Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Sweet Deal

I've been neglecting Watching America the last few weeks because our national papers have had plenty to keep my blood pressure up. This week I ambled over, and I'm glad I did. I found an article from Junge Welt which makes it clear that one facet of our economy is booming: the weapons companies.

Recently, the Wall Street Journal published a huffy piece outraged that the US government was selling fighter jets and other armaments to Saudi Arabia. What the article didn't make clear was, first, that the George W. Bush administration had been selling armaments to Saudi Arabia, and second, that the material being sold were essentially upgrades to fighter planes sold to that country 30 years ago. The point the WSJ was trying to make is that poor Israel would now be doomed.

Of course, that is certainly not the case, and for several reasons. First, the Israeli government jawboned our government into agreeing that the F-15s being shipped to the Saudis would not be the top of the line, most up to date version of the fighter plane.

Second, and here's the real kicker:

...The planned deliveries, which have already begun, mean a win-win situation for the U.S. armaments industry: according to agreements already long in effect, the United States unconditionally and perpetually guarantees Israeli military superiority in the region. The deals with Arab states, therefore, automatically assure that Israel will receive additional counterbalancing weaponry, a part of which is paid for by American taxpayers. [Emphasis added]

But, wait! there's more!

The WSJ had to have known all of this, but as a favor to the Israeli government and to the armament industries, they proceeded to publish this piece filled with faux outrage, knowing that both the munition boys and the Israelis would win and win big with this bit of puffery:

In reality, it appears the reports were instigated by the WSJ in order to provide Israel justification for its own armaments wishes. Israel had planned to buy 75 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters -- a model already superior to the most modern version of the F-15 -- but, because of the high cost, currently it can only afford 20 of these aircraft. By publicizing the deal, the WSJ could be trying to toss a monkey wrench into the machinery so that Israel gets a larger number of F-35 aircraft, free of charge.

I would call this a win-win situation, except for one thing. Yes, Israel and the captains of that industry both make out like bandits. The taxpayers, however, aren't so lucky. We'll be picking up the tab for a bunch of fighter jets that our own government won't purchase because they are too damned expensive.

So, we're laying off teachers, people are losing their homes, unemployment benefits are running out for hundreds of thousands of people, but we're adding to the armaments of governments in the most volatile part of the planet.

Nope, no change here. I even looked under the refrigerator.

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