Every Friday the LA Progressive features a comment that was particularly noteworthy. This week we are featuring a comment submitted by someone who goes by the alias “Timeparticle”. Timeparticle writes, in response to Charley Jame’s piece, “Is Capturing bin Laden Another Bush Lie“:
Mr. James, suppose Bin Laden was captured or killed. Would the American military industry need another arch enemy to keep it going?… Why find another arch enemy when this one has sustainability? Without an arch enemy, would the huge military contracts fizzle out?
In the fifty years after the conclusion of World War II, three forces led to the maintenance of a military establishment of unprecedented proportions
TOP TEN DEFENSE CONTRACTORS, 1968
Contractor Headquarters DOD Contracts FY 1968 (billions of dollars) Main Projects
General Dynamics New York $ 2.24 F-111 fighter-bomber, Polaris submarine
Lockheed Aircraft California 1.87 C-141, C-5A transports, Polaris missile
General Electric New York 1.49 jet engines, electronics
United Aircraft Connecticut 1.32 jet engines, helicopters
McDonnell Douglas Missouri 1.10 Phantom F-4, Douglas A-4 bomber
AT&T New York .78 Safeguard missile, antisubmarine projects
Boeing Washington .76 B-52, helicopters, Minuteman missile
Ling-Temco-Vought Texas .76 A-7 fighter, electronics, Lance missile
North American Rockwell Ca. .67 avionics, submarine electronics
General Motors Michigan .63 gas-turbine aircraft engines, tanks, M-16 rifle.
TOP TEN DEFENSE CONTRACTORS, 1999
Contractor DOD Contracts
Lockheed Martin $ 12.67 billion
General Dynamics 4.56
Northrop Grumman 3.19
United Technologies 2.37
Litton Industries 2.10
General Electric 1.71
for the United States over such a length of time: the Cold War with the Soviet Union, involving an arms race throughout most of the period; the Korean War (1950–1953), and the Vietnam War (1964–1975). As the period ended (that is, as the Cold War at last appeared to have come to a close), a fourth situation assured continuation of military-industrial production—the deployment of forces and combat operations in the Persian Gulf region.
Military orders for goods and services went from $27.5 billion in 1964 to about $42.3 billion in 1969. The total defense budget for fiscal year 1969 was $79.788 billion, which amounted to 42.9 percent of the total federal budget, and between 9 and 10 percent of the gross national product (about the same percent as throughout the preceding decade). Defense funds went to every state, to 363 of the 435 congressional districts and to over 5,000 communities. Workers in defense industries and in defense-related production in mining, agriculture, construction, and services comprised over 10 percent of the total labor force. The Defense Department itself employed as many civilians as the populations of New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine combined.
Assuming our country proceeds along the same lines as in the past, We will eventually kill or capture Bin Laden. Then, another, even more dangerous character will emerge. We will strive for many years to kill or capture him or her, until finally, we prevail. Of course, the military industry will have to expand even more, with greater contracts…. and so on.
Or, we, as progressives, can break the cycle. The military industry is entrenched in our establishment and a re-focusing on its objectives and power may help global outreach. Great changes must occur to achieve this…. Will it happen soon?