A secretly recorded speech at a Credit Suisse investor conference reveals that the arms manufacturers and defense contractors of America are applauding the escalation of conflicts in the Middle East, salivating at the thought of the profits to be made by pumping the region full of dangerous and expensive military materiel. Top executives from Lockheed Martin (the designer of the much-maligned and exorbitantly expensive F-35 fighter jet program), Oshkosh (producer of infantry fighting vehicles) and Raytheon (producer of cruise missiles and electronic warfare devices) all gathered to celebrate the apparently imminent escalation of the US bombing campaign against Daesh (ISIS/ISIL), the intrusion of Russian forces into the Syrian Civil War and the Saudi Arabian bombing campaign against Houthi rebels in Yemen.
They congratulated each other for convincing Congressional Republicans to allot the Department of Defense $607 billion dollars, knowing that the bulk of that money would go to them: “budget-wise, our programs are well supported. We think we did very well. It’s great to have that [budget] deal done, and to have greater certainty, that benefits ourselves.” Within the past week, Lockheed Martin has already been given a $279 million contract to finish their fourth Freedom-class littoral (shallow water) warship, the USS Cooperstown, $302 million for the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile program, a $940 million contract for maintaining Sikorsky helicopters, and yet another $49.1 million for “ship integration” of the Aegis missile defense system.
The execs also were very pleased at the Turkish Air Force’s bizarre decision to shoot down a Russian fighter plane last week, suddenly making the skies above Syria a very crowded place: “[The Russians] are bringing back into Syria surface-to-air missile capabilities, making Syria an incredibly dangerous place to fly. The US military is flying a lot of those missions in the region, and they don’t like having their pilots fly without being able to bring them home safe…there’s an an intangible lift because of the dynamics of that environment and our products in theater that we hadn’t expected to see.”
It’s very clear that these companies are making billions in profits off the horrific violence that’s happening in the Middle East, and their lobbyists know exactly where their money speaks the loudest – among the pro-war Republican members of Congress who are relentlessly trying to send American troops back to Iraq and Syria, and provoke a third conflict with Iran. They’ve spent $95,276,039 lobbying politicians this year, and it’s easy to see why. War is a very profitable business for those involved, and since violence begets violence, these conflicts have the potential to rage for who knows how many more years. Funneling weapons into the region only leads to more violence, more radicalization, more terrorism.
You can listen to the remarks here:
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.