States of war

George Monbiot argues that appeasing the US armed forces has become a priority for the US president.

The relationship between governments and those who seek favours from them has changed. Not long ago, lobbyists would visit politicians and bribe or threaten them until they got what they wanted. Today, ministers lobby the lobbyists.

Whenever a big business pressure group holds its annual conference or dinner, Tony Blair or Gordon Brown or another senior minister will come and beg it not to persecute the government. George Bush flies around the United States, flattering the companies that might support his re-election, offering tax breaks and subsidies even before the companies ask for them.

But while we are slowly becoming aware of the corporate capture of our governments, we seem to have overlooked the growing power of another recipient of this back-to-front lobbying. In the United States, a sort of reverse military coup appears to be taking place.