News that doesn't receive the necessary attention.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

CNN's Blitzer accurately observes that US weapons industry is first a jobs program. US less concerned whom it sells to or for what purpose, continues to sell lethal weapons to Saudi Arabia for its use against Yemen, sells to all sides of various Mid East wars thus making everything worse and creating refugees-CNN transcript, Wolf Blitzer and Sen. Rand Paul, Sept. 8, 2016


In following segment in Sept. 2016, Wolf Blitzer speaks with Senator Rand Paul about Obama administration sales of lethal weapons to Saudi Arabia which it uses to wage war on Yemen. (Trump administration is no different, weapons industry doing fine with him).

"BLITZER: For you, this is a moral issue because you know there are a lot of jobs at stake, certainly, if these defense contractors stop selling warplanes, other sophisticated equipment to Saudi Arabia. There is going to be a significant loss of jobs, revenue here in the United States. That's secondary from your standpoint. 

PAUL: Well, not only is it a moral question, it is a constitutional question....Saudi Arabia chose to get involved in a civil war and take sides on a civil war. We've now given $100 billion worth of arms under President Obama to Saudi Arabia. We've approved $100 billion worth of sales of arms. We also approved billions of dollars to be released to Iran. So we're supplying the arms on both sides of this arms race in the Middle East. We supplied Turkey with tanks that are now rolling in to Syria. And we have Kurdish troops using American arms to fight Turkish arms, which are supplied by the U.S. as well. So I think we do need to rethink whether or not this is making the situation better or worse.

There are now millions of displaced people in Yemen. They're refugees. So we supply the Saudis with arms, they create havoc and refugees in Yemen. Then what's the answer? Then we're going to take the Yemeni refugees in the United States? Maybe we ought to quit arming both sides of this war.... 

BLITZER: So you are opposed to the continued use of this military equipment to Saudi Arabia. How can you stop it? Are you planning to introduce legislation to stop or delay it?

PAUL: We have a privileged resolution, which means it will demand a vote, and a vote will occur because of the law. The Arms Export Control Act of 1970s gives the right of any one Senator to demand a vote on this. The Arms Export Control Act also says that we can only export arms that are solely for the legitimate defense of a country. Well, they're using these arms to have an incursion into a neighboring country and get involved in a neighboring country's civil war. But this is not self-defense of Saudi Arabia. So I think they're in breach of the original Arms Export Control Act.

But I also think that we should have a say. That Congress and the people should vote on whether we are in the middle of another war in the Middle East.

[13:55:30] BLITZER: Some of these Yemeni fighters that the Saudis are fighting together with the UAE and other countries, they are actually in Saudi Arabia. They've taken over some parts of southern Saudi Arabia. So wouldn't that justify the Saudis moving against them the way they are?

PAUL: Well, the Saudis invaded Yemen, and the Yemen rebels invaded back. But I don't think this was something where the Saudis were trying to stop an invasion. The Saudis actually invaded and started bombing in the capitol of Yemen."...



Obama outside of "norms:" "Obama has brokered more arms deals than any administration since World War II." But it's OK-US weaponizing the world was "instead of" US putting boots on the ground everywhere. "Not included in the 2016 totals are fighter jets deals with Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain, which are expected to top $7 billion."

Nov. 8, 2016, "Obama’s Final Arms-Export Tally More than Doubles Bush’s,", Marcus Weisgerber, Caroline Houck
"The Obama administration has approved more than $278 billion in foreign arms sales in its eight years, more than double the total of the previous administration [$128.6 billion], according to figures released by the Pentagon on Tuesday.

Many of the approved deals-most but hardly all of which have become actual sales-have been to Mideast nations....

Saudi Arabia has been the largest recipient, reaping prospective deals worth more than $115 billion, according to notices announcing the deals that were sent to Congress for approval.

“Nobody even comes close” for the number of deals and total value, said William Hartung, director of the Arms Security Project at the Center for International Policy.

Among the weapons approved for Riyadh: F-15 fighter jets, Apache attack helicopters, Blackhawk utility helicopters, missile interceptors, armored vehicles and bombs and missiles.

But Hartung noted that only about half of those approvals have so far resulted in actual contracts. For instance, the administration approved an $11.25 billion sale of four Lockheed Martin Multi-Mission Surface Combatants last year, but the Saudis have yet to place an order for the warships....

These estimated totals are compiled for each U.S. fiscal year, which runs from October through September, and often change as new data comes in. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency — the arm of the Pentagon that handles foreign sales — updates its data each year based on individual sales, so its figures often fluctuate from year to year.

Not included in the 2016 totals are fighter jets deals with Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain, which are expected to top $7 billion. The administration has approved those deals and is expected to publicly release them later in the year, meaning they will count toward 2017 arms sales figures.

How does the Obama administration compare to its predecessors? Earlier this year, Hartung did the math: Obama has brokered more arms deals than any administration since World War II. For immediate comparison, the George W. Bush administration approved $128.6 billion in arms export between 2001 and 2008." Above graph from defenseone


Added: The anti-war movement for 8 years during Bush was a giant fake:

March/April 2016, "The Obama Years Have Been Very Good to America’s Weapons Makers," Mother Jones, Brian Schatz 

"The United States has approved $200 billion in international arms deals since 2009." 

"Some of the factors driving the surge in American exports include a shift toward arming allies instead of putting American boots on the ground, regional threats from ISIS and Al Qaeda, and Obama’s 2013 decision to relax arms export rules, a move supported with an estimated $170 million in lobbying by the defense industry. In the past week, the Obama administration announced it was considering expanding weapons sales to Vietnam and easing an arms embargo on Libya."...


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