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Obama the Arms Dealer

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Posted on Feb 14, 2011
U.S. Air Force / Master Sgt. Kevin J. Gruenwald

With the U.S. already maxing out the credit card with roughly a trillion dollars a year on defense spending, America’s weapons industry has been forced to look elsewhere for buyers. Luckily for the military-industrial complex, there’s an eager salesman in the White House.


As defense giants like Boeing, Raytheon (RTN, Fortune 500), and Lockheed Martin (LMT, Fortune 500) increasingly seek to peddle their wares to well-financed (sometimes by the U.S.) international customers, they have a surprising ally: the President. “Obama is much more favorably disposed to arms exports than any of the previous Democratic administrations,” says Loren Thompson, a veteran defense consultant. Or, as Jeff Abramson, deputy director of the Arms Control Association, puts it: “There’s an Obama arms bazaar going on.”

Administration officials say the boom in arms exports is simply the result of healthy demand. Indeed, American-made arms are widely considered the best and most coveted weapons in the world. But the Obama team has hustled to pave the way for big sales like the Saudi deal; the President himself recently sought to secure a pending $4 billion aircraft deal with India. Obama is also backing a massive push to rewrite the rules that govern arms exports, a process that some say will reduce oversight of U.S. weapons sales.

For the administration, robust international arms sales advance domestic goals, like bolstering exports and supporting a defense workforce of more than 200,000. Weapons transfers are also a subtle yet potent form of diplomacy: By arming its allies, the U.S. can spread the burden of policing hot spots (the Middle East, the Korean peninsula). And arms exports give Obama’s State and Defense departments tremendous negotiating clout with buyers.

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By Frankthesalesforecaster, February 15, 2011 at 4:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This is just the recycling of petro-dollars into a domestic industry with good employment practices.  Come on you guys, who doesn’t love the good ole’ m-i complex feeding off our petro dolars instead of our tax dollars.  Only half the trade deficit is oil, cutting oil consumption is unpatriotic and weakens our m-i complex.  We’d get our trade deficit dollars with China back but you scaredee cats don’t want us selling the good stuff to the commies.

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By purplewolf, February 15, 2011 at 12:32 pm Link to this comment

Arms exports is simply the result of HEALTHY DEMAND?

What’s so healthy about this? It is totally insanity.

Why bother to educate the children, such as the education they receive now doesn’t prepare them for the non existent jobs that Repugs claim are out there.Just let them play those violent and destructive video games of war and destruction, it just gets out children ready for their real future when they become more cannon fodder for the MIC’s greed.

By selling more weapons to the rest of the world, many who hate us “for our freedoms”, really? Please. And American taxpayers financing these weapons, which no doubt, will be used against our children.

Perhaps when all the jobs are outsourced to the rest of the world and there is nothing left but the military and the factories that make weapons to destroy other people in the world, America will run out of money and no one will lend any more to pay for the wars, we may then stop the voracious war machine known as America.

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By watchingfrogsboil, February 15, 2011 at 9:33 am Link to this comment

Top Pentagon Military Officers are also Top Lockheed Martin Salesmen

Not sated after sacking the U.S. Treasury, like locusts our Military Industrial Complex is swarming around the globe seeking new sources of sustinance.  In the photo linked below we see U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton Schwartz presenting a model of the C-130J-30 Super Hercules to Indian Defense Minister A.K. Antony at a ceremony at the Air Force Station at Hindon near New Delhi, India on Saturday (5 February 2011) to mark the induction of the first of six Lockheed Martin C-130J airplanes purchased for the Indian Air Force.

U.S. total debt $55.6 trillion, U.S. federal debt $14.1 trillion, U.S. federal deficit $1.5 trillion, U.S. dollar rapidly losing world reserve currency status, as U.S. politicians bought and paid for by multinational corporations (legalized by Citizens United vs. FEC) cut education, close schools, convert asphalt roads to gravel and accelerate America’s descent into oblivion so they can pay Lockheed Martin and other greed- and graft-infested government contractors billions for Rube Goldberg defense systems and myriad non-defense boondoggles as unnecessary, unaffordable and unjustifiable as our unending wars for oil and profit.  And with the open support of Pentagon top brass, the debt for death and destruction will grow to plague nations around the world:

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By Steve E, February 15, 2011 at 5:20 am Link to this comment

We’re screwed, nothing is gonna stop this BS until the eventual final showdown.

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Peter Knopfler's avatar

By Peter Knopfler, February 14, 2011 at 11:40 pm Link to this comment

Don´t shoot in Tucson, but sell weapons of Mass
destruction to anyone, what is the Karma on this!
Following Alfred nobles Peace prize, more drone
killings today! Will it ever end or is the entire USA
economy built on DEATH.

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joentokyo's avatar

By joentokyo, February 14, 2011 at 11:19 pm Link to this comment

“Obama is much more favorably disposed to arms exports than any of the previous Democratic administrations,” says Loren Thompson, a veteran defense consultant?

Where did Loren Thompson get the idea the Obama administration is a Democratic administration. If walks and acts like a Republican, it must be a Republican!

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, February 14, 2011 at 8:28 pm Link to this comment

What a shame that we continue to expend this brain power on weapons and war.

Others may claim it is purely defensive in nature to which I might add….bullshit.

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By gerard, February 14, 2011 at 7:44 pm Link to this comment

While I appreciate this summary update from Fortune, at the same time I see it as the most discouraging thing I have read recently.  How are we to ever get hold of this MIC problem and the death and disaster it sows throughout the world?  Is this on no one’s conscience but a few 60+ “liberals” with computers? 
  With perfectly straight faces Fortune editors justify our selling weapons abroad to all and sundry because it “spreads the burden of policing hot spots.” This would be laughable “logic” if it were not insane:  Ergo, create hot spots so you can sell weapons and spread the burden of killing old men, women and children in foreign countries.  And the point that our weapons “give us tremendous negotiating clout.”  Bribery is negotiating? 
  WikiLeaks reveals all this wheeling and deeling, falsely called “diplomacy” to all of us.  Thing is,
knowing it, now we have to do something about it.  Damn WikiLeaks for rvealing the truth about what we are doing.  We really don’t want to wake up, do we?

Now the next commenter will tell me that “If we didn’t do it, someone else would.” P-u-l-e-e-z-e!

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