When the dust finally settles in Iraq, the United States may have unleashed virtually all of its state-of-the-art weaponry In the latest Congressional Budget Justification for Foreign Operations, the State Department predicts that U.S. arms sales will exceed $14 billion this year, the largest total in almost two decades.
"A tragic indicator of the values of our civilization is that there's no business like war business," said Douglas Mattern of the War and Peace Foundation.
One writer describes a "charmed circle of American capitalism, where Tomahawk and cruise missiles will destroy Iraq, while Bechtel Corporation [which once employed U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney] will rebuild the country. And stolen Iraqi oil will pay for it."
"U.S. weapons contractors are likely to gain significant profits because of this war," said Natalie Goldring, executive director of the Program on Global Security and Disarmament at the University of Maryland. "They'll be paid to replace the weapons that are used in the war.
A U.S. Apache Longbow helicopter, such as the ones brought down by Iraqi forces outside Baghdad, costs about $22 million.
The really big money for U.S. military contractors is in the annual Pentagon budget, which rose from $294 billion in 2000 to about $400 billion in 2003. At the current rate of growth, the budget is expected to hit $500 billion by 2010.
The Iraq war will also affect the global fight against poverty, because of the huge cost of the war and its aftermath.
It will also degrade health care and other needs in the United States.
"One-half of the world's governments spend more on the military than on health care", Mattern added. "The war business is the world's ultimate criminal activity."
[Written by Thalif Deen, Inter Press Service]