Military Industrial Complex: Merchants of Death. Who Runs the World? -Part 3
USA Patriot Act of 2001
The threat of big-government and corporate surveillance, the invasion of privacy, the loss of Constitutional rights, and the diminishment of American liberties and freedoms starts gradually, just subtle enough to where distracted and misinformed Americans ignore- or fail to realize altogether- that their social struggle and economic hardship increases in accordance with the expansion of the powers of American government and the domination of its military establishment. Few individuals recognize the magnitude of their suffering at the hands of the corrupt, corporate-run government as long as the money and power resides in the control of mainstream media, who create the medium and dictate the message; and billion dollar, multinational corporations wielding power and control over the population for their own private profit, at the expense of the average American’s time and tax dollars. The nature of this cultural illusion within the modern human operating system, the fiction that government possesses the answers to the world’s problems, continues to erode as the once respected and honorable methods of journalism and government hierarchy shrivel from a loss of integrity and honesty, yet become bloated from the parasitic infection of corporate money and private profits, which the government relies on to sustain its growth.
As the former Mayor of Chicago, one of America’s most dangerous cities, Rahm Emmanuel, once said, “you never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” Through the eyes and in the ears of the clandestine, totalitarian, American government, this statement provides the base for established government institutions and private corporations to exploit human fear, terror, and suffering for their private profit and power. As the human race evolves to meet the requirements of our external environment, so, too, must governments change to meet the demands of the citizens and the circumstances of society; and through the lens of perpetual fear, from the view inside of government, the threat of a united base of innocent, but knowledgable, American citizens provokes a greater degree of fear than any terrorist organization, for the government and its military industrial complex do not fear terrorists, but rather, fears the average American citizen that possesses the insight into the U.S. governments lies and global military atrocities; and possess the power to influence a large swath of the voting public to challenge the federal governments authoritarian rule.
The primary function of the modern American government and its military industrial complex, is as an advertising agency, the most powerful corporate and political marketer on the planet. Each day for the past 18 years, since the terrorist attacks on September 11, the United States government must convince the public that the governments lies are truth; that politicians are honest and respectable people; that the military industrial complex seeks world peace; that perpetual oil wars are good for the economy; that human degradation and environmental collapse are inevitable on a finite planet; that terrorists are bad; that fear is systemic across the planet; that the enemy, which resides in no specific country, but may be found anywhere on the planet, must be stopped. But the enemy does not exist until they make themselves known through an act of terror. Through the corrupt process and laws of government, each and every human beings carries the potential of becoming a terrorist; with terrorist, through the lens of the United States government, meaning anyone or anything that prevents the expansion and global domination of the corporate-military state over the lives, freedoms, and liberties of individual human beings.
While the Cold War brought in the era of perpetual war, fear, terror, government suspicion, mass surveillance, invasion, and infringement of American rights and freedoms, the global War on Terror exceeded the vision of the big-government, Cold Warrior, anti-Communist zealots that perpetuated the myth of a global ideological takeover. With the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the United States government sought to expand its reach into the lives, privacy, and security of both American and international citizens under the false pretense that each and every human being across the globe poses a threat to the established and corrupt government infrastructure; as well as to the relentless pursuit of profit and revenue from private corporations that prop up and sustain the growth of the governments size and power. The expansion of the global War on Terror- the government imposed war on the fundamental human emotion of fear- represents the serious crisis that world governments required as an excuse to invade- and remove altogether- the rights, liberties, and freedoms from global citizens, while strengthening and buffering the connection between the wealth of private multinational corporations, including the military industrial complex and the public government.
To capitalize off of the global War on Terror, as a supposed benevolent excuse for the erosion of Constitutional rights and liberties, the United States government created the U.S.A. P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act, which was signed into law by President George W. Bush on October 26, 2001, a mere 45 days after the attacks on September 11. This short amount of time to draft, read, revise, and vote on any bill makes it difficult to consider both the short and long term implications, as well as the Constitutionality and legality of its contents, let alone a bill of this magnitude that infringes greatly on the rights of American and global citizens.
In an arrogant and blatant attempt at disguising the cruel and corrupt contents in the bill, Congress and its posey of poll tested think tanks, conjured up the acronym U.S.A. P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act- which likely took up a major portion of the 45 days- to stand for, Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001. This American freedom eliciting title masks, misleads, and distracts from the laws purpose, and excuses the United States government from explaining, at length, as to why and how the Act increases the governments oppressive authority into the lives of innocent Americans.
Key Provisions in the Patriot Act
- Allows for the indefinite detention of immigrants.
- Expands the illegal surveillance capabilities of the National Security Agency, the FBI, the CIA, and other intelligence gathering organization into American and international citizens.
- Allows law enforcement to search a home or business without the owners consent or knowledge (Sneak and Peak), a direct violation of 4th Amendment rights.
- Allows FBI to search telephone, email, internet searches, medical history, travel history, employment records and financial records (also allows FBI to freeze bank accounts); implement wiretaps without a warrant; conduct surveillance, without providing evidence, of lone wolves (individuals not thought to be linked to a particular terrorist organization) without filing a court order/warrant.
- ‘National Security Letters’ are issued by FBI, without judges approval, to obtain credit history, phone records, computer records, banking history.
- 192,499 National Security Letters were issued between 2003-2006, which led to 53 criminal referrals: 17 for money laundering; 17 for immigration; 9 for fraud; 0 for terrorism.
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.President Dwight D. Eisenhower
- Lockheed Martin: $44.9 billion in profits, an 8 percent increase from 2016. Makes the F-35 Lightning Fighter Jet, F-16, F-22, Vector Hawk Drone, Blackhawk Helicopter, Trident Missiles.
- Boeing: $26.9 billion. Arms sales account for only 29 percent of their 2017 sales with the rest coming from commercial aircraft sales.
- Raytheon: $23.9 billion. Makes guided missiles and missile defense systems.
- BAE Systems: U.K. based with $22.4 billion in profits.
- Northrop Grumman: $22.4 billion .
- General Dynamics: $19.5 billion. Arms sales represent 63 percent of total sales of $31 billion in 2017.
Facts and Statistics
- Biggest weapons exporters: US, Russia, China, Germany, France.
- Biggest weapons importers: India, Saudi Arabia, China, United Arab Emirates, Pakistan.
- Russia became the second largest arms producer in 2017; one of the fastest growing international arms producers in the world. Arms sales from the top 100 Russian companies increased by 8.5% in 2017.
- Top defense companies receive a vast majority of their profit from government contracts, which means taxpayers fund these private industries and contribute to the exorbitant salaries and bonuses of the defense industry CEO’s; the defense industry then uses their profits from taxpayers to lobby government to change the public laws; to bribe and pay off politicians, which creates a cycle of profit and destruction of our own doing with our hands tied behind our backs, hamstrung by the governments power to allocate our money and resources towards industries like fossil fuels, the pharmaceutical industry, the private prison industry, the agricultural industry, and the military industrial complex without our consent.
- The defense industries primary goal is to raise the budget cap set in the National Defense Authorization Act (first passed in 1961), the annual law that determines the agencies responsible for defense, sets policies under which money will be spent, and determines how much taxpayer dollars Congress will allocate to the military and the Department of Defense for the upcoming year. Regardless of if a Republican or Democrat sits in the Presidents office; or if Republicans or Democrats control the House or the Senate, the annual defense budget increases by tens of billions of dollars each year.
Profits from Arms Sales
- $370.7 billion in global arms/weapons sales in 2015.
- $398 billion in international arms sales from top 100 weapons companies in 2017. 2.5 percent higher than in 2016; third consecutive year of growth.
- United States has 42 arms contractors in the top 100 as of 2017. 2 percent growth from 2016 to $226.6 billion, which accounts for 57 percent of total global arms sales in 2017.
- Since 2002, the start of the United States governments global War on Terror, global arms sales by the top 100 defense contractors increased by 60 percent.
- 7 of the top 10 defense contractors are also leading aerospace companies and all ten have significant electronics divisions for surveillance and battlefield communication, which highlights the changing nature of war.
- Arms sales from the 10 largest companies in the top 100 amounted to $198.2 billion in 2017, an increase of 10 percent, $2.1 billion, from 2016.
- Boeing, Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin account for 60 percent of arms sales revenue of the top 100 weapons manufacturers.
- The U.S. Department of Defense awarded $300 billion in taxpayer funded defense contractors in 2016; $100 billion went to the top 5: Boeing, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics.
- Lockheed Martin is the largest federal contractor in the United States, with $36 billion in government allocated/taxpayer funded contracts in 2010.
- 10 percent of Americas $2.2 trillion manufacturing/factory output goes into the production of weapons within the defense industry.
- The United States government routinely sells missiles, guns, vehicles and military equipment to repressive regimes like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Israel.
Costs of War
For a sovereign, powerful, and globally dominant nation such as the United States of America- leader of the free world; beacon of hope, freedom and liberty; international purveyor of democracy; sociocultural pariah; protector of refugees; a nation of immigrants built off of the backs of African slave and European peasant labor- the costs of war stretch beyond domestic boundaries and into the lives of human beings in countries across the planet. Through the establishment of countries, the evolution of governments, and the growth of powerful multinational corporations that profit off of death and destruction, the human operating system- from an inflated and arrogant ego engulfed by greed and hubris- finds itself in a position of dominance at the head of the planets ecosystem, capable of protecting- but also capable of destroying- the entire human species in a moment of madness from a leader in government; or through the slow arduous process of poisoning the water we drink, the air we breath, the environment that surrounds us and allows the human species- and millions of other plant and animal species- to survive on this small blue dot in a vast black ocean of probability and possibility.
The probability of our existence on this planet, in this solar system, surrounding a temperate star like our Sun; one star in hundreds of billions of other stars in this Milky Way galaxy; one galaxy in hundreds of billions of galaxies in the observable universe; itself, one universe in hundreds of billions of others in what may be an infinite cycle of explosions and implosions, of birth and death, of creation and destruction; the possibility of our survival comes down to our intelligence, insight, understanding, and ability to react to and overcome the circumstances of our existence on this Earth. As unique and individual human beings, we operate within one common collective of interconnected life forms under an ecosystem that we dictate based off of our intelligent understanding of the world and universe that surrounds us; and the advanced, conscious life forms that unite us within this human operating system as we advance into the future.
When individual human beings- like all plant and animal life forms- live within their means, without producing and consuming more than the planet can sustain, indefinitely, the Earth remains stable. But when forceful governments spread lies and deceit; engage in propaganda campaigns to confuse and manipulate the masses for their private profit as a means of pursuing global domination; hold the constant threat of terror and fear over our heads to control our actions and wellbeing; allow corporations to corrupt the political and economic system for their private profit to the detriment of the public, the planet and its ecosystem; and engage in imperialist wars of conquest to exploit natural resources and plunder foreign lands for the sake of obtaining greater power and control over the human and planetary population, the Earth and its unique and individual plant, animal and human population suffers while future generations must sacrifice for the greed, hubris and ignorance of governments and corporations in the present.
The United States of America has been at war for 222 out of 243 years as an independent nation. The prospect and reality of war disrupts domestic and international trade; diminishes social domestic spending programs that primarily benefit the poor and minority classes; threatens manufacturing and production capabilities; limits domestic infrastructure spending; expands economic inequality; bloats our overpriced healthcare system; harms our ineffective education system; reduces the labor market; increases oil prices; poisons and pollutes the environment; increases poverty in greater numbers of the population as tax money goes towards enriching the military industrial complex and into the pockets of politicians that support expansionist wars of conquest rather than defending the nation from credible threats, with credible meaning the threat of democratic authoritarianism from an oppressive government.
The United States government and its military are conducting counterterrorism operations in over 80 countries, 40 percent of the world’s nations; while fighting wars in eight different countries: Yemen, Libya, Somalia, Niger, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan. America’s longest war, the War in Afghanistan, which continues onto its eighteenth year with little progress to show other than further destabilizing the region; extracting oil and natural resource reserves; creating a stronghold for terrorist organizations to form as a result of United States military aggression and destruction through unmanned drone strikes, which often kill civilians 90 percent of the time.
A nation in perpetual war expands the executive powers of the President, impoverishes the country, the economy, and the average citizen, but extends the governments power and overreach into the rights, liberties, and freedoms of Americans; expands the surveillance state; and enriches powerful, private corporations. Endless wars provide corrupt governments with perpetual profits and a convenient mechanism of propaganda to manipulate the population into believing that their safety and security are protected if, and only if, they allow the American government to wreak havoc and destruction across the globe for the purpose of establishing world peace. Only in a dystopian novel, in an Orwellian world, may you establish world peace through death and destruction.
In the dystopian world of our contemporary reality, American Presidents refrain from declaring all out war, but their speech writers, administrative officials, and fellow bureaucrats declare clever euphemisms to escape from the cruel and disheartening label of war and the subsequent public outcry of what the word, war, entails. The arrogance and hypocrisy of these politicians and government officials latch onto and regurgitate political platitudes, worn out cliches, and clever phrases to replace the loaded word, WAR, with terms such as: advanced actions; strategic campaigns; targeted action; extended military engagements; sustained counter terrorism strategy; military involvement; counter terrorism operation; police action; countering violent extremism, among other lengthy euphemisms that mask the reality of war behind the obscurity and confusion of language.
Deaths in Current American Wars
- Report from Watson Institute of International Public Affairs at Brown University.
- 480,000 people have died from direct combat in the current wars, including 244,000 civilians.
- Estimates of over 1 million civilian deaths in the Middle East (many are unaccounted for or unreported).
- By 2016, 6,900 American soldiers died in the Middle East wars, including an additional 7,000 deaths from private U.S. contractors working in the war zone.
- Over 10 million refugees displaced as a result of Middle Easter wars.
Breakdown from wars in the Middle East
- Indirect civilian deaths from hunger, famine, disease, injury- 870,000.
- Iraqi, Pakistani and Afghani Ally deaths- 50,000.
- Deaths from enemy forces- 110,000.
- Direct civilian deaths from bullets and bombs- 217,000.
Economic Cost to American Taxpayers
- Wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq have cost taxpayers $5.9 trillion, since 2001, across all U.S. federal departments, not just the Department of Defense. Total includes costs from the Department of Homeland Security and veterans healthcare.
- $4.9 trillion in war related expenses and $1 trillion in veteran medical care costs through the Veterans Affairs (VA).
- The $5.9 trillion cost breaks down to $32 million per hour since 2001, according to the National Priorities Project at the Institute for Policy Studies.
- Afganistan and Iraq 2001-2010 Cost: $1.1 trillion.
- Each individual American taxpayer has spent $24,000 on Middle Eastern wars since 2001.
- $534 billion in interest costs already spent by the U.S. government with taxpayer money. Projected to reach $1 trillion in interest costs by 2023 and $8 trillion by 2056.
- The current wars in the Middle East are funded with deficit spending and borrowing- not funded with tax money or war bonds, as in previous wars- meaning future generations will pay high interest costs later, which may bankrupt the country as larger amounts of taxpayer dollars go towards interest payments and veteran medical care, rather than towards domestic spending on social programs, healthcare, education, infrastructure.
- Estimates of $6.7 trillion cost to taxpayers if wars continue through 2023.
- In a study conducted by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute- a Swedish institute founded in 1966 that researches international conflict, armaments, arms control, disarmament, and seeks peaceful solutions to international wars- researchers found that total world spending on military budgets was $1.53 trillion in 2009; 46.5 percent of which, $712 billion, was spent by the U.S. government. A later study found that world military budgets increased to $1.67 trillion in 2016 and $1.8 trillion in 2018.
Wasteful Military Spending
- Lack of financial oversight of Department of Defense/Pentagon means that perpetual wars and their extreme costs continue to increase without checks and balances. Audits are not often conducted to determine inefficiency and spending costs, where our tax dollars go, and overall bloated costs of business operations within the most powerful department of government.
- Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighter jet: $1.5 trillion cost since 1996.
- In a report from December 5, 2016, the Washington Post uncovered over $134 billion in wasteful bureaucratic spending by the Department of Defense in an effort to prevent Congress from reducing their budget. The DOD feared that Congress would allocate less money in the future if the Pentagon had remaining money left over from previous budgets, so they spent the money on useless items and bloated back-room staff salaries.
- In the same report, the Washington Post report found that the Pentagon employs over 1 million back-office staff roles to civilians and independent contractors (compared to 1.3 million active duty troops) to fill jobs in HR, logistics/supply-chain, property management, healthcare, financial flow management.
- Plan was to save the Pentagon $125 billion over five years by reducing the number of back-room civilian jobs, hiring less expensive salaried employees.
- No correlation between massive and bloated military defense spending and job creation. Studies show that investment in infrastructure, healthcare, education, renewable energy creates twice as many jobs compared to military defense spending. But defense spending enriches Congress with a steady stream of campaign donations and lobbying revenue, and enriches the CEO’s in the arms industry with taxpayer funded federal contracts to build and sell weapons to the U.S. and other world governments.
- The defense industry elects to build their facilities in key battleground voting states in order to frame the narrative as a jobs and economic issue for Americans, rather than labeling themselves as a war-seeking and profiteering industry.
Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. Part 4President Dwight D. Eisenhower, January 17, 2961