22 Feb, 2024

David Starr, Profiting Off of Death and Suffering is the American Way

David Starr

Arms Industry and U.S. Government Have Now Practically Merged

The United States’s imperial foreign policy has been evident since day one, but especially starting with the Gilded Age and the arrogant doctrine of Manifest Destiny of the mid-19th century. The imperial “cause” continued through the decades leading up to today.

And today, the U.S. arms industry and the U.S. Congress have a reciprocal relationship. Because of this relationship, many members of Congress have grown rich off of war and death.

The Russia-Ukraine conflict has presented the latest opportunity for profiteering off of war. The arms industry is certainly making big bucks, with policies that fuel the conflict with the selling of an array of weaponry. There are politicians who have bought stock in the arms industry just before Russia invaded Ukraine. Nothing like perfect timing to secure one’s profits.

Never to turn down a “good” military intervention, Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) invested in Lockheed Martin shares the day before the invasion. The amount was small, between $1,001 and $15,000, compared to some investors. But Greene could not resist.

Marjorie Taylor Greene Answers a Question
Marjorie Taylor Greene [Source: newsweek.com]

Greene incidentally opposed giving military aid to Ukraine. So, Greene blatantly contradicted herself. It goes to show that she does not have any set of principles. It was a cynical move on her part.

Greene wrote the following: “War is big business to our leaders. Tragically, America’s foreign policy strategy over the past 20 years has been more for corporate profits than America’s security and our own national interest.”

First, the U.S., as an empire, has made money off of war and military interventions worldwide for decades. Second, it is not far-fetched to question her concern for U.S. security and its national interests when she probably sees all this as a justification to use the military for imperial debacles. On February 23, 2022, Taylor Greene tweeted, “War and rumors of war is profitable and convenient.” This contradicts her complaint about war profiteers.

Of course, Greene is not the only politician who has invested in the arms industry. As of 2020, “fifty-one members of Congress and their spouses own [a total of] between $2.3 and $5.8 million worth of stock in Boeing and other major defense contractors,” wrote Donald Shaw and David Moore in The American Prospect.

A person standing next to a helicopter Description automatically generated
General Timothy Ray speaks during a ceremony at Duke Field, near Fort Walton Beach, Florida, on December 19, 2019, marking the arrival of the Air Force’s newest helicopter, the MH-139A Grey Wolf, built by Boeing. Fifty-one members of Congress and their spouses own a total of between $2.3 and $5.8 million worth of stock in Boeing and other major defense contractors. [Source: prospect.org]

There are members of Congress with investments that are part of committees that decide what amount of funding defense contractors and weapons contractors get. “In the Senate, nearly one-third of the members of the Defense Subcommittee own stocks in top defense contractors.” Some major contractors of the arms industry that are recipients of funds from this subcommittee are Boeing, Honeywell, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics.

The subcommittee decides the allocation of funds for the Defense Department “and specifies weapons systems and other goods for the department to purchase from private contractors.”

The arms industry has, of course, given campaign funds to both Republicans and Democrats. Open Secrets published a list of the top contributors to politicians, dated 2021-2022. Here are the top 10. The amounts shown are totals among Republicans and Democrats:

• Lockheed Martin – $3,016,901

• COLSA Corp – $2,417,016

• Northrop Grumman – $2,152,828

• Raytheon Technologies – $2,102,133

• General Dynamics – $2,060,735

• General Atomics – $1,946,032

• L3Harris Technologies – $1,772,900

• Anduril Industries – $1,195,451

• Leidos Inc – $1,109,068

Specifically, members of the House Armed Services Committee and the Senate Armed Services Committee are targeted by the arms industry since both decide on the amount of funds to be distributed to the Pentagon budget. There is constant pressure on members of these committees by the lobbyists of the industry to give as much as possible. In turn, the private contractors pour money into the re-election campaigns of the members to ensure they receive the campaign contribution amount they want.

The following are the amounts of campaign contributions going to both Republicans and Democrats who sit on the committees:

• Republicans – $5,688,908

• Democrats – $4,476,436

• Total – $10,165,344

Compared to other sectors, the arms industry gives far less money in contributions, but it is one of the most powerful and influential sectors interfering in politics. While both Republicans and Democrats are ideologically the same (both are parties of capital), Republicans receive more funds than Democrats.

The largest U.S. company within the arms industry is Lockheed Martin. Located in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin had annual revenues of $67 billion in 2021. Its purpose is to research, design, develop, manufacture, integrate and sustain the technology systems it produces.

This makes Lockheed Martin a major player in the arms industry. It is called a global security and aerospace company (although one could question its role in global security, considering the U.S.’s foreign policy agenda). And it does most of its business with the Department of Defense, but also with other government agencies, and international customers.

Text, logo Description automatically generated
[Source: logodix.com]

As Jeffrey St. Clair of CounterPunch put it, “Lockheed Martin stands almost alone. It not only serves as an agent of U.S. foreign policy, from the Pentagon and the CIA; it also helps shape it.” St. Clair quoted Lockheed’s CEO Robert J. Stevens from a piece in The New York Times: “We are deployed entirely in developing daunting technology.” Unfortunately, this objective has succeeded so far. Profiting off of death and suffering are irrelevant to Stevens and Lockheed Martin, being a major contributor to U.S.-provoked wars and interventions worldwide.

A person speaking into a microphone Description automatically generated with medium confidence
Robert J. Stevens [Source: money.cnn.com]

The reciprocal relationship between government and the arms industry has resulted in former Lockheed associates being a part of government, and former government officials being a part of the arms industry. For example, Norman Mineta, the Transportation Secretary of the Bush Jr. regime, and Otto Reich, former Deputy Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere, were previously employed by Lockheed as lobbyists. On the reverse side, E.C. Aldridge, Jr., formerly of the Defense Department, was on Lockheed’s corporate board, having been elected one month after he retired from government service.

Otto Reich [Source: militarist-monitor.org]

The U.S. is the biggest arms dealer in the world. It has held “that top spot for 28 of the past 30 years,” wrote William Hartung in CounterPunch, “posting massive sales numbers regardless of which party held power in the White House or Congress.” While this is good news for Lockheed Martin and the rest of the arms industry, “it’s bad for so many of the rest of us, especially those who suffer from the use of those arms by militaries in places like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Israel, the Philippines, and the United Arab Emirates.”

Hartung provided an example: “It is well-known that the United States provides substantial aid to Israel, the degree to which the Israeli military relies on U.S. planes, bombs and, missiles. Washington’s support for the Israeli state goes back [decades].” Total U.S. military and economic aid to Israel exceeds $236 billion (in inflation-adjusted 2018 dollars) since its founding [1948]—nearly a quarter of a trillion dollars.”

William Hartung [Source: enemiesofpeacefilm.com]

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia had gotten into the military trough. During the Obama administration, Saudi Arabia received $115 billion in arms offers. But after repeated Saudi strikes on civilian targets in Yemen, Obama foreign policy officials had doubts about supporting the Saudi-coalition’s war. In December 2016, a multimillion-dollar bomb sale was stopped. When Donald Trump became president, the deal was revived and finalized. In 2019, Congress tried to block an $8.1 billion arms package but Trump vetoed the attempt. Included in the package was support for the Royal Saudi Air Force, which would continue to bomb Yemen.

U.S. President Donald Trump with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. [Source: scroll.in]

In a June 19, 2018, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) release, it was revealed that Trump planned to have the United States withdraw from the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Jamil Dakwar, director of the ACLU’s Human Rights Program, was quoted as saying, “Trump is leading a concerted, aggressive effort to violate basic human rights of those who are in most need of protection while at the same time undermining the legitimacy of international bodies in charge of holding all governments accountable.” Trump did not care about violating human rights. He wanted to make sweet deals with other countries instead.

Sensing their tarnished reputations worldwide given the consequences of their actions, private contractors in the arms industry have tried to prop up a better image of themselves. Referring to Lockheed Martin again, it was doing television ads to try to show that it produces high-tech weapons to provide security, according to Michelle Schudel in Liberation News (October 5, 2007). To do this, it devised a slogan in an attempt to show that it is doing the right thing: “We never forget who we are working for.”

Are they working for the public? Ha, no. Schudel: “The company, a fixture in the military-industrial complex, exists only to enrich its owners and to appease its backers in the Defense Department.” Schudel goes further: “Lockheed Martin does not serve the working class. It is, in fact, our enemy. In the capitalist system, corporations like Lockheed make profits by building bombs and technology used in imperialist wars to kill workers abroad. This is all in service of its bottom line–profits.” Schudel went on to write that Lockheed’s role in providing weapons to the military is responsible for “hundreds of thousands of deaths in Afghanistan, Iraq, and worldwide.”

Map Liberation, a project created by activists and organizers in eastern Massachusetts, published a paper entitled “Mapping U.S. Imperialism” on June 3, 2022. It contains an appendix showing the death toll in countries victimized by U.S. imperialism since World War II. It is quite long indeed:

Afghanistan – 176,000; Bosnia – about 25,000; Bosnia and Krajina – 250,000; Cambodia – 2-3 million; Chad – 40,000 and about 200,000 tortured; Chile – 10,000 (CIA-backed Pinochet coup); Colombia – 60,000; Congo – 10 million (U.S. support for Belgian colonialism); Croatia – 15,000; Cuba – 1,800; Dominican Republic – at least 3,000; East Timor – 200,000; El Salvador – about 75,000; Greece – about 50,000; Grenada – 277; Guatemala – 140,000 to 200,000 killed or disappeared (U.S. support for right-wing junta); Haiti – 100,000; Honduras – about 316 (CIA support involved); Indonesia – 500,000 to 3 million; Iran – 262,000; Iraq – 2.4 million (in Iraq war, 576,000 children by U.S. sanctions, more than 100,000 in Gulf War); Japan – 2.6-3.1 million; Korea – 5 million; Kosovo – 500 to 5,000; Laos – 50,000; Libya – About 2,500; Nicaragua – about 30,000 (U.S.-supported Contras); Pakistan – 1.5 million; Palestine – about 200,000 (U.S. support for Israeli military); Panama – 500 to 4,000; Philippines – more than 100,000 (executed or disappeared); Puerto Rico – 4,645-8,000; Somalia – about 2,000; Sudan – 2 million; Syria – 350,000; Vietnam – 3 million; Yemen – more than 377,000; Yugoslavia – 107,000.

So, it can be accurately said, according to Professor Jose Maria Sison in Demokratik Modernite (October 1, 2021), that “the U.S. stands as the supreme terrorist power in accordance with the Nuremburg principle for having produced both conventional and unconventional weapons of mass destruction and used them for blackmail, military blockade, and wars of aggression in ways similar to or even surpassing those used in Hitlerite Germany.” Sounds too far-fetched? Exploring the topic will reveal some inconvenient truths.

US military bases around the world.
[Source: mapliberation.org]

How do Joe Biden and his administration stand on the issue of the arms industry creating so many weapons for profits that it has gone well beyond self-defense? William Hartung, writing in Counter Currents, expressed it this way: “At first glance, it appeared that Joe Biden might take a different approach to arms sales. On the campaign trail in 2020, he had labeled Saudi Arabia a ‘pariah’ state and implied that the flow of U.S. weaponry to that kingdom would be reduced, if not terminated. He also assured voters that this country wouldn’t ‘check its values at the door to sell arms.’”

Hartung goes on to write that Biden paused arms sales to Saudi Arabia and even suspended one bomb sale. But eight months into his presidency, “arms sales had resumed.” Further, Biden’s administration “offered arms to other repressive regimes from Egypt and Nigeria to the Philippines.” Why the switch by Biden? There are “misguided notions about the value of arms sales.” The Biden administration, like past administrations, saw the U.S. stabilizing key regions, deterring Washington’s enemies, building military partnerships with allies, expanding the U.S.’s efforts to further establish diplomacy and political influence worldwide, as well as creating jobs at home.

Regardless of whether an administration is headed by a Republican or a Democrat, all that jargon means in the bottom line is to maintain and expand a monetary empire. That is why a press statement by Biden’s Secretary of State Antony Blinken on February 24, 2021, about prioritizing human rights in U.S. foreign policy rings hollow. Blinken made an assurance that the “United States is committed to a world in which human rights are protected, and those who commit rights abuses are held accountable [except U.S. citizens who commit rights violations].”

Blinken did mention that “the administration took an important step by announcing the U.S. intent to seek election to a seat on the UN Human Rights Council.” This was scheduled for January 2022. So much for Trump’s isolationism. But Blinken copped out, making the remark that there are “challenges at the Council as well, including the unacceptable bias against Israel.” It is not unacceptable bias. Israel is guilty of imposing apartheid on Palestinians. And it is not surprising that Israel does not get called out on this by the United States. Israel is virtually a “spoiled child” of the U.S.

A person in a suit and tie Description automatically generated with medium confidence
Antony Blinken [Source: psychnewsdaily.org]

The United States, as an empire, has come a long way in imposing its goal of protecting U.S. “interests” worldwide. It is long overdue that a social movement emerges which fights to dismantle the U.S. empire and untangle the relationship between government and the arms industry.

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9 thoughts on “David Starr, Profiting Off of Death and Suffering is the American Way”

  1. I really find myself forced to state the following as clearly and succinctly as possible…
    Karine Jean-Pierre is an African American BOZO….she (it) is a friggin imbecile …”January 6th was the worst attack on our Democracy since the Civil War.”

    …putting aside the Pearl Harbor “attack”, the Cuban missile crisis, the JFK, RFK, MLK assassinations, 9/11 (yeah, I know), on and on and on….that this lying delusional POS represents this country in any way is a travesty and more than indicative of the level of truth, respect and intelligence represented by this presidency….which is to say, as low as it goes. What a sickening and unforgivable display of putrid horse feces. This thing would have to get on a ladder to kiss Tuckers butt.

    https://www.dailyfetched.com/wh-press-secretary-karine-jean-pierre-tucker-carlson-does-not-believe-in-truth/

    moderated
  2. You have to read this to believe it. Beyond mind boggling. Are there two brain cells among all the Dems….or is everything based on TDR? Actually, the answer is THEY FEAR THE TRUTH. THE TRUTH IS INCONVENIENT TO THEIR AGENDA

    The Chair of the January 6 Select Committee Just Made a Stunning Admission About The J6 Videos

    https://www.usasupreme.com/the-chair-of-the-january-6-select-committee-just-made-a-stunning-admission-about-the-j6-videos/

    “The January 6th protests at the U.S. Capitol shocked the world and left many Americans wondering how such an event could occur in a country as America. In response, the U.S. Congress established a special committee to investigate the events leading up to and during the insurrection. However, recent revelations have cast doubt on the credibility of this investigation.

    On March 8th, 2023, the Chairman of the J6 Committee, Congressman Bennie Thompson, admitted that he had NEVER ANALYZED any footage related to the insurrection. This admission came as a shock to many, as one of the primary objectives of the committee was to review and analyze footage from the event.”

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  3. This hearing was live this AM. I do not know where it will go….i remain hopeful some changes will take place. Regardless, Mr. Jordan SHINES as the chairman. The Dems are using their usual strategy to divert from the real purpose and make it into a partisan with hunt. One even had the nerve to ask if the journalists (Taibbi and Shellenberger) were being PAID for their testimony.

    Watch Live: Taibbi And Shellenberger Testify Before House ‘Weaponization’ Panel
    https://www.zerohedge.com/political/watch-live-taibbi-and-shellenberger-testify-house-weaponization-panel

    moderated
  4. Look, I don’t give a darn if you’re a man and want to wear a dress, cut off your penis and make believe you’re a woman or you’re a woman and cut off your breasts, take hormones and grow a beard. It’s your body and your choice to mangle it and make a fool of yourself. But to expect us to accept a biological man as an actual woman or a biological woman as a man is sheer insanity and madness. AND TO PRESENT THIS CRAZINESS TO OUR CHILDREN IS PURE PERVERSION AND ABUSE.

    White House Gives International Women Of Courage Award To… A Male

    https://www.zerohedge.com/political/white-house-gives-international-women-courage-award-male

    “Yesterday was International Women’s Day. In honor of the occasion, the first lady, Doctor of Education Jill Biden, Ed.D. and secretary of state Antony Blinken, A.B., J.D. co-hosted the 2023 International Women of Courage Awards ceremony at the White House because Biden “wanted to bring the stories of these incredible women to the biggest stage we could, and that is, of course, the White House,” declared Karine Jean-Pierre, B.S., MPA, the White House press secretary, who also spoke at the ceremony.

    According to the official U.S. Department of State press release issued prior to the ceremony, the recipients are

    a group of 11 extraordinary women from around the world who are working to build a brighter future for all. …

    Now in its 17th year, the Secretary of State’s IWOC Award recognizes women from around the globe who have demonstrated exceptional courage, strength, and leadership in advocating for peace, justice, human rights, gender equity and equality, and the empowerment of women and girls, in all their diversity — often at great personal risk and sacrifice.

    A quick reading confirmed that, indeed, the recipients do live up to their outstanding description.

    But wait… a deeper reading of the press release and then the ceremony itself revealed that the Biden White House duped us (yeah, yeah, I know) again, because one of the recipients, Alba Rueda, is…a man. Oh, sure, Rueda, who was “assigned” the sex of male at birth in Argentina, but who now “identifies” as a woman, has had/is having some medical procedures and chemical interventions and “presents” as a woman. But DNA is forever.

    Biological sex refers to the physical features of a human body (or anatomy).

    Gender identity refers to one’s internal sense of being. That may align more toward being a male, female, or anywhere in between. Some people who identify as nonbinary may not have an internal sense of being a male or female at all!

    Sex reassignment surgery involves changing a person’s anatomy. Whether a person identifies as a male or female shouldn’t change after surgery. And it doesn’t change their genetics either! …

    Whatever set of chromosomes a person has when they are born cannot be changed. This is because chromosomes are in all the cells that make up our bodies.

    To change a person’s chromosomes would mean changing trillions of cells! There aren’t any technologies (and probably won’t be in the future) that can change a chromosome in all of a person’s cells.”

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  5. Another train derailment in Ohio. This is not coincidental or an accident. This is sabotage. It will not stop until We the People stop it. With an open border, who the hell knows who’s behind it all. BUT, it starts with a treasonous administration that’s working to destroy what’s left of America. Waiting for 2024 is a mistake ….a final mistake.

    https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/residents-told-shelter-place-after-norfolk-southern-freight-train-derails-ohio

    Best comment:

    OK.

    First of all, get your family and get the fuck out of there.

    Second, they’re just rubbing this shit in our faces now. Coincidence my ass. Statistically, we’re passed Powerball winner while getting struck by lightning.

    moderated
  6. Trump’s speech at CPAC….greatest and most detailed ever….5:30 PM – 7:30 PM EST.
    Can anyone ever imagine the present thing in office even attempting that speech. Now it seems RFK Jr. is going to challenge the masked wonder for the nomination. I love you, Robert…..but don’t waste your time. Same goes for DeSantis and others. Sit it out and let the man do his thing …..IF HE CAN GET A FAIR SHAKE.

    moderated
  7. In WW I my grandfather made money from making Army tents. Wars can make you lots of money.
    My stepfather made money in WW II by selling potato peelers to the Army.

    moderated

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