The late, great President and General Dwight Eisenhower understood war better than just about anyone in history. That’s why he said, “I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.” He warned against allowing the “unwarranted influence” of the “military-industrial complex” that seeks to run the nation without accountability and increase its power and wealth. And he said, “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.”
I don’t say all that to give you a history lesson in the Eisenhower years. It’s just that it seemed an appropriate intro to the news that defense contractor Lockheed Martin reported that thanks to the Ukraine War, in the second quarter of 2023, it notched up net sales of $16.8 billion and a $1.7 billion profit.
The company’s future also looks bright, even if Ukraine’s doesn’t. Their CEO said that Lockheed Martin is optimistic about its “return to growth and ability to reward our shareholders over the long run with reliable free cash flow per share expansion and cash deployment.”
I agree that he’s probably right, but I wouldn’t describe my feelings about that as “optimism.”