By Paul Shannon and Brian Garvey
On Saturday, September 25th at Fenway Park, a Raytheon Antiwar Campaign demonstration highlighted Raytheon’s hypocritical sponsorship of the Run to Home Base. A project of the Red Sox Foundation in partnership with Massachusetts General Hospital, the Run to Home Base raises funds to support veterans recovering from the wounds of war. As runners took the final turn into Fenway Park from Landsdowne Street, they passed by banners juxtaposing the costs of war with Raytheon’s $310 billion in war contracts and presenting a clear message:
“Support for Injured Veterans: YES, Raytheon’s War Profits: NO”
In the afternoon we returned to Fenway Park, this time standing on the David Ortiz Bridge with the Smedley Butler Brigade, Chapter 9 of the Veterans for Peace, as thousands of fans, both in Red Sox gear and Yankee pinstripes, passed by on their way to the game. As presenting sponsor of the charity event Raytheon was attempting to whitewash its image. It is our hope that all the runners and fans who saw our message seriously question Raytheon’s false narrative.
Companies like Waltham, MA headquartered Raytheon Technologies have a serious financial interest in neverending conflicts. They also have the political influence to keep them going. In just the last two administrations, Raytheon officials have been appointed the very top positions at the Pentagon. President Donald Trump made Raytheon’s former top lobbyist, Mark Esper, his Secretary of Defense. President Joe Biden chose General Lloyd Austin as his Pentagon Chief. Before joining the Biden Administration Austin sat on the Board of Directors at Raytheon Technologies. This puts lie to the claim that Raytheon does not make policy, but only carries it out.
With over 7,000 US service members killed in action since September 11th, 2001, and more than 100,000 veteran suicides, the need to support veterans’ health is paramount. However, Raytheon’s sponsorship of charity events like the Run to Home Base is not a solution. Lobbying for ever growing Pentagon budgets and providing personnel to Republican and Democratic administrations via the revolving door, companies like Raytheon have helped create and prolong catastrophic wars. Those wars have been a nightmare for veterans’ health. After the cancellation of a weapons sale to Saudi Arabia in January, Raytheon CEO Greg Hayes soothed investors saying, “Look…peace is not going to break out in the Middle East anytime soon. I think it remains an area where we’ll continue to see solid growth.”
21st century wars have killed hundreds of thousands abroad and thousands of our own soldiers, but they’ve been a boon to Raytheon’s bottom line. As veterans and their families continue to suffer from the consequences of military adventurism, Raytheon technologies and their fellow defense contractors are making a killing. The top 5 such companies made over $2 trillion in government contracts during the Afghanistan War.
Raytheon wants to portray themselves as philanthropists. Instead they are the embodiment of the military-industrial complex. They’re not heroes. They’re war profiteers.