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There’s No Business Like the Arms Business


There’s No Business Like the Arms Business

William Hartung

When American firms dominate a global market worth more than $70 billion a year, you’d expect to hear about it. Not so with the global arms trade. It’s good for one or two stories a year in the mainstream media, usually when the annual statistics on the state of the business come out.


"WAR is a racket. It always has been" - US Maj-General Smedley Butler

"It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.

A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small "inside" group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes."



If only we could get this information into the mainstream. At least via social media. The slim comments here are surprising.


I protest this ridiculously inaccurate frame. Who is the "We" in this conjecture:

"Are we ashamed of standing essentially alone as the world’s number one arms dealer, or is our Weapons “R” Us role such a commonplace that we take it for granted, like death or taxes?"

First of all, who amid this amorphous "We" decides on what financial transactions will be investigated or covered in mass media programming?

And who, from this "we" profits from war or arms' sales?

The Carlyle Group full of lots of Ex-Presidents and Secretaries of State sure does.

So do those in the top 1% as the Piketty Study has made clear. After all, with the kind of money earmarked for weaponry, war, and associated products ... some people are indeed getting very "fat" on it all.

Also, as is lost whenever the ubiquitous, generic "we" frame is used... the Page and Gilens Study explains that the public's actual wishes are NOT factored into policy. Or, as the study puts it, they factor in about ZERO PERCENT of the time.

So this CRAP that takes what's done by a few, and those few are intent upon a M.A.D doctrine that HARDLY speaks for all, should not be ALLOWED to pretend to speak for most--or all--or "Americans" as a singular subset, or "We," the most promiscuous and deceptive frame of all.

Most of Tom Engelhardt's writers are deferential TO the military. They pretend to be its reformers. Yet apart from Nick Turse, not a ONE shows the slightest empathy for the victims of foreign wars of aggression. In lieu of asking the germane moral questions, they play poker with "why wars aren't being won."

MANY times myself and others have laid out the case that winning wars would defeat the purpose of the MIC and its labyrinth of weapons' contractors. After all, rare is the general NOT offered a job on some weapons corporations' board of directors. Their job is to keep the money train running and that means there must be wars, threats that "justify" wars, and where possible, enemies rendered by events or otherwise conjured out of thin, deceptive air (with lots of help from Hollywood films).

I am REALLY tired of the propaganda. It's right up there with the U.S. having an economy recovery, Obama having a Progressive Legacy, the latest election primaries being fair, and that 19 Arab Hijackers initiated the 911 tragedy.

LIES! All of it!


In an era where wealth doesn't even trickle down, it ends up at the top of the financial pyramid, most major corporations find ways to off-shore their tax obligations, and precious little exists to improve the lives of everyday citizens: By what calculus are the profits of private companies placed under the banner of "American"?

The implication is that weapons ARE patriotic, a symbol of the nation when in reality, they are the product of very specific (and in my view very heinous) interests. In order to continue their profit streams, these entities promiscuously traffic in weapons. Similar to the way drug cartels supply kids on corners with crack cocaine, the weapons' cartels ensure the proliferation of violence.

Is that American?

Is that something commensurate with "National Defense"?

And how many persons outside of the MIC's employ, the NRA, John Wayne movie mentality, or Fundamentalist Christians (seduced in the false religious notion of a necessary Middle East Holy War) identify with these weapons developers... as IF they were somehow a signature of the nation, itself?

These language frames and unexamined assertions MAKE for the military state and/or Mars Rules. But it's a mistake to presume that all citizens salute it or see in Privatized Killer Profits some proof of America's stamp:

"From the president on down, significant parts of the government are intent on ensuring that American arms will flood the global market and companies like Lockheed and Boeing will live the good life. From the president on his trips abroad to visit allied world leaders to the secretaries of state and defense to the staffs of U.S. embassies, American officials regularly act as salespeople for the arms firms."

They all serve MARS, the god of war, yet call themselves Christians!


The greatest folly of all is the narcissism on the part of powerful males--that they take their people's blood and treasure and spill it on increasingly sophisticated weaponry when the gravest threat to human survival is coming from--and will increasingly come from failed harvests, massive floods, horrific forest fires, major tornadoes, and monster hurricanes.

But instead, the boys (and it usually IS the boys) are so fixated on seeing in these weapons an extension of their own male ejaculatory powers as to waste these phenomenal sums on blow-up toys of death when that same money invested in a Manhattan Project like mobilization aimed at offsetting, mitigating, or diffusing global warming (and the climate paroxysms already generated from it) would constitute a far more GENUINE form of National (for all nations) defense.

Instead, humanity is being held hostage by macho apes whose idea of progress is beating on their chests and having access to Weapons of Mass Destruction. They get to play god... and it's a god of DEATH.


" macho apes". Well. I see that the Neanderthals are not being abused by comparison with our idiot species. But a it's bit hard on the apes to use them as an analogy for our species' rank stupidity. I have no objections whatever for the term "macho idiot humans". At least we have the kind of brain that should lead us to do better.


It's mostly males... although tough for the average dick to take in the TRUTH of that statement, a statement that is easily backed up by FACTS.


That's as may be be. But you denigrates ape by referring to human idiots as apes and Neanderthals. Male gorillas etc may beat their hairy male chests but they don't make bombs, or drop them.