Monday, January 08, 2007

military-industrial complex

* Robert Scheer:
"The public, seeing through the tissue of Bush administration lies told to justify an invasion that never had anything to do with the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 or weapons of mass destruction, now has begun a national questioning: Why are we still in Iraq? The answers posted most widely on the Internet by critics of the war suggest its continuation as a naked imperial grab for the world's second largest petroleum source, but that is wrong.

It's not primarily about the oil; it's much more about the military-industrial complex, the label employed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower 45 years ago when he warned of the dangers of "a permanent arms industry of vast proportions."
That U.S. military budget exceeds what the rest of the world's nations combined spend on defense. Nor can it be justified as militarily necessary to counter terrorists, who used primitive $10 box cutters to commandeer civilian aircraft on 9/11. It only makes sense as a field of dreams for defense contractors and their allies in Washington who seized upon the 9/11 tragedy to invent a new Cold War. Imagine their panic at the end of the old one and their glee at this newfound opportunity.
The big prize here for Bush's foreign policy is not the acquisition of natural resources or the enhancement of U.S. security, but rather the lining of the pockets of the defense contractors, the merchants of death who mine our treasury. But because the arms industry is coddled by political parties and the mass media, their antics go largely unnoticed. Our politicians and pundits argue endlessly about a couple of billion dollars that may be spent on improving education or ending poverty, but they casually waste that amount in a few days in Iraq."

* meanwhile.,NYT:
"THESE are very good times for military contractors. Profits are up, their stocks are rising and Pentagon spending is reaching record levels.
Evidence of the industry’s good fortune is reflected in the stocks of major contractors over the last year. At the end of 2005, the Lockheed Martin Corporation, the largest contractor, was trading around $62 a share. Now Lockheed is around $92 a share. Over the last year, Boeing, which holds the No. 2 position, saw its shares rise from about $66 a share to around almost $89 a share. Meanwhile, Raytheon stock has risen from around $39 a share to more than $53 a share in the last year and General Dynamics has gone from the high $50s a share to almost $74 a share over the same period.
Democrats are typically loath to cut programs that could affect unionized workers. The fact that so many of the Pentagon’s weapons are build by unionized work forces — the backbone of the Democratic Party — is another reason why Democrats are expected to keep the money flowing.

“The unionized workers in defense plants are a natural constituency of the Democrats,” said Loren Thompson, a military analyst at the Lexington Institute in Arlington, Va. “There is not too much advantage for Democrats to attack weapons programs.”"

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