United States Values Profit Over Peace

Letter to the Editor, May 24, 2010, Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin

By George Damasevitz

As we observe yet another Memorial Day, we are saddened to have added the names of over 400 more Americans to the list of those sacrificed in our current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. No person is an island, and each will be missed.

How can we stop the killing? Is it really being done to defend our shores? Promote democracy abroad? Revenge for 9/11? Snuff out terrorism? Evidence of any success with these wars seems to be a closely held secret.

Is anyone benefitting from these conflicts? The answer is an emphatic “yes.” In our country there are corporations which have a right to exist and yet have no soul, compassion or morality. Their reason for existence is to make a profit. For some of these corporations, their employees and stockholders all benefit from the sale of weapons. These weapons may be bullets or bombs, guns or aircraft. The list is huge. And so is the money. And our taxes are paying the bill.

These same corporations effectively run our government, since nearly all elected politicians receive financial support for their campaigns from them. Politicians who vote against war run the risk of losing reelection. Many of their constituents work in factories where war tools are made. Since a significant portion of our economy is based on the defense industry, Americans are faced with a conundrum and have to ask themselves some hard questions such as whether or not they want to live in a society where their country is constantly at war just because it provides good-paying jobs. To end the killing, we have to overhaul our foreign policy and convert the base of our economy into more sustainable pursuits that will be useful to ourselves and the rest of the world. This will not be quick or easy, but the sooner it is done the better off we will all be. It is time for corporations to stop making profits from war.

As we remember our fallen Americans on May 31, it’s useful to point out that the church bell will never toll for corporations like Lockheed Martin, Halliburton or Raytheon — but it will continue to ring mournfully for our brave brothers and sisters who gave their lives for our country.

George Damasevitz was a board member of Broome County Peace Action.

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