Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Put your Arms around the World

So, the EU has been badgered into lifting the arms embargo on Syria. A country being torn apart by violence, where more than 80,000 people have been killed and 1.5 million have fled since the uprising against Mr Assad began in 2011 (UN estimates). The idea is that by allowing countries like Britain and France to sell weapons to the rebels/insurgents (currently the good guys in most western media), we can help to "stabilize" the situation. It's genius! When you look at it closely, it's so clearly the LACK of weapons that is causing all this bloodshed! Which is why Britain and France have been calling for an end to this arms embargo for some time... Because they care god-dammit! Russia, in the spirit of fair-play, have announced that they will now honour a contract made before the embargo to provide the Assad regime with some new weapons as well. Namely a shiny new surface to air missile system apparently to deter the Israelis from blowing more shit up and slow down any Western military intervention. Again Russia's decision is purely humanitarian, aimed at trying to create a peaceful, harmonious Syria in which everyone gets along.

Even if we suppose for a moment that this is not about money, power, weakening Iran or any of the other usual suspects, I am still at a loss to understand how people buy this "arm them to save them" rhetoric. It's like the old NRA argument: more guns = less violence and more freedom. The problem, they tell us, occurs when some people have guns and others don't. If everyone has guns, then we all revert to a Gandhi-like pacifism and live harmoniously together in fear. Well, it doesn't seem to be working for America, with one of the highest murder rates on the planet. No, I'm more inclined to think that all the weapons that we funnel into Syria will, at some point, be used to kill people. Maybe, if we're lucky, they'll even be used to kill the bad guys... until we switch sides. We spent years arming Saddam, and were happy with the situation as long as he was using the weapons against Iran. We even privately supported his decision to use chemical weapons against the Kurds. It was only when he had the cheek to attack Kuwait, a western backed oil nation, that the weapons we had sold him were suddenly deemed to be "in the wrong hands". Until we can separate business and politics we are doomed to keep repeating these mistakes... if you can even call them mistakes. To the arms industry, this is all just business as usual...

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