Thursday, September 20, 2007

Cui Bono

While most of the time we think of the Iraq War as being all about the oil, it's clear that this misbegotten and illegal war has been downright lucrative for other companies and their leaders as well. Just how lucrative was posted on MSN Money yesterday.

While policymakers in Washington wrangle over how much progress we've made in Iraq, one thing is clear: The war on terror is making some people rich.

President Bush's military buildup has caused defense-contractor revenue to double, triple and even more during the past five years, and their executives have reaped huge bonuses and stock windfalls as the companies' share prices have jumped.

Take a look:

CEOs at top defense contractors have reaped annual pay gains of 200% to 688% in the years since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

The chief executives at the seven defense contractors whose bosses made the most pocketed nearly a half-billion dollars from 2002 through last year.

The CEOs made an average of $12.4 million a year, easily more than the average corporate chief. Since the start of the war, CEOs at defense contractors such General Dynamics (GD, news, msgs), Halliburton (HAL, news, msgs) and Oshkosh Truck (OSK, news, msgs) have made, on average, more in four days than what a top general makes in a whole year, or $187,390.

Defense contractor CEOs are enjoying these big rewards partly because much of the war effort is being outsourced by an administration that believes private companies do things better than the public sector, say researchers at the Institute for Policy Studies and United for a Fair Economy.

"In the most privatized war in history, lucrative opportunities abound for chief executives of defense contractors," says Sarah Anderson of the Institute for Policy Studies.
[Emphasis added]

The charts included with the article show just how lucrative the opportunities in war have been for the top seven defense contractors and their CEOs. And, like that other contractor, Blackwater, these defense contractors have essentially been freed from any kind of accountability or liability for their work (gained mostly in no-bid contracts). Even Inspector Generals have had their hands tied in trying to keep some kind of rein on the companies.

Some people have made sacrifices in this war. Others, eh, not so much.



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