Raytheon UMass Lowell (UML) Research Institute, or as it’s better known, RURI, is exactly as it reads: a research facility led by both Raytheon and UML. Specifically, the men in charge are Drs Christopher McCarroll and Craig Armiento of Raytheon and UML, respectively. Anyone who knows anything of this vile company should be absolutely disgusted to know that we as a university collaborate with them. Also, as our UML job fair is coming up, I hope some of you who read this think twice before approaching Raytheon and other defense companies on March 21st. We should be human enough to stand up against their war crimes and, if not demand the perpetrators be held responsible for these actions, at least not want them to profit off the thousands of dead children that have been killed and the many more that will be killed by these monstrous institutions.
According to Raytheon’s website, they were started as an electronics company in Cambridge, MA by Charles Smith and Vannevar Bush (later a fervent supporter and critical member or the Manhattan Project) in 1922. During World War Two, they became a defense contractor and have not looked back since. (History) Now Raytheon is the third largest weapons dealer in the U.S., according to US News. Some of the jingoists who read this may claim that it is a necessary defense, and most of the general public may not view the construction of weapons favorably, but still will not look away in disgust or hold contempt in their hearts for the manufacturers of such weapons of war.
What is wrong with a defense contractor? We need weapons in the world we live in!
“They are defensive weapons, sure. It just depends on who shoots them.” Many times my father, a previous Raytheon employee, has said this. I would like to point out, that this discussion is not asking whether we need defense contractors, this discussion is about the vileness of these war profiteers. Why must a defense contractor be a war criminal too? Now that I have claimed Raytheon is an odious and reprehensible organization, I ought to make an argument justifying that.
According to a 2018 report by Neta Crawford at the Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs at Brown University, more than 480,000 people have died as a direct result of US military intervention in Pakistan, Iraq, and Afghanistan between October 1st, 2001 and October 1st, 2018. Of the 480,000, we see that there have been more than 240,000 civilian deaths, significantly higher than any other category. (Crawford). 240,000 civilians. That is insane. About 3,000 US civilians were killed in the 9/11/2001 terrorist attacks. That is, of course, not even in the same ball park as 240,000. To try and imagine the scale of these deaths I look at my own life. I am from Woburn, MA. If right now every person was killed in my hometown and every single one of its bordering towns, that would only be about half of the civilian population killed by the US in the Mideast during this period. These wars have been fought with American made weapons. Raytheon is a major manufacturer of the bombs that were dropped on these innocent people.
I understand it is very hard for the die-hard nationalist patriot to look at the war crimes of his/her own country, so let us look at the war crimes of others. Namely, the peaceful land of Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia has an interest in the killing of the Yemenis. The geopolitics of this area are obviously complicated, but the point is that innocent people are killed in droves. According to the Washington Post, since March of 2015 more than 6,500 civilians (including more than 1,600 children) have been killed in Yemen due to a Saudi led coalition. (Fahim) The Saudi led, and American backed coalition consistently targets homes, schools, markets, and other civilian dense areas. (Fahim) For example, in April of 2018, the Saudi government launched a missile at a wedding in Yemen. 23 people were killed with the majority being women and children. The missile was shown to have been manufactured in Arizona, and of course, by Raytheon. Another example, in 2016 a missile manufactured by Raytheon killed 11 at a Doctors Without Borders Hospital. (Guadiana)(Toller) That isn’t enough? Okay, here is another. Just one month after the Doctors Without Borders bombing, 140 people attending a funeral ceremony in the city of Sana were killed. The bomb used to kill them was found to be a MK-82 bomb. And who manufactured that weapon? You guessed it, Raytheon. (Morely)
But how is Raytheon responsible?! It is not their fault people use these weapons for evil.
I hear this a lot. I have thought about it, and I am always confused by the logic. Say, by analogy, person A makes a bomb and gives it to person B. Person B goes and blows up a preschool with the bomb person A made. Both person A and person B are going to be tried and likely put in prison or executed. Now, you say “But that is different. Person A made one bomb. Its intent was to be used in the bombing of a preschool. Those are totally different scenarios.” So then, I must ask, it is the intent of the bomb maker that matters? If that is so, then let us tweak our example. Person A makes many bombs and sells them to many people. Most people just put the bombs in their respective houses for safe keeping. However, one day person X comes along and buys a bomb then blows up a local High School with it. Clearly, person A is not to blame, how could he know? So, he goes about his business and continues making and selling high quality, defensive, explosives. A few weeks later, person X comes back and would like to buy a new bomb he promises he won’t kill anyone with it. Person A, a forgiving manufacturer says “Sure, you seem like a nice enough guy” and sells him more bombs. Person X gets a little angry though, and uses his bomb at a local hospital, see person X doesn’t like pregnant women and wants them to be dead. Then, he goes back and says, “Hey person A, I know I did some bad stuff in the past, but can I buy a new bomb?” If person A continues to sell weapons to person X, he is undoubtedly complicit in these bombings. It is a very simple problem. But typically, it gets muddied up with masturbatory patriotism and smooth talkers.
So, what do you want to do about it?
I am asking UML to not help Raytheon do research. Raytheon are war criminals, they are profiting off the deaths of innocent women, men, and children. By turning a blind eye, the Chancellor of this university, is, by extension, complicit in the murder of innocent people. How can she be so blatantly hypocritical? She claims to be a strong woman’s rights activist. If that is true, how can she be happy to participate in the slaughter of them? I am disgusted by you, Chancellor Maloney; I am disgusted by this university; and I desperately beg that my brothers and sisters in the engineering department specifically, will not continue to help evil, morally corrupt companies like Raytheon.
Crawford, N. (2018, November). Human Cost of the Post-9/11 Wars: Lethality and the Need for Transparency. Retrieved from https://watson.brown.edu/costsofwar/files/cow/imce/papers/2018/Human Costs, Nov 8 2018 CoW.pdf
Fahim, K. (2018, August 03). The deadly war in Yemen rages on. So why does the death toll stand still? Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the-deadly-war-in-yemen-rages-on-so-why-does-the-death-toll-stand-still-/2018/08/02/e6d9ebca-9022-11e8-ae59-01880eac5f1d_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.6f3a9281d17f
Guadiana, M. (2018, September 12). Raytheon’s War Crimes in Yemen. Retrieved from https://original.antiwar.com/marcelo_guadiana/2018/09/13/raytheons-war-crimes-in-yemen/
History. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.raytheon.com/ourcompany/history
Morley, J. (2018, June 25). Raytheon’s profits boom alongside civilian deaths in Yemen. Retrieved from https://www.salon.com/2018/06/27/raytheons-profits-boom-alongside-civilian-deaths-in-yemen_partner/
Toller, A. (2018, May 01). American-Made Bomb Used in Airstrike on Yemen Wedding. Retrieved from https://www.bellingcat.com/news/mena/2018/04/27/american-made-bomb-used-airstrike-yemen-wedding/