Prophets of War (Book Review)
Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military-Industrial-Complex by William Hartung
In Prophets of War, Hartung writes about Lockheed Martin- the US’ largest military weapons contractor. According to the Project on Governmental Oversight (POGO), Lockheed Martin has 85 instances of criminal, civil or administrative misconduct since 1995 and has accrued $762.9 million in penalties in the past 20 years. This has not stopped them from making a ‘killing off of killing’, though pulling in $43,399.4 million dollars from government contract awards in 2016 alone.
In the 70s, the company had to ask the government to a bailout comparable to the ones recently given to keep Wall Street afloat in recent years, they also faced charges of bribery and were seeing a decline in military spending post Vietnam. Reagan came to the rescue by engaging in the arms race with Russia.
Throughout its history the company has also helped create arms export subsidies to inspire other countries to buy weapons and go to war. Sometimes costs to the US go beyond merely granting loans to other countries, but promising “offsets,”- ‘different ways of steering the money back to the country buying the weapons products. For instance, Lockheed Martin might offer to set up a plant in the purchasing government’s country- to provide their citizens with work in building these weapons.
While Lockheed Martin has generally always made a lot of money from weapons sales- in the 1990’s they merged with other companies and suddenly had a wider reach. This reach included “everything from involvement in interrogation [such as in GTMO] and the police training to profiting from the new post-9/11 wave of domestic surveillance activities.”
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