Saturday, August 16, 2008

Defense Contractors Get Boost from Russian War

The left-wing meme of neocon war in the Caucasus has yet to spin off into allegations of Bush administration war-profiteering (folks are still stuck on the Halliburton industrial-complex).

That may soon change.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the Georgian crisis may give a big boost to U.S. weapons programs:

Russia's attack on Georgia has become an unexpected source of support for big U.S. weapons programs, including flashy fighter jets and high-tech destroyers, that have had to battle for funding this year because they appear obsolete for today's conflicts with insurgent opponents.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates has spent much of the year attempting to rein in some of the military's most expensive and ambitious weapons systems -- like the $143 million F-22 Raptor jet -- because he thinks they are unsuitable for the lightly armed and hard-to-find militias, warlords and terrorist groups the U.S. faces in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has been opposed by an array of political interests and defense companies that want to preserve these multibillion-dollar programs and the jobs they create.

When Russia's invading forces choked roads into Georgia with columns of armored vehicles and struck targets from the air, it instantly bolstered the case being made by some that the Defense Department isn't taking the threat from Russia and China seriously enough. If the conflict in Georgia continues and intensifies, it could make it easier for defense companies to ensure the long-term funding of their big-ticket items.

For example, the powerful chairman of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, Pennsylvania Democratic Rep. John Murtha, quickly seized on the Russia situation this week, saying that it indicates the Russians see the toll that operations in Iraq and Afghanistan are taking on the U.S. military.

"We've spent so many resources and so much attention on Iraq that we've lost sight of future threats down the road. The current conflict between Russia and Georgia is a perfect example," said Rep. Murtha during a recent visit to his district.
It looks like the antiwar types will have to protest Murtha as well as the evil BushCo regime (recall that Murtha's actually the king of defense pork on Capitol Hill).

The article mentions the widespread expectation of massive defense outlays for next-generation weaponry even under a Democratic administration next January:

Amid uncertainty about how the next administration will view any of these programs, defense-industry officials have been fighting hard to keep them moving forward - hoping they will at some point be so far along that they can't be killed or seriously curtailed. A common refrain has been that the next administration will realize how dangerous the world is once the commander in chief gets briefed on the myriad threats to U.S. interests.
It remains to be seen if a Barack Obama administration will be able to resist this "criminal war lobby," but at the least the focus on the "next generation" weapons for the military-industrial complex will keep the Chomsky-Moore-Klein activists busy with their endless anti-capitalist agitiation.