Words cannot express the grief or the heart-wrenching despair of watching children die as war wages. But somebody always profits.
World military expenditure is rising, with the US accounting for a whopping 39pc. China is a far-off second with 13pc, followed by Russia at 3.9pc and India at 3.6pc in 2022.
In the war against Afghanistan, the Pentagon spent over $14tr, one-third to one-half of which went to defence contractors. Beyond the morality of the profits, there were also questions of corruption, abuse and profiteering, according to the Centre for International Policy.
Over the last two decades, weapon manufacturers have invested $2.5bn billion in lobbying efforts, maintaining an average of over 700 lobbyists per year during the past five years. That is more than one lobbyist for every member of Congress, according to the Watson Institute of International & Public Affairs at Brown University.
The United States is home to five of the world’s 10 largest defence contractors, and American companies account for 57pc of total arms sales by the world’s 100 largest defence contractors, based on Stockholm International Peace Research Institute data.
The world’s biggest defence contractor, Lockheed Martin, was awarded contracts worth $46bn by the US in 2022, the year of the Russia-Ukraine war — which made up for nearly 70pc of its annual revenue.
As parents lose their children, and children lose their parents, some people are making billions.
Published in Dawn, The Business and Finance Weekly, October 16th, 2023