Arming the Planet

A new congressional report reveals that in 2008 the United States further increased its already leading position as the world’s biggest arms dealer.  From fighter jets to machine guns and far beyond, no nation in the world comes close to the number of weapons produced by American companies and sold in every corner of the globe.

$37.8 billion is total amount of income made on weapons deals by US manufacturers last year.  A number that represents 2/3 of all deals made in the entire world. Let me repeat that, two-thirds off all weapons deals on this planet involve American manufacturers.

This statistic from the same year that so many people lost their jobs and their homes, with record numbers of Americans without health insurance, and a new president being elected on a platform to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. (though mostly it was about Iraq).

Most media reports and analysis will focus on this huge share of the worlds weapons made by US companies, but what about those other companies?  Nations such as Italy, Russia, and France as all major players in the remaining 1/3 of the world’s arms exporters.  Both Italy and France being interesting examples of nations from within the EU where supposedly we are more anti-war and sensitive when it comes to where our money/weapons go.

Set against the backdrop of an economic crisis, a climate crisis, and violent conflicts raging on multiple continents, the news that weapons manufacturers had their best year ever, is something beyond shameful.