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View Diary: A. Very. Unpopular. War. (110 comments)

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  •  aerospace (1+ / 0-)
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    jpmassar

    That report includes commercial airplane sales and lots of other non-defense sales.  It’s not all military, and it's probably not even mostly military.  Also, it shows revenues for the industry are flat while profits are up, which means companies got more productive at what they were making, not that they were selling more than before.  And I don’t see any logistics companies in that list, so no, apparently it’s not as profitable as you think it is.  I really just don’t see defense contractors having much stake in this particular war, and not nearly enough for them to be somehow stifling criticism of the war, if that was your actual point.

    As for the Pentagon, I don’t know how many brass you know, but I’ve never met any who were happy about getting sent to the desert for a couple years.  Having a bigger budget just means having more work to do.  That’s hardly what I’d call “profit”.  I suppose there might be some excitement about being involved in combat operations, but the Pentagon is far more risk-averse than you think it is.  Once again, I don’t see this as damping criticism of the war.

    •  The brass get sent to the desert? (0+ / 0-)

      That's funny.  I thought that the guys with the most lapel pins spent their time over in Arlington while the lower ranking folks did the actual fighting.

      On the larger point, if you haven't managed to notice the reluctance of politicians to criticize the Pentagon or to call for serious reductions in defense spending, then I don't know what I can do for you.  The Pentagon is no different from any other bureaucracy.  It defends its turf.  

      As for what portion of aerospace/defense industry sales go to DoD, it appears to be quite substantial, at least if this report (pdf) is correct.  Furthermore, according to this paper (pdf), procurement funding more than doubled from FY2011 to FY 2010, and all branches of the service used that additional funding to modernize their forces by purchasing new equipment.  The supplemental appropriations for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan certainly provided at least some of that funding.  And this article points out that defense contractors have prospered over the past decade:

      You'll find very few in the Pentagon shedding a tear for the contractors. The military industrial complex has had a field day since 2001. The pumped up defense budgets, coupled with the additional $120 billion a year in spending for the wars, have been a boon for the defense industry. Profits at the big five U.S.-based defense contractors -- Lockheed Martin (LMT), Boeing (BA), Northrop Grumman (NOC), General Dynamics (GD) and Raytheon (RTN) -- grew from $6.7 billion in 2001 to $24.8 billion in 2010. Profits grew twice as fast as revenue.

      And it's not just the pure-play defense contractors who cleaned up. Large conglomerates, like General Electric (GE), foreign defense firms, like BAE systems, and large construction firms, like KBR (KBR), also saw their profits jump significantly during that time thanks to all the defense spending.  
      (Emphasis added)

      So far you haven't provided any links.  Do you have contrary information?

      "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

      by FogCityJohn on Thu Apr 19, 2012 at 09:47:05 AM PDT

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