The war business is the world’s ultimate criminal activity

“A tragic indicator of the values of our civilization is that there's no business like war business," says Douglas Mattern of the War and Peace Foundation.

One writer describes it as 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 gain significant profits because of weapons produced to wage war. They then are paid to replace the weapons that are used or destroyed in the war. Besides the human casualties, the Iraqi war has already seen the destruction of billions of dollars' worth of military equipment on both sides of the battlefield. One U.S. Apache Longbow helicopter alone, such as the ones brought down by Iraqi forces outside Baghdad, costs about $22 million.

But the really big money for U.S. military contractors, says Mattern, is in the annual Pentagon budget, which is expected to hit $500 billion by 2010. "The U.S. armament industry is the second most subsidized industry, after agriculture," he added.

Back in 2004, global annual military spending had already topped $1 trillion, the equivalent of $162 per person alive on Earth. Military spending by the United States accounted for 47% of that total, up sharply as a result of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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."

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