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Killer Profits copyright 1997 Bob Darby

"Nearly half of all arms sold worldwide originate in the United States - with the government's approval, and in most cases, encouragement and support." New York Times 5/11/97

The United States has only 4% of the world's people but spends a quarter of a trillion dollars every year on "defense".This is about the same amount of money spent on war by all of the rest of the world combined. The U.S. manufactures far more weapons than its own military could ever use, causing a huge surplus of weapons to be dumped on the global market every year.

The New York Times reported on May 11, 1997 that over the past four years U.S. arms merchants sold 1,625 tanks, 2,091 armored personnel carriers, 318 combat aircraft, 203 helicopters and 1,443 surface-to-air missiles to foreign governments. Such sales generate corporate profits of at least $12 billion a year, and this is only the official figure to which the military-industrial complex admits. U.S. "defense contractors" make killer profits wherever and whenever Uncle Sam gives the green light. Arms sales go to rich and poor countries alike, and to scores of nations as diverse and far apart as Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and El Salvador.

U.S. F-15 fighter jets go to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to protect rich countries' accessto its oil, shielding it from invasion and making killer profits for U.S. arms companies. But the sales of U.S. weapons to "developing" (that is, poor) countries like Indonesia and El Salvador is not intended to defend national borders. Weapons sold to the "authoritarian" (that is, terrorist) governments of Indonesia and El Salvador are meant for what the Pentagon calls Counter Insurgency Warfare.

Such weapons are used by these terrorist governments to kill their own people. Arms merchants, with Uncle Sam facilitating, get very rich, and U.S. taxpayers are often obliged to pay corporate welfare when those same "authoritarian" governments can't pay for the merchandise.

Armed by the U.S. and advised by U.S. special forces and the CIA, Indonesian soldiers killed hundreds of thousands of their own people in 1965. Ten years later, that same Indonesian military dictatorship invaded and annexed the nearby island of East Timor, killing one third of its people. Backed by the U.S., Indonesian dictator Suharto continues to rule, outlawing labor unions, crushing dissent and criminalizing poliltical opposition - thus making Indonesia an investor's paradise.

The recent civil war in El Salvador is but another variation of the political and economic situation in Indonesia. In fifteen years of war, this Central American nation of only 5 million sustained seventyfive thousand deaths. The "Fourteen Families" who owned 90% of El Salvador before the war still own 90% today, and the death squads and torturers, mostly trained at Fort Benning's U.S. Army School of the Americas, still keep El Salvador safe for ever-increasing killer profits.

Supported by the U.S. government and armed by U.S.-made weapons, terrorist governments attack their own people to promote the interests of the unscrupulous rich. As throughout recorded history, the wealthy strong prey on the impoverished weak. The global role of the World's only remaining Superpower demonstrates that war is still very good for business.

Resources: Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Intervention Since World
War II. by William Blum, Common Courage Press
School of Americas Watch, PO box 3330, Columbus GA 31903