There are two major beneficiaries of the two major wars launched by the US government: one domestic and one foreign. The three major domestic arms manufacturers, Lockheed Martin (LMT), Northrop Grumman (NOG) and Raytheon (RTN) have delivered record-shattering returns to their investors, CEOs and investment banks during the past decade and a half. The Israeli regime is the overwhelming foreign beneficiary of the war, expanding its territory through its dispossession of Palestinians and positioning itself as the regional hegemon. Israel benefited from the US invasion which destroyed Iraq, a major ally of the Palestinians; the invasion provided cover for massive Israel’s settler expansion in the Occupied Palestinian territories. In the course of its invasion and occupation Washington systematically destroyed Iraq’s armed forces and civil infrastructure, shredding its complex modern society and state. By doing so, the US occupation removed one of Israel’s major regional rivals.
In terms of cost to the United States, hundreds of thousands of soldiers who had served in the war zones have sustained severe physical and mental injuries, while thousands have died directly or indirectly through an epidemic of soldier suicides. The invasion and occupation of Iraq has cost the United States trillions of dollars and counting. Despite the immense costs to the American people, the military-industrial complex and the pro-Israel power configuration continue to keep the US government on a wartime economy – undermining the domestic social safety net and standard of living of many millions.
No peaceful economic activity can match the immense profits enjoyed by the military-industrial complex in war. This powerful lobby continues to press for new wars to sustain the Pentagon’s huge budget. As for the pro-Israel power configuration, any substantive diplomatic peace negotiations in the Middle East would end their naked land grabs, reduce or curtail new weapons transfers and undermine pretexts to sanction or attack countries, like Iran, that stand in the way of Tel Aviv’s vision of “Greater Israel”, unrivaled in the region.
The costs of almost 15 years of warfare weigh heavily on the US Treasury and electorate. The wars have been dismal failures if not outright defeats. New sectarian conflicts have emerged in Syria, Iraq and, now, Ukraine – opportunities for the US arms industry and the pro-Israel lobbies to make even greater profits and gain more power.
The on-going horrendous costs of past and continuing wars make the launch of new military interventions more difficult for US and Israeli militarists. The US public expresses wide-spread discontent over the burden of the recent past wars and shows even less stomach for new wars to profit the military-industrial complex and further strengthen Israel.