Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The war racket in the Middle East serves the U.S.

Wages of war

Salman Masalha ||
The war racket in the Middle East serves the U.S.

As a U.S. senator, Kerry was among the lawmakers with the most money invested in companies with Department of Defense contracts and who earned the most from these investments.

The conduct toward Iran of the world powers, especially the United States, is not surprising: Peace in the Middle East is the No. 1 enemy of the major weapons manufacturers. A situation in which Iran threatens the wealthy Arab states serves the economic interests of the world powers in general and of America in particular.

According to a report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, about half of the world’s 100 largest arms-producing and military services companies in 2012 were American, as were 14 of the top 20. Topping the list was Lockheed Martin. These 14 companies have annual sales of tens of billions of dollars and they employ hundreds of thousands of Americans.

The Middle East, a region which is rich in oil and gas, is the goose that lays the golden eggs for the arms industry. According to news reports, the biggest U.S. arms sale in 2014, worth $11 billion, was to Qatar, of all places.

Qatar, which for years now has been shoving large amounts of money and weapons arms at the Muslim Brotherhood and similar organizations throughout the Middle East. It’s no wonder that in 2011, with the onset of the so-called Arab Spring, Boeing opened an office in Doha, the capital of Qatar, followed this year by Lockheed Martin.

There’s a lot of talk here in Israel about the ties between government and big business. In America, one must speak of the ties between government and the big arms producers. A report by the World Policy Institute revealed that in the 2004 U.S. election season George W. Bush and John Kerry, the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates, respectively, were the top two recipients of contributions from organizations and individuals associated with the American arms industry.

Moreover, as a U.S. senator, Kerry was among the lawmakers with the most money invested in companies with U.S. Department of Defense contracts and who earned the most from these investments. So there’s no reason to be surprised at his conduct now as secretary of state, including his repeated attempts to pressure Qatar into mediating between Israel and Hamas.

It must be remembered that Qatar’s rulers live in the shadow of the biggest American military base in the Middle East. But it’s not just a military base that the United States has in this emirate. It also has a television base — Al Jazeera — that serves as the mouthpiece of the Muslim Brotherhood.

This television station has become the spearhead of the American doctrine, that of Democrats and Republicans alike. The station’s sole purpose is to sow chaos, to undermine existing regimes and to foment small wars in the region, so that the United States can continue to manufacture and to sell more weapons in order to keep the wheels of the American economy turning.

And indeed, on April 18, The New York Times reported that “American intelligence agencies believe that the proxy wars in the Middle East could last for years, which will make countries in the region even more eager for the F-35 fighter jet, considered to be the jewel of America’s future arsenal of weapons. The plane, the world’s most expensive weapons project ... has not yet been peddled to Arab allies because of concerns about preserving Israel’s military edge. But with the balance of power in the Middle East in flux, several defense analysts said that could change.”

What do we learn from this? That the wars in this region are a salient American economic interest. War has always been good business. This aspect of war was nicely summed up by U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Smedley Darlington Butler in his book “War is a Racket,” published in 1935. War, Butler wrote, is “easily the most profitable [racket]. ... It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.”

The Middle East suffers from chronic wars and a dearth of wise leadership. After all, the sweetest revenge on the arms merchants and warmongers of all kinds would be to create a revolution in consciousness. This region needs, above all, to beat its swords into plowshares. It needs, above all, leaders who are actually “peacemongers.”
Haaretz, Apr. 27, 2015

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