Terry Jones is the author of Terry Jones’s War on the War on Terrorism (Nation Books)
I’ve decided to start manufacturing weapons. Nothing too ambitious, just some small arms, a few automatic weapons, and maybe a couple of bombs. You know the sort of thing.
It’s not that I’m keen on killing people. I haven’t actually killed anyone myself yet. It’s all to do with economics.
You see, I can’t help but notice that the arms industry is doing extremely well. In fact in these times of economic disaster, it’s the one industry that seems to be expanding.
According to the Government’s Defence and Security Organization, the UK has become the top global defense exporter, notching up a golden £10 billion of new business and snagging a walloping 33 percent of the market.
In fact the UK is now the second-biggest player in the global arms market, with a whizzo $53 billion of sales over the past five years, compared with America’s $63 billion and Russia’s measly $33 billion, France’s pathetic $17 billion, and Germany and Israel trailing at $9 billion each.
And even in these difficult economic times, things look good for the future too. In 2007, global arms buying rose by 6 percent to £1. 3 trillion. And according to the Center For Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, the US spent $696 billion last year and is set to increase that to $706 billion this year.
US operations in Iraq are currently costing $14 million per hour. That’s $343 million per day, or $3, 973 per second. By the time you finish reading this, the United States will have spent another $1 million in Iraq and Afghanistan combined!
That’s an awful lot of gravy to share around, and I wouldn’t mind putting my knees under the arms industry’s table.
What I admire about the arms industry is that it’s willing to put its money where its mouth is, when it comes to promoting its members’ interests. And it has a lot of money.
Last summer, for example, the National Rifle Association of America announced that it intended to spend $40 million during the 2008 elections. That’s quite a lot, isn’t it? And $15 million was earmarked merely to persuade the Americans that Barack Obama would be a threat to gun ownership in the US.
They wouldn’t throw that sort of money around if they didn’t think it was going to do some good. And of course it does.
In the 2000 presidential race, the arms industry gave Bush five times the donations it gave to Al Gore. And Bush duly showed his thanks by doubling the expenditure on defense from just over $333 billion in 2001 to $696 billion in 2008.