|During the November US-Iraq crisis on the
Gulf region, at the other side of the earth, a joint US-UK team quietly
conducted a series of missile tests. On November 18th, British attack
submarine HMS Splendid fired a Tomahawk cruise missile with 1,000-pounds
explosive warhead, from 500 miles off the Southern California coast,
traveled several hundred miles into a test target building on San
Clemente Island, just 75 miles south of the Los Angeles 1.
With two more similar test done on early November, using non-explosive warhead Tomahawks from the Splendid to US Navy test range at China Lake, California, marks a joint United States-UK efforts to built a UK-vision of Tomahawk missiles.
Among the guests who witnessed the November 18th test, the Los Angeles-based British Consul-General Paul Dimond, he was impressed by the result. "The success of this test is a significant moment in the US-UK global security partnership," he said, "this new capability will enable the UK to be an even more effective partner with the United States and NATO in support of international diplomacy." 2
Since initial Iraqi crisis of January 1998, hundreds of Tomahawk missiles had been travelling along with US war ships, deployed either on Gulf region, Indian Ocean or Mediterranean Sea. When US launched nearly hundred Tomahawk-missiles, to attack Sudan and Afghanistan on 20th August, and 300-plus Tomahawk missiles attacked Iraq on December, many military experts were stunned by the number of missiles used by the US military, since its effectiveness had always been questioned. During August attack on Afghanistan, at least two malfunctioned Tomahawks were dropped into southern Pakistan, killing several people; and December attacks on Iraq, some Tomahawk hit civilian targets and some flew off-course into Iran, injured and killed several people. Ironically none of these two attacks, had achieved what US military's ultimate goals to shoot and kill bin Laden and President Saddam Hussein and cripple their military.
Oops·did we just bomb a candy factory?
Whether the El Shifa Chemical factory is a noble medicine factory or an evil chemical weapons plant, one thing is certain: during the missile attack on the plant some undisciplined Tomahawk missiles mistakenly hit a famous family-owned Sudanese candy factory next door. Sudanese businessman Mustafa S. Ismail, who now lives in Orange County, California, is suing the US government over damage to his factory. "This is a sweets [candy] factory, and I am sure the US governments knows that," he said. The blast completely wrecked the candy factory, and one of his night-shift guards was killed. Ismail said he hopes the government can produce proof that his neighbors were indeed producing chemical weapons. Even if it does that, Ismail said heâll still pursue legal action.
Beside killing innocent civilian with limited military success, how much did US military had spend to punish Sudan, Afghanistan and Iraq? According to an initial estimate, bombing bin Laden ãhide outs" on August 20th cost America at least $100 million. Operation "Desert Fox" has spent at least $1 billion since December 16th; and since the 1991 Gulf War, an average of $50 billion per year goes toward maintaining the Gulf deployment and keeping the Iraqi president in line, according to Associated Press reporter
Laura Myers 3.
Not to mention the hundreds of millions of dollars spent on Kosovo
between September and October.
The August 20th missile attacks in Sudan and Afghanistan, as well as December missile attacks on Iraq involved huge amounts of money, manpower, and resources. The assaults were part of larger web involving campaign donations, international military sales, U.S. military budget and contracts, and the U.S. military build-up in the Middle East. The attacks were also meant to pave the way for the little known multi-billion dollar National Missile Defense System the revised "Star Wars" program.
Many people are now familiar with Tomahawk and Patriot missiles, due to the 1991 Gulf War and the last yearâs Sudan, Afghanistan and Iraq attacks. Not many know, however, that these weapons' manufacturer is Raytheon Company, one of the biggest military contractors, based on Lexington, Massachusetts, with billions of dollars in annual sales.
The Raytheon Connection
According to a recent leading aerospace publication, Aviation Week & Space Technology, the U.S. fired 79 cruise missiles at up to seven targets: a pharmaceutical plant in Khartoum, Sudan, and bin Laden's headquarters, training and support areas south of Kabul, Afghanistan; 66 of them went into Afghanistan and 13 into Sudan 4.
At about $750,000 each, the land-based Tomahawk cruise missile is more expensive than a conventional bomb delivered by manned aircraft. According to retired U.S. Navy Admiral Eugene J. Carroll, with regular maintenance costs and other expenses, the costs for the missile attacks on August 20th could be nearly $115 million of taxpayers' money. "It's a lot of money, far more then sending B-52s," he added 5. The rationale of using Tomahawk missiles for the attacks to put no American aircrews at risk of death or capture has raised serious questions in the military community; it is often hard to judge exactly how effective missiles are with no close-range eyewitness.
After August 20th missile attacks, some former Persian Gulf war commanders said they were astounded by the number of Tomahawks used during the attacks. It is "a helluva lot of missiles," a former Desert Storm planner said, adding that during Desert Storm, they would never have dreamed of putting more than 8 or 12 Tomahawks on one target. In fact, commanders were ordered early in the Persian Gulf War to stop shooting the missiles because of the expense 6.
So why did the U.S. military rush to burn over $100 million in one
night in August against bin Laden, and close to a billion dollars
within one week in December against Iraq, when there were other
alternatives? Alternatives, such as political negotiation, or filing
a complaint with the U.N. Security Council were all viable options.
For the last several years, Raytheon's Tomahawk missile has became one of the America's favorite weapons in foreign conflicts. In the last several U.S.-involved international crises, the Tomahawk has become a wild card for the military.
During the Kosovo crisis this past September and
October, the U.S. deployed unspecified numbers of Tomahawks on warships
in the Mediterranean Sea. During the Iraqi arms inspection crisis
in November, 1998, the Pentagon deployed 250 to 300 Tomahawks aboard
Navy ships and submarines plying the Persian Gulf. Although there
are fewer ships in the region now than there were during the heat
of the January-February Iraqi arms inspection crisis, the Pentagon
has doubled the number of missiles more than were used during the
Persian Gulf war. According to an unidentified official 7,
these Tomahawk missiles, and 50 or so combat aircraft aboard the
aircraft carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower, could enable the U.S. to
launch an attack against Iraq without having to spend days or weeks
trying to secure permission from the Gulf states. Saudi Arabia and
several other Middle East states were reluctant to do so this time.
In fact that was exactly what happened in December, when the US
launched hundreds of missiles to attack Iraq from the Indian Ocean,
bypassing Arab states.
The publicity around these new weapons helped Raytheon's sales and it had certainly helped the company to recover from its recent financial trouble. According to their recent report, Raytheon's 3rd-quarter profit dropped 95 percent from the same time last year and announced the elimination of 14,000 Raytheon jobs over the next two years 8.
However, since fall, especially after the August air strike, Raytheon
had been receiving many big contracts with worth of billion of dollars;
in addition, the record of Raytheonâs 1998 campaign donations
also seems to have helped Raytheonâs sales as well.
The Campaign Money Connection
Have big corporate campaign donations like those
from Raytheon to both the Republican and Democratic Parties influenced
U.S. decisions about military spending?
During the period May to November 1998, financially
troubled Raytheon received multi-billion dollar contracts from the
U.S. military as well as from foreign countries. Raytheon also substantially
increased its campaign donations during that time.
According to Aviation Week & Space Technology
9, not long before the air attack, Raytheon was chosen by the Navy to build the next generation Block 4 "Tactical Tomahawk," due to be operational in 2003. The current 2,700 Block 3 Tomahawks probably used in the August 20th attacks are to be retired soon, because Raytheon and the Navy believe that it will be cheaper to build 1,353 new Block 4 Tomahawks than to improve the old ones.
On June 3rd, the Naval Air Systems Command's cruise missiles office awarded Raytheon $23.1 million for the Block 4 Tomahawk's engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) project. The entire EMD project will cost $275 million, ending in 2001. According to the plan, the missiles will be built between 2002 and 2007. With an estimated cost of $574,000 per missile, plus other related expenses, the total development and production costs will be about $1.1 billion. That's in addition to the $95 million for improvements on the Patriot Missile system, passed by the House of Representatives on March 31st.
According to the initial estimates of the Center
for Responsive Politics (CRP) and FEC Info 10,
the independent watchdogs of federal campaign money, they found
Raytheon and its subsidiaries gave $625,579 in soft money and individual
contributions during the 1995-1996 election cycle, and $330,192
in the first six months of the 1997-1998 cycle with $3,380,000 for
One). In addition, according to the Center for Public
Raytheon is one of the most generous donors to members of Congress:
House majority leader Dick Armey, for instance, received $48,201.
Furthermore, according to the Federal Election Commission, Raytheon
donated $138,700 in soft money to both the Democratic and Republican
national campaign committees during this period.
Within six weeks after the August 20th attacks,
Raytheon received several more big military contracts worth up to
$4.1 billion 12,
1. September 14th: the Airforce awarded a $56.4
million contract to Raytheon Systems Co., a unit of Raytheon, for
the upgrade of 1,950 Maverick missiles;
2. September 16th: the government approved the sale of nearly 7,000
Raytheon missiles, bombs and related accelerants plus thousands
of training bombs costing $2 billion. (This sale was made to the
United Arab Emirates, a small Gulf state of 2.3 million people.);
3. Early October: Raytheon was selected by Greece to provide more
than $1.1 billion for Patriot missile defense systems, $145 million
for an upgrade to Hawk Air Defense Systems, and more than $200 million
for T6-A trainer aircraft-a total of $1.5 billion.
Between November's Iraqi crisis and US-UK military attacks on December 16th to 20th, the last two months of 1998 Raytheon received several lucrative contracts from the military, primary from US Navy, some of them include:
AEGIS: Raytheon received $78.4 million from
the U.S. Navy Dec. 18 for fiscal year 1999 requirements for transmitter
groups and MK 99 fire control systems for installation aboard DDG-51
class destroyers under the AEGIS shipbuilding program.
LPD-18: As a member of the Avondale Alliance,
Raytheon anticipates receiving approximately $50 million for ship
integration work on the LPD 18, the second ship in the LPD-17 series.
MK 2 SSDS: Earlier this month, Raytheon received
approximately $22.5 million for three MK 2 ship self-defense systems
(SSDS) in support of CVN 76, LPD 17 and LPD 18. The SSDS implements
an evolutionary development of improved ship self-defense capabilities
against high-speed, low-flying anti-ship cruise missiles.
JAVELIN: As part of a joint venture with
Lockheed Martin, Raytheon will share on a 60/40 basis in an approximate
$376.6 million contract awarded earlier this month for the purchase
of the third year full rate production of the JAVELIN weapon system.
Raytheon Chairman William H. Swanson said it will
expect to be have more than $18 billion contracts, both military
and civilian orders by the end of 1998. As the result, Raytheonâs
stock had reclaimed from its recent low to near 52-week high on
late December, 1998.
Raytheon is not the only company doing this. Boeing, Lockheed-Martin, and Northrop-Grumman are all eyeing the annual $270 billion U.S. defense spending bills, plus billions of dollars of foreign military markets. They are all quietly competing with each other for a bigger share of the "weapons of the 21st century." This includes the largely unknown U.S. National Missile Defense System (NMD), a mini-version of Ronald Reagan's "Star Wars" with a price tag in the hundreds of billions of dollars. All of these corporations are building the weapons for the U.S. to dominate the world militarily in the next century.
The Military Connection
There is another overlooked aspect of the U.S. treatment of Iraq and the August 20th air strike: the legitimacy of U.S.'s continuous military presence in the Middle East and the Gulf region. Not surprisingly, after the October Kosovo crisis in the former Yugoslavia, in November the U.S. and Iraq suddenly went back to crisis mode again.
In January 21st, requested by Turkish Government the first shipment of a battery of U.S. Patriot missiles arrived to Turkey for "deployment in case of an escalation of conflict with neighbouring Iraq," a U.S. Defence Department spokesman said 13.
On the same day the first members from the 69th Air Defence Artillery
Brigade, near Giebelstadt, Germany, arrived to Incirlik Air Base
14 in southern Turkey, accompanied by some Patriot equipment. Defence Department spokesman Ken Bacon told a news briefing later that day, that the Patriots sent to Turkey were a ``minimum engagement package'' consisting of three missile launchers that would be deployed for about 30-60 days 15
Since the 1980s, the U.S. military has found a series
of scapegoats to justify its intervention in the region: first Iran,
then Iraq, then Somalia, next Sudan, and now, bin Laden, then backed
to Iraqi president Saddam Hussein again.
The end of the cold war didn't scale down America's military muscle building; on the contrary, it led to further military buildup and accelerated development of the most advanced weapons systems.
Weapons of the 21st Century
The new U.S. military strategy is: focus on quality rather than quantity, and arm with new-generation 21st century conventional and tactical weapons to prepare for what President Clinton calls "fighting two wars at the same time." Such weapons projects include:
1. Lockheed-Martin's next generation YF-22 advanced tactical fighters for the Air Force, called by one military expert "the ace of aces in 21st century warfare." With an estimated cost of $159 million per plane, the 442 planes will cost approximately $70.1 billion. In the fiscal 1999 defense bill, Congress passed $1.6 billion to pay Lockheed-Martin for the YF-22's continued development.
2. Boeing's F/A-18 E/F, the Navy's top fighter-bomber, for which Congress approved $204 million this year and requested $3.28 billion (30 planes' worth) for fiscal 1999. The Navy plans to place 1,000 F/A-18 E/Fs in the next century, with an estimated cost of $81 billion. This doesn't even include the other model, F/A-18 C/D: 1,062 aircraft with a total estimated cost of $42.7 billion.
3. 3,000 Airforce/Navy Joint Strike Fighters, will be built by either Boeing or Lockeed Martin-British Aerospace Team--depends on who will win the contract next few years from the Pentagon. With planned service entry in 2008, it will be the future standard fighter for the U.S., at a projected $72 million per unit, or $219 billion total.
4. A new CVN-77 Nuclear Aircraft Carrier built by Newport News Shipbuilding, with an estimated total cost of $6.5 billion, to be launched next century. In addition, a new $1.5 billion helicopter carrier which the Navy did not request but Congress "approved."
5. The National Missile Defense System (NMD), coordinated by the Pentagon's Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMD). It's an anti-missile defense system including NMD, Navy Theater Wide system, Air Force Airborne Laser system and Army Theater High Altitude Air Defense (THAAD), with a combination of satellites, radar and missiles. Sounds familiar? It should it's a copycat version of the 1980s' "Star Wars" program
Nobody really knows how much it will cost to build the system, but initial estimates are around $500 billion. So far it has cost about $4 billion per year for the research alone, and they're requesting $4 billion of BMD funding for the 1999 budget.
Despite heavy criticism from anti-nuclear activists, and even the Pentagon's own "independent" panel, who called the project a "rush to failure" because of flight test misses in Lockheed-Martins THAAD and other components of this project, and despite almost $50 billion in waste, the Pentagon still will not drop the project. Boeing, Raytheon, Lockheed-Martin and Northrop-Grumman are all currently fighting tooth-and-nail for the contracts.
So far, the Boeing facility in Anaheim, California, has won $1.5 billion from the Pentagon for related research and development. In addition, Congress quietly slipped an additional $1 billion of "emergency funds" into next year's already approved BMD budget of $3.5 billion, and restored $293.4 million for Lockheed-Martin to continue developing THAAD.
With Soviet power diminished, the U.S. wants to achieve its long-term goal: domination of the world. In the short term, the U.S. still needs to create imaginary enemies such as Iraq, North Korea, China, Sudan, Serbs, and so on, to legitimize the U.S. military buildup, as well as the continued military presence in the region. This includes several next-generation war plane projects such as the Joint Strike Fighter, B-2 Bomber and YF-22 for the Navy and Air Force initial estimates put them at no less than $400 billion over the next 20 years, to be built up to 6,000 units; several new aircraft carriers; and possibly the $500 billion National Missile Defense System a copycat version of the 1980 "Star Wars" program. With a series of US military threats and air strikes across the globe against the terrorists and military dictators, this certainly will be a good excuse for the policy makers to justify spending more money on weapons for the years to come.
1. Associated Press
(AP), Nov 18th, 1998.
3. Laura Myers, "Annual US Gulf Cost Said At 50B," AP, Nov 17th, 1998. See also Laura Myers, "US Gulf Force Still Strong," AP, Nov 15th, 1998; Suanne M. Schafer, "US Gulf Force Still Substantial," AP, Nov 7th, 1998.
4. Aviation Week & Space Technology, August
31st, Pg 30.
5. Author's interview with Admiral Carroll from Center for Defense Information, September, 1998. He said although the price tag of the missile is around $750,000, it also need to add average additional $400,000 per missile for personnel, transportation, and maintenance cost. With 79 missiles used, he estimated total cost for the air strike is at least $91 million.
6. Aviation Week &
Space Technology, August 31st, Pg32.
7. AP, Nov. 7, 1998.
8. Based on news wires
and Raytheon PR materials.
9. Aviation Week &
Space Technology, August 31st, Pg35.
10. Documents provided by FEC Info, Washington
DC and Center for Responsive Politics, Washington DC.
11. Documents provided by Center for Public Integrity
12. AP, Nov. 7, 1998.
13. Reuters, Jan 21st, 1999. See also Robert Burns, "US to Help Turkey With Weapons," AP, Jan 15th, 1999.
14. Incirlik is a
base for U.S. and British aircraft patrolling the Western-enforced
no-fly zone in northern Iraq, set up after the 1991 Gulf War to
protect Iraqi Kurds from possible attacks by Baghdad. The U.S. fighter
planes from the base have attacked Iraqi air defences several times
before in the northern exclusion zone.
15. Reuters, Jan 21st,
One: Raytheon and Other Defense Industries Donations
Two: Raytheon Co PAC Contributions to Federal Candidates, 1997-1998
Three: Federal Election Comission Filing Records on 97-98 Election
Cycle Raytheon PAC Money Contributions