be economic hubs of their regions. She discusses how state and local governments are intertwined with the Department of Defense (DoD), including economic development commissions at all levels. Contracts and grants to universities, colleges, and faculty come from the DoD and its agencies, such as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. The Minerva Initiative funds social scientists for military research. Civilian jobs in the DoD provide opportunities for scientists, engineers, policy analysts, and others. The Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) programs are subsidized by the DoD.

In addition to businesses large and small, nonprofits receive DoD contracts and grants, including environmental and charitable organizations such as The Nature Conservancy and Goodwill Industries. Individuals, arts institutions, charities, churches, and universities share in the profitability of military-related investments. Pension funds for public and private employees and unions are replete with military stocks. In other words, the military industrial complex is so embedded in our political economy that it has become virtually impossible to find any sector of our society that is not intertwined with militarism.

Guest – Joan Roelofs, Professor Emerita of Political Science at Keene State College. She teaches in the Cheshire Academy for Lifelong Learning and writes for scholarly and political publications. Joan is the author of Foundations and Public Policy: The Mask of Pluralism, and Greening Cities: Building Just and Sustainable Communities. She has been an anti-war activist ever since she protested the Korean War.

Hosted by attorneys Heidi Boghosian and Julie Hurwitz

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