Peripheral Revision

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Archive for the ‘United States – Military Spending’ Category

Saudi Arabia: U.S. weapons industry’s best customer

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Andrea Shalal-Esa, Reuters, April 13, 2011

The U.S. government is reviewing arms sales to Middle Eastern countries on a “case-by-case basis” given turmoil in the region, and has already halted some sales, a Pentagon official said on Monday.

Richard Genaille, deputy director of the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency, said that two of the biggest deals on the table have been cleared to proceed: a $29.4 billion sale of 84 Boeing Co F-15 fighter jets to Saudi Arabia and a $7 billion sale to the United Arab Emirates of an advanced missile defense system built by Lockheed Martin Corp.

A team of officials from his agency, the State Department, military commanders and the White House National Security Council were carefully reviewing planned arms sales to the region, Genaille told Reuters in an interview after a speech at the annual Navy League conference.

Unrest and violence spreading across the Middle East have sparked questions about U.S. arms sales to the region, deals that many U.S. defense companies had hoped would offset an expected decline in U.S. defense spending in coming years.

Genaille said the current reviews affected specific parts of arms sales that had already been approved by Congress and were being readied for delivery to Middle Eastern countries.

He said other big weapons deals, including a large Boeing helicopter sale to Saudi Arabia, the biggest buyer of U.S. weapons, were still working their way through the congressional notification system.

Gates had delivered a “letter of agreement” to Saudi Arabia for the Boeing F-15 sale during his visit there on April 6, but it had not yet been signed, Genaille said.

A separate deal to modernize Saudi Arabia’s eastern naval fleet could be worth more than $20 billion, depending on details still being discussed, Genaille said. That deal has not yet been notified to lawmakers.

The Navy on Friday said Saudi Arabia has asked the United States for prices for surface warships with integrated air and missile defenses, helicopters and other equipment.

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Written by peripheralrevision

04/14/2011 at 7:47 pm

Israel’s ‘Iron Dome’ rocket defense system encourages aggression with impunity

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+“Defense” means the ability to attack with protection from retaliatory consequences -PR+

James Petras in Counterpunch:

The action and reaction always is located in a limited time frame. Palestinian action is always the initial moment and the Israeli military attack is always described as a response or “retaliatory” and therefore, presumably a form of defensive action, “justifiable”.

Thus what appears as objective reportage on two sets of military actions, is in fact an arbitrary selection of time frames which lays the basis for a highly biased interpretive framework.

US to help pay for Iron Dome “defense” system

Democrats, republicans slated to approve 2011 budget this week enabling Obama to increase security aid to Israel, transfer $205 million for development of anti-missile system

Yitzhak Benhorin, Ynetnews, April 11,2011

The United States is slated to provide Israel with $430 million worth of security aid in the near future which will include $205 million allocated for the development of Iron Dome batteries.

Democrats and republicans are slated to finalize the 2011 budget in the coming days…

…According to an agreement between the US and Israel for the next 10 years, 2011 aid was slated to grow to $3 billion (from $2.77 billion) in addition to an extra $205 million for the development of the Iron Dome system.

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Israel warns Iron Dome still at experimental stage

Conal Urquhart, The Guardian, April 11, 2011

The initial success of Israel’s Iron Dome missile-defence system has been hailed as an example of “Jewish genius” – but the army insists it is still at an experimental stage.

Since 7 April the system has shot down nine rockets fired at Israel from Gaza, although it was unable to stop at least 11 others.

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Iron Dome: Israel Deploys Unique, Controversial Missile System

Stuart Fox, InnovationNewsDaily, March 30, 2011

…Iron Dome is “a uniquely Israeli solution for a uniquely Israeli problem,” said John Pike, director of and an expert on defense technology and policy. “Nobody else has the problem of being that close to an enemy you can’t annihilate. Because if it was a stand-up war, and the guy who was shooting at you was only a couple miles away, you would just blow him up, and that would be the end of it. But you can’t do that here.”…

…Furthermore, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that the Israel Defense Forces chose to buy the Iron Dome instead of the U.S.-designed anti-rocket laser because of pressure to buy domestic products, and due to the profitability of selling the technology to other countries.

Pedatzur also argued that Iron Dome won’t act fast enough to protect the southern Israeli cities that bear the brunt of rocket fire coming from the Gaza Strip.

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Rocket War: 36,000 DIY Missiles vs. Israel’s ‘Iron Dome’

Adam Rawnsley, Wired, April 8, 2011

But Iron Dome’s protection comes at a price. The advanced radar-guided system uses missiles to knock out cheap, sometimes DIY rockets at short range — and costs at least $25,000 per missile fired and $50 million per battery. Facing an arsenal of thousands of Hezbollah rockets up north, Iron Dome could quickly rack up a hefty bill in the event of another war.

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Israeli Anti-Missile System Faces Fire at Home and Delays in U.S. Funding

Nathan Jeffay and Nathan Guttman, Forward, January 4, 2011

…Meanwhile, on the Israeli side, questions have been brewing regarding the system’s efficacy and costs and the real purpose of its development.

Gadi Eizenkot, commander of Israel’s Northern Command, said on November 30 that Iron Dome was not necessarily intended to protect civilians and that its primary deployment should be in military bases. His statement reinforced the concerns of Sderot residents who had already noticed that Iron Dome’s radar system was positioned at a nearby air force base, not in the city.

Local leaders are seething. “We are frustrated; we are angry,” said Alon Schuster, head of the Sha’ar HaNegev Regional Council…

…Martin van Creveld, author of 21 books on military history and strategy, including “Countering Terrorism,” pointed to the high cost of using Iron Dome, which reaches $100,000 for each interceptor fired. “The ‘exchange rate’ must be 1,000 to 1 as Qassams can probably be made for $100,” van Creveld said. At such cost ratios, the system offers Israel’s enemies a way to quickly drain the Jewish state’s economic resources, he said.

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Written by peripheralrevision

04/11/2011 at 12:14 pm

KBR Contractor wants Iraqi law to decide lawsuit to avoid paying punitive damages for US soldier death

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AP, April 6, 2011

Attorneys for Houston-based military contractor KBR Inc. want a federal judge in Pittsburgh to apply Iraqi law to a lawsuit filed by the mother of a Pittsburgh-area soldier who was electrocuted in Iraq.

U.S. District Judge Nora Berry Fischer says she wants both sides to file written arguments before she decides the issue argued at a pretrial hearing on Tuesday. But Fischer acknowledged the dispute is really about whether KBR might have to pay punitive damages, which aren’t available under Iraqi law.

The lawsuit contends KBR is responsible because it maintained the barracks where the Army says a water pump shorted out and electrified Staff Sgt. Ryan Maseth’s shower water in 2008.

KBR attorneys have argued that three Army investigations have determined no one agency or company is to blame.

Written by peripheralrevision

04/06/2011 at 6:31 pm

Libya War Costs M.I.A.

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Spencer Ackerman, Wired, April 5, 2011

How much will the Libya war cost America, now that NATO jets are hitting Moammar Gadhafi’s forces? Good luck figuring out an answer.

Michael Donley, the secretary of the Air Force, leveled with reporters that the cost estimates for the war are coming “by the hour” now that U.S. “participation in strike operations has now gone away.” NATO says it’s now done with U.S. combat planes like the A-10 Warthog or the F-15 Strike Eagle. It’s now the job of foreign warplanes to hit Gadhafi loyalist tanks and artillery. The U.S. is moving on to refueling, spying, and jamming missions instead, with its planes on “standby” if needed.

Donley’s best estimate, given to reporters at a breakfast meeting on Tuesday, was that the war has cost the Air Force about $75 million so far, with expenses running to $4 million a day. That was the bill when 89 U.S. planes were directly or indirectly involved in the combat mission. Now he expects it to drop, but to what, he didn’t say.

By contrast, Defense Secretary Robert Gates told Congress last week that without a U.S. combat role in the Libya war, he expects the bill to run to $40 million per month. That doesn’t exactly match the Air Force’s tally. By Donley’s figures, if the Air Force slashed its costs for the war in half, it would still exceed Gates’ totals — and that’s not counting the Navy’s contribution.

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Written by peripheralrevision

04/05/2011 at 12:16 pm

World Military Budgets

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+Check out the complete post on Hidden HarmoniesSee other PR posts related to U.S. military spending here -PR+

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Above is a visualization of the biggest military budgets in 2009 compiled by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). (source: Russian Sphinx) The colors have no significance aside from making each country’s name more distinguishable. Remember, this is for 2009 only, and imagine the cumulative effect of this over decades.

Click here for the rest of this post on ‘Hidden Harmonies’

Written by peripheralrevision

04/02/2011 at 3:03 pm

A Tea Party Defense Budget

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William Lind, The American Concervative, March 16, 2011

Tea Partiers rightly fear national ruin unless government spending is reduced. The numbers quickly show such reductions must include the defense budget. The national-security state devours about half of all “discretionary” federal spending. Years ago, Sen. Charles Grassley said to President Ronald Reagan, “It’s great that you are going after the welfare queens, Mr. President. But when are you going to go after the welfare queens in the Pentagon?” The Tea Party, to achieve its goals, must answer, “Now.”

Bean-counting won’t do the job. For meaningful savings, we must begin by changing our grand strategy, which presently defines virtually everything that happens in the world as an American interest. Against the Founders’ advice, we are not only playing the great power game, we are attempting to be the globe’s dominant power.

In consequence, America does not today have a defense budget. It has an empire budget—perhaps the Tea Party should call it that. Derailing the neocons’ (and neolibs’) imperial ambitions and returning to the defensive grand strategy America followed through most of her history would save not tens but hundreds of billions of dollars.

We would no longer need a 3:1 “rotation base” for forward-deployed forces because we would no longer have forward-deployed forces. More important, we would have fewer enemies because we would not be inserting our nose into everyone else’s quarrels. That is true national security: reducing the threat by not posing a threat.

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Written by peripheralrevision

03/27/2011 at 3:15 pm

Bombardment with social expenditures: Libya intervention good for profits, bad for taxpayers

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The majority of Americans definitely do not cheer to the Libyan drums of war stripping the budget with every stroke, but some in US can actually benefit from a longstanding campaign.

The reported cost of a single Tomahawk missile launched into Libya is from 1 to 1.5 million dollars. It has only been a few days into operation Odyssey Dawn and already the cost of the bombardment from sea and air are skyrocketing. The price of day one alone was more than 100 million dollars.

“Within the first two hours they fired 110 cruise missiles, so right there thousands of teachers of course could be paid for,” said Sara Flounders, a co-founder of the International Action Center in New York.

Can the country afford getting involved again, coming at a time when teachers not to mention other public workers are fighting to keep their livelihoods, close to 10 per cent of people are unemployed, and the country faces 14 trillion dollars of national debt? The US has already committed trillions to ongoing wars in Afghanistan as well as Iraq. Yet despite all this, has moved to the helm of this international intervention.
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