Atanu Dey On India's Development

The Care and Feeding of the Permanent Arms Industry

Don’t let me stop your great self-destruction.
Die if you want to, you misguided martyr.
I wash my hands of your demolition.
Die if you want to, you innocent puppet!

————– Pilate to Jesus at the trial in Jesus Christ Superstar.

Fact: A permanent arms industry requires perpetual wars for its sustenance.

Fact: The most advanced industrialized economies have the most high-tech industries.

Fact: The arms industry is one of the most intensively high-tech industries.

Final fact: The US has the most sophisticated high-tech armaments industry.

How many people work in the high-tech arms industries? I estimate that globally around 10 million people work directly for them. How many people work for the the high-tech arms industry indirectly? I estimate about 6,000 million. We all work indirectly for the arms industry. Part of what I produce, I will consume myself; part will be taken away by the government and used for (among other things) buying high-tech arms. Irrespective of who you are and where you live, part of your production will be sucked up by the high-tech armaments industry. It is a monster with an insatiable appetite.

The arms merchants have to continue fueling the fires of war to keep their factories humming. They depend on a perpetual state of war between India and Pakistan in the Indian subcontinent. I had analysed that conflict as a deadly dollar auction game. If any side in the conflict is in imminent danger of losing, the arms seller will help it out so that the war continues.

A few weeks ago on Oct 16th, I had pointed out the true weapons of mass destruction and wrote:

Why is the US so hell-bent on supporting the terrorist nation of Pakistan? What is in it for the US? After all, Pakistan is also broke. Why, one could ask in puzzlement, would anyone want to sell military hardware to Pakistan? My answer is this: so that India would be forced to buy weapons from the US to keep up with the terrorist nation of Pakistan.

The story goes like this. The US gives away $1.5 billion worth of weapons to Pakistan. In effect, the US is paying its own producers of weapons, who in turn support the US policy makers by locating their factories of weapons of mass destruction in the policy makers’ constituency. Read more jobs for the merchants of death. Then India’s defense establishment looks over the border and says we now need $2.5 billion worth of stuff from the US. More jobs for the merchants of death. Total benefit to the merchants of death: $4.0 billion. Total cost to the impoverished populations of Pakistan and India: $4 billion.

Do they really arm both sides of a conflict and if needed give arms away for free to the weaker side so that the conflict does not end? Let’s see what the newspapers are reporting in the last few days. The Washington Times of Nov 23rd: U.S. amnesia on Pakistan

On Nov. 16, the Defense Security and Cooperation Agency sent notifications to Congress of a $1.3 billion arms package for Pakistan, a major non-NATO ally of America. The deal includes eight P-3C Orion naval reconnaissance planes possibly with anti-ship and anti-submarine missiles, 2,000 TOW-2A heavy anti-armor guided missiles and the deadly PHALANX Close-In Weapon Systems for ships. Ostensibly, these sales are to enable Pakistan to fight the war on terror. What’s even better for Pakistan is that the money for this sale is likely to come from the $1.5 billion over five years that the U.S has promised Pakistan in military aid, making it a veritable freebie.

OK, so the Terrorist State of Pakistan has been armed. Now what about India? OK, let’s sell some arms to those poor suckers. Here is what the Indian Express reported yesterday: US F-16s for Pak? Maybe, but they offer India Patriot anti-missile system and F-16s too.

…[Washington] offered top-of-the-line military hardware to India including the Patriot anti-missile system, C-130 stretched medium lift transport aircraft, P-3C Orion maritime surveillance planes—and even F-16 fighters.

The care and feeding of the monstrous permanent arms industry requires perpetual armed conflict. Like sheep to the slaughter, the third world countries eagerly line up for the treat of killing their neighbors while impoverishing themselves even further. A dispassionate observer could easily conclude that these poor over-populated third-rate countries deserve their demolition and wash his hands of the whole sorry mess.

It is all Karma, neh?

[Go to Part 2 of "The Care and Feeding of the Permanent Arms Industry."]

  • http://www.mykesweblog.com Myke

    Bullseye! We reap what we sow.

  • Deepak Ghosh

    The only way for India to get out of this cycle is to promote private arms industry in India that can export to other countries. India needs to become better at it than other countries and this situation will change.

  • Matt

    Your post here has a few fairly significant problems. First of all, it is not a ‘fact’ that the arms industry requires perpetual warfare for sustenance, merely the perpetual threat of war. Most of the arms produced during the Cold War (certainly the expensive, profitable ones) never got anywhere near a battlefield. Arms industries, while certainly dangerous and in need of strict regulation, are necessary strategically as long as separate nation-states exist. The United States gives arms to Pakistan because it requires Pakistan’s help, not because it appreciates its government or conduct in any significant way. They sell arms to India so that their sales to Pakistan do not upset the regional balance of power and touch off a war. The U.S. needs to strengthen Pakistan for the ‘war on terror’ and such, and they need to maintain the Indo-Pakistani balance of power.

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