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Profits Of War




Wars are so horrible they would be impossible if there were nothing to be gained by them. We've already seen those who finance wars and those who pay for them with their bodies and futures have nothing to gain from them. What motivates such huge projects of death and destruction&mdah;who profits from them?

The War Industry

Since U.S. military spending is at least $1.03 trillion, and the U.S. is approximately half of the entire world's military spending, there will be more than $2.06 trillion dollars in military spending world-wide this year.

In case you wonder where that $1.03 trillion dollar figure comes from, since the 2010 DOD budget is $579 billion, it comes from the fact a great deal of military or "defense" spending is hidden in other spending and budgets.

For example, the DOD's actual 2010 spending will be $721.3 billion when the "Overseas Contingency Operations," allocations are added. At least a third of the FBI budget, or $2.7 billion dollars is for "counter-terrorism." Somewhere between $10.1 and $54.2 billion is going to foreign aid and foreign arms sales by the State Department. $20.9 billion of the Energy Department's budget is "defense" related (nuclear weapons and nuclear power for ships). Between $3.4 and $8.5 billion dollars of NASA's budget is war related (satellites, for example). There is another $58.4 billion in Veterans' pensions, and another $66.2 billion for Veterans' Affairs. Interest on dept incurred for past wars is $57.7 to $228.1 billion.

It is probably impossible to determine the real cost of American militarism. The most important part of it, $1.03 trillion becomes the profits for what is obscenely called the defense industry, or more properly, the war-industry or war-profiteers.

The war industry is largely hidden as well. If one thinks about the war industry at all it is usually the big multi-billion dollar producers of missiles, planes, ships, tanks, bombs, and artillery, for example. Big ones with revenues like these (in billions of dollars):

Lockheed Martin (39 billion), BAE Systems (32 billion), Boeing (31 billion), Northrop Grumman (26 billion), General Dynamics (22 billion), Raytheon (21 billion), EADS (16 billion), L-3 Communications (12 billion), Finmeccanica (10 billion), United Technologies (9 billion).

Defense News lists the top 100 defense industries (2008). The first 57 all had revenues over a billion dollars. All had revenues over $389 million.

The Hidden War Industry

Here's one you haven't heard of. It is the Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security, with a $392 million budget.

Included in the mission of the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) "to advance U.S. national security, foreign policy, and economic objectives by ensuring an effective export control and treaty compliance system and by promoting continued U.S. strategic technology leadership. BIS accomplishes this mission through the following activities:"

  • Assisting U.S. industry in complying with international arms agreements; monitors the viability of the U.S. defense industrial base;
  • Evaluating the effects on national security of foreign investments in U.S. companies; and,
  • Supporting continued U.S. technology leadership in industries that are essential to national security.
In other words, the promotion of the U.S. arms and war industry both domestically and in foreign markets.

That industry includes much more than missiles, planes, ships, tanks, bombs, and artillery.

"Around 1997/98, the Defense Logistics Agency changed their business practices, and entered into Prime Vendor long term sustainment contracts with various suppliers to provide materials needed to support the maintenance, repair, and operation (MRO) of its facilities. Items such as plumbing, electrical components, heating/ ventilation/ air conditioning (HVAC), lumber, fixtures, other hardware supplies, etc. would be included. The Prime Vendors need not make these items; the idea is to use purchasing power and commercial purchasing practices to consistently get the US Department of Defense the best prices on these civilian items, delivering them quickly and with little overhead."

It is the "Defense Logistics Agency" (of the DOD) that is responsible for procuring all those usually overlooked military supplies such as clothing, boots, helmets, medical supplies, tents, and food, as well as items for facilities maintenance listed above, for example.

The "Fiscal Year (FY) 2008/FY 2009 Budget Estimates Defense Logistics Agency (DLA)" lists all of the following items:

1. Unemployment Compensation
2. Price Comparability
3. Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR)
4. Continuing Health
5. Counter-Drug Activities
6. Contingency Operations
7. Disability Compensation
8. Procurement Technical Assistance Program (PTAP)
9. Inventory Management, Catalog Production & Distribution of Hardcopy Maps
10. Logistics Transformation
11. Homeless Blankets
12. Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS)
13. Counter-terrorism/Force Protection
14. Government Industry Data Exchange Program (GIDEP)
15. Federal Employee Compensation Act (FECA) Surcharge
16. Small Business Administration Support
17. Base Support
18. OPM Investigations
19. Mobilization Warstoppers
20. Title IX (Public Law 108-287)
21. FY 2006 Supplemental
22. Defense Information Infrastructure
23. Facilities Sustainment
24. Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC)
25. PartNet/NET Inventory and Subassembly
26. Center for Supply Chain Management
27. Logistics Integration Center (LOGIC)
28. Supply Chain Integration
29. Meals-Ready-to-Eat (MREs)
30. Defense Automatic Addressing System Center (DAASC)Transaction Monitoring Project
31. Commercial Technologies Maintenance Activities (CTMA)
32. Managerial Support
33. Defense Environmental Restoration Account

The materials, equipment, tools, and services required for all these objectives must be supplied by manufacturing or service companies which are all part of the military war industry, but usually hidden as such. That's thousands of companies, and hundreds of thousands of employees.

[The "WEB page" for the above is a PDF file. It has a wealth of information about each of these categories.]

Services and In Field Contractors

It is services too, like translators and in field operatives.

Lend Me Your Ears: US Military Turns to Contractor Linguists

"The US Army's Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM) oversees a multi-billion contract to provide linguists services in Iraq. The contract dates back to 1999, when the INSCOM Contracting Office awarded a $4.5 billion, 5-year Worldwide Linguist Support Services (WLSS) contract to BTG, which was purchased by Titan Corp. in 2001. Titan was then acquired by L-3 Communications in 2005. L-3 assigned management of this contract to its Linguist Operations and Technical Support Division (LOTSD).

"In 2005, with the current contract nearing completion, INSCOM recompeted the contract. However, a final award decision was delayed as a result of a series of protests brought to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) by L-3 and other companies. On Dec 15/06, Global Linguist Solutions (GLS) in Falls Church, VA, was awarded the $4.65 billion Translation and Interpretation Management Services (TIMS) contract."

That's right. Over four and half billion dollars for translators. That's a lot of translators.

It isn't really the dollars that are important here, but the number of people who have sold out to provide services to the war machine—people whose living depends on death and destruction. This is certainly true of all the in-field contractors.

"There are roughly 102,000 contractors in Iraq, and each contracted worker can cost the government thousands of dollars a month, according to federal auditors. Commissioners said they were concerned that the U.S. military was not providing contractors with key information to help them synchronize their efforts with the drawdown of combat forces.

"There are about 98,000 troops in Iraq, but that figure is expected to drop to 50,000 by August. [It did.] At that time, the Pentagon estimates that the number of contract employees in the country will still exceed 70,000 -- about half the count in January last year."

You might be interested in how much it costs though. My own estimate was about $7 billion a year. Actually, "under a $38 billion contract, KBR provides a variety of logistics services, including running dining halls, doing laundry and transporting supplies for U.S. troops."

[KBR is A Global Engineering, Construction and Services Company]

Death and Destruction are Big Business

The war industry is so big, there are businesses that do nothing but cater to that industry, and promote it, like Defense Industry Daily, Defense Daily network, Defense Update, and Defense-Aerospace, which has an article, ""The Defense Industry Outlook Through 2012"," in case you were worried that there would not be enough missiles, planes, ships, tanks, bombs, and artillery to continue the slaughter of human beings and the destruction of their property over the next couple of years.

The arms and military products produced by American companies do not only support America's armed forces, but most of the armed forces around the world. The, "Federation of American Scientists," a liberal, perhaps even leftist oriented, organization nevertheless has good information (somewhat dated) about arms exports, such as this: "U.S.-origin weapons find their way into conflicts the world over. The United States supplied arms or military technology to more than 92% of the conflicts under way in 1999. The costs to the families and communities afflicted by this violence is immeasurable. But to most arms dealers, the profit accumulated outweighs the lives lost. In the period from 1998-2001, over 68% of world arms deliveries were sold or given to developing nations, where lingering conflicts or societal violence can scare away potential investors."

Global Issues, is a private site run by Annup Shah. You and I will not agree with all of Annup's views, but he has a well documented article entitled, "The Arms Trade is Big Business."

Investing in War

One thing you can count on is war, lots of war. No wonder "Defense Stocks" are a safe investment. It may be a safe investment, but it is not a moral one.

Nevertheless, "Global Defense Stocks and Homeland Security Stocks," are widely invested in by individuals and corporations. The temptation is very great when investors know, "Defense Industry Investments Set To Skyrocket Over The Next 18 Months."

In addition to the government's use of tax dollars extorted from you to prosecute its wars, you may be unwittingly supporting war in another way. Two of the major holders of "defense" and "Homeland Security" stocks are banks and insurance companies—perhaps your bank or insurance company is one of them. It might surprise you for example, that the very successful bank, BB&T, whose CEO, John A. Allison IV, makes Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged required reading for all upper managers, and actively promotes her works, has a subsidiary called, "BB&T Capital Markets|Windsor Group," which "focuses on transactions ranging in size from $10 million to $1000 million. It serves clients in aerospace, defense, government services, information technology, and telecommunications industries." [Emphasis mine.]

All War All the Time

All wars are put over in the name of, "defense." Originally, defense meant, defending against a real and imminent military threat by another country. Today it has a totally different meaning, and in its current meaning there is alway a threat and, therefore, there will always be war.

This new view of what constitutes a threat is explained in this February, 2003 article, "The Military-Industrial-Think Tank Complex: Corporate Think Tanks and the Doctrine of Aggressive Militarism:"

"The theory behind Bush's war posturing towards Iraq can be found in the administration's September 2002 National Security Strategy. "While the United States will constantly strive to enlist the support of the international community," states the strategy paper, "we will not hesitate to act alone, if necessary, to exercise our right of self-defense by acting preemptively against such terrorists, to prevent them from doing harm against our people and our country."

"This preemption doctrine is now the stated rationale for going to war against Iraq, despite the fact that Saddam Hussein and Iraq pose no immediate threat to the United States or its allies.

"The preemption doctrine is actually misnamed. Preemption suggests striking first against a nation that is poised to attack. The Bush doctrine is much more open-ended, implying that a U.S. attack is justified if a nation or organization might pose a threat at some unknown future date." [Emphasis mine.]

[The Multinational Monitor, the article is from, is a bimonthly magazine founded by the leftist Ralph Nader in 1980. But facts are facts.]

So "defense" now means "preemption," which really means the US may invade or attack anywhere anytime it decides (or chooses to claim) there is a possible future threat by anyone. To be able to do this though, the U.S. must be able to carry out such invasions and attacks, which means always being ready to go to war anywhere and everywhere, which is exactly what U.S. policy now is.

Peter Dale Scott explains this policy in his article, "The Real Grand Chessboard and the Profiteers of War.

"Its call for unilateral dominance echoed the 1992 draft DPG (Defense Planning Guidance) prepared for Defense Secretary Cheney by neocons Paul Wolfowitz and Lewis 'Scooter' Libby: 'We must maintain the mechanisms for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role.' It is echoed both in the 2000 PNAC Study, 'Rebuilding America's Defenses," and the Bush-Cheney National Security Strategy of September 2002 (NSS 2002). And it is epitomized by the megalomaniac JCS strategic document Joint Vision 2020, 'Full-spectrum dominance means the ability of U.S. forces, operating alone or with allies, to defeat any adversary and control any situation across the range of military operations.'"

The "range of military operations," is, of course, anywhere in the world at any time. With "defense" (preemption) as the excuse and with unlimited military power the U.S. will be at war somewhere all the time, and those who profit from them will continue to promote them.

War Lobby—Promoting War and Militarism

Since it is the war industry that stands to gain the most from war, it spends millions of dollars lobbying and promoting individuals and programs that will most likely advance the development of war materials and promote more wars. The following are examples.

Following the money from defense lobby "Lockheed spent nearly $190,000—including a $50,000 payment to the National Defense University that lists Gen. David Petraeus, the commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, as the honoree and another $50,000 to the Coast Guard Foundation for a dinner attended by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. Lockheed is the top recipient of Defense Department contracts. Last month, the company was awarded an $821 million contract to service Homeland Security surveillance planes."

Aerotech News: News Briefs August 25, 2010

"General Dynamics spends $2.7 million on lobbying" (One quarter--three months)
"Lockheed Martin spent $3.2 million on lobbying" (One quarter--three months)
"Honeywell spent $1.7 million on lobbying" (One quarter--three months)

Defense Contractor Spends Millions Lobbying, Wins $343 Million Contract

"Case in point: military contractor Science Applications International Corp., (SAIC), which is based in McLean, Va., but has a major presence in San Diego. The company announced this past week that it will receive up to $343.7 million from the Defense Department to create technology that will enable the military to better model and simulate space and missile defense systems. That's a whopper of a contract.

"But what wasn't so widely reported is how much the contractor has spent lobbying Washington. SAIC spent more than $1.3 million in the first two quarters of 2010 alone trying to influence the federal government, according to a recent disclosure report. The company spent $610,000 in the second quarter of this year ? actually down from the $860,000 the company spent during the same quarter a year ago on lobbying work ? and $710,000 in the first quarter of 2010, according to Business Week."

With so many billions of dollars at stake, it is not wonder that the entire military-industrial world is also full of corruption, a subject for another article. Here is an example of that, and what these corrupt companies are costing you.

Lockheed Martin

"The world's #1 military contractor, responsible for the U-2 and SR-71 spy planes, F-16, F/A-22 fighter jet, and Javelin missiles. They've also made millions through insider trading, falsifying accounts, and bribing officials."

"Military contracts 2005: $19.4 billion
"Total contributions for the 2004 election cycle: $2,212,836

"This Bethesda, Maryland-based company is the world's #1 military contractor as well as the world?s largest arms exporter. Lockheed Martin built the U-2 and the SR-71 Blackbird spy planes. Today they make F-16, F/A-22 jet fighter, Hellfire and Javelin missiles, as well as designing nuclear weapons. Its F-117 stealth attack fighters were used to ?shock and awe? the population of Iraq at the start of the US invasion, while since the start of that war the Air Force has increased production of Lockheed?s PAC-3 Patriot missile ? which cost $91 million per copy.

"According to the Arms Trade Resource Center, Lockheed Martin gets $105 from each U.S. taxpayer and $228 from each U.S. household. In 2002 the company was effectively taxed at 7.7% compared to an average tax rate for individuals of 21-33%."

Before you read the next, remember the products produced by the arms industry have no economic value, and are used only to kill and maim people and destroy property that does have value. Remember that every individual employed in any aspect of the arms industry is a drain on the economy, and if employed in any other industry would be a contributer to the economy, not a drain on it. The following is a huge lie.

The influence game: Defense lobby stresses jobs

"Our industry is ready and able to lead the way out of the economic crisis," said Fred Downey, a vice president of the Aerospace Industry Association, which says defense and aerospace manufacturers contribute $97 billion in exports a year and 2 million jobs. The message: "Don't hurt this industry" by cutting its programs to pay for stimulating other parts of the economy, he said.

"The defense sector spent $148 million lobbying last year, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, an independent group that monitors influence in Washington. Officials, employees and political action committees from defense companies contributed an additional $24 million to presidential and congressional candidates and political parties during the 2007-2008 campaign cycle.

"At stake are big chunks of the Defense Department's nearly $700 billion annual budget, which includes nearly $200 billion for weapons and equipment purchases and for research and development.

"While the government keeps no precise data on private-sector defense jobs, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates 647,000 people work in industries where at least a fifth of the products are defense-related. Estimates from the defense industry itself run even higher. With the wounded economy shedding half a million jobs a month, members of Congress and their aides say they hear the jobs argument all the time.

"...

"In a similar effort, members of Congress wrote Obama last month asking him to start adding 12 Navy ships a year, double the recent rate. Though the letters discussed national security, they also said the U.S. shipbuilding industry employs more than 400,000 people in 47 states and added, 'Thousands of jobs would be created in the United States with a renewed commitment to shipbuilding.'"

The Military-Industrial Complex

Eisenhower coined the term, "military-industrial complex." It has become a world-wide monster engulfing millions of people and huge amounts of the worlds wealth, influencing every aspect of the world's cultures and policies. It exists to spread the evils of war, it thrives on death, destruction, and the ruination of millions of human lives.

Two great forces drive the wars of the world: the first is the war industry and the millions who are a part of it and profit from it; the second are the gullible multitudes who support their government's wars and willingly send their sons and daughters to be sacrificed to their government's latest lies and lust for power.

—(09/24/10)