…OK… on “3” everyone yell … SUPRI$E”…
Defense contractors already are reaping the bounty of the all new unwinnable war
The new U.S. war in the Middle East has only begun and already there are clear winners:
Support for Islamic State increased after U.S. airstrikes began in Iraq and the militant group may take more hostages to try to force concessions from Washington, the FBI director told Congress on Wednesday.
Islamic State is "committed to instilling fear and attracting recruits" and to drawing public attention, as shown through its use of social media and in videos it released of the beheadings of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, said FBI Director James Comey.
"ISIL’s widespread use of social media and growing online support intensified following the commencement of U.S. airstrikes in Iraq," Comey, using an acronym for the group, said in prepared testimony for a congressional hearing on threats to the U.S. homeland.
Because the U.S. is doing exactly what the terrorists want:
There are many reasons the U.S. shouldn’t go to war with the Islamic State — and the best one may be because that is exactly what they want us to do.
A growing number of people I consider experts in the field believe that the recent beheadings of two American journalists and a British aid worker were deliberate acts of provocation, and that ISIS is not just hoping for an American overreaction, but depending on it — perhaps even for its own survival.
Of course humane people are horrified and outraged by the viciousness of the terrorists. That’s the point of terrorism: to terrorize, to shock people out of rationality and into self-destructive irrational reaction. Even the CIA doubts the U.S. strategy:
At a recent closed-door congressional briefing on the administration’s new strategy to combat the Islamic State, a top CIA official left little doubt among those in the room about the agency’s attitude toward the project.
The official’s muted approach to the briefing dovetails with what senior intelligence community officials tell The Huffington Post is deep behind-the-scenes skepticism, ranging from ambivalence to outright opposition, from within the CIA to the administration’s proposal to task the Department of Defense with arming the so-called moderate Syrian rebels.
The opposition derives from a number of factors. First, the CIA has already been covertly equipping Syrian rebels at the instruction of the White House, but has come to find the fighters increasingly disorganized and radicalized as the conflict goes on, with U.S.-supplied arms winding up in the hands of more radical fighters.
But all is not lost. Join me over the fold for more.
As I wrote last week, from a strategic standpoint, the plan is doomed to fail:
So, the plan is to bomb the terrorists, which almost certainly will only make things worse, to rely on local forces who are reportedly making a deal with the terrorists not to fight each other so they can all focus on fighting the Syrian government, and to keep in the back pocket the possibility of using ground troops. Just in case they become necessary. In the far off future somewhere. Just in case this plan of bombing, making things worse, and relying on local forces who have an entirely different agenda somehow doesn’t work out.
And it gets even worse, because the history of sending arms to local forces has not been a pretty one. Many of the nearly quarter million small arms sent to Afghanistan are missing and unaccounted for. The terrorists in Syria and Iraq already have been winning battles by using captured American weapons, and now there will be even more American weapons for them to capture, from forces supposedly friendly to the U.S. but who are not themselves intent on fighting the same enemy the administration wants them to fight. Even the CIA thinks the idea of arming Syrian rebels is doomed to fail. More people will needlessly die, billions of more dollars will be wasted, and the bad guys inevitably will end up with more American-made weapons. And the neocons will demand an escalation. And the traditional media will back them. And the American generals already are contemplating American troops on the ground, if this impossible plan with impossible goals somehow proves unsuccessful.
When has a U.S. military incursion in the region ever proved successful? The Bush war in Iraq led directly to the current crisis. Thirteen years after it started, and despite two escalations from the Obama administration, the Bush war in Afghanistan remains a persistent failure. The effort in Syria was failed from the start, and with more money and more arms will only get worse. President Obama continues to choose his words very carefully, when discounting the possibility of using ground troops, but he still hasn’t explained how a bombing campaign while relying on local forces to fight on the ground somehow will succeed where previous such efforts have failed. It will get worse. As will the politics. Blowback is coming. In the Middle East and in the United States.
But that doesn’t mean that the terrorists will be the only winners. It’s neither coincidence nor mistake that the neocons and their traditional media enablers prey on people’s emotions. It’s neither coincidence nor mistake that the American people perpetually get drawn into supporting unwinnable wars halfway around the world. Because there are winners right here at home, even if the wars themselves are lost causes before they even start. In fact, this latest and greatest war already is producing some very big winners right here at home. It’s just business:
A massive, $7.2 billion Army intelligence contract signed just 10 days ago underscores the central role to be played by the National Security Agency and its army of private contractors in the unfolding air war being carried out by the United States and its Gulf States allies against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
That war was greatly expanded Monday night when U.S. forces launched a “mix of fighter, bomber, remotely-piloted aircraft and Tomahawk” cruise missiles against ISIS targets in Syria. The Central Command said the strikes were led by the United States with support from Bahrain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
INSCOM’s “global intelligence support” contract will place the contractors at the center of this fight. It was unveiled on Sept. 12 by the U.S. Army’s Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM), one of the largest military units that collects signals intelligence for the NSA.
Under its terms, 21 companies, led by Booz Allen Hamilton, BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, will compete over the next five years to provide “fully integrated intelligence, security and information operations” in Afghanistan and “future contingency operations” around the world.
Stock prices for Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman set all-time record highs last week as it became increasingly clear that President Obama was committed to a massive, sustained air war in Iraq and Syria.
It’s nothing short of a windfall for these and other huge defense contractors, who’ve been getting itchy about federal budget pressures that threatened to slow the rate of increase in military spending.
Shelves of old inventory are being dumped on Syria and Iraq, which makes room for new inventory.
“To the extent we can shift away from relying on troops and rely more heavily on equipment — that could present an opportunity,” Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Private Bank, whose $66 billion portfolio includes Northrop Grumman Corp. and Boeing Co. shares, told Bloomberg.
Defense contractor stocks have far exceeded the performance of the broader market. A Bloomberg index of four of the largest Pentagon contractors rose 19 percent this year, compared to 2.2 percent for the S&P 500.
An opportunity. It won’t stop the terrorists, and it’s at least as likely to help them, but for the savvy investor, it’s an opportunity:
It’s far too soon to tell how the American escalation in the sprawling, complex mess unfolding in Iraq and Syria will play out. But this much is clear: As our military machine hums into a higher gear, it will produce some winners in the defense industry.
New fights mean new stuff, after all. And following the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan—and the belt-tightening at the Pentagon imposed by steep budget cuts—military suppliers are lining up to meet a suddenly restored need for their wares. Presenting his vision for expanding the confrontation with the terrorist group ISIS in a speech to the nation on Wednesday night, President Obama outlined a program of intensified airstrikes designed to keep American troops away from the danger on the ground. So defense analysts are pointing to a pair of sure-bet paydays from the new campaign: for those making and maintaining the aircraft, manned and unmanned, that will swarm the skies over the region, and for those producing the missiles and munitions that will arm them.
“The drone builders are going to have a field day,” says Dov Zakheim, who served as Pentagon Comptroller during the George W. Bush administration. That could mean a tidy profit for privately held General Atomics, maker of the Predator drone, the granddaddy in the category and still widely in use, as well as the second-generation Reaper, designed to carry 3,000 pounds worth of bombs. And to help survey vast expanses of desert, the military will rely on the Global Hawk, made by Northrop Grumman NOC to hover at altitudes as high as 50,000 feet for up to four days at a time. Those vehicles will likely be making use of the Gorgon Stare. This sensor, developed by privately held Sierra Nevada, is capable of scoping a 4-kilometer diameter by filming with nine cameras.
Indeed, the widening conflict could even reverse the trend of tapering investments in the technology, says Mark Gunzinger, a retired Air Force colonel and former deputy assistant secretary of defense now at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. “One of the things that can help a new capability break through is an operational stressor, like a major air campaign,” he says.
Forget about the terrorism and the carnage and pissing away yet another generation of tax revenues that could have been spent to nation-build the United States, there are tidy profits to be had!
Led by Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT), the biggest U.S. defense companies are trading at record prices as shareholders reap rewards from escalating military conflicts around the world.
Investors see rising sales for makers of missiles, drones and other weapons as the U.S. hits Islamic State fighters in Syria and Iraq, said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at Chicago-based BMO Private Bank. President Barack Obama approved open-ended airstrikes this month while ruling out ground combat.
“As we ramp up our military muscle in the Mideast, there’s a sense that demand for military equipment and weaponry will likely rise,” said Ablin, who oversees $66 billion including Northrop Grumman Corp. (NOC) and Boeing Co. (BA) shares. “To the extent we can shift away from relying on troops and rely more heavily on equipment — that could present an opportunity.”
Lockheed, the world’s biggest defense company, reached an all-time high of $180.74 on Sept. 19, when Northrop, Raytheon Co. (RTN) and General Dynamics Corp. (GD) also set records. That quartet and Chicago-based Boeing accounted for about $105 billion in federal contract orders last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg Government.
The U.S. has been bombing and sending massive stores of weapons to Iraq for more than two decades now, the American people suckered into war after war after war, and just because the arms we send to kill the bad guys inevitably end up being used by the next bad guysdoesn’t mean the cycle should stop. One must not make the mistake of presuming these wars are about solving a series of crises that cannot be solved by war. It’s not about the crises. It’sjust business. And it’s a growth business.
ORIGINALLY POSTED TO DAILY KOS ON SUN SEP 28, 2014 AT 10:30 AM PDT.
ALSO REPUBLISHED BY GROUP W: RESISTING WAR.
You can’t give the government the power to do good without also giving it the power to do bad – in fact, to do anything it wants.
…Remember it is solely your decision whether this information is sufficiently “vetted” & by whom…
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