The Daily Gamecock

US's warmongering tastes disservice to nation

US government operates military operations like business

On Tuesday night, President Barack Obama addressed the nation about Syria, declaring he would give diplomacy a chance. Russia has produced a sensible plan of dismantling Syria’s stockpile of chemical weapons, and Obama is leaving the option of a military strike on the back burner.

If there is one thing history has proven, it’s that it doesn’t matter if our president is a Republican or a Democrat. There is a tendency to war with other countries as if it were American business. The U.S. has too often played the role of the international policeman in countries that pose no imminent threat or quite simply have no dealings with America: Vietnam, Grenada and Afghanistan, to name a few.

But who benefits from the U.S. being in a state of perpetual war? Certainly not the citizens whose tax dollars are sent overseas and who suffer the consequences of increased commodity prices. It is the war industry — an American business — that benefits, of course.

With a population that comprises a mere 5 percent of the world’s population, the U.S. accounts for a massive 40 percent of all military spending worldwide. For example, in 2011, America spent $711 billion on war, and China came in second place with $143 billion. The private companies involved in warfare make enormous profits off this, particularly in government contracts.

In 2008, the top ten defense contractors received $150 billion dollars in federal contracts. That is $120 billion more than the Department of Education spends on subsidies for higher education.

How is it that spending enormous amounts of money on war is more beneficial than education back at home itself? Well, it’s because corporations spend millions of dollars every year lobbying for America to stay in perpetual war.

Between 2002 and 2011, arms sales by the top 100 military contractors grew by 51 percent. In 2011 alone, those same 100 top contractors made $410 billion dollars from arms and military services.

Take, for example, United Technologies, which notably helps produce the Army’s Black Hawk and the Navy’s Seahawk helicopters. United Technologies made $11.6 billion in arms sales — 20 percent of their total sales — grossing a total of $5.3 billion.

The largest military contractor, Lockheed Martin, brought in $35 billion from the U.S. government alone. In fact, the company has been able to increase its dividend payments by more than 10 percent for seven consecutive years. Its board of directors includes former military officials that receive more than $200,000 a year in compensation. The company has spent $125 million to lobby Congress over the last 16 years.

Washington will continue to use excuses like Cold War and 9/11 hysteria to keep feeding the military’s budget American tax dollars, saying that it is our patriotic duty to stop global terrorism and to spread democracy to the far-flung reaches of the world.

It is time for the people of America to stand up and demand that America keeps out of the problems of the world, so we can focus on our own.


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