You can stop War Profiteering

In 1961, Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 gave a face to war profiteering with the character Milo – a mess officer during WWII. Milo secretly replaces the CO2 cartridges in the emergency life vests with certificates for shares in his company M&M Enterprises. Milo uses his private Air Force to contract missions from German forces, including one that results in the bombing of his battalion’s ship. Milo wheels and deals trading morals for money, committing treason in no uncertain terms but in the end he declares to a U.S. court that what is good for M&M is good for the country because everyone gets a share. One of the most hated characters in literature, Milo is still alive today in the minds of some CEOs. They know, in the current political and economic environment, you can make a killing during war.

We’ve heard about Blackwater. This private contracting firm is said to be responsible for the needless deaths of countless Iraqis, as well as numerous American employees who were ill-equipped to protect themselves in the field. The actions of Blackwater employees (who are mostly former U.S. Military) are so atrocious and well documented that the Iraqi government has demanded the U.S. find a new company to provide security for civilian diplomats and that Blackwater pay reparations to the families of its victims.  The U.S. Senate will vote on legislation to hold Blackwater and other private war contractors accountable for these actions.  Show your support with an email.

We’ve heard about Halliburton, Dick Cheney’s friends and colleagues who have made over 10 Billion Dollars from U.S. contracts in Iraq. Halliburton does its killing through poor workman ship and exploitation. A report by TruthOut speaks to this, “Over the last year, government auditors have issued at least nine reports criticizing Halliburton’s Iraq work, and there are multiple criminal investigations into overcharging and kickbacks involving Halliburton’s contracts. Former Halliburton employees have testified before Congress about egregious instances of over billing. Despite these concerns, the Bush Administration continues to reject the recommendations of its auditors that 15% of Halliburton’s LOGCAP reimbursements be withheld until the company can provide better substantiation for its charges.” What is particularly egregious is how the long term affects of their ignorance will not only disable Iraqi infrastructure but may hurt U.S. troops and their families for generations. Like Milo trying to serve cotton to his troops for dinner to cut costs KBR/Halliburton sees nothing wrong with allowing our troops to bath in contaminated water.

We’ve heard about these companies because their offenses have recently been covered by mainstream media (Frontline documentary series on war contractors); but, do you know how many have died because of a lawnmower company? Caterpillar, a well known construction equipment company has provided thousands of demolition machines, complete with gun turrets, to the Israeli army for the sole purpose of destroying Palestinian homes. Too many times women, children, and the elderly are bowled over inside their houses. At least 18 people, including American Rachel Corrie, have been killed by the Israeli military use of CAT bulldozers. The U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation is organizing a day of action on October 19th to heighten awareness of these destructive killing machines.

So many companies benefit from war: Bechtel, CACI and Titan. All of these companies have made billions on the blood of U.S. troops and Iraqi citizens. They claim their profit benefits our country as a whole. But they have no allegiance to the U.S. The only pledge these companies make is to the almighty dollar. You can do something.

Divest: Look into your portfolio and do research on the companies you invest in. Uniting as shareholders and participants in this economy we can send a strong message that we will not profit from this oil war.

Shareholder Activism: If you decide to keep stock in these profiteering companies, participate at shareholder meetings. Work with other shareholders to vote on resolutions that would require corporate compliance with international human rights standards.

Call Your Representative: Ask for more accountability for contracted work, demand we disband our private army, and push to bring justice to criminals who hide behind contracts.

Organize: The majority of Americans want the U.S. out of Iraq. How many of them know about war profiteering? Now is the time to deepen the debate around war, war profiteering is a good place to start.

3 Responses to You can stop War Profiteering

  1. I.M. Small says:

    IL PRINCIPITO

    A long long time ago
    One Erik Prince
    Called himself Christian–though
    Christ too would wince.

    Security within Iraq
    Is critical–and colored black:
    Protecting U.S. VIPs
    Gives private firms a wholesale lease,
    Impunity from murder, O,
    And what could be absurder, O,
    Than that the CEO in charge
    Call himself Christian–living large!

    A long long time ago
    One Erik Prince
    Called himself Christian–though
    Christ too would wince.

    Morality according to
    This Christian can be murky too,
    A stagnant, stultified backwater
    Known infamously as “Blackwater,”
    But there are other sources, O,
    Marshalled of private forces, O,
    Dishing it the Christian way–
    Who thought that murder could be gay!

    A long long time ago
    One Erik Prince
    Called himself Christian–though
    Christ too would wince.

    Drive not too close: that caravan
    Will fire on woman, child and man
    Sans provocation–unprovoked
    “Shooting to kill” so Christ has joked
    The Gospel message choking, O,
    For Jesus went for broking, O,
    As doctrine is interpreted
    By princes who can´t raise the dead.

    A long long time ago
    One Erik Prince
    Called himself Christian–though
    Christ too would wince.

    Can´t raise the dead but surely knows
    To lay them down–do you suppose
    Despite its thumping really it´s
    A brand of Bible hypocrites
    As fearlessly will murder, O,
    An antichrist their herder, O,
    While the Good Shepherd shakes his head
    And merely weeps and weeps instead.

    .

  2. I.M. Small says:

    HOW CHEAPLY CAME THAT KISS

    I strove to serve my country so I signed the dotted line,
    They promised “education” and that suited me just fine;
    But after years with hardly any break from all of this,
    I learned how cheaply as to Jesus came the Judas kiss.

    Promised rotations never came as we returned again
    Into the heart of chaos, me and all my crew of men,
    With years away from those we love as keep hearth fires at home,
    The promises they gave us seem no more than froth on foam.

    Not that I think one ought to place a premium on slaughter–
    But just compare our lot with such employees of Blackwater,
    As making five-fold what we get and having compensation
    Excessive of the “sterile futile” praises of a nation.

    Such private contractors, as work for business not for love
    Of country get the plum positions handed by kid glove–
    But as we daily plunge into the heart of greater danger
    Than they must meet, our country´s payments treat us like the stranger.

    Five-fold they make to what I make and yet their benefits
    Outclass my own, as would go home, but I can´t call it quits,
    Because despite the promises that we´d see holidays,
    As to Iraq we must go back we hear the same ol´ praise.

    It was an education, how a country can betray
    A man as serves for love instead of profits–while my pay
    Be but increase of wisdom if I maybe live so long
    To use it–but unscathed in soul are few, nor body strong.

    The education promised is a kind of calculus
    How mercenary motives make a mockery of us
    As strove to serve our country; love, idealism missing
    So I love Jesus daily while calamity keeps kissing.

    .

  3. peacesource says:

    join me at peacesource.net

    http://peacesource.net

    Satire at http://peacesource.net/blog

    http://peacesource.net/blog.html

    http://peacesourcenet.ning.com/

    use yahoo to check on shareholdings and congressional record. and see the London Review of books where it is explained that all those ordinary lives and all the US dollars are being used as a massive welfare system for the oli companies what suckers the US voters are what cannon fodder and Guiliani is level pegging with Hilary with nukes in each hand!

    http://www.lrb.co.uk/v29/n20/holt01_.html

    It’s the Oil

    Jim Holt

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