When early 20th century progressive Randolph Bourne said, “War is the health of the state,” he lived in an America that had not yet been infected with the interventionist idea that we should solve the world’s problems. These days, war most certainly makes up a good chunk of our federal budget. Here are a list of 10 pundits and politicians who stand to make a profit, in one way or another, off of the war with Syria. Just remember, these are a select few. Please add your favorite pundits and politicians who profit off war in the comments!
1. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin (D-Mich.)
We start off our countdown with the pair of senators from Michigan. These two have been instrumental in securing defense contracts for their home state. Check out this list of 35 multimillion-dollar pieces of defense pork these two secured for their constituents, brought to you by Stabenow’s own website. What makes their support for Syria especially rich is their lack of support for the war in Iraq. I guess in the era of the stimulus and the sequester, you have to do all you can to get that money for your state. Both Stabenow and Levin publicly supported starting a war with Syria.
2. Steven Hadley
Our second profiteer is the former national security adviser to President George W. Bush. During the burgeoning Syrian debacle, Hadley went on CNN, Fox News, Bloomberg TV, and MSNBC. Talk about bipartisanship! Throughout the whole time, he rambled on about how our credibility is on the line and we need to stop Iran, but failed to mention his 11,000 shares of Rayethon stock. Rayethon is the company that makes the Tomahawk missiles that we would have launched. Each tomahawk missile costs $1.45 million, so imagine how wealthy he could have been with a drawn-out war!
3. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.)
Old Dick has been caught with his pants down recently when he claimed an unnamed GOP official told Obama, “I cannot even stand to look at you.” Both the White House and the GOP have come out against the claim, but one area where there is no disagreement is Durbin’s love of defense campaign contributions. Durbin was one of the earliest Democratic supporters of the Iraq War and has also defended Obama’s handling of Libya. How much money did he receive from defense contractors? Oh, you know, only $127,350. This money includes around $13,000 from Steven Hadley’s company, Rayethon. Bombs away!
4. Elizabeth O'Bagy
Ms. O'Bagy is the "Syrian Expert" that Sec. of State John Kerry and Sen. John McCain (more on him later) cited often, but who was then fired from her job at the Institute for the Study of War for falsely claiming she had a Ph.D. from Georgetown. She first began as an intern studying Syria at the Institute, which was 20 months prior to her being given the title of "Syrian Expert." She's a registered Democrat who voted for Obama twice, then was hired by John McCain, and got a lot of paid screen time for her expertise on Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, PBS, NPR, etc. Whether or not Ms. O'Bagy has a Ph.D. isn't important, as reports are that she does have a deep firsthand knowledge of contemporary Syria. The fact that she was advocating increasing spending for what would surely have been a messy debacle while getting paid for it gets her a spot on this list.
5. Gen. Jack Keane
General Jack Keane is a Fox News Military Analyst and a current director of General Dynamics, one of the world's largest military service providers. He's frequented Fox, the BBC, and PBS, consistently advocating striking Syria. Oh, he's also a venture partner of SCP Partners, a defense focused investment firm. General Dynamics had revenues of $31.5 billion in 2012. Times are tough!
6. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.)
Sen. Tim Kaine is another one of those politicians who is friendly with defense contractors, grabbing himself a cool $101,000 in campaign contributions. During the sequester, he gave a rallying cry to defense contractors in a meeting where he said, "Let's fight off the resignation that this has to happen." Kaine meets with them all the time. Kaine was supportive of Syria, citing international norms and expressing a desire to reform the War Powers Act of 1973.
7. General Anthony Zinni
General Anthony Zinni is another example of a former military man turned defense contractor. He is currently a director at BAE Systems, which had revenue of almost $29 billion. He is also an adviser to DC Capital Partners, a private equity firm that offers "differentiated and innovative services and solutions to the U.S. federal government." He went on CNN 3 times and CBS one morning to push for a strike, and his affiliations were never mentioned by either of these outlets.
8. Senator Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.)
Sen. Graham and President Obama don't agree on much, but one thing they did agree on was Syria and Libya. Graham went as far to say that we should get boots on the ground because there's "a lot of money to be made in Libya," referring to their oil production, and said we should help Libyans set up a functioning democracy with free market principles to help them become prosperous. After all, you can't overthrow regimes with food stamps, so the military-industrial complex has to step in to help. Given that four of his five top donors are defense industry related, his support for Syria comes as no surprise.
9. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.)
And here he is, the legend himself. Senator John McCain has never been one to shy away from military action. In fact, he seems to crave it when he says things like, "Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran." There's a reason: He is the number-one recipient of defense campaign cash. He hired O'Bagy, is BFFs with Lindsey Graham, and was photographed with Syrian rebels who are responsible for kidnapping Lebenese Shi'ite pilgrims, among other classic moments. McCain has consistently advocated for aggressive force in American military situations. Whether or not that's because of his judgement or his campaign contributions is still up for debate.