For United States, terrorism in the Middle East means business, and business is good

Special report
In the absence of newly declared war, how would the military-industrial complex prosper without terrorism?

The National Priorities Project recently sent out an email with the subject line, “Terrorism means business, if you’re a defense contractor.” The message bluntly states:

If you’re a defense contractor, terrorism means business, and business is good.

According to recent reports, the corporate defense behemoth Lockheed Martin’s revenue rose 15.7% and shares rose 1.5% following the news that President Obama was committing an additional 250 troops in Syria.

Lockheed Martin was the biggest federal contract in 2014, pulling in more than $32 billion in federal contracts, including $25 billion in Pentagon contracts. Its federal haul makes it practically an honorary state.

In fact, the Project states that the contracts received by Lockheed Martin in 2014 exceed federal grants allotted to each individual state, with the exceptions of the high-population states of California, New York and Texas.

In a blog entry on the National Priorities Project site, research director Lindsay Koshgarian states, “Lockheed and its defense industry companions have made enough profits from taxpayer dollars. It’s past time to show them that terrorism doesn’t pay.”

The Project email brought to mind a March Los Angeles Times article, which revealed, “CIA-armed militias are shooting at Pentagon-armed ones in Syria.” Yes, the two major halves of the US war machine were backing anti-Assad factions who were fighting each other with United States-supplied arms:

Syrian militias armed by different parts of the U.S. war machine have begun to fight each other on the plains between the besieged city of Aleppo and the Turkish border, highlighting how little control U.S. intelligence officers and military planners have over the groups they have financed and trained in the bitter 5-year-old civil war.

The fighting has intensified over the past two months, as CIA-armed units and Pentagon-armed ones have repeatedly shot at each other as they have maneuvered through contested territory on the northern outskirts of Aleppo, U.S. officials and rebel leaders have confirmed.

In mid-February, a CIA-armed militia called Fursan al Haq, or Knights of Righteousness, was run out of the town of Marea, about 20 miles north of Aleppo, by Pentagon-backed Syrian Democratic Forces moving in from Kurdish-controlled areas to the east.

The rest of the Los Angeles Times article describes a maelstrom of chaotic US involvement in a conflict that appears more like a circling firing squad than a strategic military effort. Not only is the US involvement in the Syrian war to be lamented, it appears to resemble a Three Stooges segment. At times, yes, terrorism is good for the armaments industry.

Gareth Porter documents that the US is still backing forces working with al Qaeda in Syria:

The gradual erosion of the cease-fire in Syria over the past month is the result of multiple factors shaping the conflict, but one of the underlying reasons is the Obama administration’s failure to carry out its commitment to Russia to get US-supported opposition groups to separate themselves physically from the Nusra Front — the al-Qaeda organization in Syria….

The administration’s vacillation on the issue reflects the reality that the US-supported armed opposition has no intention to withdraw from its close military collaboration with Nusra Front. It also reflects deep divisions within the administration over Syria policy. Obama has leaned toward working with Russia on a cease-fire as an alternative to reliance on the armed opposition to put pressure on Bashar al-Assad, but senior officials in the Pentagon, CIA and US State Department remain strongly committed to ramping up military assistance to anti-Assad forces.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State John Kerry continues to dangle out the hope of a “permanent” ceasefire” for the umpteenth time.

Of course, the Syrian calamity is further exacerbated by the US and NATO effort to “defeat” ISIS (also known as Daesh). One of the challenges in relation to ISIS is its forces are well-armed in large part because they have seized US weapons from overrunning Iraqi army positions.

All of this must, as the National Priorities Project notes, make the arms manufacturers elated — to see terrorism literally pay, in terms of profits and multi-billion dollar contracts from the Pentagon and CIA.

After all, in the absence of new declared wars — for the moment — how would the military-industrial-intelligence complex prosper without the so-called “war on terrorism”?

In the war on terror, one often can’t tell if the US is intentionally creating terrorism, or just ineptly wasting taxpayer dollars so corporations can profit and militarized bureaucracies can flourish.

There’s money to be made in terrorism, all right; lots of it. It makes you wonder if our government’s goal is to eliminate terrorism or to perpetuate it.


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