Sunday, August 12, 2007

The right to sell and distribute arms

The people who prattle about the ease of obtaining non-automatic assault rifle look-alikes in the US should perhaps look at how easy it is for international arms dealers to move large quantities of real military hardware. The US, China, Russia and a host of other shady entities are selling weapons to anyone who wants them, or so it seems.

A secret $40 million deal to sell Russian-made weapons: 50,000 AKM rifles, an improved version of the AK-47; 50,000 AKMS rifles, the same gun with folding stock; and 5,000 PKM machine guns to Iraq without the US knowing about it, was just broken up in Italy by a task force investigating the Mafia. Does our pet government in Iraq want to use them against insurgents or does it want to sell them to insurgents, terrorists and militias? Despite our coy outrage about Iranian weapons coming into Iraq, there seem to be US weapons being used by other militias against the theoretically friendly government of Turkey and the less friendly government of Iran. No one seems to know where the 190,000 assault rifles and automatic pistols we lost track of went, or where the large inventory of explosives and weapons the US didn't think worth guarding went, but it's easy to imagine that they didn't wind up in the hands of the Iraqi army and police. It's easy to imagine that all these Russian weapons will disappear or be traded in when the US fulfills its plan to replace them with American Made M16's. It's not hard to imagine that the black market will swell like a two day old corpse in the Iraqi sun with Kalashnikovs for sale. It's hard to imagine that making Iraq a vast dumping ground for arms is doing much to stabilize the country or the larger theater of operations.
"It seems strange that a pro-Western government, supported by the U.S. Army and other NATO countries on its own territory, would seek Russian or Chinese weapons through questionable channels,"
said the Italian prosecutor. Yes it does, unless you're aware that the Raison d'être of the war on terror is to sell weapons and other hardware and services and to enrich various companies like the Carlyle group, Halliburton, Blackwater and all the middle men and smugglers and politicians and industrialists who get rich from the destruction and fear they spread.

Giving arms to those who can't afford it and then selling arms to those who then need to protect themselves from the people we arm; arming repressive dictatorships and arming the resistance movement; selling to our allies and to the people who oppose them. We pay for the guns, they keep the profits.

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