Is war good for the stock market? Do we pay our warfighters enough? This month, we bring you the numbers behind the business of war.

Casualty of War?

The people at French’s Mustard were worried enough about a potential backlash against any product associated with Jacques Chirac that they issued a press release reminding the media that French’s is as American as, well, hot dogs. The brand is named after its founder, R.T. French, and was launched at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair. What the press release failed to note is that French’s is actually owned by a British company. In other words, not only is the product not French, but it is also a spicy mass-market symbol of the coalition of the willing.


Peace Dividends

Is war good for the stock market? There’s plenty of disagreement on that topic. But the end of a war does seem to bode well for the economy. Here’s a look at how the Dow Jones Industrial Average fared one year after the end of four major military conflicts.

Dow One Year Later Change
February 27, 1991: Iraq leaves Kuwait and the United States declares Operation Desert Storm a success. 2,882.20 3,269.50 +13.4%
April 30, 1975: U.S. Marines evacuate the American embassy in Saigon, symbolizing an end to the country’s presence in Vietnam. 821.30 996.90 +21.0%
July 27, 1953: The United States signs the Armistice Agreement with North Korea and China, bringing the three-year-old Korean War to an end. 275.40 344.70 +25.0%
May 7, 1945: V-E Day marks the allied forces’ victory in Europe against Nazi Germany. 168.30 204.20 +21.3%

Shock and Awe, Cyberstyle

In an attempt to shock and awe readers of Al-Jazeera’s Web site (both the Arab- and English-language versions), hackers redirected visitors to a Web site splayed with a big American flag that read, “Let Freedom Ring” and was signed, “Patriot.”

Why They Call It “The Big One”

The United States spent nearly $3 trillion, adjusted for inflation, to fight World War II. War costs amounted to 130% of the country’s GDP. Estimates for Operation Iraqi Freedom place the price tag between $50 billion and $150 billion, about 0.5% to 1.5% of the GDP. Source: The New Yorker

Reading Maté riel

Dennis Publishing disclosed plans to send 15,000 free copies of its “lad mags,” Maxim and Stuff, and music mag Blender to military sites in the Middle East. Time Inc. is sending copies of Sports Illustrated, and Playboy says that, while it’s not sending magazines, it’s offering servicemen an email address where they can sign up to receive (non-nude) pictures and messages from Playmates. Source: Reuters

Pay For Performance?

Annual salary for General Tommy Franks, commander in chief, U.S. Central Command: $153,948

Severance package for Richard Brown, ousted CEO at EDS: $32,000,000


Annual salary, U.S. Army private (one year of service): $15,480

Chelsea Clinton’s estimated starting salary at McKinsey & Co.: $120,000