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Commentary Last Updated: Jan 4th, 2007 - 01:08:31

US #1 in world weapons sales: War means major moolah for arms companies
By Jerry Mazza
Online Journal Associate Editor

Nov 21, 2006, 00:27

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In a rather calmly chilling story from The Boston Globe Bryan Bender tells us, �The United States last year provided nearly half of the weapons sold to militaries in the developing world, as major arms sales to the most unstable regions -- many already engaged in conflict -- grew to the highest level in eight years, new US government figures show.� Isn�t that special?

Bender adds, �According to the annual assessment, the United States supplied $8.1 billion worth of weapons to developing countries in 2005 -- 45.8 percent of the total and far more than second-ranked Russia with 15 percent and Britain with a little more than 13 percent.� Gulp.

Just in case you thought it was patriotism, self-defense, defending national ideals that guided US weapons suppliers, now you will know, especially if you read the whole article, it�s really about fattening the military-industrial complex�s bottom line. It is, it was, and always will be.

And by the way, the report came from the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service. Check the pie chart after the article�s fifth paragraph for the breakdown of international sales.

Bryan Bender also quotes Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the nonpartisan Arms Control Association in Washington, who says �We are at a point in history where many of these sales are not essential for the self-defense of these countries and the arms being sold continue to fuel conflicts and tensions in unstable areas. It doesn�t make much sense over the long term.�

No, it certainly doesn�t make sense. But is sense what it�s about? No. It�s money. That�s what it�s all about. It�s about perpetuating chaos. It�s about draining our national budget of $500 million plus a year for defense, not to mention another $350 billion for Afghanistan and Iraq. Or to ��enhance collective defense arrangements,� gangs of us clubbing each other.

But that�s an old story, and not just relegated to the US. As Bender points out �For decades during the height of the Cold War, providing conventional weapons to friendly states was an instrument of foreign policy utilized by the United States and its allies.� Today, our allies include Pakistan, to whom we�ve recently decided to send F-16 fighter jets. These are the folks that developed their own atomic bomb then gave the plans to rogue nations Libya and North Korea.

Also, weapons take men (and their lives) to bear them, Americans, and all kinds worldwide. Thus, when the US �also signed an estimated $6.2 billion worth of new deals last year to sell attack helicopters, missiles, and other armaments to developing nations such as the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, India, Israel, Egypt, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia,� one asks, isn�t our so-called ally Israel in conflict with most of those other countries? And why would we want all those potentially hostile people armed to the teeth?

So Cui Bono, Who Profits?

Certainly the people of America, Russia, Europe, the Middle Eastern nations are not profiting, unless they happen to be in the weapons business. So who are these folks in the US getting rich on world havoc?

In the article Ten Deadly Enemies of Humanity in America by Dr. Charles Mercieca, from the website Share the World�s Resources, I found this list of the 10 major weapons corporations, with their addresses and phone numbers. Please read the details of their activities in Dr. Mercieca�s article. I included the first company�s description as an eye-opening example. You might want to write or call them and tell them how you feel about their activities. You might want to picket them . . .

1. Lockheed Martin Corporation, 6901 Rockledge Drive, Bethesda, Maryland 20917, USA, Phone: 301-897-6000, Fax: 301-897-6700 . . .

�Lockheed Martin Corporation better known by many as Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company, is located in Forth Worth, Texas. This company chose to specialize in the manufacture of military aircrafts whose job is to devastate entire nations mercilessly in the name of national security, peace and world stability! It produces F-16 Fighting Falcon, the versatile air-lifter C-130J Super Hercules, the stealth fighter F-117 Nighthawk, and the next generation fighter F/A 22 Raptor. All these are meant to be used not by civilians for positive and constructive purposes, but by the military for negative and destructive activities.

�This lethal company has been awarded contracts to build the multi-service and multi-mission F-35 Joint Strike Fighter! Lockheed Martin sells its products to any nation that gives the right price under the pretext that such nations have a right for self-defense! Like Retired US Admiral Gene La Rocque remarked in his videotapes: 'Military product is manufactured primarily not for the defense of the USA or of any other country but merely for profit.'�

2. Boeing Company, 100 North Riversides, Chicago, Illinois 60606, USA, Phone: 312-544-2000,

3. Northrop Grumman Corporation, 1840 Century Part East, Los Angeles, California 90067, USA, Phone: 310-553-6262, Fax: 310-553-2076

4. General Dynamics Corporation, 13880 Del Sur Street, San Fernando, California 91340, USA, Phone: 818-897-111, Fax: 818-899-4045

5. Raytheon Company, 870 Winter Street, Waltham, Massachusetts 02451, USA, Phone: 781-522-3000, Fax: 781-522-3001

6. United Technologies Corporation, 275 Westminster Street, Suite 400, Providence, Rhode Island 02903, USA, Phone: 401-521-5700, Fax: 401-521-3332, Fax: 401-521-3332

7. Halliburton Company, 5 Houston Center, 1401 McKinney, Suite 240 C, Houston, Texas 77020, USA, Phone: 710-759-2600, Fax: 710-759-2605

8. General Electric Company, 1717 East Interstate Avenue, Bismarck, North Dakota 58503, USA, Phone: 701-223-0441, Fax: 701-224-5336

9. Science Applications International Corporation, 10260 Campus Point Drive, San Diego, California 92121, USA, Phone: 858-826-6000, Fax: 858-826-6800

10. Computer Sciences Corporation, 2100 East Grand Avenue, El Segundo, California 90245, USA, Phone: 310-615-0011, Fax: 310-322-9769.

Trust me. The other nine companies have equally impressive resumes. What�s more I�m sure one could form an endless list of suppliers in all aspects of weapons manufacture. In fact, click here for a subscription to, another eye-opener, which can supply you with a list of the top 100 weapons companies.

You can click �more� to any of the stories for a subscription. Just supply your rank, branch of service, affiliation, etc. It�s that easy to keep up with what�s hot and what�s not in death and destruction. In fact, here�s a PDF you might want to check out from the Government Accounting Office on how to create positive working conditions with weapons suppliers and government.

What Do We Learn From This?

Now, one could rightly pose the proposition that �conflict drives technology,� as did PBS.Org in its documentary �Warplane,� which traced US and world military aviation history from WW I on, perhaps unconsciously blessing it.

PBS describes �Warplane� this way: �A century of flight has seen the warplane develop from a crude instrument of wood and wires into a decisive weapon of modern combat. Join us as we trace the technologies that drove the evolution of warplanes through two World Wars and into the future.

�Watch aces battle for the skies over Western Europe in World War One; and as Britain's outnumbered Royal Air Force uses a new technology, radar, to fight off the Nazi war machine in World War Two.

�Later see designers develop the jet engine and the all-moving tail to penetrate the sound barrier; and Lockheed's "Skunk Works" race to develop groundbreaking, high-flying aircraft that could peek behind the Iron Curtain; and Stealth aircraft that would wreak havoc over Iraq.

�And, finally, take a look at the F-22 Raptor, the pinnacle of modern fighter technology - and the warplanes of the future, which go into battle without pilots.�

Sounds like the circus is in town, doesn�t it? Some circus!

My net take away watching, somewhere around the description of the Stealth Bomber, with a fabric finished metal exterior to deflect microwaves from radar, and the F-22 Raptor (the pinnacle of technology) was that �technology drives conflict� as well, in fact, kicks its butt real hard.

Or, said another way, if you have the weapons that escalate death and destruction you�re going to use them. And we, and the world, have, are and will most likely keep using them. So what�s this about, my brothers and sisters, what is this about?

Is the human hard drive hard-wired to kill in the name of �fight or flight�? Do we now know how to do it either way, even when running away, to leave those little nest bombs, as in Iraq, that go off at a later time, as �the enemy� (in this case us) strolls in after someone�s rear.

Are we as the old Army ad campaign said, �Be[ing] All You [We] Can Be, cavemen swinging 100 million dollar clubs at each other? Is that the gig; what we were put on this planet for?

Couldn�t we find a hobby? This is not a game. Though if you watch �Warplane� or any of the endless documentaries on weapon development it seems like it is. It�s all abstracted from the screams, the moans, the spilled blood and guts, the bones jutting through the flesh, the skin burned off, the human beings shitting themselves in their death throws. Know what I mean?

�How deep is the ocean, how high is the sky,� the song goes. Actually . . .

How much do I love you?
I�ll tell you no lie
How deep is the ocean?
How high is the sky?
How many times in a day
Do I think of you?
How many roses are
Sprinkled with dew?

How far would I travel
Just to be where you are?
How far is the journey
From here to a star?
And if I ever lost you
How much would I cry?
How deep is the ocean?
How high is the sky?

How are we capable of expressing sentiments that deep, that high, that simple, of love and feeling for another, which bring with them a flood of lightness? And how can we still maintain that dark side, wielding the F-22 Raptor club that kills like nobody�s business. But it is somebody�s business. The people it will kill and the people that get paid big bucks to build it.

But those people are everyday people. They go to work and come home, have families, get raises, commendations for jobs well done, etcetera, etcetera. Like the old Germans, they didn�t know where the boxcars were going? So, how and will we ever make the �evolutionary leap,� or the leap by �intelligent design� to not being forever killer apes, particularly for profit, for the �hell� of it (and it is hell), in the name of progress?

Yes, �progress is our most important product,� as one company said. And at GE, �We bring good things to life.� Or course, not death.

Progress would be curing AIDS, which we don�t know how to do. Progress would be feeding the hungry, which we haven�t. Progress would be saving the atmosphere from coughing to death, particularly on the fumes and smoke of those weapons. Progress would be truly thanking life for our existence by not trying to take away someone else�s. Progress would be banning �dog eat dog� from the lexicon of our behavior. Dig it?

Good. Think about it, especially when the next F-16 (already outdated and sold to the Pakistanis) goes soaring over your head. When that F-22 roars overhead and shakes the ground with its mere existence, like some angry god come to punish those who interrupted its sleep in the cave of memory.

Progress is taking the first step to peace, one step at a time. Disarming the fear of the other. Transcending the impulse of the killer ape to dominate. And the alternative? It�s arming the economy with a new perennial weapon, an age-old inherited military-industrial complex (and complex it is). And if you have it, you�ll use it. And then who is to blame when the coffins fly home, the trumpet sounds, the flags wave and the tears fall for the missing, the maimed, the men and women in the unmarked graves?

Pardon me. Let�s sing.

How deep is the ocean, how high is the sky. . . . You know the rest.

Jerry Mazza is a freelance writer living in New York City. Reach him at

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