Happy Memorial Day 2010 for the U.S. War Profiteers –- May They Burn in Hell!
Bill Quigley, law professor at Loyola University, has done the numbers crunching for us. All we have to do now is open our eyes and comprehend them, intellectually -- and morally might be a refreshing dimension, also.
No doubt, the USA is number one in war. This coming year the US will spend 708 billion dollars on war and another $125 billion for Veterans Affairs - over $830 billion. In a distant second place is China which spent about $84 billion on its military in 2008.
The US also leads the world in the sale of lethal weapons to others, selling about one of every three weapons worldwide. The USA's major clients? South Korea, Israel and United Arab Emirates.
Our country has 5 percent of the world's population but accounts for more than 40% of the military spending for the whole world.
Prof. Quigley factors in the, as always, apparently irrelevant or minimal human cost to America’s administrative, recent and present, and legislative leaders:
Our nation does not respect our soldiers by engaging in permanent war. War is grinding up our children. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have cost over 5000 US lives and tens of thousands more lives of people in those countries. Over 20% of those in our military who served in these two wars, 320,000 people, have war-related traumatic brain injuries. Suicide rates are up by 26 percent among 18 to 29 year old male veterans in the latest Veterans Administration study. Mental health hospitalizations are now the leading cause of hospital admissions for the military, higher than injuries. On any given night, over 100,000 veterans are homeless and living on our nation's streets.
Prof. Quigley also factors in the systematic erosion … hell … bald-faced annihilation of our Bill of Rights in the name of permanent war.
In the name of this perpetual war against terrorism the US still jails hundreds without trial in Guantanamo, holds hundreds more in prisons on bases and in secret detention world-wide, tries to avoid constitutional trials for anyone accused of terrorism, admits it is trying to assassinate an American citizen Muslim cleric in Yemen, and launches deadly drone strikes in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen killing civilians and suspects whenever we decide.
War means “big business” Quigley contends:
In January 2010, the Congressional Research Service reported that there are at least 55,000 private armed security contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan, and maybe many more - as many as 70,000 in Afghanistan alone.
But much bigger money is available to defense contractors. In 2008 alone, the top ten defense contractors received nearly $150 billion in federal contracts. These corporations spent millions to lobby for billions more in federal funds and hired ex-military leaders and ex-officials to help them profit off war.
Prof. Quigley looks at the top three contractors: Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Northrop Grumman.
Lockheed Martin is the largest military contractor in the world with 140,000 employees, taking in over $40 billion annually, over $35 billion of which comes from the US government. Lockheed Martin boasts that they have increased their dividend payments by more than 10 percent for the seventh consecutive year - perfectly in line with the increase in war spending by the US. Its chairman, Robert Stevens, received over $72 million in compensation over the past three years.
Lockheed's board of directors includes a former Under Secretary of Defense, a former US Air Force Commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, a former Deputy Director of Homeland Security, and a former Supreme Allied Commander of Europe. These board members receive over $200,000 a year in compensation. Its political action committee gave over a million dollars a year to federal candidates in 2009, and is consistently one of the top spending PACs in the US. They appeal to all members of Congress because they strategically have operations in all fifty states. And, since 1998, Lockheed has spent over $125 million to lobby Congress.
Northrop Grumman is a $33 billion company with 120,000 employees. In 2008, it received nearly $25 billion in federal contracts. Its chairman, Ronald Sugar, received over $54 million in compensation over the past three years.
Northrop's Board includes a former Admiral of the Navy, a former 20 year member of Congress, a former chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a former commissioner of the Security and Exchange Commission and a former U.S. Naval officer. The members of its board of directors received over $200,000 each in 2009. Its Pac is listed as making over $700,000 in federal campaign donations in 2009. Since 1998, it has spent over $147 million lobbying Congress.
Boeing has 150,000 employees and took in over $23 billion in federal contracts in 2008. With revenues of $68 billion in 2009, its chair, James McNerney, was paid over $51 million over the past three years. Its board members are paid well over $200,000 a year. Boeing's directors include a former U.S. Secretary of Commerce, a former White House chief of staff, a former vice chair of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, and a former U.S. Ambassador and U.S. Trade Representative. It hosts the 10th largest political action committee, giving away more than one million dollars to federal candidates in 2009. Since 1998, it has spent $125 million lobbying Congress.
Thousands … what am I saying ... millions … of dead or profoundly wounded human beings? Apparently no biggie to America’s war profiteers. Prof. Quigley asks us to remember the dead and disabled from America’s wars this Memorial Day 2010, along with the exponentially increased numbers of them yet to come ... or rather go ... their lives prematurely "snuffed out" or their quality of life devastated ... the soon enough to be dead and disabled from America’s PERMANENT STATE OF WAR. And since America is so effectively arming all of the world with weapons of serious destruction, there will be lots more opportunities for the U.S. to step in and fulfill its imperialist call for global acquisition of territory and resources -- hegemony -- using the always popular “shock and awe” in this, Obama's zealously renewed “new world order.”
Happy Memorial Day for all the war profit-makers. May they burn in hell.