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Profiteering from the pandemic, the Pentagon and nuclear industry exploit the situation

Beware the Pentagon’s Pandemic Profiteers, Hasn’t the Military-Industrial Complex Taken

enough of Our Money?  POGO,  BY MANDY SMITHBERGER | FILED UNDER ANALYSIS | MAY 04, 2020    This piece originally appeared on TomDispatch.com.

At this moment of unprecedented crisis, you might think that those not overcome by the economic and mortal consequences of the coronavirus would be asking, “What can we do to help?” A few companies have indeed pivoted to making masks and ventilators for an overwhelmed medical establishment. Unfortunately, when it comes to the top officials of the Pentagon and the CEOs running a large part of the arms industry, examples abound of them asking what they can do to help themselves.

It’s important to grasp just how staggeringly well the defense industry has done in these last nearly 19 years since 9/11. Its companies (filled with ex-military and defense officials) have received trillions of dollars in government contracts, which they’ve largely used to feather their own nests. Data compiled by the New York Times showed that the chief executive officers of the top five military-industrial contractors received nearly $90 million in compensation in 2017. An investigation that same year by the Providence Journal discovered that, from 2005 to the first half of 2017, the top five defense contractors spent more than $114 billion repurchasing their own company stocks and so boosting their value at the expense of new investment.

To put this in perspective in the midst of a pandemic, the co-directors of the Costs of War Project at Brown University recently pointed out that allocations for the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Institutes of Health for 2020 amounted to less than 1% of what the U.S. government has spent on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan alone since 9/11. While just about every imaginable government agency and industry has been impacted by the still-spreading coronavirus, the role of the defense industry and the military in responding to it has, in truth, been limited indeed. The highly publicized use of military hospital ships in New York City and Los Angeles, for example, not only had relatively little impact on the crises in those cities but came to serve as a symbol of just how dysfunctional the military response has truly been.

Bailing Out the Military-Industrial Complex in the COVID-19 Moment

Demands to use the Defense Production Act to direct firms to produce equipment needed to combat COVID-19 have sputtered, provoking strong resistance from industries worried first and foremost about their own profits. Even conservative Washington Post columnist Max Boot, a longtime supporter of increased Pentagon spending, has recently recanted, noting how just such budget priorities have weakened the ability of the United States to keep Americans safe from the virus. “It never made any sense, as Trump’s 2021 budget had initially proposed, to increase spending on nuclear weapons by $7 billion while cutting Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funding by $1.2 billion,” he wrote. “Or to create an unnecessary Space Force out of the U.S. Air Force while eliminating the vitally important directorate of global health by folding it into another office within the National Security Council.”

In fact, continuing to prioritize the U.S. military will only further weaken the country’s public health system. ……..

How Not to Deal With COVID-19

Along with those military-industrial bailouts came the fleecing of American taxpayers. While many Americans were anxiously awaiting their $1,200 payments from that congressional aid and relief package, the Department of Defense was expediting contract payments to the arms industry. Shay Assad, a former senior Pentagon official, accurately called it a “taxpayer rip-off” that industries with so many resources, not to speak of the ability to borrow money at incredibly low interest rates, were being so richly and quickly rewarded in tough times. Giving defense giants such funding at this moment was like giving a housing contractor 90% of upfront costs for renovations when it was unclear whether you could even afford your next mortgage payment.

Right now, the defense industry is having similar success in persuading the Pentagon that basic accountability should be tossed out the window. ……..

Unfortunately, as COVID-19 spread on the aircraft carrier the USS Theodore Roosevelt, that ship became emblematic of how ill-prepared the current Pentagon leadership proved to be in combatting the virus. Despite at least 100 cases being reported on board—955 crewmembers would, in the end, test positive for the disease and Chief Petty Officer Charles Robert Thacker Jr. would die of it—senior Navy leaders were slow to respond. Instead, they kept those sailors at close quarters and in an untenable situation of increasing risk. When an emailed letter expressing the concerns of the ship’s commander, Captain Brett Crozier, was leaked to the press he was quickly removed from command. But while his bosses may not have appreciated his efforts for his crew, his sailors did. He left the ship to a hero’s farewell. ……… https://www.pogo.org/analysis/2020/05/beware-the-pentagons-pandemic-profiteers/

May 16, 2020 - Posted by | business and costs, politics, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA, weapons and war

2 Comments »

  1. At the rate the billionaires and ceos and pentagon are stuffing their pockets inn a time of a massive depression and pandemic crisis, there maybe a collapse. This will lead to nuclear meltdowns nuclear war. A collapse will lead to human extinction and life extinction

    Comment by Richard Christie | May 16, 2020 | Reply

  2. Creepy Apocolyptic Cult trying to foment Nuclear war with china and russia. Financed by the trump Billionaires , The Mililatary Nuke corporations , the pentagon

    Creepy Apocolyptic Cult Weaponized and thriving under MAGA

    Yasha Levine
    @yashalevine
    Follow
    This creepy weaponized immigrant cult is thriving under MAGA. Say what you will. But it is… twitter.com/patblanchfield…
    4:55 PM – 15 May 2020

    “This coalition of the business elite, right-wing Christian evangelicals, and white nationalists and other white supremacists is very dangerous. Fascism is ultimately a death cult.” – Jason Stanley , May 11, 2020

    Comment by Yasha Levine | May 16, 2020 | Reply


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