The Moral Imperative to End War
Part 1 – The Profits of War
The world is currently facing two interrelated issues that could result in the end of humanity. These are war and climate change. (“Climate change is directly related to the growth of terrorism and if we do not get our act together and listen to what the scientists say, you’re going to see countries all over the world … struggling over limited amounts of water and land to grow their crops and you’re going to see all kinds of conflict.” Bernie Sanders Both of these issues are already causing great amounts of harm throughout the world. If we can end war, it will be a major step forward in defeating climate change and creating a better planet for all life.
While it is easy to say “stop war, stop global warming,“an actual solution to these problems is much more difficult in practice. In order to stop war, it is necessary to understand how illogical and unnecessary war is. In the long run, no one benefits from war. However, in the short term, the only people who stand to gain from war are the military industrial complex. This corporate behemoth reaps the profits of war with little regard to the long term costs of war to humanity as a whole.
“The normal profits of a business concern in the United States are six, eight, ten, and sometimes twelve percent. But war-time profits — ah! that is another matter — twenty, sixty, one hundred, three hundred, and even eighteen hundred per cent — the sky is the limit. All that traffic will bear. Uncle Sam has the money. Let’s get it. “ Major General Smedley Butler
An example of the military industrial complex can be found in the Raytheon Corporation. As the 4th largest defense contractor in the United States, Raytheon bases their business around making profit from war. In 2014, the United States Department of Defense gave Raytheon a total of 12.6 billion dollars in defense contracts. National Priorities This same year they made a total EBITDA (Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization )of 3.66 billion. Roughly 90% of Raytheon’s business is in arms sales. Billions of dollars are being made by selling death and destruction.
Where does this money come from? It is coming from the taxpayers – the American people. Essentially money is being taken from American citizens, given to large corporations, and then used in military actions that have not been approved by the American people.
In addition to taking American tax money, Raytheon also has a significant presence overseas. They do not limit their business to just America. They will take money from anyone. They actually have a presence in over 80 countries. This is less than the amount of countries that the American military has a presence in, but it is still a significant amount.
One of the countries with which Raytheon does business is that of Saudi Arabia. As they declare ontheir website, “In May 2017, Raytheon announced a new chapter in this close relationship with the kingdom: plans to create Raytheon Arabia, a Saudi legal entity wholly owned by Raytheon that will create indigenous products and services in defense, aerospace and security with an emphasis in the following areas:
Air defense systems
Command, control, communications, computer and intelligence (commonly known as C4I)
Cybersecurity for defense systems and platforms
They are proud to be contributing to the “defense” of Saudi Arabia. They are happy to provide Saudi Arabia with weapons in exchange for oil money. Saudi Arabia is currently involved in a messy interventionist war in Yemen. The United States has also played a part in this conflict. As a result of this war and a massive drought in the region, Yemen is currently facing a humanitarian crisis of immense proportions. The United Nations describes the crisis in the following, “Currently, 17 million people are food insecure while a staggering seven million people do not know where their next meal is coming from and are at risk of famine. At least three million people have fled their homes, public services have broken down, less than half of the health centres are functional and medicine and equipment are limited. “ United Nations Raytheon selling weapons to Saudi Arabia and the United States continued military strikes will do nothing but exacerbate this crisis. In March, the International Committee of the Red Cross doubled their budget for Yemen to 90 million dollars. Meanwhile, the latest deal the Trump administration has made with Saudi Arabia reportedly has “more than $1 billion worth of munitions including armor-piercing Penetrator Warheads and Paveway laser-guided bombs made by Raytheon Co (RTN.N)”. Reuters It must be noted that Raytheon does give around 200,000$ a year to the Annual Disaster Giving Program of the Red Cross – however this fund goes to help with disaster assistance in the United States and does nothing to counter the devastation caused by the use of their weapons. Raytheon
In contrast to this 200,000$ a year, Raytheon spent 4.8 million on lobbying in 2016. Open Secrets This lobbying was used for inluence in the United States government in order to perpetuate continued war and defense spending.
This is not a new phenomenon. On January 17, 1961, Eisenhower warned against the dangers of the military industrial complex during his farewell address. He said, “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.” Our Documents
Unfortunately, the country has not heeded Eisenhower’s warning and the profits of the military industrial complex have been given priority over the needs and desires of the people. The corporations are more interested in their profits than they are in the human cost of the wars which are driving these profits. Raytheon is only one example out of many in the vast military industrial complex. These corporations are the only ones profiting from war. In part 2, I will delve deeper into the human costs of war.