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May 24, 2005 7:02 PM   Subscribe

Promoting Freedom or Fueling Conflict? U.S. Military Aid and Arms Transfers Since September 11--from the World Policy Institute, a report on whether we put our money where our mouth is. Statements like "Freedom will be the future of every nation and every people on Earth" might sound nice and even inspiring, but why is our own government funding overwhelmingly anti-democratic and abusive governments? ... When countries designated by the State Department’s Human Rights Report to have poor human rights records or serious patterns of abuse are factored in, 20 of the top 25 U.S. arms clients in the developing world in 2003 -- a full 80% -- were either undemocratic regimes or governments with records of major human rights abuses. ...
posted by amberglow (51 comments total)

 
Guess I get to be the first to do the obligatory:
why do you hate america?
posted by nightchrome at 7:07 PM on May 24, 2005


See also: History.
posted by odinsdream at 7:11 PM on May 24, 2005


thanks nightchrome, you beat me to it.
posted by jsavimbi at 7:23 PM on May 24, 2005


Every asshat who has ever voted Repuglican should be rounded up and moved to one of these nations. It's where they belong, with other fucking uncivilized barbarians.
posted by BushIsForEating at 7:24 PM on May 24, 2005


BushIsForEating,

Dude, I think you just offended *everybody*! Nice work!
posted by hackly_fracture at 7:27 PM on May 24, 2005


Funny, I'm going through the State Department's 2004 Country Report on Human Yadda Yadda and they don't list the US of A.

How do we compare to the rest of the world? I'll answer that: I don't think we should sell arms to ourselves, either.

/I hate your freedoms
posted by jsavimbi at 7:32 PM on May 24, 2005


Trolls. They have little sex.
posted by bardic at 8:28 PM on May 24, 2005


You are surprised, Amberglow?

It's never been about freedom or spreading democracy. It's always been about enriching themselves and their friends.

Period.
posted by Danf at 8:34 PM on May 24, 2005


Not much to add here as far as I can tell.. Somebody that hates America would quietly sneak over and destroy some of our cool objects. Someone that would like to improve their home, and make their government conform to their idea of decency in the world, such a person might have some strong words against the people at the top.

This is a totally rotten concept among the "old white men" round here, that strong words carry with them the weight of acts of war. Seriously. These guys get off on such ideation, sort of like a junky enjoys crank.
posted by nervousfritz at 8:36 PM on May 24, 2005


Funny how that works; the U.S. is supposed to be the country leading in spreading democracy, but when you actually look at deeds committed is in fact doing everything it can to *suppress* democracy and freedom, including within it's own borders . . .
posted by mk1gti at 8:41 PM on May 24, 2005


You are surprised, Amberglow?
Nope. saddened. Why we repeat the same mistakes over and over is beyond me.

and what mk1 said.
posted by amberglow at 8:42 PM on May 24, 2005


See Also:

"What Uncle Sam Really Wants"

by Noam Chomsky (of course)
posted by Jon-o at 8:44 PM on May 24, 2005


Every asshat who has ever voted Repuglican should be rounded up and moved to one of these nations. It's where they belong, with other fucking uncivilized barbarians.

Yes, this is all about the terrible Republicans. No one else would do such a terrible thing.

The sad fact is, there hasn't been a president since Carter who gave a damn about reducing arms sales, and even he couldn't do anything about it. Arms sales (and the related jobs) cut across party lines.
posted by me & my monkey at 9:00 PM on May 24, 2005


But did those others also invade other countries in the name of "freedom and democracy", me &? and continually talk of it?
posted by amberglow at 9:04 PM on May 24, 2005


MeTa
posted by mlis at 9:19 PM on May 24, 2005


Even Carter is not untainted . . .

This country needs to take a good, long hard look in the mirror and when it is through it needs to rid itself of both Democrats and Republicans. Neither party works in the interests of real freedom and democracy. The country and the world needs a change. . .
posted by mk1gti at 9:27 PM on May 24, 2005


So does this mean it's OK that I sold crack to the twelve-year-old down the street before going to church? I assume that it fits within the bigger picture.
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 9:47 PM on May 24, 2005


But did those others also invade other countries in the name of "freedom and democracy", me &? and continually talk of it?

What does that have to do with arms sales, exactly? Would this administration's policy on arms sales be ok with you if not for Iraq? Was Clinton's policy ok because he didn't invade other countries?
posted by me & my monkey at 10:06 PM on May 24, 2005


I think the point here is this: It doesn't matter which president does it, it's wrong and needs to stop. The only way to have peace is to work for it, not against it. This country is working against it when it is claiming to work for it.
posted by mk1gti at 10:26 PM on May 24, 2005


Every country and everyone knows it, and no one is fooled by the blatantly transparent rhetoric used to disguise it.
posted by mk1gti at 10:27 PM on May 24, 2005


So does this mean it's OK that I sold crack to the twelve-year-old down the street before going to church?
posted by strangeleftydoublethink

Well heck sldt, you're allowed an entire frickin' franchise, complete with an advertising budget and flacks to send up the hill and lobby Congress for preferential treatment!
posted by vhsiv at 10:41 PM on May 24, 2005


Rethuglicans would call it 'free enterprise', and we all know that free enterprise has rule over the rights of living beings, don't we? Agree or it gets the hose again . . .
posted by mk1gti at 10:51 PM on May 24, 2005


I think the point here is this: It doesn't matter which president does it, it's wrong and needs to stop.

Maybe that's your point, but it doesn't seem to be amberglow's point, or BushIsForEating's point. But in any case, it's not as simple as "it's wrong and it needs to stop." There are too many people who benefit from it, from the Adnan Kashoggi types to the guys working the line at the Boeing plant - the traditional blue-collar Democrat constituency. There's a reason that Eisenhower warned us about the military-industrial complex, you know. Foreign arms sales are the subsidy that supports military development - the US government doesn't buy enough F-18s and M1A1s to cover the cost of developing those systems (or keeping production lines open), so they're designed from the outset with an eye to foreign sales. This has been true since the 70s. So, a lot of things have to change before this is just "stopped."

And for Christ's sake, can we give this "Rethuglican/Repuglican/etc" thing a rest? OK, we get it - you don't like Republicans. Well who in their right mind does nowadays? But this is just shrill and childish. Why not leave that third-grade crap for the wacko fundy crowd? There's a big patch of moral high ground that no one's using right now - help yourself to it!
posted by me & my monkey at 11:08 PM on May 24, 2005


And for Christ's sake, can we give this "Rethuglican/Repuglican/etc" thing a rest? OK, we get it - you don't like Republicans. Well who in their right mind does nowadays? But this is just shrill and childish.

You're wasting your breath. That's the level of debate on metafilter these days (I'm guessing it's the fault of the right, or bush, or...)

Besides, nofundy hasn't even gotten to use "chimperor" yet.
posted by justgary at 1:18 AM on May 25, 2005


And the US wouldn't even sell Australia the schematics for outdated nukes! Now we aussies have to sign up for some bogus missile defense system because we lack a deterrent! We gotta get ourselves some of that sweet mutually assured destruction.
Oh wait...
posted by arjuna at 1:35 AM on May 25, 2005


There's a reason that Eisenhower warned us about the military-industrial complex, you know.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Military-Industrial Complex Speech, Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1961 (Entire Speech here)

Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

________________

28 years before this speech, retired General Smedley Butler (The man who foiled the business-led Fascist takeover of the United States in 1933) had this to say:

War is just a racket. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of people. Only a small inside group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the masses.

I believe in adequate defense at the coastline and nothing else. If a nation comes over here to fight, then we'll fight. The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns 6 percent over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent. Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag.

I wouldn't go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers. There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket.

There isn't a trick in the racketeering bag that the military gang is blind to. It has its "finger men" to point out enemies, its "muscle men" to destroy enemies, its "brain men" to plan war preparations, and a "Big Boss" Super-Nationalistic-Capitalism.

It may seem odd for me, a military man to adopt such a comparison. Truthfulness compels me to. I spent thirty- three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country's most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle- man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.

I suspected I was just part of a racket at the time. Now I am sure of it. Like all the members of the military profession, I never had a thought of my own until I left the service. My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of higher-ups. This is typical with everyone in the military service.

I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912 (where have I heard that name before?). I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.

During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. Looking back on it, I feel that I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.

(more here)

20 of the top 25 U.S. arms clients in the developing world in 2003 -- a full 80% -- were either undemocratic regimes or governments with records of major human rights abuses

The United States is The Biggest Arms Dealer in The World. It's not about Democracy, it's about money. If you've got the bucks, the US has the guns.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 2:20 AM on May 25, 2005


But did those others also invade other countries in the name of "freedom and democracy"

amberglow, Bill Clinton has a lot of bloodshed and support for shitty regimes to answer for. As does Jimmy Carter, whom I otherwise love. LBJ did much good, and was a cynical sonuvabitch who extended a war for what he admits were no good reasons. Kennedy started that war, along with the whole counterinsurgency movement to take down governments he didn't like. He was a stupid bastard who lied about his health (like FDR) and popped pills like mad throughout the Bay of Pigs and Missile Crisis. Truman dropped the atom bomb (he also fought the bastard Dulles Bros. and wouldn't let them take down incipient nationalist nations like Mossadegh's Iran... they had to wait for Eisenhower to slip that by). FDR took the US to war dishonestly (not touching the validity of that... just pointing it out).

Democratic presidents have a lot of blood on their hands. Have been cozy with many a foul dictator. And despite that fact, GWB is the worst President ever. No former President has caused more harm to the world at large and to his own nation. Not even Andrew Jackson. Of course we have Jackson on a bill of currency. How long until we add GWB? He could be on the three-dollar bill. As in 'queer as...'.

justgary, just keep ignoring the forest for the trees. Why address the issues, arguments and facts brought up here when you can focus on 'Rethuglican', whine about itm, and use it as a way to hide from the truth?

Fuzzy Monster, fabulous link. Thanks for that.
posted by the_savage_mind at 2:45 AM on May 25, 2005


.
posted by gsb at 3:31 AM on May 25, 2005


I think calling this just business as usual doesn't work anymore, when we're fighting and occupying 2 countries, and seriously ratcheting up the rhetoric on more. Most recent previous presidents didn't purposely start elective wars, Reagan excepted.

... "Arming repressive regimes while simultaneously proclaiming a campaign against tyranny undermines the credibility of the United States and makes it harder to hold other nations to high standards of conduct on human rights and other key issues," argues Frida Berrigan.

Arming undemocratic governments often helps to enhance their power, fueling conflict or enabling human rights abuses. These blows to the reputation of the United States are in turn impediments to winning the "war of ideas" in the Muslim world and beyond, undermining efforts to dry up financial and political support for terrorist organizations like al-Qaeda. ...

posted by amberglow at 5:24 AM on May 25, 2005


I think calling this just business as usual doesn't work anymore, when we're fighting and occupying 2 countries, and seriously ratcheting up the rhetoric on more.

Fighting and occupying countries and ratcheting up the rhetoric (i.e., fanning the flames of war) is, if you're The World's Biggest Arms Dealer, business as usual.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 6:34 AM on May 25, 2005


Fighting and occupying countries and ratcheting up the rhetoric (i.e., fanning the flames of war) is, if you're The World's Biggest Arms Dealer, business as usual.

Not really--we haven't done it since Vietnam (which ended 30 yrs ago).
posted by amberglow at 8:46 AM on May 25, 2005


Besides, nofundy hasn't even gotten to use "chimperor" yet.
posted by justgary at 4:18 AM EST


I have too!
Just not in this thread.
Yet.
You're gonna have to monitor my speech closer dude.
Thanks for thinking of me. [blush]

OK, if I have to, but it's just for gary.

Chimperor, Chimperor, Chimperor.
There.
Now don't ask again.
At least in this thread.
Or today.
[and yes I'm pissed you beat me to using it, so there, you happy?] :-)
posted by nofundy at 9:40 AM on May 25, 2005


"A good starting point towards a more sound arms sales policy would be to implement the underlying assumptions of U.S. arms export law, which call for arming nations only for purposes of self-defense and avoiding arms sales to nations that engage in patterns of systematic human rights abuses."

That doesn't sound profitable. This idea will never get anywhere.

Love the Smedley Butler quote, Fuzzy Monster. Thanks.
posted by effwerd at 11:13 AM on May 25, 2005


Fighting and occupying countries and ratcheting up the rhetoric (i.e., fanning the flames of war) is, if you're The World's Biggest Arms Dealer, business as usual.
posted by Fuzzy Monster

Not really--we haven't done it since Vietnam (which ended 30 yrs ago).
posted by amberglow


I see where you're coming from, amberglow. I was using the 'Big Tent' definition of fighting and occupying: Grenada, Kosovo, Haiti (oh my!) among others in terms of fighting; propped-up puppet regimes and military bases spread around the world in terms of occupying. But you are absolutely right: the large-scale military occupation of Iraq is something the U.S. hasn't seen since Viet Nam.

the_savage_mind and effwerd: yeah, that Smedley Butler was a Hellova guy. It's crazy reading about the attempted 1933 Business Plot to bring down The Roosevelt Government: it reads like some way-out Alternate History of the States... but it actually happened.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 12:03 PM on May 25, 2005


I think calling this just business as usual doesn't work anymore, when we're fighting and occupying 2 countries, and seriously ratcheting up the rhetoric on more. Most recent previous presidents didn't purposely start elective wars, Reagan excepted.
... "Arming repressive regimes while simultaneously proclaiming a campaign against tyranny undermines the credibility of the United States and makes it harder to hold other nations to high standards of conduct on human rights and other key issues," argues Frida Berrigan


Was the invasion of Afghanistan really an elective war? Would a Democratic president have behaved any differently with regard to Afghanistan? How is shipping arms to Pakistan now different from us shipping arms to Stalin during the Second World War? If it isn't different, do you also condemn that?
posted by me & my monkey at 1:57 PM on May 25, 2005


Russia was on OUR side during the Second World War, me &.

Afghanistan is not the elective war--sorry if i wasn't clear--Iraq and whichever of these two coming up (Syria or Iran) are. The fact remains that it's not equivalent to previous administrations--in scope and scale, and in arming both sides of nuclear-tension-filled nations (India and Pakistan). Clinton, as that Mother Jones piece showed, wasn't gaming brutal dictatorships the way Bush is now. Uzbekistan, Pakistan...the list is endless.
posted by amberglow at 3:06 PM on May 25, 2005


Russia was on OUR side during the Second World War, me &.

Uh, yeah. Just like Pakistan is (sort of) now. We were such staunch allies that, as soon as Hitler was defeated the Cold War started. That's some alliance, huh? But our side or not, Stalin was a brutal dictator matched only by Hitler. That's who our ally was, that's who we supported, that's who we gave effective control of Eastern Europe after the war. That's right, the guy who killed more of his own citizens than Hitler did.

Afghanistan is not the elective war--sorry if i wasn't clear--Iraq and whichever of these two coming up (Syria or Iran) are.

Unless you have access to time-travel technology, it's a bit premature to talk about occupying two countries now, isn't it?

The fact remains that it's not equivalent to previous administrations--in scope and scale, and in arming both sides of nuclear-tension-filled nations (India and Pakistan). Clinton, as that Mother Jones piece showed, wasn't gaming brutal dictatorships the way Bush is now. Uzbekistan, Pakistan...the list is endless.

Would it be better for us to sell arms to just India, or just Pakistan? Would that make the region more secure, if we disrupted the balance of power there? Maybe things would be better if we just ceded Indian arms sales to the Russians?

And the endless list is about the same as it ever was:
"A case in point is [Clinton Administration] Undersecretary of State Lynn Davis's recent proposal to deliver thirty-eight F-16 fighter aircraft to Pakistan as part of a deal in which Pakistan would agree to "cap" its nuclear weapons program. The plan would not only require an override of the Pressler Amendment, which bars arms sales to Pakistan as long as it is pursuing a nuclear weapons capability, but it would provide Pakistan with a plane that its own military and intelligence officials acknowledge is the most likely delivery vehicle for a Pakistani nuclear bomb!"
Did you read the same Mother Jones article I did? The one I read said "The Clinton administration has not been shy about arming potential foes in regional conflicts" and "During Clinton's first year in office, U.S. arms sales more than doubled" and "What we found is that while the U.S. obviously sells weapons to NATO countries and relatively democratic allies like Japan and South Korea, it also has a nasty habit of arming both sides in a conflict, as well as countries with blighted democracy or human-rights records, like Indonesia, Colombia, and Saudi Arabia" and "[The arms industry] filled the Democratic Party coffers to the tune of nearly $2 million in the 1998 election cycle." But you're obviously right, this is clearly the fault of the Republican party in general and Satan^H^H^H^H^HBush in particular.
posted by me & my monkey at 3:40 PM on May 25, 2005


from the report: ...Many countries previously barred from receiving U.S. military aid, because of nuclear testing, human rights abuses, or their harboring of terrorists, began to receive aid in 2001. Two dozen nations-- including Afghanistan, Algeria, Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Uruguay-- either became first-time recipients of FMF during this period or were restored to the program after long absences. As a result, the number of countries receiving FMF assistance increased from 48 to 71 between 2001 and 2006—a 47.9% increase. ...
posted by amberglow at 5:55 AM on May 26, 2005


Two dozen nations-- including Afghanistan, Algeria, Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Uruguay-- either became first-time recipients of FMF during this period or were restored to the program after long absences.

Gee, I can't imagine why Afghanistan made the list. Oh, that's right, there's a different government there now. And why Pakistan? Oh, that's right, they're our "ally" now.

So what exactly does this list prove? Do you really believe that a Democratic administration wouldn't be selling guns right now to every two-bit tinpot dictator in exchange for support in the "war on terror?"
posted by me & my monkey at 8:18 AM on May 27, 2005


NY Times today: U.S. Has Loosened Rules for Arms Sales, Study Says... Charles Pena, a military specialist at the Cato Institute, a Washington research group that promotes free-market policies, said that while arms transfers were preferable to sending troops, there are risks.
"If a regime can use these arms to subdue their own population," Mr. Pena said, "this could come back to haunt us. We need to be more mindful of the long-term implications, especially in the Muslim world."...


me &, a Democratic administration wouldn't have declared an asinine and unwinnable war on a strategy--we're not that dumb. Nor would we have invaded Iraq.
posted by amberglow at 1:30 PM on May 27, 2005


me &, a Democratic administration wouldn't have declared an asinine and unwinnable war on a strategy--we're not that dumb. Nor would we have invaded Iraq.

No, you're obviously right. For example, that damn Republican Kennedy, who got us into Vietnam - what was he thinking?

If you really think that a Democratic administration wouldn't be selling arms to everybody and their brother after 9/11, if you really think that Democratic administrations aren't willing to initiate wars when they think it's appropriate, I don't know what to say to you.
posted by me & my monkey at 3:23 PM on May 27, 2005


We were meddling in Vietnam before Kennedy, me &. And if you think we initiated Kosovo, you're delusional. They were killing each other to begin with, and we got NATO involved.

We weren't selling arms to everyone and their brother pre-9/11. And in what kind of universe would it make sense to arm more people than before 9/11? none--especially not unstable and inhumane regimes.
posted by amberglow at 3:33 PM on May 27, 2005


We were meddling in Vietnam before Kennedy, me &.

Yes, and Kennedy and Johnson took us from meddling (military advisors) to fighting - regular infantry in combat. There are lots of places we've put military advisors, where we haven't ended up in full-scale military conflict.

And if you think we initiated Kosovo, you're delusional. They were killing each other to begin with, and we got NATO involved.

How does their internal conflict have anything to do with us, exactly? What national interest did we have at stake? None. We initiated a war on another country based on our displeasure with their internal actions. Now, you may think this was the right thing to do, but it's hard to make the statement that we didn't initiate something, and there are obvious comparisons you can make to Iraq, although at least Clinton was honest about his motivations.

We weren't selling arms to everyone and their brother pre-9/11.

Really? Did you forget the rest of the thread, with all of the links 'n' stuff? The difference is one of degree, not kind.

And in what kind of universe would it make sense to arm more people than before 9/11? none--especially not unstable and inhumane regimes.

The kind of universe where we're willing to make friends with unpleasant people in order to get them to do things for us that they wouldn't otherwise do? The kind of universe where we're fighting entities that aren't states, and where we may need the support of states that we otherwise wouldn't want to associate with? Doesn't it, for example, make sense for us to arm the Afghans instead of occupying Afghanistan for some time to come?

Again, it's useful to point to Stalin as an example - we did everything we could to provide arms and supplies, so that he could continue fighting Hitler. Keep in mind that the Soviet Union was a member of the Axis until Hitler turned against Russia. The Soviet Union was an ally of convenience, and Stalin was as vile a dictator as you can find.
posted by me & my monkey at 3:49 PM on May 27, 2005


We had a list of banned countries--didn't you read any part of the report? We did NOT sell arms to those countries back then. Your attempts at defining equivalence are not backed by fact.
posted by amberglow at 3:54 PM on May 27, 2005


We had a list of banned countries--didn't you read any part of the report? We did NOT sell arms to those countries back then. Your attempts at defining equivalence are not backed by fact.

Are you saying that, prior to the current administration, we didn't sell arms to any countries that had poor human rights records?

Yes, we are selling arms to more countries than before. The same could be said about the Clinton administration, which tried to sell arms to Pakistan in direct contravention to the Pressler Amendment. So no, I don't see a difference in kind. Where has Saudi Arabia been getting all its arms, exactly? How about Indonesia? Oh no, no human rights abusers there. You've got me.

Look, the case can be made that we shouldn't be selling arms to all these countries. But you're not making that case. Instead, you're content to just use this as another club to beat against the current administration. Have fun with that. But don't kid yourself that, in this regard, the current administration is any different from previous administrations. There are plenty of criticisms to level against Bush - why bother with the weak ones?
posted by me & my monkey at 4:07 PM on May 27, 2005


I think that having some standards, such as that list of banned countries, is better than the open season we have now. Just like containment of Iraq was better than the War/Invasion/Occupation. It's not about perfect, but about better. It's not hard--and what's going on now is not the same.
posted by amberglow at 4:28 PM on May 27, 2005


I think that having some standards, such as that list of banned countries, is better than the open season we have now.

Why, exactly? If we didn't list countries that had serious human rights violations, what good is the list exactly?

It's not hard--and what's going on now is not the same.

So you keep saying. But it looks just like what Clinton was doing, as far as I can see. You can wave that list around all you like, but the plain fact is we've been selling arms for decades to lots of unpleasant people, and our arms sales have always been driven by Realpolitik foreign-policy goals and economics, not idealism.
posted by me & my monkey at 4:55 PM on May 27, 2005


of course we were, but we still had banned countries that did not get them--why are you ignoring that? we didn't do exactly the same thing in the past, and there were countries beyond the pale.
posted by amberglow at 12:28 PM on May 28, 2005


why are you ignoring that?

I'm not ignoring it, I just don't invest it with the same significance you do. Why are you ignoring the obvious fact that we sold arms to countries with terrible human rights records?
posted by me & my monkey at 10:04 PM on May 28, 2005


I'm saying we didn't always do so--there were countries that were beyond the pale before, and now they're not.
posted by amberglow at 10:07 PM on May 28, 2005


Amberglow, I havea partiular hatred for Republican presidents like both Bushes, Reagan and Nixon. But you have to face the facts that selling arms to undesirable nations is in no way, shape or form restricted to Republican presidents.

Kennedy outfitted stone-cold Cuban thugs/criminals/murderers, for chrissakes. We did in fact always sell arms to 'beyond the pale' countries, at least throughout the 20th Century. Those policies didn't go on hiatus during Democratic presidencies.

You can argue that things are worse now than they've been in a while (although I'd say that the 60s and early 70s were as bad... Indonesia, Philippines, Argentina, Bolivia, Iran, etc., etc.), but that means you are saying the previous 'beyond the pale' sales were tolerable while the new, marginally higher, levels are not. I'm not sure I see the validity of a statement like that.

Personally, I don't find either level acceptable. The former wasn't any more defensible from either an ethical or a practical perspective than the latter. And by practical, I mean supporting regimes which create or continue the conditions that produce anti-American sentiment and terrorism almost in its entirety.

The bottom line is the US will not be allowed to have a president who will fundamentally change these types of policies. Never happen. There's more chance of Hell freezing over than someone like a Gary Hart or a Howard Dean swearing the oath of office. Instead we get candidates like Kerry ending up in the final race, who mght have differences to Bush in respect to abortion, social security and religion in government (all meaningful things) but would never have changed foreign policy radically. Hell, if Carter wouldn't/couldn't do it, we have to face facts. It's a phenomenon that supercedes party platforms completely.
posted by the_savage_mind at 2:53 AM on May 29, 2005


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