We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore LappĂ©, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Monday, November 25, 2013

Arming Egypt

Click here to access article by Nizar Manek from Le Monde Diplomatique.

Few Americans have any idea of how our economy is so dependent on weapons production funded through taxpayer money. Government contracts with the industrial complex are the most lucrative of all. They are frequently no-bid contracts that guarantee profits. This corruption of the US government by weapons producers has gone on ever since the end of WWII, and was heavily promoted by the military-industrial complex throughout the Cold War.

In this period of "austerity", cutbacks are occurring everywhere in services for the public good: education, health, retirement (Social Security), and welfare. But, do we see any significant cutbacks to the military-industrial complex? Did you notice this paragraph in the article?
The “aid” money is taken from the US federal budget. “Most of it never leaves US banks, and is mostly transferred not to the target country but to US defence manufacturers that sell the equipment to Egypt,” says Finardi. This goes for McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) for the Apache helicopters, Beechcraft for the 1900C aircraft, General Dynamics/Lockheed Martin for the F16 fighter aircraft, and General Dynamics Land Systems (for the M1A1 main battle tank components to be assembled in Egypt).
With only a few exceptions, this is the way "foreign aid" has always functioned. I well remember the rants of my ill-informed, but typical parents who thought that our government was always giving money away to "those furiners" (foreigners). 

The relationship between government and weapons manufactures is very much like what happened in Nazi Germany where major corporations brought Hitler to power and supported the German war machine throughout WWII (for example, read this). 

Another false impression that most Americans have is that capitalists are patriotic. Historical facts indicate otherwise: they are much more devoted to profits than to the countries in which they are based, and this reality began to emerge dramatically in years before and during WWII. There were many Western capitalists and major media supporting Nazi policies before the war. Many were major corporations thoroughly enmeshed with German corporations supporting the Nazis. Honest historians have had to struggle to reveal this history and especially the fact that many US corporations collaborated on both sides during that terribly destructive war. 

This was true of General Motors, Ford, ITT, Du Pont, Standard Oil (Rockefeller), and the investment bankers known as Harriman Brothers & Company to name a few. The Bush clan was intimately tied to the Nazis. (For more details, read Wall Street and the Rise of Hitler by Antony Sutton, Trading with the Enemy by Charles Higham, The Sovereign State of ITT by Anthony Sampson, and Facts and Fascism by George Seldes.) War and the threat of war is highly profitable, and thus will always be supported by capitalists--with one exception so far.

After the Cuban missile crisis, a new reality has emerged to discourage direct wars between major countries. The prospect of a nuclear holocaust was now very real, and world wars such as we witnessed in the 20th century are now avoided. However, other wars have been occurring everywhere.