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Web Letter

Terry Jones, even lovelier in print than he is in drag, has simultaneously hit the nail squarely on the head and struck the painful chords of my own cognitive dissonance. The "War on Terrorism" was largely constructed to boost our ailing defense industry. I should know. I do not make bombs or guns, thank God, but I am involved in Homeland Security, and I am painfully aware, though no one I work with will admit it, that we are prospering off of a fear that is based upon little more than a fantasy conjured up to inspire the unwashed masses to sacrifice their freedoms and wealth upon the altar of national defense.

Robert Austin

Seminole, FL

Jan 28 2009 - 3:08pm

Web Letter

Dear Mr. Jones, I just wanted to add a few minor details so that in your pro forma business plan, you do not overestimate your yearly revenues based on your metrics: "US operations in Iraq are currently costing $14 million per hour. That's $343 million per day, or $3, 973 per second." Your manufacturing operations based on $14 million per hour will actually take in only $336 million per day, based on a twenty-four-hour work day. Therefore, your initial yearly revenue estimate will be short by only $7 million per day or $2.555 billion per year, based on a 365-day working year. Although a pittance, $2.555 billion per year in revenue shortfall are generally mistakes associated with our own taxpayer watchdogs, the GAO (General Accounting Office), or the slightly superior OMB (Office of Management Budget). Also, your marketing department might want to look into growth opportunities for your products in Africa and parts of South America. The Chinese have been there for years.

aaron l. lerman

Roslyn Heights, NY

Jan 27 2009 - 6:48pm

Web Letter

If you want to be successful with fewer political complications, I would recommend working out of Great Britain and France. Anytime you want to sell arms to an oil-rich Arab country in the United States, the Israeli lobby will go ballistic and try to stop any deal. If they cannot stop the deal, they will demand more arms for Israel. So, you might make money selling to both sides of the Arab/Israeli conflict. Actually, Israel is not doing too badly in the arms business. It is second to Russia in selling arms to China, and they have military contracts with Turkey. If you are not Arab, they will sell you anything, including American military technology.

However, you don't have to manufacture anything that actually works in dealing with the American Congress. They have been trying to get a Star Wars-type missile defense system off the ground since the Reagan Administration, but, not to worry, they have deployed it anyway. You can also make all kinds of money through cost overruns too, trying to make weapons systems work. Israel got from Boeing the Arrow missile defense system, which is supposed to work against high-altitude intercontinental ballistic missiles. It doesn't work, but instead of missiles, Israel is dealing with unguided rockets that can land anywhere from the Palestinians to Hezbollah. However, you can still make a lot of money with a missile defense system. The Soviet Union is no more, but you can manufacture threats, as Bush has done with Iraq, Iran and North Korea.

Pervis James Casey

Riverside, CA

Jan 23 2009 - 3:04pm

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