In January 1961,former two term US President and commander of the supreme allied forces in WW2 David Dwight Eisenhower used his farewell address to warn the united States of what he viewed as one of its greatest threats: the military-industrial complex composed of military contractors and lobbyists perpetuating war.Eisenhower warned that “an immense military establishment and a large arms industry” had emerged as a hidden force in US politics and that Americans “must not fail to comprehend its grave implications”. The speech may have been Eisenhower’s most courageous and prophetic moment. Fifty years and some later, Americans find themselves in what seems like perpetual war.
While perpetual war constitutes perpetual losses for families, and ever expanding budgets, it also represents perpetual profits for a new and larger complex of business and government interests.
Earlier this week The United States opened a new phase in the war against terrorism by launching airstrikes against Islamic State positions in eastern Syria. The campaign, which President Barack Obama has warned could last years, expands upon the aerial campaign the U.S. has already been conducting for more than a month against the extremists in Iraq.
The Defence Contractors seem to be making a killing by the opening of this new theater of operations in Syria. The Stock prices for 4 of the top 10 companies in the world that benefit from war (Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman )set all-time record highs.
It’s the munitions makers who “stand to reap the biggest windfall, especially in the short term,” says Fortune magazine,citing Raytheon’s long-range Tomahawk missiles, and Lockheed Martin’s Hellfire’s, among others. “Small diameter bombs could be a huge winner, since aircraft can carry more of them in a single sortie,” one analyst tells the magazine.
For defense companies, the offensive against Islamic State and Al-Qaeda extremists is more than a showcase for big-ticket weapons such as Lockheed’s F-22 Raptor fighter, The F-22 stealth jet that debuted in combat this week comes with a hefty price tag. Each costs an average of $190 million.
In its first night of airstrikes into Syria, the U.S. dropped about 200 munitions and launched 47 Raytheon-made Tomahawk cruise missiles, according to U.S. Central Command. The military also deployed Boeing’s GBU-32 Joint Direct Attack Munitions and Hellfire missiles from Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed, creating an opening for restocking U.S. arsenals. Seems like we live in a strange world where there is so much money to kill and destroy but no money to feed and house the poor.
War may be hell for some but it is heaven for others in a war-dependent economy .The business of war is profitable. In 2011, the 100 largest contractors sold $410 billion in arms and military services. Just 10 of those companies sold over $208 billion. Based on a list of the top 100 arms-producing and military services companies in 2011 compiled by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)
How about investing in peace and nonviolence? Australia’s Institute for Economics and Peace recently released its 2011 Global Peace Index, citing a veritable “who’s who” of peaceful countries. It counted up the savings had the world been at peace: more than $8 trillion last year, and almost $38 trillion over the five years since the index was started. Think of what a country such as the United States which does not fare well on the index( Ranked 86) could do with that kind of change.