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Of all the things you’d want the President of the United States to tackle right after November’s congressional elections, how high on your list of priorities would you put the task of selling weapons to India?
It seems that even the fall tilling of Michelle Obama’s White House garden would be a more worthy presidential pursuit than peddling military hardware.
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November’s elections didn’t go all that well for Obama, and he has a giant to-do list to go through if he’s to convince America’s workaday majority that he’s really working for them. Yet, the weekend after the election, his first move was to fly 8,000 miles away to try to convince the Indian government to buy $5 billion-worth of military hardware from Boeing and a mess of other weaponry from Lockheed Martin and other U.S. arms dealers.
Screwy priorities aside, however, why the hell is the President of the United State of America playing Willy Loman for corporate arms hawkers? Yeah, I know they claim that the selling of killing machines creates jobs – but is war and death the only product America has to hawk to the world these days? Besides, India requires that a third of the work on the planes, missiles and other armaments it buys be farmed out to its manufacturers, creating jobs there, not here.
One other dicey point: India is stockpiling weaponry as part of its ever-escalating confrontation with its neighbor and bitter rival, Pakistan – a U.S. ally that our arms dealers also supply. How long before American soldiers get caught in this deadly crossfire of U.S. made weapons?
Pretensions aside, Obama’s trip to India is not about jobs, but about fattening the bottom line of war profiteers. The arms trade is immoral. It fuels perpetual war – and the president ought not be its traveling salesman.
“Wealthy and Worried, India Is Rich Arms Market,” The New York Times, November 5, 2010.