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Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

America Dominant Again (in Arms Sales) – TomDispatch.com

Posted by M. C. on May 26, 2021

https://tomdispatch.com/america-dominant-again-in-arms-sales/

William Hartung

Think about this: on Saturday, May 12th, with barely an hour’s notice, Israel took out the al-Jalaa Tower, a high-rise building in Gaza City that housed the Associated Press, al-Jazeera, and other media outlets. That act of destruction, among so many others, caused shock globally and protests not just by those media groups but by previously Israeli-supporting Democrats in Congress. As it happens, the weapon that destroyed that tower was a GBU-31, a Joint Direct Attack Munition, or JDAM (aka a “smart bomb”) that was manufactured in the United States. Not only that, but in the midst of the ongoing carnage in impoverished, increasingly devastated Gaza (as well as in Israel), the Biden administration has been pushing through a new $735-million package of just such weaponry for Israel, ensuring more of the same to the horizon.

This has even disturbed key pro-Israeli congressional figures like Representative Gregory Meeks (D-NY), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, who, according to the New York Times, “told Democrats on the panel… that he would ask the Biden administration to delay a $735 million tranche of precision-guided weapons to Israel that had been approved before tensions in the Middle East boiled over.” Later, he would pull back on his threat, but Bernie Sanders has actually introduced a resolution in the Senate aimed at halting the future delivery of that weaponry (as several Democrats have already done in the House).

As the invaluable Pentagon specialist and TomDispatch regular William Hartung notes today, the U.S. leads all other nations on this planet by a country mile in selling the latest weaponry globally, as has been true for almost three decades. In other words, this country has been number one (U.S.A.! U.S.A.!) when it comes to such weapons sales (and so future destruction) forever and a day. In the case of Israel, those sales, however, are a secondary matter. For years, the U.S. has annually been giving — yes, giving — nearly $4 billion in military aid to Israel, a relatively wealthy country.  Since 2001, Israel has, in fact, received more than half of all the “military financing” approved by this country. Imagine what those tens of billions of dollars might have done had they been used instead for America’s fading infrastructure or other domestic investments.

In other words, Washington is complicit in the ravaging of Gaza in these last weeks, just as it has been in the devastation of Yemen in these years (thanks to similar sales of weaponry to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates). It’s a money-making, military-industrial tale from hell and Hartung tells it today in all its grim horror. Tom

America Dominant Again (in Arms Sales)

And Again… and Again… and Again

By William Hartung

When it comes to trade in the tools of death and destruction, no one tops the United States of America.

In April of this year, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) published its annual analysis of trends in global arms sales and the winner — as always — was the U.S. of A. Between 2016 and 2020, this country accounted for 37% of total international weapons deliveries, nearly twice the level of its closest rival, Russia, and more than six times that of Washington’s threat du jour, China. 

Sadly, this was no surprise to arms-trade analysts.  The U.S. has held that top spot for 28 of the past 30 years, posting massive sales numbers regardless of which party held power in the White House or Congress.  This is, of course, the definition of good news for weapons contractors like Boeing, Raytheon, and Lockheed Martin, even if it’s bad news for so many of the rest of us, especially those who suffer from the use of those arms by militaries in places like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Israel, the Philippines, and the United Arab Emirates.  The recent bombing and leveling of Gaza by the U.S.-financed and supplied Israeli military is just the latest example of the devastating toll exacted by American weapons transfers in these years.

See the rest here

William D. Hartung, a TomDispatch regular, is the director of the Arms and Security Program at the Center for International Policy and the author, with Elias Yousif, of “U.S. Arms Sales Trends 2020 and Beyond: From Trump to Biden.”

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