Why spend money on fighting Ebola when you can spend money on war?

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The Ebola virus has reached several countries in Africa, claiming hundreds of lives.

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), with a shrunken budget of just over US$20 million, is doing its best to combat the epidemic and the World Health Organization (WHO) continues to warn of the seriousness of the situation.

At the same time that resources to fight deadly diseases declines, hundreds of billions of dollars are being devoted to the arms industry and its trail of destruction.

According to WHO, there is a shortage of equipment, doctors, nurses, laboratory technicians and community health educators in Ebola-hit countries.

Such problems are exacerbated by a precarious health system, and a lack of clean water and sanitation in a continent historically drained by the great powers – and their transnational companies.

To this mournful tune, the slow arrival of resources contrasts with the millions of people exposed to the virus. More than 2000 people have already died. For their commitment, the professionals who are risking lives to save others are worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize and admiration of all peoples of the world.

While Ebola bleeds Africa, the new US destroyer Zumwalt prepares to sail the seas to embark upon new invasions and conquests for American companies.

This is the most powerful warship in the world and also the most expensive: US$ 7 billion of taxpayers’ money has been spent on the battleship at a time when Americans lack jobs, wages and rights.

This figure includes project development and the construction of the first unit in a series of three ships.

Discounting the "investment", the Zumwalt alone cost US$ 1.4 billion, 70 times more than all the resources used against the spread of Ebola.


Technologies of terror

Unfortunately, examples of these new technologies of terror are expensive, but not at all rare. Take ‘drones’ for instance, unmanned aircrafts that have victimised thousands of innocent people in the Middle East.

Amidst the worsening economic crisis that allows 842 million people to go hungry and more than two billion people to have serious nutritional deficiencies, profits from exporting arms grew 60 per cent in the last decade.

Fuelled by ‘anti-terror’ propaganda, the military budget of the United States this year should reach over US$638 billion, a figure that exceeds the combined budgets of the next 10 biggest national arms budgets.

The situation is so paradoxical that these companies appear to be building an independent empire, as recently evidenced by the aggression of the Israeli government against the Palestinian people, when the Zionist war machine received resources directly from the Pentagon without direct government knowledge and against popular demonstrations.

Holders of the largest industrial complex in the world, the USA is responsible for 30 per cent of exported arms, followed by Russia (26 per cent), Germany (7 per cent), China (6 per cent), France (5 per cent) and the UK (4 per cent).

Even Brazil, with so many and serious structural problems, has become a small exporter of armaments.

Data from the Institute of the Stockholm Peace Research (SIPRI) reported that worldwide sales of weapons and military services of the top hundred companies of arms and military equipment reached almost half a trillion dollars in 2012.

The top five high investment technology companies include: Lockheed Martin (USA), the largest supplier of military equipment for the Pentagon at US$36 billion; Boeing (USA), US$27.6 billion; Bae Systems (UK), US$26.9 billion; Raytheon (USA), US$22.5 billion; and General Dynamics (USA), US$20.9 billion.

So many resources would not fail to have an impact on the decisions of many governments since the war industry requires the existence of wars.

And, in this case, the bigger the war, the better.


This article was originally published in Portuguese on the CUT website.