Making War for Profit

“When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.”
    - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The WAR RESISTERS LEAGUE has assembled an impressive speakers bureau to address the problem of war profiteering and the vast influence that companies have in deciding what weapons systems to buy, what countries to invade, and what lands to occupy.

Contact us, and we'll send you a speaker.

The Defense Policy Board

Thirty unelected people meet four times a year to advise the Secretary of Defense on how to spend 400+ billion tax dollars. Who are they?

  • The very people who will profit most from invasions and occupations: Lobbyists for weapons manufacturers and representatives.

  • Campaign Contributions

    In the 2002 elections – an “off year” – weapons manufacturers contributed $8.5 million to candidates and parties. From 1999 to 2002, a single “reconstruction” company donated from $708,770 in soft money and PAC contributions.

    What are they buying for that money?

    PR Firms and Media Blitzes

    The Office of Global Communication – given 200 million tax dollars to promote the invasion of Iraq. The Rendon Group – paid $100,000 a month by the government to link Iraq to the 9-11 terrorist attcks. How did these “perception managers” manufacture consent?

    The Business-Politics “Revolving Door”

    When public office holders or military commanders leave government service, businesses or lobbying firms hire them for their “insider” political and military connections. Then, when they leave the company to take public office, they bring the company's interests to their political decision making.

    Military Recruiters Military recruiters can promise the world. But they don't have to tell the truth. In what other ways does government funding of education give the military access and influence in our schools?

    Weapons Manufacturers

    Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Northrop Grumman, the three largest weapons manufacturers, together received more than $50 billion from the Pentagon in 2003.

    If the U.S. government gave $1 million to the family of every U.S. soldier killed in Iraq, it would be %5 of the amount awarded to Lockheed-Martin in 2003.

    Alliant Techsystems, Inc.can't keep up with the army's demand for bullets. Present output: 4 million rounds a day.

    Oil Companies

    Iraq has the second largest oil reserves in the world.

    In the 2003 invasion, Iraq's oil wells were secured before any city, town or village was taken. Baghdad's Ministry of Oil building (with maps of oil field locations) was protected by troops while homes, hospitals, universities and museums were looted.

    “Most probable” estimate of profits from Iraq for oil companies: 95 billion dollars – per year.

    Military Outsource Companies:

    1992: After hiring Halliburton as a consultant, then Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney decides to outsource military logistics to private companies.

    1994: Dick Cheney becomes CEO of Halliburton

    1994-2004: 3,000 contracts are outsourced:building barracks and latrines; delivering oil, ammunition, radios, phones, flak jackets, and uniforms; building mess halls, delivering and serving food, etc. 1,000 of these contracts are given to Halliburton.

    “Reconstruction” Companies


    Presidential Order 13303 grants transnational oil companies operating in Iraq complete legal immunity from prosecution.

    The Coalition Provisional Authority's Order 39 the “Foreign Direct Investment Law” allows unrestricted, 100% foreign ownership of all economic sectors in Iraq, except oil, and allows 100% removal of their profits out of Iraq “without delay.”

    U.S. federal laws say companies with repeated fraud violations are ineligible for government contracts. December 2001: Bush administration revokes laws.

    - SO NOW…

    Kellogg Brown & Root, a Halliburton subsidiary has control over all aspects of Iraq's oil pumping and delivery – 7 billion U.S. taxpayers dollars for a “no-bid” contract.

    Betchel given 3 billion U.S. taxpayer dollars to rebuild power generation facilities, electrical grids, water and sewage systems, airport facilities, roads and schools, etc. No oversight, no quality checks, no job completion assessment. So… The Independent, after visiting Iraqi hospitals: “The wards are filthy, the sanitation shocking, the infections lethal. Sewage drips from the roof above cots of premature babies …”

    One U.S. company bid to repair an Iraqi factory: 15 million U.S. taxpayer dollars. Actual cost when repaired by Iraqis: Eighty thousand dollars. Who gets the extra $14,920,000 U.S. taxpayer dollars?

    Private “security forces” in Iraq number more than British forces, and require 25% of U.S. taxpayer money allotted for Iraq's “reconstruction.”

    Security forces from CACI and Titan “interrogate” prisoners at Abu Ghraib and other prisons.


    Soldiers, their families and friends face extended absences, wounds, combat deaths, suicides.

    Gulf War Syndrome; Depleted Uranium (DU) poisoning with heavy metal toxic, radiological effects.

    Increased likelihood of retaliatory attacks on civilians in the U.S.

    Increased militarization of U.S. economy, politics, and culture.

    Diversion of funds from social needs at home: Invasion and occupation costs approaching $200 billion, in addition to $400 billion military budget.


    Deaths and maiming from remaining mines and cluster bombs.

    Deaths and maiming from continued U.S. military attacks.

    DU poisoning: heavy metal toxicity, cancers, multigenerational genetic defects.

    Ongoing presence of military occupation forces.

    Ongoing disruption of ordinary life: lack of electricity, sewage systems, schools, hospitals.

    Loss of voice in the economic / political future of their country.

    The World

    Increased destruction of the environment through war; use of fossil fuels.

    Erosion of international law and treaties; marginalization of the U.N.

    Violence increasingly seen as the only means to solve conflicts.

    Bring the “Stop the Merchants of Death” Campaign to your campus, place of worship, or peace and justice group.

    Invite one of our speakers to help:

    • Inform your community on how war is sold
    • Reveal how political offices are used for corporate profits
    • Explore nonviolent ways to confront the problem

    • Join your local anti-war group.
    • Discover and expose your local “Merchant of Death”
    • Call for public disclosure of conflicts of interest in the Defense Policy Board
    • Demand from your representatives that they disclose their own conflicts of interest, and pass laws that punish war profiteering
    • Take action as shareholders in offending companies
    • Take legal action against companies that profit from war