USA Arms Sales / by kevin murray

You can't have it both ways; that is to say, you are not going to make the world a safer place by manufacturing and selling military arms that have the absolute capability of wreaking havoc and destruction throughout the world, whether or not the buyers of these arms are your allies or not.  The more arms that are manufactured and sold, the more potential there is of destruction and harm. Additionally, there is also the reasonable fear that some of these weapons will ultimately fall into the hands of those that are not our allies, perhaps even avowed enemies of ours or 'allies' in name only.  Also, affiliations of countries and regimes will change based on political upheaval or political expediency but the weapons sold will remain in their possession. 


Those who profess the adage that there is peace in the strength of having a strong military, strong armed forces, state-of-the-art weapons and the like, are missing the point.  While military strength certainly has its place, so does moral suasion and moral courage.  The more weapons that are sold to foreign countries that you do not have control of, the more balls that you are juggling, and the more balls that you are juggling, the greater the chance of error.


The economics of arms sales are also a grand disservice to most of mankind.  While these sales are of great benefit to giant multi-national corporations such as Lockheed Martin. Boeing, and Raytheon, they aren't necessarily a real benefit to the recipient countries.  Countries such as Algeria, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Morocco all rank within the top 15 countries in expenditures for imported arms, yet these countries are either relatively impoverished or have massive wealth inequalities within their borders.  The arms sales to these countries as a whole are not beneficial for the peoples that live there, because these expenditures don't provide food, shelter, or employment; these purchases instead are perhaps beneficial for those that are the privileged, the military, and the elite class. 


According to the, the overseas weapons sales for the United States in 2011were over $66 billion, yet the world as a whole is no safer for these sales having been made.  To fight modern wars, you need modern weapons, such as helicopters, aircraft, missiles, tanks, radar, technology, knowhow, and the spare parts that go with them.  All of these things cost a lot of money and the price to keep pace with your neighbors is a continuous game of one-upmanship which never ceases.  For instance, sales that are made today do not appear to satiate a country's needs, instead they appear to place recipient countries on a never-ending binge cycle of additional sales which are bigger, better, and more advanced than the previous goods.


Saddam Hussein spent billions upon billions of dollars arming Iraq and strengthening its military forces but what did it ever accomplish?  Iraq attacked neighboring Iran in 1980 but this long and costly war ended in a stalemate in 1988.  Then Iraq attacked Kuwait, partly in order to cancel a $30 billion debt incurred during their Iranian war, but ultimately Iraq was subsequently defeated by allied forces in a matter of weeks.  Finally, in 2003, Iraq was attacked by mainly USA forces in which the total and unconditional defeat of Iraq and its military forces was accomplished in less than sixty days.  What then had Saddam Hussein received in benefit for those billions upon billions of dollars wasted on military expenditures?  Nothing, but death, destruction, and defeat.