Contact l Sitemap

home industries issues reasearch weblog press

Home  » Industries » War & Disaster Profiteering » WP Issues Library

Issue Library


Today the victors of modern wars no longer rape and pillage as their predecessors did, instead they make extraordinary profits by giving contracts to their favorite companies to rebuild what they have destroyed and then hand the bill to local taxpayers to pay. For example, within days of the American occupation of Iraq, Bechtel of San Francisco, California, was hired to repair the power system, telephone exchanges and hospitals, weeks after multi-billionaire Riley Bechtel, the principal shareholder, was sworn in as a member of President Bush's Export Council to advise the government on how to create markets for American companies overseas.

The US army relies heavily on private companies to do many of the routine activities in the military from cooking food to repairing fighter jets under a program called the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP). The contract is what the Pentagon calls a "cost-plus-award-fee, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity service" which basically means that the federal government has an open-ended mandate and budget to send these companies anywhere in the world to run humanitarian or military operations for profit. For example Halliburton of Houston, Texas, has made a fortune by charging double for importing gasoline, taking kickbacks from suppliers and using cheap labor from South Asia to cook meals for the soldiers.

From satellites that can photograph postage stamps from space to covert operatives who are searching for Osama bin Laden, private companies now help run much of the clandestine services for organizations like the Central Intelligence Agency. For example Science Applications International Corporation of San Diego, California, is designing the eavesdropping software for the National Security Agency in the United States to monitor phones, faxes and email.

Weapons Makers
Making bombs and fighter jets is one of the fastest growing industries in the world, buoyed by the Bush administration's "war on terrorism." World military spending accelerated sharply in 2002-increasing by 6% in real terms to $794 billion in current prices. It accounted for 2.5% of world Gross Domestic Product and was $128 per capita, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. For example companies like Boeing, Northrop Grumann and General Electric have made billions from manufacturing "smart bombs," amphibious assault ships and nuclear weapons.