Monday, May 7, 2007

Peace Was Outbid Again

For those people who are under the impression that the violence in Iraq occurs only in Baghdad (and there are those people out there), take a look at the map provided. Today, two suicide bombers killed around twenty people on the outskirts of Ramadi. Yesterday, roadside bombs killed eight American soldiers in the province of Diyala. An ambush by ground forces and accompanied bombing in Baqouba killed two U.S. soldiers and two policemen. And the tortured and shot body of an Iraqi policeman was found in Kirkuk. Here are three locations in two days where violence occurred that are not Baghdad.
In a more interesting story of how war is a business and profits are being made off of this one, NBC News is looking into why last September an Israeli-made weapon for destroying rocket-propelled grenades in mid-flight, dubbed Trophy, was denied by the U.S. Army for production. Our troops have been plagued by constant attacks by these weapons and here is a device that can put an end to that. The Trophy was tested nearly 400 times successfully with no failures on almost every type of RPG and anti-tank guided missile known. And the Pentagon even tested it and said it was 30 for 30. And yet with these astounding figures, the U.S. Army chose to give the contract to Raytheon so that they could build one from scratch. Even in the summer of 2005, the Pentagon Office of Force Transportation did a test of six systems and found that Trophy was the best of all of them.
Adam Ciralsky, Lisa Myers and the NBC News Investigative Unit had this to say, "Pentagon sources tell NBC News--and internal Army documents seem to confirm--that Army officials came to see Trophy as a threat to the Army's effort to field an RPG defense as part of the biggest procurement program in Army history, the $200 billion Future Combat System (FCS)."
This is just another pathetic example of how people are making money off of war and business comes before our own troops. U.S. soldiers are being killed by RPGs when a device that can save them already exists but the military would rather give the contract to a company that doesn't even have one yet.
Let's learn a little more about Raytheon. William H. Swanson is the Chairman and CEO of Raytheon. And despite Raytheon's values of ethics as stated on their website, Swanson was found by The New York Times to have plagiarized his booklet, "Swanson's Unwritten Rules of Management". First of all, if it is in a booklet it is written. Second of all, I found it ironic that one of the sources he plagiarized his work from was, "...from Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld..." said Wikipedia. Ah, Donald Rumsfeld and ethics. He was forced to resign not too long ago for his mishandling of the war in Iraq!
Also, Swanson is a trustee of the Association of the United States Army or AUSA. As stated in another Wikipedia article, "...(AUSA) is a private, non-profit organization which primarily acts as an advocacy group for the United States Army."
Well, it seems like Raytheon is certainly making a profit from having their CEO as a trustee of a group that influences the Army. This is war profiteering and it is wrong. How can the government condone such an action when American lives are on the line? A congressionally-mandated review is looking into the situation and I hope that someone goes to prison for making such a greedy and deadly decision.
America is not a corporation that uses politics and foreign relations as instruments to make money. And yet I continue to see blatant abuses of power and influence where corruption and profit triumph over common sense and right. It looks like the American eagle on the back of the dollar bill has found its olive branch too heavy to hold and now its just arrows and money.

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