"War is the greatest threat to public health." - Gino Strada, Italian war surgeon and founder of the UN-recognized Italian NGO Emergency

Friday, September 4, 2009

ENDING The Business of War!


Have you ever thought that if we could somehow take the business out of war, we would end the vast majority of reasons for making war??? Yesterday's New York Times, which covered President Obama's difficult consideration of sending additional troops to Afghanistan, said that, the political climate appears increasingly challenging for him, leaving him in the awkward position of relying on the Republican Party, and not his own, for support. Perish the thought - Might the Republicans actually pull the plug???

Well, the Pentagon and the weapons makers (along with those invested in them) can all rest easy. It is ludicrous to even consider that more than a few Republicans OR Democrats will be arguing against additional troops or calling for pulling out the troops any time soon (or later). There are far too many dollars at risk to their constituents, which include Lockheed Martin, PepsiCo, Federal Express and a host of others (even Krispy Kreme took in $500,000 from the Pentagon in 2006). The fact is that you can name just about any major company out there, and chances are good that they supply some commodity or service to the Pentagon.
It's not just the traditional "defense" contractors building predator drones (General Atomic) or the infamous V-22 Osprey (Bell Helicopter), but companies like Walt Disney, Heinz (think Ketchup), Nestle, and Kraft Foods (at nearly $600 million in 2006, that's a lot of Mac & Cheese).

This is truly a Military-Industrial Complex that even Dwight Eisenhower could not have imagined; it has become more of a massive Military-Corporate Complex, involving nearly every type of product and service imaginable. We are in DEEP, way deep!!!

And beyond the effects on Congressional (corporate) constituents, the Los Angeles Times reported that a review of 2006 congressional financial disclosure statements by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics found that lawmakers have as much as $196 million "invested in companies doing business with the Defense Department, earning millions since the start of the Iraq war." The same article noted that not all companies in which members of Congress invested were "typical" defense contractors. They included "IBM, Microsoft and Johnson & Johnson." IBM took in nearly $292 million from the Pentagon in 2006 - not exactly chump change.

The Military-Corporate Complex is now so deeply embedded in the U.S. economy that there seems to be no way out of this tangled web of militaristic commerce. Indeed, it is a daunting task, but there are a number of ways to begin. In Left and Right Against the Military-Industrial Complex, John Basil Utley lays out a 10-point plan for taking on the military-industrial complex. Click here to read Utley's article; he believes that there has never been a better time to take on the military-industrial complex, and makes a compelling case for it.

If you think you are ready for a challenge, take one of Utley's 10 points as a focus and work on it, either individually or with your organization or religious community. Stay with it, and see what interesting and creative ways you can come up with to bring people together from both sides of the political spectrum to break the choke hold of the military-industrial complex on the nation, and particularly its control over members of the U.S. Congress. Good luck and good wishes.



G.O.P. Support May Be Vital to Obama on Afghan War, New York Times, September 2, 2009

War's Shopping Cart
, Los Angeles Times, May 9, 2008

Left and Right Against the Military-Industrial Complex
, by John Basil Utley, April 1,2009, written for Foreign Policy in Focus

Credits: Military-industrial complex flowchart found at Hubpages.com.

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