Now Does This Make You Proud?
by James Glaser
May 22, 2007

The term "Proud to be an American" has been around for a long time, and most Americans are proud of their citizenship, but sometimes when you find out what Washington has been doing, and the direction our country is headed, you start to wonder what we are proud of.

At one time, the United States was thought of as the "good guy," but that is no longer true. Our being in an almost constant state of war since WW II has finally caught up with us, and now the rest of the world looks at our country as the Merchant of Death. When you read some of Frida Berrigan's research you will see why they think that.

Frida Berrigan is a researcher with the Arms Trade Resource Center of the World Policy Institute, and the following few paragraphs come from her:

Since 2001, U.S. global military sales have normally totaled between $10 and $13 billion. That's a lot of weapons, but in fiscal year 2006, the Pentagon broke its own recent record, inking arms sales agreements worth $21 billion. It almost goes without saying that this is significantly more than any other nation in the world.

First in Sales of Surface-to-Air Missiles:

Between 2001 and 2005, the United States delivered 2,099 surface-to-air missiles to nations in the developing world, 20% more than Russia, the next largest supplier.

First in Sales of Military Ships:

During that same period, the U.S. sent 10 "major surface combatants" like aircraft carriers and destroyers to developing nations. Collectively, the four major European weapons producers shipped thirteen. (And we were first in the anti-ship missiles that go along with such ships, with nearly double (338) the exports of the next largest supplier Russia (180).

First in Military Training:

A thoughtful empire knows that it is not enough to send weapons; you have to teach people how to use them. The Pentagon plans on training the militaries of 138 nations in 2008 at a cost of nearly $90 million. No other nation comes close.

First in Private Military Personnel:

According to bestselling author Jeremy Scahill, there are at least 126,000 private military personnel deployed alongside uniformed military personnel in Iraq alone. Of the more than sixty major companies that supply such personnel worldwide, more than 40 are U.S. based.

We have become a warrior society, and now our economy demands that we keep building the tools that take life. It has become a joke to most of the world when American politicians claim that they are pro-life.

It would be safe to say that our military and our weapons kill more people world-wide than any other nation. Every year we sell billions of dollars worth of weapons, and if a country can't afford it, we give them the weapons. Every year we give billions to Israel alone, so that they can buy weapons from us.

That is the cycle our economy is in. We sell weapons to third world countries or our taxpayers buy them and give them away. Either way, the American defense industry keeps pumping out product, millions of Americans are employed, and untold numbers of innocent people are killed all over the globe. All the while, Washington politicians are fed money for re-election, and somebody gets a lot richer.

I don't take any pride in this cycle of death that keeps our nation's economy afloat, and I don't see any political party that wants to change it.

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