Storkey and the failure of militarism

At a recent LifeMatters event Alan Storkey was very critical of American and British foreign policy. He argued that American politicians have been 'patsies' for the weapons industry for a long time. In particular the Bush family has many connections with the big weapons companies. Obviously the profits are huge.

What do we think about this?

Here is some stuff I've dug up.

Contractors Have Thrived Under Bush Policies: Contracts to the Pentagon's top ten contractors jumped from $46 billion in 2001 to $80 billion in 2003, an increase of nearly 75%. Halliburton's contracts jumped more than nine times their 2001 levels by 2003, from $400 million to $3.9 billion. Northrop Grumman’s contracts doubled, from $5.2 billion to $11.1 billion, over the same time frame; and the nation's largest weapons contractor, Lockheed Martin, saw a 50% increase, from $14.7 billion to $21.9 billion.

Ties That Bind – Contractor Connections to the Bush Administration: When the Bush administration first took office, it appointed 32 executives, paid consultants, or major shareholders of weapons contractors to top policymaking positions in the Pentagon, the National Security Council, the Department of Energy (involved in nuclear weapons development), and the State Department. Since that time, the "revolving door" has continued to spin, including a high profile scandal in which Air Force procurement official Darleen Druyun pled guilty to criminal charges for negotiating for a position at Boeing while simultaneously negotiating with the company on the terms of a controversial scheme to lease 100 more Boeing 767 airliners for modification and use as aerial refueling tankers. Another controversial move involved Pentagon acquisition chief Edward "Pete" Aldridge's decision to move straight from Donald Rumsfeld's Pentagon to a position on the board of Lockheed Martin.

Is this true?

Comments

I thought Alan made a strong case for the existence of a "culture of militarism" that isn't all it seems. I'd like to know more about the economic side of this issue – like the claim that the post-WW2 economies of Germany and Japan have benefitted from not having a defence budget. I was also struck by his novel observation that armaments use up enormous amounts of energy (even if they are never used) which is problematic in a warming, finite-oil world.

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