Thursday, May 12, 2011

Conflict industry gobbles up Vermont

Lockheed Martin is part of the conflict industry. It benefits from more conflict, since that is how they make their outrageous profits, manufacturing missiles, war jets and the other instruments of death. If a policy would tend to reduce conflict in the world, that would be bad for the bottom line at Lockheed Martin.

One of the ways to reduce conflict is to help reduce demand for scarce resources, such as oil, that drive conflict. Reducing demand for oil is not in the interest of a corporation like Lockheed Martin. This is not a matter of the hearts and minds of individual employees of that firm; as with any corporate strategy that promotes its profitability, each employee from the Chair of the Board to the entry-level knows that if one does not operate toward that end, one will be replaced by someone who will. This is the extent to which corporations have ethics, with the possible exception of very tightly controlled individually or family owned corporations in rare circumstances.

With this corporate ethos and mandate toward protecting and enhancing profits, imagine Lockheed Martin getting a chance to infiltrate the movement and economic sector that is devoted to reducing conflict. Would they jump at the chance? They would have to in order to satisfy their prime directive to protect and enhance profits. Would they then subvert and delay and even preferably destroy their competition, that is, the forces trying to reduce conflict? That would be imperative. Again, it isn't a real choice, since any conflict industry employee who failed to do that would simply be replaced by someone who had a bit more "moral flexibility."

So now we don't have to imagine this. It is underway, in the East Coast motherlode of Conflict Reduction Culture, Burlington, Vermont. Lockheed Martin is moving in to co-opt their image, their efforts to showcase sustainability, and their stance toward preventing conflict by reducing consumption of the resources over which we see so much bloodshed.

The mayor of Burlington actually initiated this and local activists are rightly deeply opposed. In a classic instance of corporate public relations doublespeak and psychological redirection, Lockheed Martin assuages all fears with vague and mushy bromides. From The New York Times:

Asked about the criticism of Lockheed as a weapons manufacturer, the spokesman, Dean Acosta, said the company could in fact use its evolving clean-energy expertise to help make the world safer. “As we strategically assess future trends,” he said, “we see scarce resources — particularly energy resources — as potential sources of conflict. Through our experience in energy and expertise in complex systems engineering and 120,000 innovating minds, Lockheed Martin is well positioned to address energy security.”


The corporadoes at Lockheed are well positioned to take out opposition, assassinate the competition, dump the body at sea and dance in the boardroom suites. Their ethos is the master narrative now and Burlington is regarded as inimical to that narrative far more than handy bad guy Osama bin Laden ever was--he was the greatest gift to Lockheed since Stalin. Burlington is the real enemy to Lockheed. I hope they can come to see that.

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