Who pays for the ‘humanitarian interventions’ and who walks away with the profits?

US Air Strikes

With over 35 military interventions in over 27 countries since 1980 a question that needs to be asked and answered is who is declaring these ‘wars’, who are paying for it and who walks away with the profits? Trillions of dollars in debt, generations having to pay for the wars, multicultural corporations and associates benefiting while the world is no safer in fact none of the promised ‘peace’ has been forthcoming. Where are we going wrong and how do we stop this madness?

  • The latest ‘war’ is against the ISIS that campaign has cost $1billion already.
  • The Syrian ‘war’ to oust President Assad give the following statistics:
  • an all-out invasion, costing up to $300 billion a year and requiring 200,000 to 300,000 troops.
  • sophisticated cruise missiles, which fly as far as 1,000 miles, evade radar and explode within feet of their targets, costs about $1.1 million
  • US would have to spend at least $500 million a year to train and assist the foreign-backed militants fighting against the Syrian government (Army General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff)
  • a no-fly zone over parts of Syria would cost at least $500 million to begin with and could cost a whopping $1 billion per month to maintain.
  • War against Gaddafi/Libya
  • The first few weeks of the operation in Libya cost about $600 million, $340 million of which went to munitions. Each Tomahawk Land Attack Missile costs $1.4 million.
  • Refuelling tankers  cost $9.3 million in the Libya operation for more than 800 hours of flight.
  • The cost of operating the no-fly zone over Libya alone could cost the U.S. an estimated $30 million to $100 million a week, a study by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments found.
  • The U.S. has also promised $25 million in non-lethal aid to the Libyan Transitional National Council, half of which the Defense Department has already on MRE’s (military lingo for Meals, Ready to Eat).
  • patrolling Libyan air space at $30-100 million per week (Joseph Mulloy – trade publication Inside the Navy)
  • federal government is borrowing about $4 billion per day from lenders like China

War against Iraq

  • Cost of Iraq war (2003-2010) has been placed at $1.1trillion by Brown University
  • Department of Defense’s direct spending on Iraq totaled at least $757.8 billion
  • We should expect as American citizens that this would cost at least $100 billion for a two-year involvement. (Tim Rossert)
  • According to a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report published in October 2007, the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan could cost taxpayers a total of $2.4 trillion by 2017
  • Joseph Stiglitz, former chief economist of the World Bank and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, and Linda Bilmes of Harvard University, have stated the total costs of the Iraq War on the US economy will be three trillion dollars in a moderate scenario
  • U.S. medical and disability claims for veterans after a decade of war had risen to $134.7 billion from $33 billion two years earlier.
  • As of March 2006, approximately £4.5 billion had been spent by the United Kingdom in Iraq.
  • According to the Ministry of Defence, the total cost of UK military operations in Iraq from 2003 to 2009 was £8.4bn
  • Add the costs on Afghanistan, Bosnia, Sierra Leone, Haiti and we will not know what we have achieved for the amount spent. More than 5,800 American military service members have been killed in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom since 2001.
  • 5% of the world’s population is trying to cover fifty percent of the world’s military bills with only a quarter of the world’s wealth.  (Inside the Navy publication)
  • The cost of Britain’s interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan has reached almost £30bn – or £1,000 for every taxpayer in the country
  • UK’s contribution to the US-led campaign in the country between 2006 and 2013 was £19.59bn
  • The cost of operations in Iraq between 2003 and 2009 was £9.56bn (Royal United Services Institute)

On any given day, the United States has over 350,000 of its 1.5 million military personnel deployed abroad, and that does not include hundreds of thousands of civilians, both members of the civil service and contractors.

Costs of US Military Interventions

War Costs (bil. US$) % GDP per Soldier
WWII 4,100 35.8% 251
Iraq 784 5.5% 4900
Vietnam 738 2.3% 84
Korea 341 4.2% 59
WWI 334 13.6% 58
Afghanistan 321 2.3% 3276
Gulf 102 0.3% 218
Civil 80 11.3% 36

Source: E. Bumiller, “The War: A Trillion Can be Cheap”, NYT, July 25, 2010

While US Government declares ‘war’ and militarily intervenes upon nations with its Allies claiming intervention is ‘humanitarian’ the cost of these illegal invasions are burdening the tax payers while the private corporations walk off with all the profits.

The military industrial complex walks away with the cake!

Democratic and Republicans have privatized US foreign policy by outsourcing key military functions to private corporations – the Iraq and Afghan contracts given to Halliburton is a whopping $13billion which is more than twice the cost of the 1st Gulf War upon the US tax payer.

US uses private military corporations to train foreign armies, provide strategic advice and monitor peace keeping. PMCs are used in Kosovo, Bosnia, Croatia, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, ME and Africa.

A partial list of PMC client states include Angola, Australia, Canada, Colombia, Congo, Croatia, Great Britain, France, Liberia, Oman, Papua New Guinea, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan and US.

Arms sales are a leading US export. American arms manufacturers have two major channels through which they can sell major weaponry to foreign countries: foreign military sales (“FMS”), in which a government-to-government agreement is negotiated by the Pentagon; and direct commercial sales (“DCS”), in which industry negotiates directly with the purchasing country and must apply for a license from the State Department.  In 2008, DCS totaled $105 billion while Defense (FMS) helped with another $11 billion.

Lobbying by Selected Defense Firms, 2009

Lobbying Military
July-Dec. Contracts
Firm (mil. US$) (bil. US$)
Boeing 9.84 23.5
Northrop Grumman 9.05 24.9
Lockheed Martin 6.26 35.7
General Dynamics 5.50 14.2
United Technologies 5.05 9.0
Raytheon 4.09 14.3
Honeywell 3.60 2.4

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/21/top-defense-contractors-s_n_431542.html

US arms manufacturers – Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon have delivered shattering returns to their investors, CEOs and investment banks. In the past three years alone, Raytheon has returned 124%, Northrup Grumman 114% and Lockheed Martin 149% to their investors.

The military industrial complex is a powerful lobby and continues to press for new wars to sustain Pentagon’s huge budget. Diplomatic peace deals in the Middle East leads to nothing other than land grabs, reduction or curtailing new weapons transfers, undermining pretexts to sanction or attack countries who are considered rivals in the region.

A study by Morgan Stanley – declares that shares in major US arms manufacturers have risen 27,699% over the past 50 years vs 6,777% for the broader market.

The calls to reduce defense spending has resulted in the closure of scores of Veterans Administration hospitals, reduction in retiree benefits on the pretext of fighting fraud, poor quality service and these have been passed on to the ‘private sector’. It is estimated that over $900billion has been spent on long-term VA medical and disability services for veterans of Afghan and Iraq wars.

The US pays for the wars by raising taxes and or selling war bonds. All the current wars are from borrowed money which has raised the US budget deficit, increased national debt and caused macroeconomic results. Interest has to be paid on borrowed money. That interest from 2001-2013 has been $316billion. It is estimated that by 2023 interest payments may reach $1trillion and by 2053 $7trillion. US has also invested in Homeland Security – $470billion.

US expenditure for US Veterans is nearly $160b for medical care and disability for 2million veterans. These veterans will continue to be paid and that will amount to a further $1trillion over next 30-40years. 75 percent of the fallen in these wars come from working class families. They do not need war. They pay the cost of the war.

Given that there is no sight of peace another good question is what could have been done with the money being spent on these ‘military interventions’. While critics would jump to say the military interventions have provided jobs, could jobs have not been provided for other areas?

Why should America be bothered about the suffering of natives in other countries when America should look after its citizens first. America is not looking after its citizens by burdening them with taxes and interest payments for wars that have reaped no result except for a handful of the same people benefiting throughout the interventions that have taken place. Dick Cheney the former Vice President of US was the former CEO of defense contractor Halliburton!

The military industry complex are private beneficiaries and they are controlling how the US state is run. Every thing ends up a private-run program – Homeland Security educational degrees, secret intelligence programs, counterintelligence – there are 16 spy agencies employing 107,035 employees in the US. 1million are employed in other private intelligence corporations outsourced by the US state.

Thus, the contractors are walking away with trillions of dollars from false wars. Contractors have had a windfall profiting from producing to replacement to even providing ready-to-eat meals. These are all going to private companies. Would it be a surprise that lobbyists are also chipping in by ensuring the momentum for wars are kept solid.

What have the American public or the public of UK got from these military interventions that benefit the people? Nothing.

The private companies that have secured the contracts end up manufacturing arms, selling them to both parties and profiting both locally and in the countries that have been militarily invaded.

The current ‘wars’ or humanitarian interventions are not State Foreign Policies but Corporate Policies made by the State and that is why we cannot make any sense of the reasons or objectives other than profit.

It is time the public of the world woke up to realize these ground realities and stop falling prey to lobbyists who are the newest entrants into the system paid to fool the people’s representatives by handouts that have become easy manipulators in a world where anything and everything is done for money.

– by Shenali D Waduge