If You Make Umbrellas, You Need Rain
If you make umbrellas, you need rain. This could be used as a metaphor to describe US weapons manufacturers relationship to war; think of them as the umbrellas and war as rain. Yet what if these companies could control whenever it rained? It would only make sense that they would make it downpour endlessly to sell as many umbrellas as possible, making the lives of everyone else a depressing hell hole.
Peace activists have referred to weapons manufacturers as merchants of death. It’s no secret the US arms industry has a vested interest in propping up war so they can continue to sell weapons to the military. By lobbying millions to congress, our government can vote for bigger military budgets to continue unnecessary wars in the Middle East. Moreover, by selling weapons to repressive regimes all over the world, defense contractors earn a larger profit, while civilians neighboring the repressive regimes get the short end of the stick as US bombs are carelessly dropped on their homes and schools.
The fact that the US is the largest weapons manufacturer and also has a long track record of overthrowing democratically elected governments (Panama, Syria, Iran, Guatemala, etc.) shows the true motive of the US military—world hegemony. The US loves to bomb other countries. A record number of US bombs were dropped on Afghanistan in 2018—more than 5000—in what is now the longest US war in history.
Anyone who slightly strays away from America's economic hegemony gives heads of weapons manufacturers the opportunity to make millions more. And when there is no one that threatens the US banking cartel, they have to invent enemies or create fights between rebel groups that they fund.
When a militia armed by the pentagon crossed the path of a CIA-armed militia in Syria, they both began to fight each other. Fursan al Haq, or Knights of Righteousness, a terror group armed by the CIA, fell short in holding contented territory on the northern outskirts of Aleppo, as the Pentagon-backed Syrian Democratic Forces ran them off.
How can taxpayer money be used to fund both sides of a war between two opposing rebel groups? It’s as if the CIA and the Pentagon are playing war video games, seeing whose armed rebel group can defeat the other.
What they won’t teach you in public schools is that the military industrial complex works hand in hand with repressive regimes all over the world.
When Saudi Arabia began their indiscriminate bombing campaign against Yemen in 2015, the US was quickly at their side to aid them, with President Obama offering Saudi Arabia more than $115 billion in weapons over his eight years in office. Trump later extended this deal immediately after becoming president.
Not only did the Saudis get the best and most high-tech weapons designed to obliterate towns and kill as people many as possible, they also received US intelligence reports and surveillance images to their hit their intended targets – this includes schools, hospitals, and residential homes. On top of that, Saudi’s also received mid-air fueling from US fighter jets.
What’s known as the US-backed Saudi war in Yemen is not a war but rather a genocide. As one the poorest country in Africa which has been under a sea, land, and air blockade since 2015, the Saudis have been intent on starving Yemen’s population.
The bombings and blockade has resulted in the deadliest famine in decades; a report by the UNICEF found that half of Yemen’s population - 28 million - are now ‘food insecure.’ Of those, 1.8 million children under the age of five are suffering from acute malnutrition, while 400,000 of those children are suffering from life-threatening forms of severe acute malnutrition.
Moreover, the Saudi attacks have also led to the worst cholera outbreak; one million Yemenis have been affected by cholera and more than 2,000 died due to the disease.
Civilian casualties are also at a record high. Since the war started, tens of thousands of civilians have been killed and hundreds of thousands displaced. On average a civilian is killed every three hours, with a Yemeni child dying every 10 minutes from war-caused disease.
At the forefront of making this mess happen is no other than the merchants of death—Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, and Boeing—the biggest US weapons contractors. Their weapons have been directly tied to civilian bombings; this includes schools, hospitals, weddings, funerals, homes, water drilling sites, and food markets.
At least 40 Yemeni children were killed after a Saudi Arabian expeditionary aircraft bombed a civilian school bus in Dahyan. The missiles used were 227kg laser-guided bombs made by Lockheed Martin.
On October 24, 2018, Raytheon’s bombs were used to strike a vegetable market in Hodeidah, killing more than 20 Yemenis.
Raytheon’s bombs have also been used to strike weddings. On April 22, 2018, the Saudis killed at least 20 attending a wedding in Hajjah Governorate, this included the bride, with the majority of casualties being women and children. Using the serial number from the rubble, individuals on the ground traced back the bomb to a GBU-12 Paveway II guided bomb manufactured by Raytheon.
In October 2016, 140 people were killed after Saudi-led forces struck a funeral using Raytheon’s bombs. A month before that, a water drilling site was struck using Raytheon’s Pave-way guided missiles, killing more than 30 civilians.
It seems like the only thing more evil than bombing a funeral is bombing a hospital, well that’s exactly what Raytheon’s and Lockheed Martin’s weapons were used for. On August 15, 2016, US manufactured missiles hit a Medecines Sans Frotieres hospital, killing 11 people. Unsure if they would be bombed again, Doctors Without Borders was forced to leave northern Yemen, leaving millions in worse off conditions.
All of these attacks amount to war crimes which Raytheon, Boeing, and Lockheed Martin are all apart of (if you knew you were manufacturing weapons to a serial killer that would use them to kill children, why would you continue to do so? And shouldn’t you be held accountable?). The message from the Saudis has been clear from the beginning – starve and kill off the Yemeni people, yet Raytheon and Lockheed Martin continue to produce bombs to kill Yemeni families.
Knowing all these facts, how can anyone work for Raytheon? Are the heads of these companies actually happy when more bombings occur? And why don’t we see any outrage from the American the public? Why don’t we see masses of protesters surrounding Raytheon’s headquarters in Waltham, Massachusetts? Why do we instead see hundreds of thousands of young Americans rally against the NRA when 17 people die in a Florida school shooting? But when US bombs are used on a school bus to kill 40 Yemeni children we don’t see any rallies against Lockheed Martin? Are we all not humans after all? What makes American children any more special than Yemeni children? Raytheon’s headquarters is less than 100 miles from Smith & Wesson’s headquarters, where more than a hundred protesters rallied outside their headquarters calling on the major gun manufacture to stop producing and exporting firearms. If that doesn’t scream hypocrisy I don’t know what does.
While listening to the Duncan Trussell Family Hour podcast, these questions came up as comedian Duncan Trussell interviewed journalist Abby Martin.
Martin: They have to keep selling weapons; if people decent or disagree with the ultimate goal of selling weapons they’ll be pushed out the board of directors, they’re their own grave diggers. People who disagree with this end vision are just going to be removed.
Trussell: Surely they are not feeling great about what they’re doing or are they demonic?
Martin: I think people are compartmentalized. I think the vast majority of people working at Raytheon and Lockheed Martin are compartmentalized in their own units.
Trussell: There’s someone running the show who definitely loves killing people, gets excited about body counts…It seems like the only hope would be people at these companies just quite.
Martin: That’s a fantasy; it’s a pipedream because jobs are always gonna be needed and people are always going to choose that over ‘I’m just gonna quite over some moral compass that’s guiding me,’ because at the end it’s the day its cultivation of the dehumanization as the other…If you work in some of these weapons manufacturers you’ve obviously conditioned yourself into thinking that these people deserve to be killed, otherwise you wouldn’t be comfortable taking a job there. It’s just the way that we’re conditioned. The media tells you these people are our enemy, they need to die; it’s just the same reason why no one that is a Democrat who is claiming to be upset about Trump’s policies in the Middle East cared when Obama was bombing seven Muslim countries.
Trussell: When those school shootings happened and everyone freaks, but then when we do bombings that kill kids overseas, nobody really talks about it, why don’t we march on the weapons manufactures? Why aren’t people sitting around Raytheon? Why are people not protesting around there? Why do we seem to be completely numb to the violence of the empire but we seem completely freaked out when violence happens inside of our own schools?
Martin: I think its human psychology, but also we’ve externalized all the horrible shit that we do to other people. I always say, the safest place to be is within the US cause your safe from US bombs and US regime change. So we’ve externalized all the violence, the hate, you go to other places that are effected by US foreign policy and they’re just like ‘I love Americans,’ they can all separate what Americans are to their government, but we don’t separate other people to their government, we hate Iranians, we think Palestinians are terrorists.
But then there’s also the thing about the hypocrisy, especially the Democratic Party when it comes to these mass shootings cause they all like to pontificate about the NRA; we are the largest weapons manufacture in the whole world, we have the most guns out of any nation and here we are selling weapons to police state theocratic dictatorships like Saudi Arabia that are using it to bomb weddings, where’s the outrage on that? Where’s the Democrats saying, "Hey, maybe this bleeds into our society." If we are the empire, we’re selling the most weapons to theocratic dictatorships that are using them to behead people in the public square for sorcery, maybe we should take a step back and say, "Hey, maybe this all actually reflects our leadership." maybe in this reality star-obsessed culture where we make these people an instantaneous celebrities, maybe all of these things are components of why we have this unique phenomena in our country.