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Monday, 24 June 2019

Raytheon Technologies merger, power-hogging industry trends and the racket of war

Christian Sorensen
Dissident Voice

 Last week two giant war corporations, Raytheon and United Technologies, announced they would merge in early 2020. The new behemoth, to be known as Raytheon Technologies, is expected to have a combined value of over $100 billion in capitalist markets. Recent history provides context to understand today's war industry and the nature of this merger.

The nineteen-nineties witnessed a lot of mergers and acquisitions in the U.S. war industry. Some of the bigger moves were Boeing merging with McDonnell Douglas, Lockheed acquiring Martin Marietta, and Raytheon gobbling up Hughes Aircraft. These moves occurred in parallel to another phenomenon: Home and abroad, the Pentagon effectively doubled down on the corporatization of military functions. Jobs that once were carried out by the troops (e.g. mowing the lawn, serving chow, logistics, eavesdropping on governments, transportation, combat) were increasingly in the private domain, up for grabs to the shrewdest corporation.
The Clinton White House, a country club of neoliberal ideology, was fully onboard. It encouraged the corporatization of the War Department. This aligned well with President Clinton's other accomplishments in office: attacking sovereign nations (e.g. expanding sanctions against Iran's oil sector in 1995, and launching industry ordnance at Afghanistan, the Balkans, Iraq, and Sudan); brutalizing the destitute, working poor, and caged (via the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform & Immigrant Responsibility Act, the 1996 Prison Litigation Reform Act, the 1996 Personal Responsibility & Work Opportunity Act, and the 1994 Violent Crime Control & Law Enforcement Act); and aiding corporate greed (by passing NAFTA and the 1999 Financial Services Modernization Act and boosting spending on war). One of Clinton's most damaging achievements, the Telecommunications Act of 1996, complemented these activities by deregulating the telecoms and allowing cross-ownership in corporate media, clogging the information space with info-tainment and permitting corporate ideology to further dominate our perception of the world around us. Support for neoliberal economic polices, including the corporatization of war, is one of many traits that both parties in the D.C. regime share.

When the dust settled at the end of the 1990s, three beasts hogged about two-thirds of the power in the U.S. war industry: Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon. These corporations set out to please shareholders and insatiable Wall Street investment firms. The Pentagon had less leverage over the war industry at this time, because, in part, these three beasts were nearly the only game in town. War corporations soon stepped up their game, influencing Capitol Hill with greater ferocity and creativity. Campaign contributions and lobbying expenditures increased. And more titans of capital cycled from war corporations through the Pentagon's leadership ranks. The war industry also pursued more foreign military sales, including increased sales to brutal regimes like Mubarak's Egypt, the House of Saud, and the Zionist Entity known as Israel. Enter 9.11. With Muslims to bomb and Asian countries to occupy, the Department of War acceded to full corporatization.

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