The privatization of military services is a worldwide business worth $200 billion a year.
Perhaps the free market should end at the bullet and a strict regulatory system should be developed.
Wars cost money and wars provide profits. Making money off the back of misery is a critical ethical issue. We should be watchful.
Why does major media fail to report the money trail of war?
War activity in Iraq circulates more than $250 million per day. We should always know about the money.
It’s easy to blame the players and to categorize deals and money flow in military operations as ‘evil’. Subjective judgment is the percolation of politics, but because war always requires restraint, information is always necessary.
“We have genuine enemies out there that have to be hunted down, networks have to be dismantled. There is no contradiction between us intelligently using our military and, in some cases, lethal force to take out terrorists.” – Barack Obama
There is nothing new about military-centered services and manufacturers encouraging wars and profiteering from them. While Americans understand that making money motivates McDonald’s or Wal-Mart, and some are concerned about businesses donating large sums to influence politicians, most are unaware of how the profit motive helps shape U.S. foreign policy. This is caused in part by our leaders draping decisions, especially wars, in patriotism.
For most decent, caring Americans it is almost unthinkable that the profit motive played a significant role in putting our soldiers in harm’s way.
President Franklin Roosevelt was highly concerned about the influence of profit takers on U.S. foreign policy, saying in his 1934 message to Congress that “the uncontrolled activities of the manufacturers, and merchants of engines of destruction,” were a menace to world peace.
President Eisenhower called for “an alert and knowledgeable citizenry” to pay attention to the military industrial complex.
CorpWatch has a site dedicated to War Profiteers.
Lockheed Martin remains the king among war profiteers, raking in $21.9 billion in Pentagon contracts in 2003 alone.
Iraq For Sale: The War Profiteers is a film about what happens to everyday Americans when corporations go to war – inside the lives of soldiers, truck drivers, widows and children who have been changed forever as a result of profiteering in the reconstruction of Iraq.
War historian Stuart Brandes has suggested each new war is infected with new forms of war profiteering. Iraq is no exception.
Many think tanks and countless anti-war sites try to catalog the money flow of war. The Center for Corporate Policy has a 2004 Top Ten list.
BetterWorld has a link collection here including a short list of private military companies. There’s a War Profiteers Card Deck to download.
Major media covered Vice President Cheney when he said, “…since I left Halliburton to become George Bush’s vice president, I’ve severed all my ties with the company, gotten rid of all my financial interests. I have no financial interest in Halliburton of any kind….”
But major media fails to let us know Cheney retained stock options which have risen more than 3,281%.
America is the brunt of much criticism. Our best intentions sometimes fail in the field. But the gains of war are not merely an American Issue. The NYTimes reveals that opportunists in Somalia are now considered one of the main reasons for the continuing conflict.
Christopher Locke has a way of honing in on the evolution of these issues,
“…we are concerned …here… with the military-industrial-academic complex that evolved during the Cold War of the 1940s and -50s, entailing highly unnatural selection by very undisinterested institutions.”