The Pentagon Runs Amok, War Profiteers are 'Recession-proof'Submitted by Liberty_Belle on Thu, 02/04/2010 - 10:17
It is not possible to believe that it is coincidence that just as the Pentagon is being called upon to justify its immunity from the across-the-board budget freeze that President Barack Obama is declaring for the federal government, at least three provocative U.S. arms sales have been announced -- to Taiwan, Poland and four Persian Gulf states.
The announcements were clearly scheduled to provoke, respectively, China, Russia and Iran. Each will now bark loudly, and perhaps take retaliatory action. Their responses will, in turn, serve as justification by the Pentagon for the 7.1 percent increase in proposed defense spending, even as painful cuts are being administered in other fields.
The other beneficiaries of this move will be the defense contractors -- the happy band of manufacturers and trainers and their lobbyists -- into the ranks of which many senior military officers and Pentagon officials retire once their active duty days are done.
The timing is extraordinary, if one had any inclination to consider it to be coincidental. The other "coincidental" development was the failure -- again -- of the missile-defense system in a $150 million trial that took place Sunday. That system, a dog that has been around for years, cleverly conceived and presented as an umbrella over the United States and some of its allies against Iranian or North Korean missiles, has two basic problems. First, it is expensive. Second, it doesn't work, although those two flaws do not necessarily deter Pentagon planners or defense contractors.
The three newly announced arms sales were surer bets, in the sense that each is sure to alarm or enrage some serious country.
The biggest sale, announced Friday, and the most serious in terms of impact, is a plan to sell $6.4 billion in arms to Taiwan. China considers Taiwan to be part of China. The island will receive from the United States 60 Black Hawk helicopters, 114 missile-defense rockets, 12 anti-ship missiles and two mine-hunting vessels, as well as communications and surveillance equipment.
The timing of the U.S. announcement -- unless the furious Chinese reaction is seen as helping the Pentagon's budgetary case with the Congress -- would seem to be particularly unpropitious.
ALSO NOTE: 151 members of Congress invested in DOD contracts
In 2006, the investment portfolios of 151 current members—more than a quarter of Congress—had between $78.7 million and $195.5 million invested in companies that received major defense contracts (over $5 million). The portfolios include holdings in companies paid billions of dollars each month to support America’s military.