The staggering billion dollar defense industry
The US government spent a staggering $US687 billion on “defense” last year. Think what could be done with that money if it were put into hospitals, schools or to pay off foreclosed mortgages.
The US, under George W. Bush, decided to privatize the invasion of Iraq by employing “contractors” such as the Blackwater company, now renamed Xe Services. In 2003 Blackwater won a $US27 million no-bid contract for guarding Paul Bremer, then head of the Coalition Provisional Authority.
For protecting officials in conflict zones since 2004, the company has received more than $US320 million. This year the Obama government contracted to pay Xe Services a quarter of a billion dollars for security work in Afghanistan. This is just one of many companies making its profits out of warfare.
In 2000 the Project for the New American Century published a report, Rebuilding America’s Defenses, whose declared aim was to increase the spending on defense from 3 per cent to 3.5 per cent or 3.8 per cent of American gross domestic product. In fact it is now running at 4.7 per cent of GDP. (Britain spent about $US57 billion a year on defense, or 2.5 per cent of GDP, while Australia spends just under $20 billion, or 2 per cent of GDP.)
An editorial “Thank God for Saddam” in an in-house magazine for the arms industry explained that after the collapse of communism and end of the Cold War, the order books of the arms industry had been empty. But now there is a new enemy, the industry [has experienced] a bonanza.
The invasion of Iraq was built around a lie: Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction, but the defense industry needed an enemy, and the politicians duly supplied one.
And now the same war drums are beating for an attack on Iran.
[Read full article in The Age]