America - Arms Dealer To Anyone With Money

Here is a little economic conundrum for you to ponder for a moment. Between 1992 and 1997, America's "defense industry" laid off 795, 000 Americans. During that same period, the industry was able to sell over $70.6 billion in weapons systems to nearly every nation on earth, in many instances to use against their own citizens. How can any industry lose so many valuable workers and still increase their profits so greatly?

The answer is grossly simple, actually. The industry offered "offsets", extremely lucrative programs in which the nations purchasing the weapons are allowed to manufacture most or all of the components and to pay their workers whatever that government decides is "fair". In other words, unbelievably sensitive weapon systems are given away to nations which, in the future, may find a need to use those same systems against American children in the military. Also, as in the article I offered ("Impeach Them All") regarding the charges of spying by China and the ridiculous decision to sell that nation nuclear power plants which produce, as a natural by-product, weapons grade uranium, the same material used to make atomic bombs, we're arming our possible future enemies for fun but, mostly, profit.

General Dynamics convinced Turkey to purchase 160 F-16 fighters to be delivered through 1994. The cost was only $4 billion in that General Dynamics agreed to build most of the planes in Turkey, resulting in the loss of 1500 jobs and probably reams of sensitive information.

In 1992, General Dynamics entered into a similar deal with South Korea in which the corporation laid off over 10,000 workers and then added insult to injury by bringing 400 South Korean workers, to be trained by the small core of remaining American workers, who then returned to their nation to build the planes for a savings to South Korea of billions of dollars.

Indeed, one instance of corporate treason against the American worker that will undoubtedly win any prize offered for outright craven greed is the deal made by Lockheed Martin (who bought General Dynamics). In 1993, this corporation vied for a contract to sell planes to Poland. Their offer was simple, if they were awarded the contract, they would lay off all of their American workers and move all assembly lines to Poland where they plan to build p[lanes for all of Central Europe for many years to come.

On the same general subject, have you wondered how the defense industry to be engaging is so many huge mergers and can still show such huge, almost obscene profits? It is because you, the American taxpayer, pays 100% of all of the costs for all mergers, including legal fees, CEO salaries and bonuses and vacations and parties, advertising, moving and tearing down structures and equipment and even the cost of lobbying Congress for the payments ($405 million in tax payer funds for just the single merger of General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin). That's right, gentle readers, you are completely responsible for all of those costs as well as the hundreds of billions of dollars that you provide the same industry in their huge corporate welfare system.

Curious as to just how much that has cost? So far, the tally is at $856.2 million. That's $3.40 for every single man, woman and child in America. And this is a very, very small example of the vast taxpayer subsidies that Corporate America has convinced their property in Congress and the White House is only fair.

Another travesty in action is that we allow our corporate scavengers to sell weapons to both sides of any conflict. In direct violation of a Congressional ban on sales of offensive weapons to Greece, our good corporate citizens recently convinced the U.S. (read Clinton) to sell or allow the corporations to sell, over $270 million worth of weapons systems. At the same time as those sales were being finalized, the same corporations were selling nearly $750 million in weapons to the nation that has already been involved in a war with Greece over possession of the island of Cyprus; Turkey.

Again, in a tale of selling deadly weapons to both sides and, in the process, endangering the lives of many, many innocents, the State Department allowed weapons to be sold to an area that no one on earth has recognized as an independent nation. "Western Sahara", an area of Morocco which is the center of a rebel uprising that began in 1975, was authorized to purchase $20,000 in weapons. The actual purchaser was Morocco, itself, who has already bought $42.7 million in weapons since 1993, even though the U.N. sent in a peace keeping force after a 1991 cease fire was arranged and that old Reagan puppet master James Baker was appointed to seek a solution. In other words, the U.N. has personnel in the "Western Sahara" enforcing a shaky peace but Clinton saw no irony in rearming both sides of the conflict. (1) (2)

When you hear the truly scarce stories in the conservative media of governments such as Mexico or Indonesia or Turkey or Nigeria or any of hundreds of other countries killing or maiming their own citizens you can feel proud of being an American, the nation who will sell arms to anyone with the money, period. What should give you even more than the usual amount of pride as an American is the wonderful fact that you are directly responsible, through your tax dollars, for all of that misery and horror around the world. Now, go to bed and get a good night's sleep, knowing that the weapons that your government and your very own Corporate America so happily sell are killing people twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, without rest, in every hemisphere of the world. What a country!?!

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Copyright 4/19/99