Feeding the War Economcy: US World’s #1 Arms Merchant

November 23rd, 2006 - by admin

Jerry Mazza / Online Journal – 2006-11-23 23:26:17



(November 21, 2006) — In a rather calmly-chilling story from The Boston Globe [1], Bryan Bender tells us, “The United States last year provided nearly half of the weapons sold to militaries in the developing world, as major arms sales to the most unstable regions — many already engaged in conflict — grew to the highest level in eight years, new US government figures show.” Isn’t that special?

Bender adds, “According to the annual assessment, the United States supplied $8.1 billion worth of weapons to developing countries in 2005 — 45.8 percent of the total and far more than second-ranked Russia with 15 percent and Britain with a little more than 13 percent.” Gulp.

Just in case you thought it was patriotism, self-defense, or defending national ideals that guided US weapons suppliers, now you will know — especially if you read the whole article — that it’s really about fattening the military-industrial complex’s bottom line. It is, it was, and it always will be.

And by the way, the report came from the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service. Check out the pie chart after The Boston Globe article’s fifth paragraph for the breakdown of international sales.

Bryan Bender also quotes Daryl G. Kimball, Executive Director of the nonpartisan Arms Control Association in Washington, who says: “We are at a point in history where many of these sales are not essential for the self-defense of these countries, and the arms being sold continue to fuel conflicts and tensions in unstable areas. It doesn’t make much sense over the long term.”

No, it certainly doesn’t make sense. But is sense what it’s about? No. It’s money. That’s what it’s all about. It’s about perpetuating chaos. It’s about draining our national budget of $500 BILLION plus a year for defense, not to mention another $350 BILLION a year for wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Or to “enhance collective defense arrangements,” which is to say, gangs of us clubbing each other.

But that’s an old story, and not just relegated to the US. As Bender points out, “For decades during the height of the Cold War, providing conventional weapons to friendly states was an instrument of foreign policy utilized by the United States and its allies.” Today, our allies include Pakistan, to whom we’ve recently decided to send F-16 fighter jets. These are the folks that developed their own atomic bomb, then gave the plans to rogue nations Libya and North Korea.

Also, weapons take men (and their lives) to bear them, those of Americans and all nationalities worldwide. Thus, when the US “also signed an estimated $6.2 billion worth of new deals last year to sell attack helicopters, missiles, and other armaments to developing nations such as the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, India, Israel, Egypt, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia,” one might ask oneself: “Isn’t our so-called ally Israel in conflict with most of those countries? So why would we want all of those potentially-hostile people in developing nations to be armed to the teeth?”

The Key Question Is Cui Bono — Who Profits?
Certainly the everyday people of America, Russia, Europe, and the Middle Eastern nations are not profiting, unless they happen to be in the weapons business. So who are these special folks in the US who are getting rich on world havoc?

In the article Ten Deadly Enemies Of Humanity In America, by Dr. Charles Mercieca [2], from the website Share The World’s Resources, I found this list of the 10 major weapons corporations, with their addresses and phone numbers.

Please read the details of their activities in Dr. Mercieca’s article. I included the first company’s description as an eye-opening example. You might want to write or call them and tell them how you feel about their war-profiteering activities. You might even want to picket them . . .

• 1. Lockheed Martin Corporation, 6901 Rockledge Drive, Bethesda, Maryland 20917, USA, Phone: 301-897-6000, Fax: 301-897-6700 . . .

“Lockheed Martin Corporation, better known by many as Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company, is located in Forth Worth, Texas. This company chose to specialize in the manufacture of military aircrafts whose job is to devastate entire nations mercilessly in the name of national security, peace and world stability! It produces F-16 Fighting Falcon, the versatile air-lifter C-130J Super Hercules, the stealth fighter F-117 Nighthawk, and the next generation fighter F/A 22 Raptor. All these are meant to be used not by civilians for positive and constructive purposes, but by the military for negative and destructive activities.

”This lethal company has been awarded contracts to build the multi-service and multi-mission F-35 Joint Strike Fighter! Lockheed Martin sells its products to any nation that gives the right price under the pretext that such nations have a right for self-defense! Like Retired US Admiral Gene La Rocque remarked in his videotapes: ‘Military product is manufactured primarily not for the defense of the USA or of any other country but merely for profit.’”

• 2. Boeing Company, 100 North Riversides, Chicago, Illinois 60606, USA, Phone: 312-544-2000.

• 3. Northrop Grumman Corporation, 1840 Century Part East, Los Angeles, California 90067, USA, Phone: 310-553-6262, Fax: 310-553-2076.

• 4. General Dynamics Corporation, 13880 Del Sur Street, San Fernando, California 91340, USA, Phone: 818-897-111, Fax: 818-899-4045.

• 5. Raytheon Company, 870 Winter Street, Waltham, Massachusetts 02451, USA, Phone: 781-522-3000, Fax: 781-522-3001.

• 6. United Technologies Corporation, 275 Westminster Street, Suite 400, Providence, Rhode Island 02903, USA, Phone: 401-521-5700, Fax: 401-521-3332, Fax: 401-521-3332.

• 7. Halliburton Company, 5 Houston Center, 1401 McKinney, Suite 240 C, Houston, Texas 77020, USA, Phone: 710-759-2600, Fax: 710-759-2605.

• 8. General Electric Company, 1717 East Interstate Avenue, Bismarck, North Dakota 58503, USA, Phone: 701-223-0441, Fax: 701-224-5336.

• 9. Science Applications International Corporation, 10260 Campus Point Drive, San Diego, California 92121, USA, Phone: 858-826-6000, Fax: 858-826-6800.

• 10. Computer Sciences Corporation, 2100 East Grand Avenue, El Segundo, California 90245, USA, Phone: 310-615-0011, Fax: 310-322-9769.

Trust me. The other nine companies have equally impressive resumes as war profiteers. What’s more, I’m sure one could form an endless list of suppliers in all aspects of weapons manufacture. In fact, go to this eye-opening website [3] for a subscription to DefenseNews.com, which can supply you with a list of the top 100 weapons companies.

You can click “more” to any of the stories for a subscription. Just supply your rank, branch of service, affiliation, etc. It’s that easy to keep up with what’s hot and what’s not in the business of death and destruction. In fact, here’s a PDF from the Government Accounting Office [4] you might want to check out on how to create positive working conditions with corporate weapons suppliers and the government. Get the picture?

A Key Question: Does Conflict Drive Technology, Or Does Technology Drive Conflict?
Now, one could assert the proposition that “conflict drives technology,” as did PBS.org [5] in its documentary “Warplane,” which traced US and world military aviation history from World War I on, perhaps unconsciously blessing it.

PBS describes its “Warplane” documentary this way: “A century of flight has seen the warplane develop from a crude instrument of wood and wires into a decisive weapon of modern combat. Join us as we trace the technologies that drove the evolution of warplanes through two World Wars and into the future.

”Watch aces battle for the skies over Western Europe in World War One; and as Britain’s outnumbered Royal Air Force uses a new technology, radar, to fight off the Nazi war machine in World War Two.

“Later see designers develop the jet engine and the all-moving tail to penetrate the sound barrier; and Lockheed’s “Skunk Works” race to develop groundbreaking, high-flying aircraft that could peek behind the Iron Curtain; and Stealth aircraft that would wreak havoc over Iraq.

“And, finally, take a look at the F-22 Raptor, the pinnacle of modern fighter technology – and the warplanes of the future, which go into battle without pilots.”

Sounds like the circus is in town, doesn’t it? Some circus: death as entertainment!

My net response from watching this, somewhere around the description of the Stealth Bomber, with a fabric-finished metal exterior to deflect microwaves from radar, and the F-22 Raptor (the pinnacle of technology), was that “TECHNOLOGY DRIVES CONFLICT.” In fact, technology kicks our butts real hard toward conflicts.

Or, said another way, if you possess weapons that escalate the capacity to deliver death and destruction, you’re going to use them. And Americans — and soon the rest of the world — have them, are using them, and most likely will keep on using them. So what is this bellicose madness about, my brothers and sisters, what is this really about?

Is the human brain hard-wired to kill in the name of the “Fight-Or-Flight Response”? Do we now know how to kill even when we’re running away by leaving those lethal nests of landmines and cluster bombs — as we have done in Iraq and the Israelis did in Lebanon — that go off at a later time, when “the enemy” strolls in after someone’s retreat.

Are we all like that old Army ad campaign said, “Be All That You Can Be” — cavemen who swing 100-million dollar clubs at each other? Is that the gig; is that bestial savagery the ludicrous purpose for which we were put on this planet?

Couldn’t we find a more life-supporting hobby? This is NOT a game. Though it seems like it is, if you watch “Warplane,” or any of the endless documentaries on the development of weaponry. It’s all abstracted from the gruesome sights and sounds and smells of war: the screams, the moans, the spilled blood and splattered guts, the bones jutting through the flesh, the skin being burned off, the human beings writhing in agony during their death throes. Know what I mean?

A better song goes “How much do I love you? I’ll tell you no lie. How deep is the ocean? How high is the sky?”

How is it that we are capable of expressing gentle, pure, deeply hearfelt sentiments of love and devotion for one another, which bring with them a rapturous flood of light? And yet we still maintain that dark side of human nature — the killer ape wielding the F-22 Raptor club that destroys life like nobody’s business. But it is somebody’s business: the people it will kill; and the people who get paid big bucks to build it.

It is true that some of those war-profiteering people are everyday people. They go to work and come home, have families, get raises, receive commendations for jobs well done, etcetera. Can they claim, like Nazi-era Germans, that they didn’t know where the boxcars were going? How long before we make progress — whether by the “evolutionary leap” or by the leap of “intelligent design” — beyond being killer apes, sometimes “just for the hell of it” (and war is Hell On Earth), but particularly for profit?

As one war-profiteering company said, “Progress is our most important product.” And as General Electric (number four in the top-ten list above) ads claim, “GE: we bring good things to life.” Or course, for public relations purposes they do not want to admit the truth: that “war is our most important product”; or that “we bring death.”

Real progress would be curing AIDS, which we still don’t know how to do. Real progress would be feeding the hungry, which we haven’t done. Real progress would be saving the atmosphere from coughing to death, particularly on the fumes, smoke and depleted-uranium dust of those weapons. Real progress would be truly thanking the universe for our existence by not trying to take away someone else’s life. Real progress would be banning the lexicon of “dog eat dog” from our behavior. Dig it (or dig our own graves)?

Think about it, especially when the next F-16 — already outdated and now being sold to the Pakistanis — goes soaring over your head. And when that F-22 roars overhead and shakes the ground with its sonic booms, like some angry war-god come to punish those who’ve interrupted its sleep in the cave of memory.

Real progress is taking the first step to peace, one step at a time. Disarming the tribalistic fear of The Other. Transcending the primitive impulse of the killer ape to dominate and exploit. And the dark-side alternative? It’s arming the economy with another new weapon from the perennial, age-old, inherited military-industrial complex (and as Freud noted, it is a Thanatos Complex).

If you have it, you’ll use it. And then who is to blame when the coffins fly home, the bugle plays taps, the flags wave, and the tears of the bereaved fall for the slaughtered, the maimed, and the missing men and women in those unmarked graves?

Pardon me. Let’s sing a different, better, gentler song . . .

How much do I love you?

I’ll tell you no lie

How deep is the ocean?

How high is the sky?

How many times in a day

Do I think of you?

How many roses are

Sprinkled with dew?

How far would I travel

Just to be where you are?

How far is the journey

From here to a star?

And if I ever lost you

How much would I cry?

How deep is the ocean?

How high is the sky?


[1] Brian Bender’s Boston Globe article, “US Is Top Purveyor On Weapons Sales List”: http://www.boston.com/news/world/articles/2006/11/13/us_is_top_purveyor_on_weapons_sales_list/

[2] Dr. Charles Mercieca’s STWR article, “Ten Deadly Enemies Of Humanity In America”: http://www.stwr.net/content/view/228/37/

[3] http://www.defensenews.com/channel.php?C=top100

[4] http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO/NSIAD-98-97

[5] http://www.pbs.org/

Jerry Mazza is a freelance writer living in New York City. He can be reach by e-mail at: gvmaz@verizon.net.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.


[1] Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay’s 11-5-06 TheNewAmericanEmpire essay, “The Arms Market And The Arms Race” [It is not an exaggeration to say that it is clearly in the interests of the world’s leading arms exporters to make sure that there is always a war going on somewhere. … One indication of the current breakdown of international law among nations is the USA-sponsored arms race to obtain or enlarge stocks of both nuclear and conventional weapons, and to militarize space.]: http://www.thenewamericanempire.com/tremblay=1044

[2] Heather Wokusch’s 10-25-06 Common Dreams essay,”How The Bush Family Makes A Killing From George’s Presidency” [Halliburton received almost $1.2 billion in revenue from contracts related to Iraq in the third quarter of 2006, leading one analyst to comment: “Iraq was better than expected. Overall, there is nothing really to question or be skeptical about. I think the results are very good.” Very good indeed. An estimated 655,000 dead Iraqis, over 3,000 dead coalition troops, billions stolen from Iraq’s coffers, a country battered by civil war, but Halliburton turned a profit, so the results are very good. (Describes The Bush Family’s lucrative war-profiteering activities.)]: http://www.commondreams.org/views06/1025-21.htm

[3] David Phinney’s 10-24-06 CounterPunch essay, “Contractors Use Asian Labor Trafficking to Build The World’s Largest Embassy: A US Fortress Rises In Baghdad” [No journalist has ever been allowed access to the sprawling 104-acre embassy site where towering construction cranes raising their necks along the skyline. The Iraqis stare at this gargantuan fortress and conclude the Americans will be staying until they have drained Iraq’s oilfields dry.]: http://www.counterpunch.org/phinney10242006.html

[4] Helen McCormack’s 10-23-06 Common Dreams/Independent article, “Israel Admits It Used Phosphorous Bombs In Lebanon” [Under international law, the military use of deadly white phosphorous bombs is illegal because it inflicts indescribably painful deaths and leaves horrific burn wounds down to the bone. The Israeli military also dropped tens of thousands of illegal cluster bombs, which look like toys, during its retreat from Southern Lebanon.]: http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/1023-02.htm

[5] Joshua Holland’s 10-16-06 Alternet.org article, “Bush’s Petro-Cartel Almost Has Iraq’s Oil” [Even as Iraq verges on splintering into a sectarian civil war, four big American oil companies are on the verge of locking up its massive, profitable reserves, known to everyone in the petroleum industry as THE PRIZE.]:


[6] Dr. Rodrigue Tremblay’s 9-25-06 Online Journal essay, “The Five Pillars Of The US Military-Industrial Complex” [Those five pillars are: (1) the US Military Establishment; (2) the Private Defense Contractors; (3) the Political Establishment; (4) the Think-Tank Establishment; and (5) the Propaganda Establishment (i.e., the mainstream media).]: http://onlinejournal.com/artman/publish/article_1241.shtml

[7] Michael Boldin’s 8-8-06 CounterCurrents essay, “Collateral Damage Is Murder” [The military attempts to hide their routine killing of civilians under the technical term “collateral damage,” but this is only a euphemism for st ate-sponsored mass murder.]: http://www.countercurrents.org/boldin080806.htm

[8] Nicholas Davies’ 12-31-04 Online Journal essay, “The Crime Of War: From Nuremberg To Fallujah” [An excellent review of international law concerning the outlawry of aggressive war, and its implications for US policy in Iraq and elsewhere.]: http://onlinejournal.org/Special_Reports/123104Davies/123104davies.html

[9] Dr. James Petras’ must-read new book, “The Power Of Israel In The United States” (Clarity Press, 2006) [Superb for its objective documentation of the negative effects that Israel routinely produces inside the USA through its Pro-Israel Lobby: enormous financial drain on taxpayers; corrupting influence on government officials; media distortion; intentionally suppressing freedom of speech; and hijacking US Mideast policy. Admonishes every American to resist the Zionization of US foreign policy and recommends countermeasures toward the de-Zionization of the American mind.]: http://www.amazon.com/Power-Israel-United-States/dp/0932863515

[10] Dr. Ismael Hossein-Zadeh’s must-read new book “The Political Economy Of US Militarism” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006) [This Drake University Economics Professor provides a brilliant analysis of militaristic America’s economic addiction to war.]: http://www.amazon.com/Political-Economy-U-S-Militarism/dp/140397285