A few weeks ago, I was watching this movie called War Dogs, starring a very tanned Jonah Hill, of 21 and 22 Jump Street fame. Alongside him was that guy from Whiplash, Miles Teller. Yeah, that’s it.

So, Jonah and Mike play two guys who have their own gun-selling business. They are small at first, but then get into the major leagues when they have to drive across Iraq(through Fallujah no less) to get the shipment to the US army base.

WOW, right? but that’s not all. They make a deal with an international arms dealer (Bradley Cooper) who has been put on the terrorist watch list by the US Government.

Anyway, being the greedy dumb wit that Hill’s character was, he tries to screw over Cooper and his partner gets all the threats and all the kidnapping
Now, what did I get out of this movie? First, Hill is just a right schmuck. He tries to screw over every second person he meets for money. He did get caught though, so that’s that.

Secondly, war is not war anymore. No longer is it completely about defending the principles that one believes in. Nor is it totally and only about righting wrongs. it might be so at a micro scale but definitely not on a macro scale.

At the start of War Dogs. Miles Teller’s character, with footage of soldiers in the foreground, says that

“What do you see?
A kid from Arkansas doing his patriotic duty to defend his country?
I see a helmet, fire-retardant gloves, body armor, and an M16
I see $17,500”

See that’s the cost of outfitting one American soldier. And 2 million of them fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. It cost $4.5 billion just to pay the A/C bills.

And that’s what war is really about. To quote War Dogs again “War is an economy”

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The noble notions are all but dead. The reasons for fighting a war have been distorted. And the reasons for this are manifold and complicated and downright dumb as far as I am concerned.

The origin of a war economy can be traced back to the Industrial Revolution when weapon manufacturing was no longer slow and cumbersome and this process was soon commercialized as wars became frequent.

Those led to the emergence of a military-industrial complex. Which basically a Maha-Gathbandhan between the arms manufacturers and people in the government and close to it. For example, in the US, the gun lobby is a very, very powerful vote swaying organization.

There is even a term for the flow of money. It’s called the Iron Triangle. From the manufacturers to the elected officials, who then spend taxpayer money on buying the weapons and the further arms merchants profit from it.

One of the USA’s greatest presidents, Dwight D Eisenhower warned us about this complex, saying “Going to war might not serve the interest of the nation, rather the institution of the military and weapons-producing corporations

And that is what is happening. War is no longer a means to an end. It is the end.

In the US, giants like Lockheed Martin, Boeing (yes, the airplane company), BAE Systems and Raytheon score multi-billion-dollar contracts with the government. And in return, they donate millions to the candidates and their supporters. There are insane amounts of profits involved. For all the parties except the taxpayer.

According to a report (read it here) by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) Lockheed Martin posted an arms sale of $36.44 billion and a profit of $3.61 billion.

Boeing had an arms sale of $27.96 billion and a profit of $5.81 billion.

For BAE Systems, these figures are $25.51 billion and $1.46 billion.

Why in the name of god would they want this kind of money to stop coming?

Now let’s think of a scenario where these wars were to boil down. Peaceful agreements were to be reached and situations were to de-escalate.

What would be the next step? Re-building, right?

A significant amount of resources would have to be taken away from guns and given to bulldozers. From grenades to cement. From missiles to cranes. You get my point.

A significant amount of resources would have to be taken away from guns and given to bulldozers. From grenades to cement. From missiles to cranes. You get my point.

This added on to the public sentiment against violence that is common after conflicts would lead to a significant reduction in arms and armies.

And this is exactly what the giants in the industry don’t want. It is their bread and butter. The most gruesome aspect of humanity, at the end of the day, puts the food on their table.

That is the sad truth. Gone are the days of noble battles and sacrifices. Here are the days of mindless profiteering over the lives of brave men, women, and children. And that is why it needs to stop.But unfortunately, the arm twisting of the politicians by these vested interests and the subsequent manipulation of the voters does not make stopping it easy.

But unfortunately, the arm twisting of the politicians by these vested interests and the subsequent manipulation of the voters does not make stopping it easy.

Not only in the US but to an extent also here in India, we are told lies and half-truths about the reasons for conflicts and the need to invest money into arms.

We are blinded by a cooperative media and a well-established advertisement campaign which is designed to brainwash us into believing that investing hundreds of billions of dollars just in killing people is worth it.

Now, I am not an anti-war fanatic. To wipe out radical elements, a combination of dialog and war is necessary. But I do now believe for one second that a war needs to last forever.

To quote War Dogs one last time “War is an economy. Anybody who tells you differently is either in on it, or stupid”


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