Martha McSally is a creature of the military-industrial-congressional complex


Rep. Martha McSally (R-Raytheon) epitomizes what President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned this nation against in his farewell address in 1961:

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence – economic, political, even spiritual – is felt in every city, every Statehouse, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.


We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

Eisenhower’s orignal draft of the speech referred to the military-industrial-congressional complex.

In a series of negative campaign ads attacking her opponent, McSally presents a hyper-militarism. She always portrays herself in uniform for the persona of a  “woman warrior” to contrast with an old photo of Kyrsten Sinema in a pink tutu, as a girlie-girl “lefty-looney.”

The primary focus of McSally’s negative attack ads is to assert that Kyrsten Sinema “denigrated the service” of those in the military in protesting the Iraq war. Politifact rates this claim false, unsupported by any evidence. Did Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema protest troops in a pink tutu and denigrated their service?”

Sinema’s campaign has denied those charges and said that while Sinema opposed U.S. intervention in Iraq, she always supported servicemembers.

“Kyrsten comes from a military family and is very proud of her record supporting Arizona’s servicemembers, veterans, and their families,” Sinema campaign spokeswoman Helen Hare said in an emailed comment to CNN’s KFile. “Attacks on Kyrsten’s respect for those who serve have already been called out as false, and Kyrsten is going to stay focused on the issues that matter most to Arizonans — like making sure Congresswoman McSally and her allies can’t roll back protections for patients with pre-existing conditions.”

The campaign further noted that two of her brothers have served in the military and that one remains on active duty in the Navy.

Back in 2015, Nate Silver looked at the question of the percentage of Americans in military service. While the data is now dated, it remains a relatively stable figure. What Percentage Of Americans Have Served In The Military?

As of Jan. 31, there were close to 1.4 million people serving in the U.S. armed forces, according to the latest numbers from the Defense Manpower Data Center, a body of the Department of Defense. That means that 0.4 percent of the American population is active military personnel.

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[F]ormer members of the armed services vastly outnumber current personnel. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is interested in a similar question — and to answer it, they use their own data as well as numbers from the Department of Defense, the U.S. Census Bureau, the Internal Revenue Service and the Social Security Administration. As of 2014, the VA estimates there were 22 million military veterans in the U.S. population. If you add their figures on veterans to the active personnel numbers mentioned above, 7.3 percent of all living Americans have served in the military at some point in their lives.

Arizona does have a number of military bases and military veterans as residents. In a close election, military and veteran votes could provide the margin of victory. But are McSally’s false attack ads against her opponent really about micro-targeting this voter demographic?

These false attack ads are a central focus of McSally’s campaign. It appears to be almost a primal scream against anyone who exercised their constitutional rights to oppose the unnecessary and illegal war in Iraq for which McSally is so proud to have served and earned her reputation. She appears bitter and resentful towards anyone who opposed the Iraq war. More than that, it is a full-throated defense of militarism — the very thing that President Eisenhower warned the nation against.

If McSally should lose this senate race, she will no doubt return to the military-idustrial-congressional complex, working for a defense contractor (such as Raytheon) or for a defense think tank, and plotting her next run for Congress. She is a creature of the military-idustrial-congressional complex.

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  1. In the interests of full disclosure, note that the Politifact rating was “Mostly False”. It turns out Rep. Sinema WAS wearing a pink dress that day.

  2. Good post, AZBlueMeanie. And it’s all true.

    But in the time left before the election, how should the Democrats respond to the smear campaigns against their candidates?

    GOP campaigns are usually about attacking the challenger’s character and trying to divert attention from the quality of life issues (healthcare, education, decent jobs, etc..) where the GOP has such a dismal record especially in Arizona.

    And the GOP smear campaigns against Kyrsten Sinema and David Garcia will be especially ugly this year because they are polling close to their GOP opponents.

    I don’t think the answer for Kyrsten Sinema is a continuation of her safe ads talking about pre-existing conditions or whatever.

    I’m afraid the Democrats are going to have to take on McSally. Force the Empty Flight Suit to defend her legislative record especially her votes to deprive tens of millions of Americans of their health care insurance. And what has she done for her CD2 constituents? Fly Girl is afraid of them, refuses to meet with them, has compared a town hall to “walking into an ambush.”

    There’s a lot to work with. Democrats need to figure out how to do this without descending into the mud fight that McSally is inviting.

  3. In the interests of full disclosure, note that the Politifact rating was “Mostly False”. It turns out Rep. Sinema WAS wearing a pink dress that day.

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