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The Progressive

Disgusting Profits by Armament Companies

Matthew Rothschild

I've been joking the last few years that if you invested in military stocks on January 20, 2001, you'd be sitting pretty right now.

Well, now I've got some more evidence to back up that not-so-funny joke.

Since the Iraq War began, aerospace and defense industry stocks have more than doubled.

General Dynamics did even better than that.

Its stock has tripled.

Banking on its Abrams tanks and Stryker troop transports, General Dynamics gobbled up $2.35 billion "in war revenue last year," according to Bloomberg News.

"The war has been a huge benefit to almost all contractors," William Hartung of the New America Foundation told Bloomberg.

War profiteering is not news, I suppose. But it is disgusting. And those who are profiting from the war are Bush and Cheney's cronies in the corporate boardrooms. For them, war is not a bloody tragedy, it's a golden opportunity. Bush's "base" is doing just fine.

Almost 100 years ago, back in 1911, Fighting Bob La Follette, the pioneer of the Progressive movement and founder of the magazine I'm working for, opposed U.S. intervention in Mexico and asked a crucial question:

"Have we come to this point, that patriotism, valor, and life and death are openly made the pawns of Wall Street's politicians, to be moved about as suits the greater profits of Wall Street's master spirits?"

Unfortunately, the answer to that question is yes.

La Follette also said, in January 1917, "If our nation manufactured its own munitions in its own factories at cost, it would take the private profit out of war, and the war traders out of American politics.'

Alas, the war traders have not yet been expelled from the temple of American politics.

Matthew Rothschild is the editor of The Progressive magazine.

© 2008 The Progressive

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