I thought I'd start off this thread (which I hope to update every time something about militarism drives me especially crazy) with my nomination for 2011 Militarism Understatement of the Year. From the LA Times report
on a 50% jump in US arms sales to a record $46.1 billion this year:
The boom is drawing fire from arms-control advocates, who worry that weapons are going to volatile regions of the world and could end up in the wrong hands.
Pentagon officials defend the sales, saying they are carefully regulated by the U.S. State and Defense departments to protect national security and are key tools in maintaining good ties with U.S. allies.
There's some interesting data included about the $60+ billion multi-year deal with the Saudis, and the ammo sold to Egypt, Tunisia and Bahrain which was used against civilian protesters.
The LA Times being a liberal paper, buries the money quote on Obama policy for the last lines of the article. Turns out President Obama thinks arms sales are overly burdened by government regulations:
The Obama administration has embarked on an initiative to reform export control that will roll back many of the restrictions on the way weapons are sold to foreign countries. Northrop, which specializes in systems such as drones and cyber security, is supporting the change, saying it will help U.S. companies win contracts.
"We have been so focused on protecting our technological edge that we have actually done severe and unnecessary damage to our defense industrial base," said Northrop Chief Executive Wesley G. Bush at a recent conference in London.
"To the credit of President Obama's administration," he said, "the U.S. has finally started serious attempts to reform the laws and regulations governing our export control."