War Impoverishes US Society; Enriches Lockheed, Raytheon, Northrup , General Dynamics
October 12, 2014
Tyler Durden / ZeroHedge.com & Randolph T. Holhut / The American Populist
Thirteen years ago on 9/11, the so-called Global War on Terror began in response to the attacks on New York and Washington. Thirteen years later, where do things stand? Al-Qaeda never had a navy, an air force, or an army yet the US has spent more than $4.4 trillion to fight the Global War on Terror. Meanwhile, the biggest US defence companies -- led by Lockheed, Raytheon and Northrup -- are trading at record prices as shareholders reap rewards from escalating military conflicts around the world.
War! What Is It Good For? (Hint: These 4 Companies)
Tyler Durden / ZeroHedge.com
(October 10, 2014) -- As GreenLeft.org's Peter Boyle explains, it is a sadly familiar story: More death, pain and terror for the many translates into large profits for giant weapons making corporations.
Led by Lockheed Martin, the biggest US defence companies are trading at record prices as shareholders reap rewards from escalating military conflicts around the world.
Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at Chicago-based BMO Private Bank, told Bloomberg: "As we ramp up our military muscle in the Mideast, there’s a sense that demand for military equipment and weaponry will likely rise... To the extent we can shift away from relying on troops and rely more heavily on equipment - that could present an opportunity."
More money for the war profiteers -- never mind the terrible human toll.
Remote "precision" airstrikes -- such as the US and its allies -- including Australia, are carrying out in Iraq and Syria today, have a record of inflicting huge civilian casualties as so-called “collateral damage”.
Marc Herold, a professor of economic development at the University of New Hampshire, did a comparative study of civilian victims of the West's war on Afghanistan. He said: "From 2006 to mid-2008, US/NATO aerial attacks killed 1,488 Afghan civilians with 1,458 tonnes of bombs, whereas between October 7 and December 10, 2001 US war planes dropped 14,000 tonnes of bombs resulting in 2,569-2,949 dead Afghan civilians (or 18-21 civilians killed per 100 tonnes of US bombs)," the Guardian reported in 2008.
The relative lethality for Afghan civilians (measured by the ratio of civilians killed per 100 tonnes of bombs) of NATO's close air support strikes far exceeds the lethality of the US strategic bombing of Laos and Cambodia, Herold calculated. And the lethality of US airstrikes in Afghanistan between 2006-2008 exceeded by far that recorded in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Yugoslavia, Iraq in 2003 and Afghanistan in 2001.
For all its deathly toll, has US/NATO bombing in Afghanistan put an end to "terrorism" in that war-devastated country? No.
But that does not concern those who protect the wealth of the super-rich. War is good for profits.
The Bloomberg's share index for the four largest Pentagon contractors rose 19% this year, outstripping the 2.2% gain for the Standard & Poor's 500 Industrials Index.
Bloomberg's Richard Clough reported that shares for Lockheed, the world's biggest weapons maker, "reached an all-time high of $180.74 on September 19, when Northrop, Raytheon and General Dynamics also set records".
Those four companies and the Chicago-based Boeing accounted for about US$105 billion in US military contract orders last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
War generates big corporate profits and 21st century capitalism now wages a permanent war in the Third World. There is no peace in sight while this toxic system remains in place.
It appears the transition from Fed-sponsored economic-support back to Military-Industrial Complex-support is almost complete....
Saying No to War:
Is It Even Possible Anymore?
Randolph T. Holhut / The American Populist
DUMMERSTON, Vt. -- Thirteen years ago on 9/11, the so-called Global War on Terror began in response to the attacks on New York and Washington.
Thirteen years later, where do things stand?
The United States has spent more than $4.4 trillion to fight the Global War on Terror. We've spent more to fight against al-Qaeda than we did to defend ourselves against the Soviet Union.
Al-Qaeda never had a navy, an air force, or an army, let alone the thousands of nuclear weapons that the Soviets possessed at the height of the Cold War. Yet it is costing more to fight a relative handful of fanatics than it did to hold a global superpower in check.
In the process, we destroyed our civil liberties and created a massive surveillance state. We've let other national priorities -- health care, education, maintenance of public infrastructure -- go to hell while shoveling ever-more money at the military-industrial complex.
All to respond to an attack that was preventable, had not the Bush Administration ignored all the urgent warning signs in the summer of 2001 that a terrorist attack was going to happen.
We've spent $4.4 trillion to fight something that, on average, has killed less than 150 people a year in the United States in the last 15 years. Exclude the more than 3,000 lives lost on Sept. 11, 2001, and the average drops to about two American deaths a year.
Why not a War on Automobiles, since they kill about 33,000 Americans a year? Or a War on Firearms, since they kill about 16,000 Americans a year?
Yet we as a nation remains so afraid of terrorism -- a threat statistically on a par with bee stings, lightning strikes, and being crushed by falling furniture -- that we are willing to destroy our nation in exchange for the illusion of safety and security.
Now we have the Islamic State -- the perfect storm of foreign policy blowback. The barbarians that are rampaging though Syria and Iraq include fighters that were once trained by the United States, using weapons left behind by the US occupation force in Iraq, and who are angry at the United States for invading and occupying Iraq and Afghanistan and meddling in the affairs of other nations in the region.
The people who thumped the tub the loudest for invading Iraq and Afghanistan want the United States to go to war against the Islamic State.
They apparently learned nothing from the past 13 years.
Is the Islamic State brutal? Yes.
Are they an existential threat to the United States? Only if they get an army, a navy, and an air force. Like al-Qaeda. they don't have them and are unlikely to gain the military capability to attack the United States.
So, why does our nation have to go through this dance all over again -- ginning up a war against an enemy that sits about 7,000 miles away from our shores and doesn't have a military force worthy of the name?
Again, it was the overreaction to 9/11 and the hundreds of thousands of deaths and millions of refugees created by the Global War on Terror that helped to create the jihadists that have sprung up from Libya to Yemen, from Syria to Pakistan.
Given that the Islamic State appears so extreme and so fanatical that even what's left of al-Qaeda has disowned it, and that many Muslims are offended by its ideology, the Islamic State could implode with little outside intervention.
It's safe to say nobody knows for sure what will happen next. But looking back at the effectiveness of the last 13 years of America's Mideast policy, one can see that continuing the same approach isn’t the answer.
Yet President Obama is committing our military forces to another Middle East war. Riding a wave of manufactured fear, he thinks he has no choice.
He said on Sept. 10 that the US "will degrade, and ultimately destroy [the Islamic State] through a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy." He said that the mission is supported by our allies and that our nation will counter the threat "with strength and resolve."
While it is not a carbon copy of the disastrous wars of the Bush Administration, what President Obama, the man who won the Nobel Peace Prize, is about to give us is another new Middle East war.
The President does have a choice. He can say no to the fear-mongers and the armchair warriors and everyone else that thinks another open-ended, ill-defined, and unnecessary military adventure is just what the nation needs right now.
Randolph T. Holhut holds an MPA from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and has been a journalist in New England for more than 30 years. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. This was originally published in AmericanReporter.com.
From The Progressive Populist, October 15, 2014
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