Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest arms exporter, is spending a lot of money these days on television ads. But it is not selling guns, tanks or jet fighters in their commercials. It is selling propaganda.
“We never forget who we’re working for” is Lockheed’s proud slogan. Lockheed wants the public to take is that it develops high-powered military technologies in order to better secure them. But the reality is far different.
The company, a fixture in the U.S. military-industrial complex, exists only to enrich its owners and to appease its backers in the Defense Department.
Lockheed Martin does not serve the working class. It is, in fact, our enemy. In the capitalist system, corporations like Lockheed make profits by building bombs and technology used in imperialist wars to kill workers abroad. This is all in service of its bottom line—profits.
Lockheed Martin’s main revenue derives from supplying the military with aircrafts and weapons, including weapons of mass destruction, that are responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths in Afghanistan, Iraq, and worldwide. The company currently has dealings with more than 30 countries.
It became a dominant corporation during the so-called Cold War, reaping billions of dollars in an arms race based on the government’s anti-communist crusade.
The manufacturing that upholds the war machine, like the war machine itself, does not benefit the working class. It only lines the pockets and increases the power of a small ruling class.
In fact, the war machine is a massive drain on the resources and value that workers create.
According to the Arms Trade Resource Center, Lockheed Martin effectively receives $105 per year from each U.S. taxpayer and $228 from each household.
At the same time, it receives enormous tax breaks. In 2002, the government taxed Lockheed Martin a mere 7.7 percent compared to an average tax rate for individuals of 21 to 33 percent.
But the question remains: why would a military arms corporation need commercials in the first place?
Over the last few years, Lockheed Martin has been increasingly identified with the highly unpopular Iraq war.
In fact, Lockheed Martin itself was a leading proponent of the 2003 invasion. In 2003, the company’s former vice-president, Bruce Jackson, worked with then-Deputy National Security Advisor, Stephen Hadley, in 2002 to form the “Committee for the Liberation of Iraq.” Like most misnamed U.S. government committees, this small but influential clique focused on how and when to overthrow the Iraqi government.
A key member of the “Committee for the Liberation of Iraq” was Rend Al-Rahim Francke, the founder of the Iraq Foundation, a group almost entirely funded by U.S. government grants. These grants could have gone to education or healthcare, but instead were used to manipulate public opinion and support regime change against Saddam Hussein’s government.
This U.S.-funded committee utilized the Iraq Liberation Act, which passed Congress in 1998, in order to received $97 million in Pentagon funds. These monies in turn backed the Iraq National Congress, led by Ahmed Chalabi, the U.S. puppet who became the face of the Iraqi dissident in the lead-up to the war. It was Chalabi who informed New York Times reporter, Judith Miller, of the location of Saddam Hussein’s supposed weapons of mass destruction. Those weapons turned out to be nonexistent.
In the meantime, Lockheed Martin contributed heavily to the Bush presidential campaign, outspending its competitors. These contributions would later be rewarded.
Lockheed Martin had a lot to gain from the war. In 2002, it reported sales of $26.6 billion, a backlog of more than $70 billion in orders and free cash of $1.7 billion. This was before the war.
In 2006, Lockheed Martin reaped $39.6 billion in sales with a $75.9 billion backlog. These profits are made on the destruction of Iraq’s cities and the slaughter of its people.
No denunciation of the war criminals in the White House and Congress should spare the executives of the military corporations, the war profiteers of Halliburton, Boeing and Lockheed Martin.