What is it like to be so ashamed of the company where you work that you cannot bring yourself to admit you work there? Ashamed of the products they manufacture, the innocent people those products kill, and the hundreds of billions of dollars of public taxpayer money squandered in a gluttonous pursuit of profits?
This is life as seen on November 10th, 2022, at Raytheon Technologies in Arlington, VA. Members. Supporters of the Merchants of Death War Crimes Tribunal, a public tribunal, served “subpoenas” on Raytheon and three other United States weapons manufacturers charging them with War Crimes, Crimes Against Humanity, Theft, and Bribery.
The other three corporations served that same day were Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and General Atomics. These four corporations represent the U.S. war industry modern-day piracy, corporate capture of U.S. foreign policy, the Congress, the Departments of Defense and State, and the U.S. economic system.
Raytheon Technologies occupies a towering office building in Arlington, a stone’s throw from the Pentagon and Arlington National Cemetery, two sites commemorating the death and the utter failure of the war. Though the Raytheon building has its corporate logo plastered in blood-red letters at the top, once inside, no shreds of evidence of this corporate war profiteer. No name, no logo, no receptionist–only security guards. A sad attempt to hide their dealings in the black art of war.
When asked, the guards refused to acknowledge Raytheon was in the building. None of the dozens of employees who passed would admit they worked at Raytheon, averting their eyes as they hurried away. When police arrived to escort the Tribunal members and supporters off the premises, the police would not acknowledge Raytheon was headquartered there. Just like the employees, they had their orders. Keep quiet, admit nothing.
It was silent as a tomb except for the voices of the Tribunal members speaking the truth about the trail of suffering and death Raytheon and its corporate brethren have left across Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Somalia, and the Palestinian Occupied Territory. Meanwhile, these Merchants of Death have left the United States financially, morally, and spiritually bankrupt.
Raytheon Technologies has a market capitalization of $96 billion. According to Macrotrends, Raytheon Technologies’ revenue for the quarter ending September 30, 2022, was $16.951B, a 4.55 percent increase year-over-year. For 2021 it was $64.388B, a 13.79 percent increase from 2020, for 2020 was $56.587B, a 24.78 percent increase from 2019, and for 2019 was $45.349B, a 30.68 percent increase from 2018. In four years, they have garnered almost a 70 percent increase in revenue. Marketing death is good for profits if you can live with yourself. Apparently, given their silence, many Raytheon employees struggle with this very issue.
Raytheon builds some of earth’s most destabilizing, destructive, and expensive weapons. The Hypersonic Missile travels more than five times the speed of sound — Mach 5 — covering vast distances in minutes. It is “hard to stop and flies nimbly to avoid detection and dodge defensive countermeasures.” All these attributes make the missile so destabilizing to a foreign leader who has only minutes to determine whether they are being attacked with a nuclear weapon.
Raytheon makes the Peregrine Air-to-Air Missile, which they claim “increases firepower, penetrates bad weather, and goes the distance.” Add to that their plans to use “high power microwaves” in war, and we see the epitome of a Merchant of Death.
Boeing, General Atomics, and Lockheed Martin are the same. They, too, revel in blood money as they chief contractors in the war industry that drains the U.S. economy. Some $8 trillion in U.S. taxpayer money has been given to U.S. defense contractors over the last 20 years.
The U.S. War Industry plays a key role in fomenting war with their congressional lobbying, not just pushing for weapons contracts but influencing military strategy, thereby exacerbating and prolonging the anguish of civilians bearing the brunt of these wars of choice. On the issue of war, in particular, Congress must be answerable to its citizens, not a handful of corporations.
With their silence on November 10, these weapons manufacturers revealed their shame. Their corporate mission statement stated accurately would be, “War Begets Profit.” The mission statement for the Merchants of Death War Crimes Tribunal is “Come War Profiteers, Give Account.” Stand before a Tribunal and be judged.
And so, what is it like to give your talents to a corporation that hides its very existence, to give all your efforts, education, and experience in creating weapons that kill indiscriminately? The devastating answer is their loss of words, averting eyes, and the damning silence offered in their corporate crypt.
Brad Wolf, syndicated by PeaceVoice, is a lawyer, former community college dean, and Executive Director/Co-founder of Peace Action Network of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.