December 21st, 2012
Since my son’s death in Ramadi, Iraq in 2006, I have devoted my life to supporting America’s troops, veterans and the families of the fallen. In an effort to continue Marc’s legacy and accept his challenge in his last letter home, my mission is to support, advocate, and honor those who risk their lives in defense of our nation and its freedoms. Marc died fighting for the nation he loved, and we owe it to him to continue his fight.
Most Americans would wonder, “What can I do?” Not all of us can serve in the military, nor as an elected official. Each of us is only one individual, and the threats we face as Americans are great. However, there is a way for each of us to take action against the single biggest threat facing this nation – terrorism. Terrorism isn’t only fought in the mountains of Afghanistan or by FBI agents here at home. Everyday Americans can take a stand, and we must. Defeating terrorism is not only a job for our brave warriors. It is everyone’s responsibility, and it is imperative that each of us take action.
Recently, I was made aware of another way that I could stand against terrorism. I was appalled to learn that many of my investments were in companies that do business in nations identified by our State Department as State Sponsors of Terrorism. Therefore, I was indirectly providing aid to the very terrorists that Marc gave his life to defeat. I knew I had to take action! I’m sure Americans share my sentiment when I say I would never knowingly give any money to any organization that supports terrorism. The corporations who do business in these countries are not breaking any laws, and are not active supporters of terrorist organizations. Yet, when companies sell critical technology, banking services, and myriad other products to one of these states, at the very least the terror-sponsoring government profits from added sales and other taxes. The more money made in these countries means the more money flowing directly into the hands of rogue governments who will use it to harm Americans. If you invest in one of these corporations, your money could be indirectly supporting governments that sponsor terrorism.
Since learning of the impact American dollars have on terrorism and its sponsorship, I have made the necessary changes to ensure my portfolio is free of any ties to corporations that do business in Iran, Syria, North Korea or Sudan. As of 2011, 54% of Americans held individual stocks, stock mutual funds, or stocks in their 401(k) or IRA (Source: GALLUP). This means that half of Americans invest, and therefore may be unwittingly funding terrorism. Think of the potential impact if that 54% of Americans committed to disinvesting from Iran, Syria, North Korea and Sudan. By ending support to corporations who do business in states that sponsor terrorism, we would be able to do serious economic damage to their governments. In turn, terrorism would suffer immensely.
Fighting terrorism can, and must, be done from a variety of platforms, not all of which require joining the military. The single most effective way for the average American to combat terrorism is to deprive terrorists of the funds they require to operate. This is not a legal matter; it’s a moral issue. Brave men and women put their lives on the line every day to protect this country. We cannot allow our money to be used to purchase the weapons terrorists use against them. It’s that simple. There is absolutely no reason to designate your funds to companies with connections to State Sponsors of Terrorism – especially when you can earn similar or greater returns elsewhere.
Since disinvesting in these countries, I feel good about another direct action I am taking to fight terrorism. I am relieved and encouraged by the knowledge that my money will not flow into the hands of terrorists like my son’s murderers. I am gratified by the sense of empowerment I feel as I take an active role in the fight against the economic War on Terror.
Withholding investments from State Sponsors of Terrorism is an action with incredible potential. Disinvestment has a track record that proves it works. Federal legislation was enacted in 1986 that resulted in the disinvestment from South Africa, ultimately leading to the fall of Apartheid. Americans make choices daily to support companies with “green” policies, requiring companies to revisit their approach to the environment. Consumers have the power to place economic pressure on corporations, forcing them to make important choices. We must place maximum pressure on companies like GM, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, and Dow Chemical to stop doing business in Iran, Syria, North Korea or Sudan. More than 10% of the S&P 500’s market capitalization is considered infected by association with these State Sponsors of Terrorism. You may be investing in one or more of the almost 700 companies worldwide who do business with Terror States and not even realize the implications of your investment. When the economies of these rogue nations receive dollars and resources from infected companies, the money flows directly or indirectly to terrorists who threaten our troops abroad and Americans at home. It is vital to the success of our mission to defeat terrorism that we disinvest in these companies. They must reconsider their business practices in the interest of the United States of America. We, Americans, have the power to make that happen!
The bottom line is: no American should invest money in companies that do business in State Sponsors of Terrorism. It’s not a legal matter; it’s a moral one. Not every American can physically fight in uniform for this nation, but everyone can take an active stand by refusing to fund the type of terrorists who killed my son.
Mark Langerman is the supporter and financial advisor who educated me about my investments and is leading the charge against terrorism through terror free investing. He has been profiled on FOX news and many other media outlets around the world.
For more information about Terror-Free Investing, please visit http://patriotfund.com
or contact Mark at firstname.lastname@example.org