"The business of national security is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side." (Slight alteration of Hunter Thompson's original quote)
In 1935 retired Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler (A two time medal of Honor winner, and most highly decorated officer at that time) published a booklet entitled, "War is a Racket".
In this booklet Butler outlined the blatant war profiteering that took place during WW I:
DuPont, makers of gunpowder, profits increased 850% during the war, compared to the same period of time before the war, from $6 million to $58 million.
Bethlehem Steel: $6 million to $49 million = +716%
US Steel: $105-$240 million = +129%
Anaconda Copper: $10-$34 million = +240%
Utah Copper: $5-$21 million = +320%
Central Leather Company: $1.2 million/yr-$15 million/yr = +1,100%.
General Chemical Company: $800,000/yr - $12 million/yr. = +1,400%.
International Nickel Company: $4M/yr - $73M/yr = +1,700%.
The total calculation by the Senate Nye commission after the war was that $16 billion in profits were made, that went mostly to 21,000 billionaires and millionaires.
"In the decade since the Sept. 11 attacks, the annual defense budget has more than doubled to $700 billion and annual defense industry profits have nearly quadrupled, approaching $25 billion last year...In 2001, revenue for U.S.-based defense contractors totaled $217 billion, according to analytics firm Capital IQ. By 2010 revenue had grown to $386 billion. Profits grew more than twice as fast over the same period, from $6.7 billion to $24.8 billion...Stock prices of defense companies in the S&P 500 index have risen 67% since September 11. The index as a whole climbed 8% in that period...companies like KBR, once a division of Halliburton. KBR, which builds and maintains military bases and other facilities, had $4.7 billion in military contracts in 2010, up from $860 million a decade earlier."
As Chalmers Johnson stated in Eugene Jarecki's film "Why We Fight"
. "When war is that profitable, you're going to see a lot more of it."
In his penultimate chapter, Butler argues that three steps are necessary to disrupt the war racket:
1. Making war unprofitable. Butler suggests that the owners of capital should be "conscripted" before other citizens are: "It can be smashed effectively only by taking the profit out of war. The only way to smash this racket is to conscript capital and industry and labour before the nation's manhood can be conscripted. … Let the officers and the directors and the high-powered executives of our armament factories and our steel companies and our munitions makers and our ship-builders and our airplane builders and the manufacturers of all other things that provide profit in war time as well as the bankers and the speculators, be conscripted — to get $30 a month, the same wage as the lads in the trenches get"
2. Acts of war to be decided by those who fight it. He also suggests a limited plebiscite to determine if the war is to be fought. Eligible to vote would be those who risk death on the front lines.
3. Limitation of militaries to self-defence. For the United States, Butler recommends that the navy be limited, by law, to within 200 miles of the coastline, and the army restricted to the territorial limits of the country, ensuring that war, if fought, can never be one of aggression.
4. Secede from the union.