المرصد السوري لحقوق الانسان
The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

Profiteers of war

During his presidential campaign in 2008, Barack Obama asserted repeatedly that “the sources of Afghan instability are in Pakistan; those in turn are linked to Islamabad’s conflict with New Delhi, at the heart of which is Jammu and Kashmir”. If elected, he pledged to help resolve the Kashmir issue.

In his Nobel acceptance speech, Obama said that the US must uphold moral standards when waging wars that are necessary and justified. He said: “Meeting future challenges would require new ways to think about the notions of just war and the imperatives of a just peace”.

Ironically, a willing hostage to the MIC, President Obama was absolutely antithetical to Obama the candidate. His two terms saw the continuation, in some cases upping the ante, of the Bush led neocon brigand. He initiated unjust wars and shunned peace. He remains the only person to win a Nobel Peace Prize based on the mere rhetoric of undelivered promises. A stark reminder for those who think Obama’s two-term Vice President and President elect Joe Biden will prove a dove.

Donald Trump, true to himself, kicked up a storm when he accused the Pentagon of wanting “to do nothing but fight wars so that all of those wonderful companies that make the bombs and make the planes and make everything else stay happy”. Trump oversaw historic increases in defense budgets. He supervised the sale of 55.6 billion dollars worth of military hardware in 2018 alone. He also appointed key defense industry insiders to top positions at the White House and the Pentagon. His three Defense Secretaries had remained on the payroll of Depart of Defense (DOD) contractors.

The scale of death and suffering in Syria alone is monumental. The war initiated by the Peace Nobel laureate, Barack Obama, has spiraled into a humanitarian crisis of unprecedented proportions

Jim Mattis was a member of the General Dynamics board of directors, a position he immediately rejoined after his resignation. Patrick Shanahan, who took overas Secretary Defense from Mattis, was a Vice President Boeing Missile Defense Systems. Mark Esperremained Raytheon’s top lobbyist at a reported salary of 1,524,018 dollars. These three companies are the Pentagon’s largest contractors. A ProPublica analysis found that the Trump administration hired 281 lobbyists, most of them regulating their parent corporations.

The defense budget increase under President Trump was the largest in more than a decade. The US military outlays stood at 732 billion dollars as against China’s 178.6 and Russia’s 65.1 billion dollars. The US accounts for 43 percent of the world’s total military spending. This exceeds the combined amount spent by the 15 most developed countries. With less than 5 percent of the world’s population, the US has nearly 1000 military bases world-wide.

A Government Accountability Office survey of contractors and Internal Revenue Service data found that 52 contractors employed 2,435 former DOD officials who had “previously served as generals, admirals, senior executives or in other acquisition positions which made them subject to restrictions on their post-DOD employment”.

The Project on Government Oversight, a nonpartisan independent body that exposes corruption and abuse of power, has created a database dubbed the Pentagon Revolving Door. It tracks and reports former government officials working for the very corporations they oversaw or regulated. The Revolving Door data shows that in 2016 alone, the top 20 defense contractors hired 645 former senior government officials, military officers and Congress members as lobbyists, board members or senior executives.

380 high-ranking DOD officials and military officers became lobbyists, board members, executives or consultants for defense contractors. Of the former DOD officials, 95 went to work at Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, General Dynamics and Northrop Grumman; DOD’s top five contractors. Military officers who went to cushy contracting jobs included 25 Generals, 43 Lieutenant Generals, 9 Admirals and 23 Vice Admirals.

Going through the data, one can clearly establish the MIC’s strangle-hold on Washington regardless of who sits in the Oval Office. It has resulted in wars that hadmillions murdered,countries reduced to rubble andhumanitarian tragedies of unimaginable proportions.

SirajuddinHaqqani was feted at the White House with Reagan likening him to America’s founding fathers. When not needed, Haqqani and his sons became ‘terrorists’. Mullah Baradar and Mullah Nabi Omari too were ‘terrorists’ the latter having remained incarcerated for 12 years (2002 – 2014) at Guantanamo without ever being charged. The same Baradar and Omari recently sat across the table at Doha with Mike Pompeo devising a fervently Washington sought face saving exit from Afghanistan.

Addressing a group of US governors after assuming office Trump lamented, “Now, we never win a war”. Wars are not murdering rampages; they are the final means to achieve a clear set of national objectives. Since 1945, the US waged major wars in Vietnam, Korea, Iraq and Afghanistan. It remained unsuccessful in all four. These wars had nothing to do with national objectives; the atrocities were initiated to enrich the MIC with American taxpayer money. It resulted in a world ravaged by chaos, conflict and tragedies.

The scale of death and suffering in Syria alone is monumental. The war initiated by the Peace Nobel laureate, Barack Obama, has spiraled into a humanitarian crisis of unprecedented proportions. More than 400,000 Syrians have perished. Out of a total Syrian population of 21 million, over 12.7 million have been forced to flee their homes. The UN cites 6 million Syrian children in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. Libya and Yemen too face the same tragedy.

Queen Elizabeth recently stripped Harvey Weinstein of his OBE. Prince Andrew, Queen Elizabeth’s son, has been named in the Weinstein sordid saga of the sexual abuse of 87 women. He remains untouched and unquestioned. In this dichotomous world can one, in the symbolic least, expect Obama to be stripped of his absolutely unjust Nobel peace title?

The Nuremberg Tribunal declared: “To initiate a war of aggression is the supreme international crime”. Washington’s wars of aggression violate US and international law. They are crimes against humanity, outlawed by the Geneva Convention and the UN Charter. In a more just world these atrocities would have been declared war crimes and those who perpetrated them tried as war criminals.

Gen LeMay is revered as a hero and Washington endlessly proclaims its being the torchbearer of humanity. This does nothing to alter the LeMay confession of war-criminals being hailed as war heroes and Washington, perennial hostage to the profiteers of war, being the initiator of many wars of genocidal aggression.

The United States of America exists on a planet where, it believes, its self-professed goodness ends at its shore-lines. The result, as famed psychologists Abraham Maslow encapsulated, “when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail”.

Can President-elect Joe Biden, having borne personal losses and tragedies in life, nullify the heart-wrenching agony of millions of subjugated Muslims from Kashmir to Palestine? He has the burden of blood drenched history on his shoulders. Shall he be a MIC goaded trigger happy president or one that heals wounds within and outside the US shore-lines? Only time will tell.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views and editorial stance of the SOHR.

Source: Profiteers of war – Daily Times

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