The Cost of War Project can be found at http://watson.brown.edu/costsofwar/. I hope readers of my blog will access the information on this website.
Who Benefits from War
Large defense contractors have played a central role in fighting the post-9/11 wars. They have provided workers who have engaged in direct combat and provided supplies, logistical services, and arms to coalition forces and the new Iraqi and Afghan governments. Private contracting has grown to such a level that, by 2011, there were more private contract employees involved in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan than uniformed military personnel.
Critics have raised major economic and security concerns including the concentration of defense contracts among just a handful of large firms, exorbitant prices for goods and services, fraudulent contracts, and the “revolving door” between the large defense contractors and government, such as that between Halliburton and the Bush administration.
The growth of private contracting has increased not only in the military, but also in the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), National Security Agency (NSA), and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), where private contract employees outnumber government employees in United States intelligence operations.
Defense contractors have also played a significant role in arms sales to the Iraqi government. Those sales put a budgetary strain on Iraq when it has yet to restore important services disrupted by the war. Significant numbers of those arms have also since been diverted to the Islamic State or otherwise misused.
Materialism and War
It should not surprise us that materialism is one of Jesus’ themes in the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus taught, “No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth” (Matthew 6.24).
If Americans worship our way of life and our economy, we have made our choice to make money our god and not the true and living God. Jesus made it clear that God has enough goods to go around, if people will choose love over selfishness.
Prayer for Today
Dear God, may Americans choose love over self-centered acquisitiveness.