"How much do I know
To talk out of turn
You might say that I’m young
You might say I’m unlearned
But there’s one thing I know
Though I’m younger than you
Even Jesus would never
Forgive what you do"
(Bob Dylan, "Masters of War," 1963)
III. U.S. Weapon Systems Acquisition and "Reform" for the Masters of War: Propaganda, Politics and Patriotism of the Wealthy Few
Propaganda and Politics in the Push for Weapons Acquisition
After introducing the acquisition history of the F-22 ("Raptor")
fighter aircraft weapon system as a paradigm of the larger operation and
objectives of the U.S. socio-economic system in part II of this topic,
it is useful to continue with that focus and what it illustrates about
the profit-motivated U.S. military-industrial complex. Profits, after
all, are the primary objective of that complex. And, in order to
insure that profits from the production of the F-22 and other weapons systems
actually materialize, both the Pentagon and the weapons producers must
employ a fairly extensive lobbying and advertising/propaganda effort on
behalf of procuring those systems. And like so much else related
to the F-22, those efforts simply spotlight how the elites, who preside
over the socio-economic system in America, strive to manipulate the public
mind in order to sell their products and, beyond that, maintain social
cohesion and control. There, of course, is nothing conspiratorial
about any of this. The practices mentioned are not only an integral
part of a capitalist market economy, but they reflect the nature of governance
in the resultant, truncated political democracy. Economist Douglas
Dowd pointed to this in his argument, based on the anti-mercantilist, laissez-faire
ideas of Adam Smith. Dowd notes that the "three imperatives of functioning
capitalism are exploitation, expansion, and oligarchic rule." The
latter, as Dowd makes clear, is the necessary outcome of Smith's demand
for the "effective abolition of the role of the [mercantilist] state in
the economic (or any other part of the social) process." In effect,
Smith was "arguing for the effective rule of property owners, [always understood
by Smith and virtually all economic and social thinkers to be] a small
fraction of the population. [And] . . . the [non-mercantilist] state
as being the protector of that propertied class." In other
words, to paraphrase political scientist Michael Parenti, in the democracy
of the U.S. (and other capitalist societies) which professes egalitarian
political principles — one person one vote, — the economy functions to
create vast disparities of wealth, power, and political influence.
So, in the U.S., while most people are pretty much free to speak and write
whatever they please, another, much smaller group of people, is pretty
much free to govern and/or run thing just as they please.
Relating this specifically to the military-industrial complex and the national security state, defense analyst Robert Higgs, writes in the conservative Cato Institute’s journal Policy Analysis: "Manipulation of information is [not only] central to what modern governing elites do, [but] on defense-related and foreign policy matters, the scope for information management and opinion leadership by the national security elite is much wider." Given that advantage, the military bass and their corporate counterparts in the arms manufacturing business have used the best Madison Avenue advertising/propaganda techniques "to get the customer [i.e., taxpayer] to buy something he or she doesn’t need [e.g., F-22] for a price he or she probably can’t afford." The whole process is just as Sidney Lens pointed out so well so long ago, "the manufacture of weapons" also requires the "manufacture of public opinion." Moreover, the "synthetic manufacture of public opinion" involves the "ceaseless bombardment of the public with propaganda that . . . is partly paid by the Pentagon, as well as the allies [i.e., "other segments of the military-industrial complex"] who depend on it. And much of the advertisement for weapons procurement," he adds, is "directly or indirectly" paid for "with government funds." Indeed, in order to sell or obtain the F-22, for example, a veritable cavalcade of propagandists, lobbyists, corporate chieftains, campaign contributors, media advertisers, military/technological spokespeople, economic apologists, and patriotic rhetoricians have been employed to use the techniques and devices of religious appeals, folksy charm, convoluted reasoning, money, patriotic rhetoric, and, especially, scare tactics.
Then, too, given the infinitely elastic "war on terrorism" and the on-going need of maintaining the global, open door market economy, it appears that U.S. forces must be prepared for virtually any sort of objective, threat, or phantom threat that can be envisioned by the Pentagon and its allies. Regarding this elasticity, Francis Fukuyama managed to write something sensible when he disparagingly noted that both hawks and doves are now proclaiming the fashionable mantra that the world has become a much more dangerous place since the demise of the Soviet Union. But, more accurately, Cato Institute’s Director of Defense Policy Studies, Ivan Eland observes the historical fact that the so-called threat of "instability" is a chimera because "instability has always existed in the anarchic international system." Besides, as he notes, "instability in most parts of the world is rarely a threat to the United States." And, then, 9/11 came. Yet, as much as that event may have changed things for the American mindset about U.S. invulnerability, it has meant only more of the same for most people in the world. In any case, despite September 11, 2001, the empirical facts do not support the contention that instability in the world has increased since the collapse of the Soviet Union. From 1992 to 1997, for instance, the number of world conflicts declined from 55 to 24, and, of the total of 101 conflicts that occurred from 1989 to 1996, 95 were between combatants within states and only 6 were between states. In addition, worldwide military expenditures have fallen by 33.3% since the late 1980s, and, while the U.S. portion of international arms sales, from 1986 to 1995, rose from 22% to 49%, the world’s total arms sales dropped 55%.
But such facts are irrelevant to the agenda of the powerful decision-makers who are promoting the belief that the more unseen the threat, the more frighten Americans have to become. In terms of weapons advertisement and the impulse toward a more militarized economy, 9/11 created a legitimacy that had not previously existed. The events of 9/11 not only made public fears more plausible, but they made the propaganda for more weaponry more effective. Still, that murderous event only reinforced the promotion of weapons sales that was already underway before 9/11. Just listen to the words from a post Cold War and pre-9/11, Lockheed Martin weapons promotional video: "'The fact is civilized society is under siege. The world is populated by renegade nations and extremist factions willing to use any method available to spread their beliefs. These potential enemies continue to modernize and upgrade their military capabilities.’" Of course, in casting the "threat" in this light, defense contractors are not suggesting that their conventional (i.e., Cold War "legacy" weapons) weapon systems of fighters, bombers, ships, and missiles would be ineffective against plane highjackers, nuclear power plant saboteurs, truck or auto bombers, or teams of gunmen. On the contrary, they would have people believe that buying expensive, conventional and unconventional weapon systems will somehow deter the asymmetrical warfare methods of state and non-state adversaries.
Thus, senior Air Force officers tout the acquisition of the F-22 by warning that the Air Force must "counter the lethal threats" posed by "advanced surface-to-air missile systems and next-generation fighters equipped with launch-and-leave missiles." They speak as if they are lost in a time warp or are just nostalgic for the good old anti-Soviet days. In fact, they stretch their argument to contend that "current Russian fighters [e.g., Su-35] are already on par with America’s best fighter, the F-15." Of course, this contention says nothing about the training and expertise of the pilots that fly the planes, or that such training cost money, money the Russians no longer have. Yet, frightening as are these planes from a country whose GDP is now only slightly more than the Netherlands (Russia’s industrial production was not only cut in half from 1989 to 1996, but it is still falling, and its annual military budget, as of 1997, was only $18 billion ), these same Air Force officers can point to an even graver threat. It is not, of course, suitcase bomb-carrying fanatics or biological/chemical attackers that are pointed out because the F-22 and other expensive fighters like the Joint Strike Fighter would be totally ineffective against those means of attack. And, so, another threat has to be found.
And it comes, according to some proponents of arms purchasing, from America’s NATO allies and the uncertainty of worrying about when those allies are going to unleash their "foreign aircraft [that] threaten to surpass the F-22’s performance" upon the U.S. After all, the French Rafale and the Eurofighter 2000, according to some U.S. Air Force officers, "are set to roll off production lines by 2005." And since the F-22 will not be "operational" until 2010, the situation creates one of those terrifying "gaps" in the U.S. "defensive" arsenal that only some scare-mongers in the Pentagon or the satiric lunacy of Stanley Kubrick’s "Dr. Strangelove" can fully envision. It is such incredulous "gaps" and arguments as these that reminded defense analyst Ivan Eland of the days when "almost every spring during the Cold War" the military would try to "get its share of the budget surplus loot" by timing their "annual ‘red scare’" to "coincide with congressional hearings on the military budget." In short, much of the talk about "gaps," or "threats," or some "menace" was (and is) apparently useful in concealing the fact that the greatest threat to the F-22 is the complete lack of any threat to U.S. air superiority either now or in the foreseeable future.
So, comfortably within the long tradition of raising military appropriations by scaring "’the hell out of them’" — as Senator Arthur Vandenberg once had advised President Harry Truman that it would be necessary to do in order to get the tax money for Truman’s containment policies out of the American people — some advocates of the F-22 cry "wolf" and operate exactly like the business advocates of capitalism itself, for more and more money to produce and sell more and more weaponry at greater and greater profits. This monetary goal and scare tactic propaganda habitually creates one bugaboo after another simply because it works so well. And, of course, the fact that much of the weaponry being touted for sale does not actually counter the current technology or nature of the real threats confronting the U.S. is irrelevant. The propaganda of the "threat" has a larger purpose. It is useful in creating a political climate conducive to buying both costly weapon systems and political policies mostly benefiting the few. As Higgs acknowledged in Cato's Institute's Policy Analysis, "However one views the virtues and vices of an elite’s ‘selling’ its foreign policy to the public by means of propaganda . . . this is in fact the sort of campaign the government has been conducting throughout the cold war era." Thus, from the 1940s Greek civil war, to the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, to the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident, to the current Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Communist Chinese (or whatever) "crisis," an endless succession of such events "fosters the maintenance of an enormous ongoing arms program." After all, in any manipulated or perceived crisis, as Higgs notes, "many people suspend their reason . . . and [offer] heightened deference to political leaders."
Exploiting such a habitual deference is precisely what U.S. policy makers do to help create public acceptance and funding of new weaponry. Consider, for instance, the words of those Air Force officers who are urging not only the immediate purchase of the F-22, but are implying the need for more "follow-on" purchases of more futuristic aircraft as the 21st century progresses. They write: "If the United States Air Force is to guarantee air dominance in the 21st century, then any notion of parity between it and hostile air superiority forces must be eliminated by building a more lethal, survivable and deployable fighter aircraft than those that exist today, or will exist tomorrow." In short, the U.S. people can only vanquish the ubiquitous threats to their national security by purchasing the expensive weapons systems that their leaders recommend.
What those leaders neglect to report is that the purchase of huge numbers of nuclear and non-nuclear weapons has been partly propelled by U.S. interventionist policies. This point is confirmed by the 1997 Defense Science Board's Summer Study Task Force that found that "Historical data show a strong correlation between US involvement in international situations and an increase in terrorist attacks against the United States." But, of course, it is in the specific and narrow sense of promoting U.S. weapons sales that we also find that "threats" have been manufactured in the U.S.A. Take, for example, Lockheed Martin’s great lobbying campaign to sell the F-22. As reported by defense analyst William D. Hartung, the Lockheed Martin corporation published a "glossy [advertisement] brochure . . . in which it argues that the plane is needed because we live in a ‘dangerous world.’" "The brochure," he continues, "builds to a crescendo of threat-mongering hysteria with a foldout map of the world listing ‘Foreign Countries With Advanced Fighter Aircraft.’ [But] Lockheed Martin fails to emphasize one of the most interesting aspects of the map [which shows that] 24 of the 48 nations listed [had] received their advanced fighters from the United States, in the form of Lockheed Martin F-16s or McDonnell Douglas F-15s or F-18s."
This is "where," as former Senator Dale Bumpers declared, "we start competing with ourselves. . . . we’ve sold our best planes; and they use that as a justification [for producing and selling more advanced aircraft]." Social critic Noam Chomsky beautifully elaborates upon this point when he quotes a Lockheed Martin corporate executive and states, "’We’ve sold,’ [states the executive], ‘the F-16 all over the world. What if a friend or ally turns against us?’ So, [continues Chomsky], it’s a real dangerous world out there. And there’s an obvious solution to that. Namely, we should [build and] sell more F-16s, but, now, upgraded ones. So, the public should pay Lockheed . . . to upgrade F-16s, so they’re even more dangerous. And then we should [sell] them to the Third World. . . . And having created a more dangerous world out there, we then have to spend tens of billions of dollars on F-22s in order to counter the threat that’s created this way." There, of course, is nothing irrational about this practice from the standpoint of the weapons producing profit-makers because, as Hartung suggests, it is merely Lockheed Martin’s echo of what former Secretary of Defense Charles E. Wilson once famously said about General Motors: "’What’s good for General Motors is good for America.’" So, today, what’s good for Lockheed Martin is . . . And even though U.S. arms companies have had a corner on "40-50% of the total global arms market [throughout the 1990s] . . . companies like Lockheed Martin and Boeing" still want to expand their exports and are seeking to change U.S. government policies that restrict their foreign sales. "The changes they want," according to Hartung, "involve either opening up new markets, by eliminating existing restrictions based on the human rights or proliferation record of potential recipient states, or seeking new government subsidies that can be used to create more ‘cash paying customers.’" In short, if these restrictive policies are changed to suit the arms exporters led by Lockheed Martin and Boeing, it will benefit the few shareholders who rake in the resulting profits, and it will exacerbate the "boomerang effect" on the many who pay the taxes, wear the uniforms, and face the firepower of both friend and foe. Already, U.S. overseas arms sales and foreign military assistance have meant that "U.S. forces have faced adversaries [in Panama, Iraq, Somalia, Haiti, and Bosnia] who have received either U.S. weaponry, U.S. military technology, or military training in the period leading up to the conflicts."
Of course, it takes some pretty adroit advertising and manipulation to keep most of the U.S. public either in the dark about facts like these or to accept them as justified. Lens described the process in 1970 when he explained that the U.S. people were neither the "authors" nor the beneficiaries of an "expansionist" U.S. foreign policy or the "militarism" generated by elites in the military-industrial complex. He, nevertheless, recognized that Americans had "been mobilized behind [those polices and institutions] by a combination of fear [of real or imagined enemies, e.g., communists] and pride [in U.S. military power]. Today, the process is little changed. It still entails shaping or beclouding people’s consciousness with sentimentality, patriotic religiosity, and ludicrous military claims in order to keep them compliant or ignorant about the details of such expensive purchases as that of the F-22.
For example, in one of the video advertisements which promotes the purchase of the F-22 about half a decade after the Gulf War, there is presented to the viewing audience words supposedly being written on a 2007 postcard by a female U.S. soldier who is sitting on top of an American armored vehicle in some foreign and war-torn desert. But, thanks to the purchase of Lockheed Martin aircraft, she is safe and can write the following to her husband and loved ones: "'We’ve got great equipment and . . . we also have these F-22s upstairs, totally ruling the sky, covering us like Jake’s big fuzzy blue blanket.’" Well, the obvious message from that Owellian battlefield of the future to those living in the years before 2007 seems clear enough. It is that you or one of your relatives or loved ones or countrywomen will be placed at risk in combat unless Lockheed Martin and Boeing (and all the other defense contractors) are given the opportunity to ride to their rescue. But, according to media study expert Mark Crispin Miller, the message is more pernicious than it first appears because the message is like that of a kidnapper. And it really says, "'If you don’t support us and our enterprise, we will kill your children; we’ll kill your loved one.’" When such slick mingling of scare tactics, subtle blackmail, and homey sentimentalism are reinforced by feelings of nationalism, patriotism, and religion, the mental impact is especially powerful.
So, with military parades, military open house events, air shows, Hollywood and TV shows, corporate advertisements and much else, people are taught that powerful weapons and the soldiers that operate them are vital for their protection. And an incredible amount of time, planning, and money are spent promoting that understanding. The Air Force "2000-2001 Public Affairs Plan" to promote the purchase of the F-22, for instance, listed no less than 22 pages of public relations (PR) events that Air Force and military contractors were to undertake. Like a highly detailed battle plan, this PR plan (ANNEX B ACTION EXECUTION) included directions for identifying and reaching the civilian "target audience" with the appropriate "communications vehicle" and promotional message. It directed "program leaders to promote the role of the F-22 in corporate[-]Air Force mutually reinforcing messages," and it directed "contractor PR teams to plan [and] conduct subcontractor PR meetings" to, no doubt, create a rippling PR effect. In "ANNEX C F-22 Media Opportunities, January 2000 through December 2000," the plan orchestrated 41 major scheduled media opportunities for both government and contractor PR personnel. And, finally, in "ANNEX F AIR FORCE LEADERSHIP QUOTES ON THE F-22," the plan listed five pages of glowing, positive quotes from high ranking active duty and retired Air Force officers that could be used almost as if they were religious testimonials to be offered up by the PR missionaries of the F-22.
Indeed, some of those F-22 proponents may well have adopted the Air Force F-22 video advertisement that takes the form of a prayer. It displays three devout patriots — an older man, a younger man, and a woman — who are figuratively saluting the U.S. Air Force’s 50th Anniversary. In reverential tones and after a parade of U.S. weapons and aircraft, they recite:
Older Man: "Make me an effective instrument of thy peace."
Man: "In defense of the skies that canopy free nations."
Woman: "So, guide me daily in each thought, word and deed that I may fulfill your
Man: "Instill within me an abiding awareness of my responsibility toward you, my
country and my fellow man."
The ad is a truly powerful piece of propaganda and psychological manipulation. Miller is right on target when he notes that the images that accompanied those spoken words "serve to make the commercial [for weaponry] seem like a celebration of human diversity [and] the brotherhood of man. And it serves, of course, to suppress completely the fact that the Air Force is about efficient killing." In fact, the ad rhetoric verges on idolatry and the "prayer" is actually one for destroying one’s earthly neighbors not for embracing or forgiving them.
No one, perhaps, has made that point about such pro-war prayers as well as one of America's most gifted social critics and greatest humorist, Mark Twain. After all, Twain magnificently denounced all such pious words for war when he explained the full and unspoken import of all such prayers in his classic essay "The War Prayer." As Twain shows, the living preacher’s outwardly spoken prayer for a glorious victory is actually one, like all such prayers, that contains an unspoken prayer for the deaths, butchery, maiming, starvation, homelessness, rape, widowhood, disease, misery, prolonged despair, and unremitting sorrow of the defeated. And since it is worth quoting at length, this is how the "stranger" (i.e., the spirit of a murdered civilian from the U.S. Civil War era) explained the hidden meaning of the living preacher’s spoken words on the eve of the U.S.-Cuban Spanish American War: "I come from the throne – bearing a message from almighty God! He has heard the prayer of his servant, your shepherd, and will grant it if such be your desire after I, his messenger, shall have explained to you its import – that is to say, its full import. For it is like unto many of the prayers of men, in that it asks for more than he who utters it is aware of. . . . Is it one prayer? No, it is two -- one uttered, the other not. Both have reached the ear of him who heareth all supplications, the spoken and the unspoken. . . .
You have heard your servant’s prayer – the uttered part of it. I am commissioned of God to put into words the other part of it – that part of which the pastor – and also you in your hearts – fervently prayed silently. And ignorantly and unthinkingly? God grant that it was so! You heard these words: ‘Grant us victory, O Lord our God!’ That is sufficient. The whole of the uttered prayer is compact into those pregnant words. Elaborations were not necessary. When you have prayed for victory you have prayed for many unmentioned results which follow victory – must follow it, cannot help but follow it. [But] upon the listening spirit of God the father fell also the unspoken part of the prayer. He commandth me to put it into words. Listen!
O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle – be thou near them! With them – in spirit – we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste of their humble homes with hurricanes of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending windows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with their little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it – for our sakes who adore thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet!
We ask it, in the spirit of love, of him who is the source of love, and who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek his aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen. Ye have prayed it; if ye still desire it, speak! The messenger of the most high waits."
Of course, it is unfair to be too critical of the professional military officers who cannot agree with such a pacifist-like outlook because, after all, they are not educated to be moral philosophers. And, in every army, some of them are the men and women who spend most of their adult years in a very authoritarian universe. Henry David Thoreau, of course, noted that such an experience turns many who are subject to it into the morally "wooden men" or "machines" that he decried in his great 1848 essay "Civil Disobedience." Anyway, when soldiers are told by the policy makers of their state and by the values and myths of their particular culture that they are the defenders of all and the protectors of peace, they generally believe it.
And so, for virtually all armies and peoples, the theme of defending peace always accompanies and cloaks the preparation for war and war itself. That is why the consortium of prime F-22 contractors (i.e., Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Pratt & Whitney) dubbed that plane the "Anti-War plane" in their promotions for its purchase. At one time, on one billboard in a Washington D.C. subway station near the Capitol building, the plane’s fuselage carried the message that "'The first thing it will kill is an enemy’s appetite for war.’" Yet, the claim that the F-22 is the "Anti-War plane" may strike some people as the ultimate in satire. After all, the F-22 is not being built to shower flowers on children’s heads, and its construction and deployment certainly does not, as Miller has noted, obviate the need for an anti-war movement.
As for convincing congresspeople, they may be subject to even greater defense contractor hyperbole than the general public, but the themes and images used on them are often the same. Some of these are presented in what former Senator Dale Bumpers called "the most egregious industrial advertising I’ve ever seen in my life." The F-22 ads, for example, not only appear in publications like Roll Call, the Hill Magazine, and the Washington Post, but the military services also bombard congresspeople with slick and very expensive promotional materials and ads that are paid for by the taxpayers. According to Bumpers, one of these glossy ----pamphlets promoted the F-22 as "America’s New Way of War." And that is a "way" that, presumably, would eliminate from future wars the high casualties that have been common in previous wars. But such claims are a hoax when the casualties from both sides are considered. And at what point does one draw the line for "acceptable" casualties among the innocent? Is it possible that even one death — if that one death befalls your own mother, father, child or loved one — is too many?
As a former B-17 bombardier in World War II and as one who has evaluated the claims made in favor of precision bombing from that time through the post 9/11 U.S. bombing in Afghanistan, historian Howard Zinn cites the figure of at least 3,767 Afghani civilian who may have been killed by several weeks of U.S. bombing on that country up to December 20, 2001. And based on his studies, experience, and code of ethics, Zinn concludes that, despite the claims for the accuracy of so-called smart bombs, "we [have] reached a point in human history when there probably [is] no longer a possibility of waging a just war, because the overwhelming technology of modern warfare inevitably involves the killing of large numbers of people. [So, on the basis of the proportionality of harm done to innocent people by even so-called "precision guided" weapons], the means [of warfare] over whelm[s] any end you could come up with . . ." In fact, there is no such thing as a casualty-free war unless the foe’s casualties are not counted or all the casualties are concealed.
But to accomplish that latter impression (or deception), it would require more power than even the F-22 can muster. But it can be done. It would require the collaboration of the mainstream media but that might easily occur if the mainstream media’s acquiescence in the Pentagon’s press restrictions during the 1991 Gulf War and the 2001-2002 U.S.-Afghani War are any guide. In fact, the three main non-cable, U.S. television networks and the major U.S. mass media as a whole, as Noam Chomsky has tirelessly pointed out, are in such an intimate collusion with the "corporate sector and the state . . . that convergence of interests on major issues is the norm." After all, in 1996 both NBC and CBS were owned by appliance makers/defense contractors – General Electric and Westinghouse, respectively. ABC was owned by the Walt Disney conglomerate and the cable company CNN by Time Warner. As of January 2002, along with many other properties, AOL/Time Warner owned significant chunks of CNN and its spin-offs, Viacom owned CBS, General Electric owned NBC and its spin-offs, Walt Disney owned ABC, and the Rupert Murdock family's News Corporation owned the Fox News Channel. In fact, just ten multinational firms — AOL/Time Warner, Disney, General Electric, News Corporation, Viacom, Vivendi, Sony, Bertelsmann, AT&T, and Liberty Media — compose what has been termed a media "oligopoly" that has not only collectively "abandoned" the working class and poor in favor of the population stratum that advertisers find most likely to buy their products, but it is extremely "cozy" with the Pentagon and ruling Administration. Thus, as media specialists Jeffrey Chester and Gary O. Larson cite the evidence, "There are more media outlets than ever before, but this numerical growth, as Consumers Union has pointed out, 'has not been accompanied by a comparable growth of independent, diversely owned competitive communication services and media voices.'" In other words, "While the players tend to come and go . . . the overall [media] Leviathan itself keeps getting bigger [until] . . . the cartel . . . represents the grand convergence of the previously disparate US cultural industries [i.e., news, entertainment, sports, information, interactive communication, and high culture]."
At present, for example, media specialist Mark Miller points out that the U.S. pro-business mainstream media is largely ignoring or downplaying rather than highlighting "this [George W. Bush] government's attack on civil liberties — the mass detentions, secret evidence, increased surveillance, suspension of attorney-client privileged, the encouragement to spy, the warnings not to disagree, the censored images, sequestered public papers, unexpected visits form the Secret Service and so on." And he questions if the major media should "parrot what the Pentagon says about the current war [in Afghanistan and against terrorism] . . . and preserve us in our fatal ignorance of what people really think of us — and why — beyond our borders?" "In short," he states, "the news divisions of the media cartel appear to work against the public interest — and for their parent companies, their advertisers and the Bush Administration." Naturally, under these conditions, any reporter or editor in those or any other mainstream mass media corporation would have to be a corporate subversive and risk his/her career to criticize the military-industrial complex in any persistent or fundamental way. This is especially true if the executives at the network being criticized are really working for or are connected to a parent company of a defense contractor or a subcontractor. Anyway, there is no shortage of media analysts and insiders who point out that the obfuscation of important realities by the mainstream mass media is pervasive and continuous.
These practices include, as Bumpers points out, deploying key congresspeople and policy makers to advertise for defense expenditures in the forums of "political talk shows such as ‘Face the Nation’ and ‘Meet the Press.’ And," as he notes, "the timing for their appearances often coincides with military spending deliberations in Congress." But congresspeople and policy makers obviously have special powers and special needs, so they are persistently lobbied and briefed, and given campaign donations, and courted (or bullied) by some powerful defense corporations. Bumpers alluded to some of the pressure placed on congresspeople when weapons makers want them to buy their products and have managed to get them in their sights. "I can tell you," he said, "that if there’s ten jobs in a state, some member of Congress is going to hear about this weapons system and how wonderful it is and how [if we don’t] build that weapons system [it] will spell the demise of the United States democracy as we know it." More importantly, Bumpers could add, money talks and talks very, very loudly. This takes the form of both campaign contributions and, especially, lobbying.
In just the three years between January 1, 1998 and December 31, 2000, defense contractors poured over $24 million ($24,190,200) into Republican and Democrat political pockets (mostly Republican) through their campaign contributions to congressional and presidential candidates. But, beneath this tip of gold, there looms a mountain of cash that is over six times more. Between 1997 and 2000, the defense industry lobbyists spent almost $150 million ($149,795,257) hawking their wares in Washington. Although this money amounts to less than that which almost any other major sector of the U.S. economy spent, it gets results because it is very effectively directed at key members of congressional committees, it comes from defense megafirms that have a powerful geopolitical reach, and it has the aura of patriotism connected to a political climate of easily excited fears working for it.
In 1997, just as one example, Lockheed Martin and Boeing contributed slightly more than $1.7 million to both major political parties ($1,775,786), and they gathered in more than $40 billion in Pentagon contract awards ($40,475,000,000). And, by FY 2000, over a year before the attacks of 9/11 on the U.S., they raked in less but still made $33.4 billion. In FY 2001, their contract awards rose to $33.6 billion. In just military R&D each of the "Big Three Three" – Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Raytheon – received $4.8 billion, $2.2 billion and $1.1 billion respectively in FY 1998. And, from 1998 through 2000, these three defense contractors accounted for a whooping 25%-26% of all defense contracts. Beyond that, in the period 1995-1999, Congress obliged all the defense contractors by adding "a cool $30 billion to the Pentagon budget beyond what the [Department of Defense] requested – mostly for big-ticket weapons systems built in the districts or states of congressional leaders or members of key committees."
So, in getting such big returns for their bucks and in anticipation of getting even bigger returns from the $329 billion procurement of the F-22 (calculated as 339 F-22s at a conservatively estimated cost per plane of $63.8 million), the F/A-18 E/F tactical aircraft, and the Joint Strike Fighter, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Northrop Grumman Corporation (listed under both of these labels) and Boeing, spent over $3 million ($3,278,053) in political campaign contributions in the two year election cycle of 1999-2000. They and their compatriots in the arms producing business also spent over $53 million ($53,154, 702) on their reported lobbying activities in 1999. And, of that amount, almost half of it, or about $24,700,000 ($24,685,953), was spent by the Aerospace Defense lobbyists who are now, no doubt, straining at the leash to rake in as much money as possible from the National Missile Defense (NMD) system — the Bush FY 2002 budget of $8.3 billion for NMD is $3 billion or 57% over current NMD spending levels.
At any rate, with money, manipulation, and problematic facts, the Pentagon got to the point of requesting that $3.96 billion of the FY2000 defense budget go to purchase 10 F-22 aircraft and toward continuing F-22 research and development. In 2003, the Air Force, according to defense analyst Williamson Murray, will begin receiving 24 [F-22s] and build to a total of 339 planes (three air wings). The military/technical argument for this purchase, presented by Air Force officers, is not only that the "F-22 has already completed more flight test time than [the F-15, F-16, and F-18] at their [similar] production decision points," but the F-22 "has spent almost twice as long in development as the F-18, and three times as long as the F-15 . . . [so] the F-22 has passed its tests with flying colors and is ready for production."
Of course, all of these non-sequitur claims neglect to mention that comparisons of the numbers of F-22 flight tests with other planes are meaningless since those other planes to which the F-22 is being compared also may have had serious reductions and eliminations of testing requirements. This, certainly, has been the case with the F-22, as critics like Franklin ("Chuck") Spinney and others have observed. So, when Air Force officials assert that the F-22 "achieved all 1999 flight-performance criteria and all 1999 F-22 program criteria established by DoD and the Air Force," it is disingenuous. It neglects to mention all of the reductions in numbers and types of tests that the F-22 has undergone during the whole course of its development. As reported by Murray, even the Senate Armed Services Committee noted that the "Air Force seems to be pushing the F-22 procurement before the aircraft has been sufficiently tested." Then, too, the Air Force proponents of the F-22 fail to mention that the reason that the F-22 has spent so long in development is that its development has been slowed or halted from time to time because the very need for the plane has been called into question.
Likewise, the Air Force promoters of the F-22 have manipulated the economic estimates and have taken facts out of context to claim that the "average F-22 ‘sticker price'" will be "less than $85 million . . . [and] less than 1% of the DoD budget during its production period." This Air Force argument falls on its face once the total R&D costs of the F-22 are thrown into the equation. As for the argument that the F-22 costs only a tiny fraction of the Pentagon’s annual budget, that simply calls into question the legitimacy of the whole defense budget. After all, when all the true costs of military-related expenses — found elsewhere in the federal budget — are included on the DoD line of the federal budget, the percent of increase to the yearly amount expended on the U.S. military is roughly 65%. And while this more accurate accounting framework would shrink the percentage portion of the Pentagon expenses consumed by the F-22, it also would expose the far larger duplicity of ripping off the taxpayers for more than they think they are paying to sustain a prodigious military machine and a largely unrecognized militarized economy.
Going in that direction — the direction of a deeper political awakening — could lead people, as it has led Cato’s Institute’s Eland, to not only call for the elimination of the F-22 but for the elimination of 37% of the annual U.S. defense budget. That outlook on reducing the military budget places the procurement of the F-22 and many other expensive weapon systems within the proper perspective — an ultimate destiny toward oblivion. That destiny, however, will likely never be reached until the laboring many perceive and reject the policies and goals of the opulent few.
"Let me ask you one question
Is your money that good
Will it buy you forgiveness
Do you think that it could
I think you will find
When your death takes its toll
All the money you made
Will never buy back your soul"
(Bob Dylan, "Masters of War," 1963)
The Matrix: Winners and Losers
In modern history, beginning with the flight of the dispossessed
French aristocrats to the counterrevolutionary armies of the Republic's
enemies (after the French Revolution took off in a democratic direction)
and continuing through the capital flight of the rich and/or their money
in our era of corporate globalization, it has been repeatedly shown that
many in the extremely wealthy few have only one patriotism and that is
to their own power, privileges, and profits. Such people are
the sort of persons who, as Abraham Lincoln once observed, often share
the "same tyrannical principle" of the "divine right in kings" and the
"same spirit that says, ‘You work toil and earn bread, and I’ll eat it.’"
They are the ones in the wealthy elite who believe that there are only
two types of people — those who are born to lead and the rest of dismal
humanity. And, now, in the current period of corporate globalization,
these facts are even more apparent as capital, jobs, plants, people, and
equipment are moved from location to location in search of maximizing profits.
Buttressed by the history-shaping rules and policies of such institutions
as NAFTA, WTO, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund, transnational
corporations are better able to subordinate labor and the environment to
their prerogatives. They follow mammon virtually wherever it leads
them. As economic analyst William Greider aptly summarizes, the "principles
of finance capital [and multinational corporations] are maximizing return
on capital without regard to national identity or political or social consequences."
And, naturally, as major participants in corporate globalization, the top
20 or so of U.S. arms makers may not ignore these principles.
They start by seeking and receiving massive taxpayer subsidies to export their weapons systems to other countries. That amount (calculated at an "annualized average" figure derived from FY 1996 and 1997) runs around $7.8 billion annually ($7,867,900,00), according to the thorough studies and analyses of Hartung. And, just to put that federal gratuity for weapons contractors into its proper perspective, that $7.8 billion annual subsidy exceeds by around $1 billion per year the annual amount that Congress and former President Bill Clinton started eliminating from the federal welfare budget for the support of poor families (principally the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program — AFDC) in the five years between 1997-2003. Indeed, in any typical budget year before 1997, the U.S. military budget accounted for "18 percent of all federal spending" while AFDC accounted for "just one percent of the federal budget." Following such public financed gifts for subsidized weapons sales, private U.S. arms manufacturers bombard government officials for the right to sell ever more weapons to ever more countries for ever more profits. But since many of these countries (i.e., potential customers) are relatively poor or impoverished, they need U.S. loans or economic aid to purchase the expensive weapon systems that U.S. arms merchants want to sell. And this means that they seek and receive massive amounts of financial assistance in promoting their foreign arms sales from the federal government. Given such facts, is it reasonable to deny that their profits are purchased at the expense of the many?
In terms of aircraft fighter systems, like the F-22, these foreign arm sales also create a justification for a U.S. arms race with itself. As one generation of U.S. fighters is sold abroad, another, more advanced weapon system, is demanded to face down the self-created threat. Even the Air Force acknowledges this process. Both the Air Force Secretary and the Chief of Staff warned in a 1994 report: "'The . . . possibility of fighting an enemy equipped with our own weapons means simply that the F-15 Eagle [fighter] cannot be expected to ensure air superiority for U.S. forces in the next century.’" Indeed, things are not looking at all good for the future of the F-15 since Lockheed Martin executives have been selling the even more popular F-16 throughout the world and "'are already lobbying for permission to sell a version of the F-22 overseas.’" In other words, they now want to sell a fighter overseas (the F-22) that is so modern that it still has not been tested enough to be fully integrated into the arsenal of U.S. weaponry.
Off-Sets and Profits
Moreover, the drive to sell ever more sophisticated and expensive fighter
systems overseas has led to the practice of making "offsets," or quid pro
quo arrangements with the purchasing countries. Now, these
offset arrangements consist of helping the elites of a purchasing
country to buy a major weapon system from a U.S. company by offsetting
the expense of buying the system through the device of steering other business
to that country. "Offsets may include everything from coproduction
of the [weapon] system being sold, to technology transfers [or] targeted
investments" in either the defense or non-defense sectors of the purchasing
country’s economy. Of course, this practice is more generally
known in business circles as gaining "market access," and while this buying-one’s-way-in
strategy may be enormously profitable for the U.S. corporate stockholders
and top executives of some of the arms selling companies, it can cost many
other U.S. residents in lost jobs, money or even lives. But that
is just business as usual, according to Lockheed Martin's patriotic CEO
Vance D. Coffman. After all, what is good for business is . . .
Well, you know the rest. In Coffman's view, "most countries
. . . would like work done in their country [and] . . . that's not an unreasonable
request, [so] . . . offsets, or something equivalent to offsets, will be
a way of life for us in the long term. . . . I do think," he goes on to
candidly reveal, "that we can do business internationally and make ourselves
and our technologies available to other countries and thereby enlarge our
business base as well. Now, statistically, Coffman's
perspective may be best expressed in the fact that "offsets on major arms
deals now routinely average between 50% and 100% of the value of the original
[weapons] sale." And, as Hartung notes, when, just the "50%
cost of average offsets" is added together with the annualized average
of $7.8 billion of government subsidies already going to U.S. arms exporters,
it means that the U.S. arms merchants’ $12 billion in weapons sales in
1996 brought them a profit, but those sales cost the overall U.S. domestic
economy a net loss of $1 to $2 billion. But, so what?
When it comes to enhancing the profits of a privileged few, other people’s
money is expendable (and sometimes so are other people). At any rate,
those net domestic financial losses, as Hartung’s calculations demonstrate,
are fairly typical.
Meanwhile, in the time frame of 1994-2000, the "big profit earners" are those private companies who are raking in the cash from the annual, overseas sale of $7 to $10 billion of U.S. military aircraft. And the companies that stand at the pinnacle of all those receiving contracts under the Pentagon's Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program from 1993 to 1997, were McDonnell Douglas (now part of Boeing) and Lockheed Martin. They accounted for "56.5 percent of all FMS awards in that period and, during 1995-1996, they accounted for over 60 percent.
Yet, while these figures may be cause for cheering by some at Lockheed Martin and other leading arms exporters and among their allies and investors, they may not be so cheerfully received by many others. U.S. troops, for instance, may rue the day that the Lockheed Martin corporation made a considerable profit partly due to offsets. After all, in part due to the fact that Lockheed Martin has sold over 1,300 of its F-16s to various – and not always pleasant – regimes around the world, analyst Lora Lumpe (American Federation of Scientists) not only argues that there is a "real upward pressure on defense budgets," but she points out that offsets have allowed the number of countries "able to produce major military equipment" to grow from only five in the mid-1950s to 54 by the late 1990s. In fact, some small to medium size U.S. companies already rue the day that offsets have been used to enhance the profit margin of such giant firms as Lockheed Martin. According to a 1996 Commerce Department survey of 204 small and mid-sized U.S. companies, 83% of them reported that offsets had a "negative impact" on their companies.
And labor, especially, has suffered from the negative impact of offsets because just as General Motors SUV "Suburbans" are being built in Mexico at labor rates of $1.54 per hour and in the U.S. at $18.96 per hour, F-16s are being built at lower labor rates in Turkey and elsewhere outside of the U.S. Of course, the lower wage rate per hour for either the "Suburban" or the F-16 does not change their respective market price, but it does change corporate and stockholder return because, generally, the lower the wage rate -- the higher the profit. A perfect illustration of how this works, in connection with the associated practice of having U.S. taxpayers pay for all or part of the weapons that a foreign regime obtains, is found in the 1991 sale of 40 F-16s to Egypt at a price of $1.6 billion. Now, the Egyptian government acquired these planes with money from the $2 billion annual security assistance program provided to it by the U.S. But Bush-the-elder’s Administration decided to reward the Turkish government for its support of U.S. policy in the Gulf War of 1991, by allowing the "majority of the assembly and production work on the planes" for Egypt to be done at production facilities in Turkey and not in the U.S. The export of U.S. jobs in this case was actually quite easy — really a fait accompli — since both Turkey and South Korea already had "full scale F-16 assembly lines up and running under [the offset] coproduction arrangements [that] Lockheed Martin established in connection with major weapons sales to those nations." Indeed, "the F-16 program," Hartung writes, "now supports more jobs overseas than it does in factories in the United States." Meanwhile, similar quid pro quo arrangements have been extended to U.S. weapons subcontractors in Taiwan, and both Lockheed Martin and Boeing have committed to building F-16 and F-18 production plants in Poland and the Czech Republic, respectively, if those countries’ governments agree to buy their planes. Indeed, "Lockheed Martin’s spokesperson Kathryn Hayden has pledged that the company will provide 100% offsets on any sale of fighter aircraft to East and Central Europe."
In short, the type of patriotism of certain powerful U.S. arms producers and exporters involves more than exporting subsidized weapons. It involves exporting potential military tension, tax dollars, investments, advanced technologies, and jobs to other countries at the expense of their poorer people and of other U.S. businesses, poorer taxpayers, and workers. By Hartung’s calculations this type of elitist patriotism results in "a net loss of anywhere from 4,300 and 18,000 jobs" for every billion dollar spent on "direct and indirect government subsidies for [U.S. foreign] arms sales." But, jobs, of course, are not what either capitalism or the military contractors operate to produce.
But when profits are considered, it is another story. Examining the period of 1962 to 1965, Lens cited a study of large defense firms who did "three fourth of their business with the Government" and "comparable" industrial firms who sold their goods "on the commercial market." The study found that the "former earned 17.5 percent on investment . . . as against 10.6 percent for the latter." Later studies, reported by Center for Defense Information, and undertaken by the Department of Defense, the Navy, and the GAO, have found that "profits in the military industries are significantly higher than profits for comparable commercial business . . . when the investment made by military firms" is factored into the mix of sales and assets. This was verified by the most comprehensive study done between 1977 and 1986, the Defense Financial and Investment Review (DEFAIR), that was undertaken by the Pentagon in 1985. DEFAIR found that "as a percent of assets, military profits from 1970 to 1983 were 20.5% while commercial profits trailed at 13.3%." Likewise, a Navy study which analyzed 22 top military contractors "found during 1977-1984 [that] the return on assets for government work averaged 24% while commercial work averaged 12%." As for the profits generated by stocks, "military stocks averaged a 3.3% higher annual market return than for commercial stocks from 1975 to 1985 [and] the biggest firms, those which do more than one one-half their work with the government, averaged a whopping 25% average annual market rate of return for [1977-1987], 60% higher than for commercial stocks." Now, the reason for this profit-making advantage is partly due to the fact that, according to DEFAIR, military contracting is "less risky than comparable commercial business, in most cases by a factor of two." The bottom line is that these studies all reveal that "when compared with the investment made by [comparable commercial] firms, weapons [making] work has been almost twice as profitable as comparable commercial business."
NATO Means More Profits
Currently, advocating and achieving the eastward expansion of
NATO is another business strategy for accomplishing the patriotic goal
of making money for such leading U.S. arms producers as Boeing and
Lockheed Martin. In the telling words of Lockheed Martin's
CEO Coffman, "NATO is very dependent on U.S. equipment. . . . So
it's potentially a very large market for us. If you include countries
like Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland, I believe we'll see a good-sized
market — perhaps in the hundreds of millions — open up in the next few
years in all those countries." To insure that profitable future,
Boeing and, especially, Lockheed Martin have been engaged in a fierce lobbying
effort in both Washington and Eastern Europe to get their F-16 and F-18
fighters purchased by Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic. And,
at the very end of the 1990s, the Polish government was considering a $100
million leasing agreement with the U.S. government for "about a dozen
surplus U.S. F-16 or F-18 aircraft." Considered "loss leaders," these
leased planes serve to hook less affluent potential clients for replacement
parts and more planes in the future. This activity fits into
a very sophisticated and intensive private and state campaign to induct
more Eastern European countries into NATO. After all, since the premier
military condition of NATO membership requires that all member nations
have technologically advanced and compatible weapons, countries like Poland,
Hungary, and the Czech Republic promise to become extremely lucrative markets
for U.S. weapons producers. One estimate, in fact, cites the cost
of several rounds of NATO expansion as high as "$500 billion over a 12
to 15 year period." Already, for FY 1996, 1997, and 1998, the
U.S. has "authorized over $1.2 billion ($1,218,900,000) in grants and loans
to support NATO expansion, i.e., help pay for new weapon systems.
Now, in order to clear the path to some of these million, the Lockheed Martin corporation has been particularly involved in two decision shaping mechanisms. The first is right at the center of the hyphen in the military-industrial complex. It is the Defense Policy Advisory Committee on Trade (DPACT) that was established in 1975 "to provide confidential recommendations to the Secretary of Defense and the U.S. Trade Representative on [U.S.] export policy." DPACT is composed of a group of top military leaders and industrial executives who, in 1995, were chaired by Lockheed Martin’s seemingly ubiquitous CEO Norman Augustine. And, at that time, it also included such presidents or CEOs of other major defense contractors such as Kent Kresa of Northrop Gruman, John F. McDonnell of McDonnell Douglas, and Frank Shrontz of Boeing. In fact, DPACT may be an example of the quintessential revolving door of decision-makers who occupy high public and private positions interchangeably. Augustine, for instance, had been Undersecretary of the Army for Research and Development in the Nixon/Ford Administration. Another DPACT member in 1995, General Howard Fish, once served as head of the Pentagon’s Defense Security Assistance Agency, and, later, as an executive of Loral Corporation, he headed up DPACT’s Export Policy Subcommittee. Donald Atwood, likewise, served as a member of DPACT before moving into Bush-the-elder’s Administration. Observing that this body of defense industry executives in DPACT has a "permanent open door into Executive Branch arms transfer policymaking circles," Hartung ridicules the Pentagon’s pious claim that industry DPACT committee members receive no government per diems or travel reimbursements for participating in DPACT meetings. While, perhaps, thinking that some of those executives and others could be laughing all the way to their tax-free off-shore accounts, Hartung sarcastically notes that "the value of helping shape government policy on issues of direct financial interest to their companies is probably well worth the cost of a few annual trips to Washington."
Anyway, as a powerful reflection of both the clout and persistence of DPACT committee members and their institutional organizations there is no better example than the 1995 creation of the Defense Export Loan Guarantee program (DELG). After a seven year lobbying effort by Augustine and such defense industry organizations as the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) and the American League for Exports and Security Assistance (ALESA), DELG was finally established when Augustine was the chair of DPACT. Set up to provide as much as $15 billion in U.S. government loan guarantees for the export and sale of U.S. military equipment, the DELG program is facing the East – Eastern Europe – and has already guaranteed $16.7 million in FY 1996/97 to Romania. And Hartung points out that a DELG "program spokesperson" has indicated that a "’disproportionate interest’" in the other $2.4 billion of loans that have been so far requested have come "from the nations in East and Central Europe."
In 1997, the establishment of DELG was followed by the creation of another new loan guarantee program. Named the Central European Defense Loan Fund (CEDL), it was set up for loans to "'creditworthy Central European and Baltic States for acquisition of NATO-compatible equipment" to "'assist" in the "'gradual enlargement of NATO.’" CEDL was allocated $20 million per year out of the Foreign Military Financing (FMF) funding, beginning in FY 1997-98. And that money along with other funds from the FMF program shoved the total FMF loans targeted for NATO expansion to over $402 million ($402,346,800) in FY 1998. But, again, when all sources U.S. government grants, subsidized loans, and the costs of military training and exercises for NATO expansion are added together, they amount to over $1.2 billion in FY 1996, 1997, and 1998.
Still, to make sure that the momentum for NATO expansion continues, Lockheed Martin likes to cover all the bases. Consequently, the corporation was instrumental creating the U.S. Committee to Expand NATO. This lobbying group began operating out of offices located in the headquarters of the conservative American Enterprise Institute. The Committee to Expand NATO's president, in 1999, was one of Lockheed Martin’s vice-presidents, Bruce Jackson. The committee has briefed over one-third of U.S. Senators about NATO expansion, and it has distributed pro-expansion fact sheets and information packets at important Senate hearings. But its lobbying efforts are only part of the defense industry’s push to expand NATO and, thereby, exploit a potential gold mine in weapons sales.
U.S. weapons makers also have been coordinating their domestic efforts on behalf of NATO expansion with such ethnic organizations as the Polish American Congress and the Hungarian American Foundation. And both Lockheed Martin and Bell Helicopter Textron are working with other arms companies to supply monies to a pro-NATO expansion foundation that is being set up by the Romanian Embassy in Washington. Likewise, McDonnell Douglas (before its absorption into Boeing) was a corporate funder of the pro-NATO expansion organization called the American Friends of the Czech Republic. Similarly, in Eastern and Central Europe, the arms industry’s lobbying campaign is just as aggressive. Accordingly, Lockheed Martin has led a blitzkrieg-like promotional assault on Eastern and Central Europe. It started with the company’s President of Tactical Aircraft Systems Dain Hancock’s "pitches for the F-16 in Hungary, Poland, and the Czech Republic in September 1996." This was followed in October by a series of free "'defense planning seminars for officials in Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic,'" according to Lockheed Martin’s Director of Requirements and Analysis, Gordon Bowen. Then, in a Spring business offensive of 1997, Lockheed Martin’s generalisimo Augustine swept through Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania, and Slovenia "with the goal, [according to the New York Times], of ‘drumming up business and supporting the largest possible expansion of NATO.’"
Big Corporate R&D Subsidies
These incessant domestic and foreign lobbying and promotional activities
paid off handsomely during the Bill Clinton Administration which not only
vigorously pushed for the expansion of NATO but demonstrated its patriotism
by consistently funding the defense department at roughly average Cold
War spending levels (in FY 2000 dollars). And, while the subsequent
George W. Bush II Administration is displaying military spending at its
most munificence level, what is known as state capitalism has been with
us since its inception with the National Recovery Administration in 1933,
and the huge military build-up of 1941-1945. Of course, today many
of the early concessions that were originally tacked on to the 1933-1947
state capitalist system to pacify and placate labor have been eroded or
disappeared, but the state benefits to corporate America, including defense
contractors, have grown and grown, especially since World War II.
These benefits start by pouring into the corporate coffers tens of billions
of dollars that the federal government annually shells out for Research
and Development (R&D) in every major sector of the economy, especially
defense (over 52% — 52.05% — of the federal government's total R&D
spending request in 1997).
In the final two decades of the 20th century, the origin of this latest example of public subsidy for private profit occurred in 1980, with the passage of the Bayh-Dole Act. Through that law, universities, that were getting government R&D monies got the right to exclusively license their patent inventions to private corporations. This created a university-business alliance that was buttressed by President Ronald Reagan’s 1983 Presidential memorandum that "instructed executive agencies to grant exclusive rights to inventions to [private] contractors of all sizes." Then, in 1986, the Federal Technology Transfer Act "authorized federal laboratories to enter into exclusive contracts with corporations to develop and market inventions originating in the federal labs . . . and, lacking anything similar to the universities’ interest in earning some reasonable royalty, the labs have effectively given away hugely profitable taxpayer-financed inventions with no public return." In brief, "since the early 1980, the [federal] government has routinely given away the fruits of the research it sponsors [through the Departments of Defense, Energy, and Health and Human Services], granting private corporations exclusive royalty-free rights to commercialize government-financed inventions while failing to include and/or enforce reasonable pricing requirements in the licenses." As for the Department of Defense, it has led the other federal departments in these developments since 1947. From that date to the present, it has followed a "policy of allowing contractors to gain a title to government-sponsored inventions." Generally, the Pentagon’s only requirement of the private contractors who get those publicly funded inventions is a "royalty-free right to use the invention."
In terms of all monies lost to the taxpayers, such state-sponsored invention give-a-ways are probably incalculable. As for the actual tax money that has been spent on military R&D, in just the period between 1981 and 1999, it was over $500 billion. Indeed, with over 52 percent of the federal government’s entire R&D budget going to military projects, the GAO reported that the Pentagon’s spending "on Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation" of weapons systems averaged $36 billion per year from 1990-2000. "The bulk of these funds," as Hartung states, "goes to private contractors." For example, Boeing "received $2.9 billion in government R&D support" just for its F-15 fighter, "and Lockheed Martin got $1.8 billion in Pentagon R&D support during [the F-16’s] development phase." In short, while it is true that major weapon system defense contractors make their greatest profits from the production phase of their Pentagon contracts, they are cushioned against risks and make considerable earnings gains in the R&D phase of weapon systems development. And this sets the stage for even more handsome financial benefits to the corporate few through cost-reimbursement contracts.
Given the facts and arguments presented in this three part series, it appears that President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s famous warning about the threaten dominance of the military-industrial complex over peoples lives has surpassed a bad dream and become a disturbing reality. And that is costing the vast majority of us much more than we can afford to lose. Yet, with growing awareness of that reality at the base of society, there may be reason for hope. For, as Eisenhower also optimistically said, "‘I think that people want peace so much that one of these days government had better get out of the way and let them have it.’" (E)
Citations and Notes for Propaganda, Politics, and Patriotism of the Wealthy Few
Douglas Dowd, The Waste of Nations: Dysfunction in the World
Economy, Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1989, 20, 21. This
citation covers all the quoted material to this point in the essay.
Robert Higgs, "U.S. Military Spending in the Cold War Era: Opportunity Costs, Foreign Crises, and Domestic Constraints," Policy Analysis no. 114 (November 30, 1998): 14, available online at cato.org/pubs/pas/pa114.html; Internet Most Internet online web sites in this study require the prefix www.
Council for a Livable World Education Fund (CLWEF), "Defense Contractors Weigh In," 2,
available online at clw.org/ef/caution/contract.html; Internet.
Sidney Lens, The Military-Industrial Complex (Philadelphia, PA: Pilgrim Press & National Catholic Reporter, 1970), 49, 58, 53.
David Isenberg, "The Pentagon’s Fraudulent Bottom Up Review," Policy Analysis no. 206 (April 21, 1994): 10 (Cited as Isenberg, "Pentagon's Fraudulent").
Ivan Eland was formerly a principal defense analyst at the Congressional Budget Office. He currently is Director of Defense Policy Studies at the Cato Institute. He is the author of several studies on terrorism, homeland defense, weapons proliferation, and the costs of NATO expansion.
Ivan Eland, "Tilting at Windmills: Post-Cold War Military Threats to U.S. Security," Policy Analysis no. 332 (February 8, 1999): 30, 31, available online at cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-32es.html; Internet (Cited as Eland, "Tilting").
America’s Defense Monitor, "Marketing Tomorrow’s Weapons," show and show transcript produced by Center for Defense Information (CDI), September 28, 1997, 4, available online at cdi.org/adm/1103/transcript.html; Internet (Cited as CDI, "Marketing").
Lt. Colonel Alvina K. Mitchell and Major General Michael C. Mushala (U.S.A.F), "A 2000-2001 Robust Public Affairs Plan (F-22 Raptor Flying High) for America’s F-22 Air Superiority Fighter," AFMC – F-22 Public Affairs Plan, May 2000, 7, wysiwyg://764f/http://web2. deskbook... &CQ_VIEW_TEXT=YES&CQ_SAVE[MDI]=YES; Internet (Cited as Mitchell).
Citing the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) as his source for these figures, Eland also notes that the 1997 Russian defense budget only allocated $3.65 billion for the procurement of weapons and only $2 billion on R&D compared to the 1997 U.S. defense budget figures of $50 billion on procurement and $40 billion on R&D. As for China, Eland points out that China has only 17 intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), one ballistic missile submarine with 12 submarine launch ballistic missiles (SLBM), no long-range strategic bombers, and a total of 149 strategic nuclear warheads. The U.S., in contrast, has in the range of 6,500-7,100 ready-to-fire nuclear warheads. None of China’s ICBMs are on "ready alert," and they are all liquid fueled so the propellants are not only stored separate from the missiles but they are more unstable than the U.S. solid fuel boosters. And, finally, China’s ballistic missile submarine is especially vulnerable to a first strike because it is mostly located in dry dock due to "technical problems." Therefore, Eland concludes, "If either [Russia or China] were to [become] peer competitors of the United States . . . it would probably require 20 to 30 years."
Similarly, the military power of those states that the Pentagon has classified as "likely adversaries" – Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria – is ludicrous compared to that of the U.S. At a U.S. defense budget of only $289 billion in 1999 (The George Bush II Administration has requested $350.8 billion in its FY 2002 defense budget.), the U.S. outspent the combined defense budgets of its so-called "likely adversaries" by more than nineteen times. As of FY 2002, the U.S. military budget will be 23 times larger than the combined spending of all seven "likely adversaries." Indeed, as of 2002, the U.S. will annually spent roughly two thirds more than all seven of its "likely adversaries" and Russia and China combined. See Eland, "Tilting" 1, 2, 10, 14, 18, 23, 26, 28; see also CDI, The Defense Monitor XXX, no. 7 (August 2001): 1, 4; CDI, "Fiscal Year 2003 Pentagon Budget Request, Budget Authority," February 4, 2001, 1, HYPERLINK http://www.cdi.org/issues/budget/FY03topline-pr.cfm www.cdi.org/issues/budget/FY03topline-pr.cfm .
Writing in the Cato Institute’s journal Policy Analysis, Robert Higgs lists almost a dozen "illusory military ‘gaps’" that U.S. policy makers created to "'scare the hell out of the American people,’" as Senator Arthur Vandenberg once candidly put it. These included: exaggerating Soviet force levels right after World War II, a bomber gap in the mid-1950s, a missile gap between 1958 and 1961, an anti-missile gap, a first strike gap shortly thereafter, a bomber gap again in the 1960s, a thermonuclear megatonage gap, an anti-submarine capabilities gap, a missile throw-weight gap, an entire "'decade of neglect’" gap during 1970s, and a Star Wars gap of the 1980s. See Higgs 12.
Ivan Eland, "Hike Military Funding? Lining the Pockets of the Defense Bureaucracy," CATO Today’s Commentary, 23 September 1998, 1, available online at cato.org/dailys/9-23-98.html; Internet.
Actually, according to the research and lectures by Harvey Goldberg at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the practice of scaring the American people and their congressional representatives began as early as 1946, when, in the midst of the negotiations for the "Washington Loan Agreement" with the British for their country’s post-World War II economic reconstruction, the Truman administration policy makers, almost by chance, apparently told some congressional committees that they needed the money ($3.8 billion at 2% interest) to loan to England because they wanted to strengthen that nation against a Soviet menace. It, also, is quite instructive that the American negotiators with the British played some real hard ball in getting the British to open up their markets throughout the British empire as the main price for obtaining that loan. The Americans wanted into that closed, British market area of the sterling block, but early in 1946, the British seemed to be using the principle of "non-convertibility" and import restrictions to keep them out and to acquire the money that they could use to rebuild their financially strapped economy after World War II. By employing the principle of "non-convertibility" on all parts of the British empire, the British were requiring that all the foreign currencies (manly dollars) that had accumulated in India, Australia, Burma, parts of Africa, and the Commonwealth as a whole. could only be converted into pound sterling. The pound sterling, of course, would be used to buy British goods and services, and, so, help to put England back on her financial feet. But the American negotiators demanded, as a condition of their loan, that the British end their policy attempts to retain their closed empire and end the principle of non-convertibility.
Lord L.S. Amery described very well what this meant in his book called The Washington Loan Agreement (1946). Amery writes as an old Tory who had been in on empire building his whole life, and, so, he could sense imperialism when it walked through the door. Anyway, in his description of what occurred in the loan negotiations, there was even a half-hearted admiration for what the Americans pulled off. He writes: "The object of American policy is . . . to set up . . . money and money power outside national control as the dominate factor in [the] world economy. . . . We have been forced to pledge ourselves to a commercial scheme which is to deprive us . . . of any effective control of our own home market." Then, with grudging admiration, prescience, and probably tears in his eyes, he spells out the American schema: "I rather like the robust buccaneering spirit of modern American economic imperialism. Only . . . it is against the British Empire . . . The British Empire is the oyster which the loan is to prise open. Each part of it . . . is to be swallowed separately, to become a field for American industrial exploitation, a tributary of American finance, and, in the end, an American dependency." See L.S. Amery, The Washington Loan Agreement (London: McDonald, 1946), vi-viii, xi.
Well, with the scare tactic of a Soviet menace turning the tide against Congressional frugality, U.S. policy makers had discovered that the "scare ‘em" tactic really worked wonders at softening up the U.S. public and at loosing up Congressional purse strings. Then, on March 12, 1947, came Truman’s radio announcement that there was such a huge communist menace in Greece that the U.S. would "support" all "’free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressure.’" And the Truman Doctrine’s Manichaean view of the world was later (1950) incorporated into what became the cornerstone of all subsequent U.S., Cold War strategic thinking, National Security Council memorandum 68 (NSC 68). Now, the "purpose of NSC 68," as Secretary of State Dean Acheson bluntly explained, "was to so bludgeon the mass mind of ‘top government’ . . . that the decision [for containment] could be carried out." And, so, he continues, "If we made our points clearer than truth, we . . . could hardly do otherwise." See Thomas J. McCormick, America’s Half-Century: United States Foreign Policy in the Cold War and After (Baltimore: Hopkins, 1995), 34, 55-56; Dean Acheson, Present at the Creation: My Years in the State Department (New York: W.W. Norton, 1969), 222, 374, 375.
Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition & Technology, "The Defense Science Board 1997 Summer Study Task Force on DoD Responses to Transnational Threats," Volume I, Final Report, Washington, D.C., October 1997, 15. See also Ivan Eland, "Tilting at Windmills: Post-Cold War Military Threats to U.S. Security," Policy Analysis, No. 332, February 8, 1999, 43, 33, HYPERLINK http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-332es.html www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-332es.html . Based on this finding, Eland, the Director of Cato Institute's Defense Policy Studies, wisely concludes: "There is a way to significantly reduce the chances of an attack on the American homeland by terrorists using weapons of mass terror. . . . [The U.S. must cease] provocative overseas interventions . . . [and] should adopt a policy of military restraint. That policy entails intervening only as a last resort . . ." See Ibid., 34. A similar finding of the "blowback" effect of U.S. foreign interventionism has been mentioned by numerous analysts, including, most recently: Chalmers Johnson, Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire (2002), Gore Vidal, Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace: How We Got to Be So Hated (2002), Noam Chomsky, Rogue States: The Rule of Force in World Affairs (2000), Patrick J. Buchanan, "What Price the American Empire?" WorldNetDaily, 29 May 2002, 1, 2, HYPERLINK http://www.wnd.com/news/printer-friendly.asp/ARTICLE_ID=27771 www.wnd.com/news/printer-friendly.asp/ ARTICLE_ID=27771 , Robert Fisk, "There is a firestorm coming and it is being provoked by Mr. Bush," The Independent, Independent.co.uk, 9 June 2002, 3, HYPERLINK http://argument.independent.co.uk/commentators/story.jsp?story=298681 http://argument.independent. co.uk/commentators/story.jsp?story=298681 .
William D. Hartung, "Welfare for Weapons Dealers: The Hidden Costs of the Arms Trade," World Policy Papers (1996), 46-47, available online at cdi.org/ArmsTradeDatabase/Arm…s _The_Hidden_Costs_of_the_Arms_Trade.txt; Internet (Cited as Hartung, "Welfare: Hidden Costs" in World Policy Papers).
CDI, "Marketing" 4.
Noam Chomsky, "A Conversation with Noam Chomsky: Interview with Noam Chomsky," video tape interview by Ira Shorr, CDI, America’s Defense Monitor no. 923 (Washington, D.C., 11 February 1996).
William D. Hartung, "Military-Industrial Complex Revisited: How Weapons Makers are Shaping U.S. Foreign and Military Policies (New Military Mega-Companies: Corporate Interests or National Interests)," Foreign Policy in Focus (June 9, 1999), 1-2, available online at foreignpolicy-infocus.org/paper/micr/companies.html; Internet (Cited as Hartung, "Complex Revisited: New Military Mega-Companies").
Hartung, "Welfare: Hidden Costs" in World Policy Papers 45.
CDI, "Marketing" 9.
CDI, "Marketing" 9.
Mitchell 11-33, 34-35, 43-48. This citation covers all the information in the paragraph.
CDI, "Marketing" 11. This citation covers all quotes and information between citations 91 and 92.
A Private History of A Campaign that Failed (Epilogue: The War Prayer). Produced and directed by Peter H. Hunt. Written by Mark Twain. Teleplay by Philip Reisman, Jr. A Great Nebraska EVT Production, 1981. Videocassette.
Henry David Thoreau, "Civil Disobedience," Major Writers of America, vol. I, ed. Perry Miller (New York: Harcourt, Brace and World, 1962), 613.
CLWEF, "Defense Contractors Weigh In," 2, available online at clw.org/ef/caution/ contract.html; Internet.
CDI, "Marketing" 8.
CDI, "Marketing" 8.
Howard Zinn, Terrorism and War, Canada: Seven Stories Press, 2002, 81, 143, 22. This citation covers all the quotes and information between it and end note 35.
Noam Chomsky, "Introduction: Project Censored 25th Anniversary," Project Censored: Censored 2001 (2001), 1, available online at projectcensored.org/c2001/stores/introd.html; Internet.
CDI, "Marketing" 8. Raytheon, likewise, owns the D.C. Heath & Company publishing firm, the sixth largest publisher of school textbooks in the U.S. See J. Whitfield Larrabee, "Corporate Profile: The 'Patriots' and Raytheon," Raytheon Watch (Brookline, MA: J. Whitfield Larrabee & Associates, A People's Law Firm, 2000), 2, available online at is.net/~larrabee/ raytheonprofile.htm; Internet.
"The Big Ten [Charts]," The Nation, 7 January 2002, HYPERLINK http://www.thenation.com/bigten/ www.thenation.com/bigten/ .
Mark Crispin Miller, "What's Wrong With This Picture," The Nation, 7 January 2002, 4, HYPERLINK http://www.thenation.com/docPrint.mhtml?i=20020107&s=miller www.thenation.com/docPrint.mhtml?i=20020107&s=miller . (Cited as Miller, "What's Wrong.").
Jeffrey Chester and Gary O. Larson, "Something Old, Something New," The Nation, 7 January 2002, 2, HYPERLINK http://www.thenation.com/docPrint.mhtml?i=20020107&s=chester www.thenation.com/docPrint.mhtml?i=20020107&s=chester .
Miller, "What's Wrong," 1.
CDI, "Marketing" 8.
Center for Responsive Politics (CRP), "Defense: Long-Term Contribution Trends," (2001), 1, available online at opensecrets.org/industries/indus.asp?Ind=D; Internet.
CRP, "Lobbyist Spending: Defense 1999 Data," (2001), 1, available online at opensecrets.org/lobbyists/indus.asp?Ind=D; Internet, and CRP, "Totals by Sector and Industry," (2001), 4, available online at opensecrets.org/pubs/lobby98/totsector.htm; Internet.
CRP, "Totals by Sector and Industry," (2001), 3, available online at opensecrets.org/pubs/ lobby98/totsector.htm; Internet.
Hartung, "Complex Revisited: New Military Mega-Companies" 4.
CDI, 2001-2002 Military Almanac, Washington, D.C.: CDI, 2000, 40; CDI, "100 Companies Receiving the Largest Dollar Volume of Prime Contract Awards -- Fiscal Year 2001: Top 10 Companies," 2, HYPERLINK http://web1.whs.osd.mil/peidhome/procstat/p01/fy2001/top100.htm http://web1.whs.osd.mil/peidhome/procstat/p01/fy2001/top100.htm .
Hartung. "Corporate Welfare for Weapons Makers: The Hidden Costs of Spending on Defense and Foreign Aid," Policy Analysis no. 350 (August 12, 1999): 16, available online at cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-350es.html; Internet (Cited as Hartung, "Welfare: Hidden Costs" in Policy Analysis).
Chris Hellman, "Defense Mergers At All-Time High," Weekly Defense Monitor 3, no. 26 (July 8, 1999): 1, available online at cdi.org/weekly/1999/issue26.html; Internet; CDI, 2001-2002 Military Almanac, Washington, D.C.: CDI, 2000, 40; CDI, "Fact Sheet: Top 15 Defense Contractors of FY '99," 1, HYPERLINK http://www.cdi.org/issues/usmi/complex/top15FY99.html www.cdi.org/issues/usmi/complex/top15FY99.html .
Hartung, "Welfare: Hidden Costs" in Policy Analysis 20.
This $329 billion procurement figure is likely to be extremely low since even one Air Force estimate places the minimum unit cost of the F 22 at $97.7 million per plane. Meanwhile, the final cost of the Joint Strike Fighter is projected by Newsweek to be $250 billion. See Greg Schneider, "Red Hot Fighter, Trail of Deception," in Baltimore Sun (Baltimore, MD), 18 July 1999, (part 1), 3, available online at Chuck Spinney, www.infowar.com/iwftp/cspinney/c299.txt; Newsweek, 15 October 2001, 65; Ibid., 22 October 2001, 61.
CRP, "Defense Top Contributors, Election Cycle 2000," (2001), 1, available online at opensecrets.org/industries/contrib.asp?Ind=D; Internet; CDI, "FACT SHEET," (May 1, 1999), 1, available online at cdi.org/issues/usmi/complex/primecontractors.html; Internet; CLWEF, "Behind the Numbers: An Analysis of the FY 2001 Defense Budget Revolution (2000 Dirty Dozen and Top Ten)," (2000), 1, 4, available online at clw.org/ef/behindnumbers/d10+12.html; Internet.
CDI, The Defense Monitor XXX, no. 7 (August 2001): 2; CRP, "Lobbyists Spending: Defense," (2001), 1, available online at opensecrets.org/lobbyists/indus.asp?Ind=D; Internet. In 1999, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman Corporation led the pack of defense aerospace lobbyists in their combined spending of $9,189,079. See CRP, "1999 Data, Lobbyist Spending: Defense Aerospace," (2001), 1-2, available online at opensecrets.org/lobbyistsinduschent.asp? code=DO1&year=1999; Internet.
CLWEF, "Behind the Numbers Analysis of the FY 2001 Defense Budget Revolution," (March 23, 2000), 4, available online at clw.org/ef/behindnumbers/d10+12.html; Internet.
Williamson Murray, "Hard Choices: Fighter Procurement in the Next Century," Policy Analysis no. 334 (February 26, 1999): 2. Murray (Professor of Military History at the Army War College) notes, too, that the "DoD is now rapidly approaching the point of no return in the production of [the F-22 and the F/A-18E/F]." This means, he adds, that the purchases of those two planes and a third one, the "Joint Strike Fighter" "will continue well into the third decade of the 21st century." And if that occurs, it will cost "well over" 25% of the "Pentagon’s funding for new weapons systems." And, it will cost the taxpayers some "$300-billion-plus" to pay for the procurement of all three aircraft. In fact, according to the CBO figures that Murray cites, the "acquisition spending on [these] new aircraft could reach an average of $11.9 billion per year" between 2009 and 2011, and the "Pentagon could be spending nearly $20 billion per year" on those planes. That is an amount that is "nearly twice the average of procurement [costs] for fighters [that were purchased] over the last quarter of the 20th century." See Murray 2, 10, 24).
Ibid., 9, 10.
Mitchell 8. In contrast, the Council for a Livable World Education Fund puts the cost of the F-22 at "nearly $180 million a copy," while the cost analysis of the Center for Defense Information places the per unit cost at $184 million for the first 10 copies. At the low end of the estimate spectrum, Murray places the F-22 "fly-away" cost at $91 million (1997 dollars) per copy, which he thinks is unnecessarily high when the F-15Es, at $46 million per copy, can do the military task required of the F-22.
CDI, 1999 CDI Military Almanac (Washington, D.C.: Center for Defense Information, 1999), 25.
Ivan Eland, "Hike Military Funding? Lining the Pockets of the Defense Bureaucracy," CATO Today’s Commentary, 23 September 1998, 2, available online at cato.org.dailys/9-23-98.html; Internet.
For example, in just the recent history of World War II such works as Christopher Simpson’s Splendid Blond Beast (1995) and Charles Higham’s Trading with the Enemy (1983) as well as news journals – Michael Hirsh, "The Hunt Hits Home: Did U.S. Companies Cozy up to the Nazis?" Newsweek, 14 December 1995, 48 – have exposed the collaboration of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy with major U.S. corporations and businessmen during World War II. More recently, there have been those "thousands of upper-class" Venezuelans who are taking their money and fleeing from democratically elected (overwhelmingly) President Hugo Chavez's effort to create some socio-economic equity in a country where the top 10% of the population rakes in 35.6% of all the income, where 2% of the population controls 60% of the land, and where 67% of the population lives below the poverty line. Juan Forero, "Venezuela Waits for 'Revolution' to Bear Fruit," New York Times International, 17 October 2001; Conn Hallinan, "U.S. Cooking Up a Coup in Venezuela?" San Francisco Examiner, 28 December 2001, p. 1, HYPERLINK http://www.examiner.com/sfx/templates/printer.jsp?story=Ophallinan1228w www.examiner.com/sfx/templates/printer.jsp?story=OPhallinan1228w ; Chavez's land reform plan/project involves the expropriation of unused land and taking varying amounts of the land of large-scale, powerful, latifundio landowners (with compensation) and redistributing it among the landless and small-scale, landowning peasants. Then, in November 2001, Chavez signed laws which double the royalty payments (some previously as low as 1%) that foreign companies (including the powerful Phillips Petroleum and ExxonMobil) must pay to the Venezuela government. These laws also give the government a "majority control (51 percent) of all [oil] projects." Parenthetically, the U.S. currently gets at least 15% of its oil from Venezuela. So, naturally, despite the fact that Chavez's government has "reduced inflation form 40 percent to 12 percent, generated economic growth of [3.2-] 4 percent . . . increased primary school enrollments by 1 million students, encouraged the growth of agricultural co-ops, increased health spending fourfold, and provided [prescription] drugs for 30 to 40 percent below cost," these policies have provoked not only capital flight but upper class resistance both within Venezuela and outside it. With his popularity rating still at 56 percent in July 2001, but with internal right-wing plotting and opposition growing, Chavez now faces threatening rumblings within the U.S. State Department and National Security Council (NSC). These rumblings have included such things as temporarily withdrawing the U.S. ambassador from Venezuela and the sort of joint strategy-making meetings of the NSC, State Department, and Pentagon officials that preceded U.S.-favored coups in Guatemala, Brazil, and Argentina. See Hallinan: Forero, "Venezuela Waits"; Juan Forero, "Venezuela Preparing to Give Land to Its Peasants," New York Times International, 15 October 2001; Georgie Anne Geyer, "Venezuelans' Discontent with Chavez on Simmer -- For Now," Uexpress.com, 6 December 2001, p. 1, HYPERLINK http://www.uexpress.com/pri...1_date=20011206&uc_comic=gg www.uexpress.com/pri...1_date=20011206 &uc_comic=gg ; Mary Anastasia O'Grady, "Opposition Builds to the Castroite Tactics of Hugo Chavez," Wall Street Journal, 7 December 2001, A19; CIA, CIA Factbook 2000, "Venezuela," HYPERLINK http://www.odci.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/ve.html www.odci.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/ve.html .
Abraham Lincoln, in Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, vol. III, ed. Roy P. Basler (New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers UP, 1953), 315.
William Greider, One World, Ready or Not: The Manic Logic of Global Capitalism (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1997), 25.
William D. Hartung, "Corporate Welfare for Weapons Makers: The Hidden Costs of Spending on Defense and Foreign Aid," Policy Analysis no. 350 (August 12, 1999): 4, available online at cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-350-es.html; Internet (Cited as Hartung, "Welfare: Hidden Costs" in Policy Analysis).
As Reported by Jon Lottman, "The 1996 welfare law (Personal Responsibilities and Work Opportunity Act) cuts federal safety net programs [including AFDC] by $51.6 billion over five years (1998-2002) . . . [So] federal support for poor families [including AFDC] will drop about $7 billion annually over the next five years." See Jon Lottman, "In Focus: Welfare vs. Welfare Subsidies to Weapons Exporters," Foreign Policy in Focus: Internet Gateway to Global Affairs, 2, 30 (March 1997), 1, 4, available online at foreignpolicy-infocus.org/briefs/vol2/ v2n30war.html; Internet. By making a high estimate of the annual cost reduction of the AFDC program in 1996 and onward at $7 billion per year, it would bring the total expense reduction for the AFDC program in five years to $35 billion. In contrast, the annual arms export subsidy of $7.8 billion creates a cost of $39 billion in five years.
CDI, "Balanced Budget: Unbalanced Priorities?" Transcript, 29 October 1995, 8, available online at cdi.org/adm/Transcripts/907/; Internet.
Greg Schneider, "The World’s Most Ambitious Fighter," in Baltimore Sun (Baltimore, MD), 19 July 1999, 13, available on line at infowar.com/iwftp/cspinney/c299.txt; Internet (Cited as Schneider, "World’s Most").
Ibid., 14, 13.
The benefits of "offset" arrangements for the customer arms countries are enhanced further by the U.S. government’s policy of giving away or selling at a steep discount some of its surplus weaponry. In 1996, after studying the period from 1990 to 1995, a breakthrough report of the Arms Sales Monitoring Project of the American Federation of Scientists found that the U.S. had given away or sold at a big discount "weaponry that had originally been purchased by U.S. taxpayer for $8.7 billion. Now evaluating the actual worth of this equipment at the time that it is handed over to another owner is complex and estimates vary with the evaluator and his method, but Hartung states that a conservative estimate for the "program costs for FY 1996 . . . puts the price tag at $750 million." During FY 1997, the Pentagon gave away military equipment that originally cost $973 million, and the Pentagon estimated that the current value of that equipment was $309 million. Hartung, however, notes that "given the Pentagon’s well-documented history of underestimating the current value of surplus weapons the true figure could be 25 to 50 percent higher." Now, while the report of the Arms Sales Monitoring Project concludes that the "’services appear to be giving away still useful equipment to justify procurement of new weaponry,’" it is clear that the U.S. taxpayer gets gouged twice in this process – first, in the write-off of the cost of giving the weapons away and, second, in the cost of purchasing replacement equipment. The Air Force, for example, has claimed that it needs to buy the F-22, in part, to counter the threat posed by the proliferation of F-15s, F-16s, and F-18s around the world. These are planes that the U.S. armed services are still giving away as military surplus. See Hartung, "Welfare: Hidden Cost" in Policy Analysis 8; William D. Hartung, "Welfare for Weapons Dealers 1998: The Hidden Cost of NATO Expansion," A Special Report by the Arms Trade Resource Center World Policy Institute at the New School on Global Beat (March 1998), 9, available online at nyu.edu/globalbeat/ nato/hartung030498.html; Internet (Cited as Hartung, "Welfare: NATO Expansion").
GAO reports offer support for Hartung’s contentions regarding both the military services method of pricing their supply inventories and their casual means of disposing their surplus goods. In 1999, after pointing out that "Federal accounting standards require inventories to be valued based on historical costs or [by] a method that approximates historical costs," the GAO stated that "DOD [accounting] systems do not capture the information needed to report historical cost. Instead, inventory records and accounting transactions are maintained at a latest acquisition cost or a standard selling price." The result of this "value methodology," the GAO argued, "may lack the necessary precision to produce a reliable estimate of cost of goods sold." As an example of the results produced by different methodologies, the GAO cited a case where the Navy revalued an inventory from $34 billion to $16 billion, and the GAO noted that just a "5 percent error in this estimate would result in a misstatement of $900 million in the Navy’s Supply Fund reported net operating loss of $976 million and reported inventory of $15.8 billion for fiscal year 1999." See U.S. Government Accounting Office (GAO), Department of Defense: Progress in Financial Management Reform, Testimony of Jeffrey C. Steinhoff, Acting Assistant Comptroller General, Accounting and Information Management Division, Before the Subcommittee on Government Management, Information and Technology, Committee on Government Reform, House of Representatives, GAO/T-AIMD/NSIAD-00-163 (Washington, D.C.: May 9, 2000), 9-10. In a second 1999 report, the GAO offered two precise examples of how the Pentagon’s "vulnerability to waste, fraud and abuse also extends to DOD’s disposal of surplus property." Reflecting on a previous GAO 1997 report, the GAO wrote that "we reported that DOD destroyed and sold as scrap some usable aircraft parts in new or repairable condition that could have been sold intact at higher than scrap prices." Then, the GAO added, "in August 1998, we reported that DOD inadvertently sold surplus parts with military technology intact. See GAO, Major Management Challenges and Program Risks, Department of Defense, Performance and Accountability Series, GAO/OCG-99-4 (Washington, D.C.: January 1999), 53.
In a much more comprehensive report that focused on "whether the transfer and disposal of excess DOD property is vulnerability to fraud and abuse because of inaccurate information in DOD’s database systems," the GAO checked "on a particular day and identified 55 questionable [financed] activity codes." From these, GAO selected only two entities and discovered that the University of Alabama and a Florida Army National Guard unit had each used either invalid or deleted activity codes to obtain a combined total of over $3.5 million ($3,524,000) of excess Pentagon property to which they were "not entitled." In total, the GAO determined that the "55 questionable [activity] codes . . . had acquired DOD property valued at about $8.5 million from January 1998 through February 1999," and were, therefore, vulnerable to fraud and abuse. More importantly, the GAO also found that some "65 nonrequisitioning codes were used to obtain over $101 million [acquisition value] in excess DOD property from fiscal year 1995 to the present [April 2000]." In short, GAO concluded, "DOD controls are inadequate to ensure authorized requisitions and proper use of excess DOD property." See GAO, Inventory Management: Better Controls Needed to Prevent Misuse of Excess DOD Property, Report to the Honorable Duncan L. Hunter, House of Representatives, GAO/OSI/NSIAD-00-147 (Washington, D.C.: April 2000), 2, 6, 11, 7, 18.
Hartung, "Welfare: NATO Expansion" 30.
Vance D. Coffman, Interview in Lockheed Martin Today, March 1997, 2. My emphasis, available online at lockheedmartin.com/files3/Imtoday/9703/coffman.html; Internet. At the time of this interview Coffman was President and COO of Lockheed Martin's Space and Strategic Missiles Sector.
Hartung, "Welfare: NATO Expansion" 30. Elsewhere, Hartung reports that a "1998 Office of Management and Budget (OMB) study of [the] $34.7 billion in U.S. arms export contracts" between 1980 and 1987 "found that these deals yielded $19.9 billion in offset obligations, or 57.2 percent of the value of the original sales." Now, with arms exports running at $12 to $16 billion per year, Hartung calculates that offsets run in the range of 54% to 57%. See William
D. Hartung, "False Expectations: Can Arms Exports Make Up for Cuts in Pentagon Procurement?" in Changing Dynamics of U.S. Defense Spending, ed. Leon V. Sigal (Westport, CN: Praeger, 1999), 198, 198-199 (Cited as Hartung, "False"). He also notes, however, that "offsets are on the rise," and, according to a 1997 Commerce Department report, "81.5 percent of the value of U.S. weapons exports was counterbalanced by offset arrangements with foreign purchasers (mostly in Europe)." See Hartung, "Welfare: NATO Expansion" 31.
Hartung, "Welfare: NATO Expansion" 31-32.
By adding a conservative estimate of $7.5 billion in annual U.S. government subsidies going to promote foreign arms sales with the figures of $6 to $9 billion of annual offset investments made by U.S. arms exporting firms going to the customer regimes, Hartung concludes that, in 1991 dollars, the net benefits of arms exports to the U.S. economy [are] somewhere between zero and a few billion dollars per year." See Hartung, "False" 180.
Ibid., 185. In 1991 dollars, overall U.S. foreign arms sales averaged $13.6 billion per year.
Ibid., 185, 187, 188, 179. My emphasis. Hartung points out that in FY 1996, while 1,204 separated companies received contracts under the FMS program, only 12 received contracts "worth $100 million or more."
A Lockheed Martin brochure (subtitled "Peace through Conventional Deterrence") showed that these planes were located in 24 countries. They and their distribution were presented as part of the "menace" that required the procurement of the F-22. See William D. Hartung, "Saint Augustine’s Rules: Norman Augustine and the Future of the American Defense Industry," World Policy Journal 13, no. 2 (Summer 1996): 7 available online at cdi.org/ArmsTrader Database/Arm…ure_of_the_American_Defense_Industry.txt; Internet (Cited as Hartung, "Saint Augustine"). Still, despite the self-created menace, Lockheed Martin and McDonnell Douglas successfully lobbied Bush "the elder’s" regime to lift the cap on selling 60 F-15 to Saudi Arabia, and, since 1991, "there have been 420 foreign orders for the F-16." (See Hartung, "False" 193.
America’s Defense Monitor (ADM) Online, "Selling the F-22 Fighter," show and show transcript produced by Center for Defense Information (CDI), May 11, 1997, 6, available online at cdi.org/adm/1035/transcript/html; Internet (Cited as "Selling the F-22").
Hartung, "False" 200.
Sarah Anderson and John Cavanagh with Thea Lee and the Institute for Policy Studies, Field Guide to the Global Economy (New York: New Press, 2000), 51; America’s Defense Monitor, "Marketing Tomorrow’s Weapons," show and show transcript produced by CDI, September 28, 1997, 7, available online at cdi.org/adm/1103/transcript.html; Internet.
William D. Hartung, "Welfare for Weapons Dealers: The Hidden Costs of the Arms Trade," World Policy Papers (1996), 33, available online at cdi.org/ArmsTradeDatabase/ Arm…s_The_ Hidden_ Costs_of_the_Arms_Trade.txt; Internet (Cited as Hartung, "Welfare: Hidden Costs" in World Policy Papers).
Ibid., 33, 34. My emphasis.
William D. Hartung, "The Shrinking Military Pork Barrel," in Changing Dynamics of U.S. Defense Spending, ed. Leon V. Sigal (Westport, CN: Praeger, 1999), 34-35 (Cited as Hartung, "Shrinking").
Hartung, "Welfare : NATO Expansion" 30. Hartung reports that the GAO estimates that U.S. firms have entered into offset agreements "worth over $84 billion since the mid-1980s. [And he states that] European allies . . . are routinely demanding offsets in excess of 100% of the value of the arms sales, and the deals often include strict requirements that the offset work involve defense or high tech production in the purchasing nation." See Hartung, "Welfare: Hidden Costs" in World Policy Papers 33.
Hartung, "Welfare: Hidden Costs" in World Policy Papers 36. The Center for Defense Information reported that "As far as providing jobs [goes], military spending is a much worse investment" than many other investments. For every "$1 billion spent by the Pentagon on weapons, supplies and services, [it] generates 25,000 jobs." But, "the same $1 billion would create 30,000 mass transit jobs, 36,000 housing jobs, 41,000 education job, and 47,000 health care jobs." See CDI, The Defense Monitor XXVII, no. 4 (1998): 5.
CDI, "No Business Like War Business," The Defense Monitor XVI, no. 3 (1987): 6-7. This citation applies to all the quotes not otherwise cited in the paragraph.
There are four main reasons for reduced risk and enhanced profit in weapons production: First, the government owns some or much of the plant and equipment used by the weapons manufacturer. Next, if fewer weapons than originally anticipated are ordered, the contractors simply charge more per weapon. Third, major weapons programs are rarely cancelled. Between 1957-1987, only 32 major weapons programs, including only 5 valued at over $1 billion, were cancelled. Fourth, if major weapons contractors get into serious financial trouble, the federal government usually bails them out.
The actual dollar value of the amount of government property that is held by private firms is extremely difficult to calculate because the Pentagon’s pricing and auditing systems are so mismanaged and inadequate for precise data collection. One GAO report of April 7, 2000, stated that defense "contractors had custody of about $91 billion of government property in fiscal year 1997." See GAO, Acquisition Reform: DOD’s Guidance on Using Section 845 Agreements Could be Improved, Letter Report, GAO/NSIAD-00-33 (Washington, D.C.: April 7, 2000), 30, available online at fas.org/man/gao/nsiad-00-033.htm; Internet. But a GAO report of May 9, 2000, declared that the military services and DoD databases "may not have included approximately $20 billion of personal property [i.e., computer software, computer mainframes, and equipment] held by contractors." See GAO, Department of Defense: Program in Financial Management Reform," Testimony of Jeffrey C. Steinfoff, Acting Assistant Comptroller General, Accounting and Information Management Division, Before the Subcommittee on Government Management, Information and Technology, Committee on Government Reform, House of Representatives, GAO/T-AIMD/NSIAD-00-163 (Washington, D.C.: May 9, 2000), 18. This report added, "Audit results for fiscal year 1999 again demonstrate that DOD does not know the actual amount and value of inventories for which it is responsible." See Ibid., 4. And, perhaps, just to insure continuing doubt about exactly how much and what government property would be held by private contractors in the future, the April 7, 2000, GAO report noted that defense contractors had been complaining that DoD regulations concerning the government property which they held were "increasing the cost of performing DOD contracts." So, naturally, this led to pro-business policy changes, in January 2000, under which "contractors will be provided the option of managing government property using the same practices [that] the contractors use to manage their own property." This, then, ended the previously prescribed government regulations on "contractor’s use, management, and disposal of [that] property." See GAO, Acquisition Reform . . . . GAO/NSAID-00-33, 30. It, undoubtedly, also handicaps future attempts to gather precise facts on the whole matter of how much government property resides in private company hands.
CDI, "No Business Like War Business," The Defense Monitor XVI, no. 3 (1987): 6.
While such impressive Cold War strategists as George Kennan, the "Father of Containment," have decried the expansion of NATO into Central and Eastern Europe as the most fateful mistake of the post-Cold War era, the Clinton Administration may have launched the endeavor partly as a pay-off in response to Czech President Vaclav Havel’s personal appeal and as a gambit connected to the Administration’s policy problems in Bosnia. Certainly, Lockheed Martin and Boeing lobbyists have added their pressure for the expansion because they are expecting a bonanza of customers seeking new weapons. See Editorial, "NATO Win! (We Lose)," The Nation, March 30, 1998, 1, available online at The Winston Foundation for World Peace under the title "NATO Expansion," at wf.org/editorial.htm; Internet.
Vance D. Coffman, Interview in Lockheed Martin Today, March 1997, 1, available online at lockheedmartin.com/files3/Imtoday/9703/coffman.html; Internet. Coffman also pointed out that Lockheed Martin's international sales "only totaled about 5 percent" in 1992, but they stood at 18 percent in 1997, and he expected them to "be in the 30 or 40 percent range" in the "next few years."
Hartung, "Welfare: Hidden Costs" in Policy Analysis 9.
William D. Hartung, "Military-Industrial Complex Revisited: How Weapons Makers are Shaping U.S. Foreign and Military Policies, (New Military Mega-Companies: Corporate Interests or National Interests)," Foreign Policy in Focus: Internet Gateway to Global Affairs (June 8, 1999): 10, available online at foreignpolicy-infocus.org/papers/micr/introduction.html; Internet (Cited as Hartung "Complex Revisited: New Military Mega-Companies"). Other subtitles from this study will be identified with the key words in their titles after the prefix of "Complex Revisited:"). Hartung’s analysis demonstrates the "inadequacy" of the Clinton Administration’s estimate of the U.S. share of NATO expansion and concludes that the U.S. share "could easily reach one-third to one-half" of the "top-line cost estimate of $500 billion." And that means that the total U.S. share of NATO’s expansion "could reach $170 to $250 billion over the next 14 years" (80 to 100 times greater than the Pentagon’s estimate. See "Welfare: NATO Expansion" 22.
Hartung, "Welfare: NATO Expansion" 23.
Hartung, "Welfare: Hidden Costs" in World Policy Papers 12.
Hartung, "Welfare: NATO Expansion" 24.
Ibid., 4, 5-6. From 1990-1998, the U.S. government has lost its taxpayers $10 billion in military related export loans. Hartung calculates that "these bad arms loans have averaged out to $1 billion per year." See Ibid., 7.
Ibid., 4. As of 1998, nineteen potential NATO countries, including the invitees of Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic as well as Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, are receiving FMF financing at an average of $50 million per year. See Ibid., 3-4.
Other committee members include: Steve Hadley, from the law firm Shea and Gardner that represents Lockheed Martin, and who had been an Assistant Secretary of Defense in Bush-the-elder’s regime, and Sally A. Painter who is Director of Government Relations for Tenneco (a major defense contractor) and who had been in the Office of Business Liaison in the Commerce Department of the Clinton Administration. See Hartung, "Complex Revisited: New Military Mega-Companies" 9; Hartung, "Welfare: NATO Expansion" 25-26.
Hartung, "Welfare: NATO Expansion" 27.
Ibid., 29, 28. This citation covers all the quotes and information since the preceding citation.
CDI, "Federal Funding for Scientific Research: Military Remains Top Priority," 25 April 1996, 1, HYPERLINK http://ww.cdi.org/issues/research.html. www.cdi.org/issues/research.html.
Hartung, "Welfare: Hidden Costs" in Policy Analysis 15.
GAO, Defense Management: Actions Needed to Sustain Reform Initiatives and Achieve Greater Results, Report to the Chairman, Subcommittee on Military Readiness, Committee on Armed Services, House of Representatives, GAO/NSIAD-00-72 (Washington, D.C.: July 2000), 66, 67.
Hartung, "Welfare: Hidden Costs" in Policy Analysis 15.