MAKING WAR, MAKING MONEY: Seen as Free Market Enterprise, the War on Terror Is Profitable

By Lapham, Lewis | CCPA Monitor, October 2006 | Go to article overview

MAKING WAR, MAKING MONEY: Seen as Free Market Enterprise, the War on Terror Is Profitable


Lapham, Lewis, CCPA Monitor


King the five years since the striking down of the World Trade Center towers, the United States Congress has appropriated well over $300 billion for the Bush administration's never-ending war against all the world's evildoers.

Now flowing eastward out of Washington at the rate of $1.5 billion a week, much of the money takes the form of no-bid contracts, cost-plus and often immune from audit: at least $12.3 billion to Halliburton; $5.3 billion for Parsons Corporation; $3.7 billion for Fluor Corporation; $3.1 billion for Washington Group International; $2.8 billion for Bechtel Corporation. The contracts specify the repair and reconstruction of Iraq's depleted infrastructure...

For the friends of the free market operating in Iraq it doesn't matter who gets killed or why. Every day is payday, and if from time to time events take a turn for the worse-another 20 or 30 Arabs annihilated in a mosque-back home in America with the flags and the executive compensation packages, the stock market prices for our reliably patriotic corporations rise with the smoke from the car bombs exploding in Ramadi and Fallujah: Lockheed Martin up from $52 to $75 between July 2003 and July 2006; over the span of the same three years, Boeing up from $33 to $77; ExxonMobil up from $36 to $65; Chevron up from $36 to $66; Halliburton up from $22 to $74; Fluor up from $34 to $87.

Although the reports from Baghdad might seem to suggest that all is not well with Operation Iraqi Freedom, the impression is misleading. Understand the war on terror as free-market capitalist enterprise rather than some sort of public or government service, and in the nightly newscasts we see before us victory, not defeat... Measure the achievement by the standards that define a commercial success-maximizing the cost to the consumers of the product, minimizing the risk to the investors-and we discover in the White House and the Pentagon, also in the Congress and the Department of Homeland security, not the crowd of incompetent fools depicted in the pages of the New York Times, but a company of visionary entrepreneurs, worthy of comparison with the men who built the country's railroads and liberated the Western prairie from the undemocratic buffalo. …

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MAKING WAR, MAKING MONEY: Seen as Free Market Enterprise, the War on Terror Is Profitable
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