Pubdate: Tue, 26 Dec 2000
Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
Copyright: 2000 San Francisco Chronicle
Contact:  901 Mission St., San Francisco CA 94103
Author: Andrew Page, No. California political director, California Peace
Action, Berkeley


Editor -- Thank you for the series on Colombia ("The Colombia Quagmire,"
Dec. 17-20) and the editorial contrasting Secretary of State Powell's
criteria for military intervention with U.S. military aid to Colombia ("The
Powell Doctrine Meets War in Colombia," Dec. 21).

However, one aspect of the coverage has been lacking. That is an analysis of
who benefits from this war.

The clear answer is weapons contractors. Ever since the Clinton
administration lifted the arms embargo on Latin America, there has been a
steadily growing arms market in the region. Plan Colombia is the mother

The Black Hawk gunships alone represent a $234 million contract for Sikorsky
Aircraft Corp. of Connecticut. While you are absolutely correct in saying
that military intervention in Colombia fails to meet Powell's criterion of
public support, the plan has the full backing of the military industry.

As we pump weapons into Colombia and her neighbors, we are sure to create a
demand for more weapons. It will be interesting to see if Powell sticks to
his ideals in demanding full public support as a criterion for military
engagement, or if he'll give in to the prevailing view in D.C. that when it
comes to foreign policy, it's really just the opinion of the weapons
industry that matters.

ANDREW PAGE, No. California political director, California Peace Action,
- ---
MAP posted-by: Don Beck