I know all about realities of the times and military parity and supporting our dwindling allies,
so don’t accuse me of being a peacenik (although there are worse things
to be called). According to Robin Wright of the Washington Post,

The
Bush administration will announce next week a series of arms deals
worth at least $20 billion to Saudi Arabia and five other oil-rich
Persian Gulf states as well as new 10-year military aid packages to
Israel and Egypt, a move to shore up allies in the Middle East and
counter Iran’s rising influence, U.S. officials said yesterday.

I know all about realities of the times and military parity and supporting our dwindling allies,
so don’t accuse me of being a peacenik (although there are worse things
to be called). According to Robin Wright of the Washington Post,

The
Bush administration will announce next week a series of arms deals
worth at least $20 billion to Saudi Arabia and five other oil-rich
Persian Gulf states as well as new 10-year military aid packages to
Israel and Egypt, a move to shore up allies in the Middle East and
counter Iran’s rising influence, U.S. officials said yesterday.

Bushcheney
Another bad idea from the administration from hell, the guys (and
women) who have proved themselves unable to get anything right. As a
sort of ‘so long, see ya later’
gesture on their way out of the Oval office, they’re going to arm Saudi
Arabia to the teeth and balance off the Bobbsey Twins of Middle East
stability–Israel and Egypt–against each other. An additional $20
billion in armaments for the hornets we stirred up. In case they run
out of Stingers.
That ought to win George Bush the Nobel Peace Prize.
Lootediraqiarms
Our soldiers and Marines are being killed on a daily basis in
Afghanistan and Iraq by armaments we sold those countries not all that
long ago. The piles of weaponry looted from unguarded Iraqi arms depots
were put there on a handshake from Donald Rumsfeld. The IEDs that have
become the weapon of choice for killing our troops are mostly put
together from the stuff we gave Saddam during the Iraq-Iran war. That’s
an inconvenient truth that Bush tries to deflect by pointing at Iran.
Lest I be criticized as merely anti-Bush, Democratic presidents have
been piling this same stuff into the hotspots of the world ever since
WWII. Equal-opportunity criminality on the part of past and present
administrations. The cold war was blamed and then, when the cold war
got over with  and we had that brief argument about what to do with the
‘peace dividend,’ the armament boys panicked and convinced Washington
that everyone was a threat and we better get back to business as usual.
Africanchildsoldier
Business as usual put AK-47s in the willing hands of 12 and 14 year-old
kids in Africa, where you can now be knocked off for the shoes you’re
wearing, to say nothing of a car, wristwatch or wallet. Somalia is such
a hotspot we only send Ethiopian troops there and Darfur in the Sudan
has become Nicholas Kristof’s life project. We run when our Marine barracks in Lebanon is blown up because everyone there has a gun and everyone there hates us.
It makes me nostalgic for the good old days of British colonial
rule. Colonialism, for all its bad press, was more about plundering
resources, cricket and polo than it was murdering the natives. The
Brits (never NRA types) didn’t believe in arming the natives and if
‘natives’ offends you as being politically incorrect, what the hell
else would you call the Sunni-Shiite madmen of the Middle East?

The
arms deals, which include the sales of a variety of sophisticated
weaponry, would be the largest negotiated by this administration. The
military assistance agreements would provide $30 billion in new U.S.
aid to Israel and $13 billion to Egypt over 10 years, the officials
said. Both figures represent significant increases in military support.

$20
billion, plus an additional $43 billion, who knows? Only a paragraph
apart and the numbers double, triple, quadruple. Children will be
killing each other (and us) as far into the future as an Ayatollah can
see.

U.S. officials said the arms sales to Saudi
Arabia are expected to include air-to-air missiles as well as Joint
Direct Attack Munitions, which turn standard bombs into "smart"
precision-guided bombs. Most, but not all, of the arms sales to the six
Gulf Cooperation Council countries — Saudi Arabia, the United Arab
Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman — will be defensive, the
officials said.

Smartbomb
What the hell kind of outright lie is that? A ‘smart bomb’ as a defensive weapon? Leave me alone or I’ll defend myself by
sending this thing down your chimney. We no longer have government by
democratic process. We are lied to consistently and unendingly by this
paranoid White House crowd we are unable to tame. Defensive, the officials said. And we swallow that and go out to the Wal-Mart to pick up a couple of six-packs for the weekend.

"This
is a big development, because it’s part of a larger regional strategy
and the maintenance of a strong U.S. presence in the region. We’re
paying attention to the needs of our allies and what everyone in the
region believes is a flexing of muscles by a more aggressive Iran. One
way to deal with that is to make our allies and friends strong," said a
senior administration official involved in the negotiations.

The regional strategy we have followed for the past six years has
•    damned near destroyed the Middle East,
•    built up al-Qaeda,
•    put Israel and Iran in a state of hysterical tension and
•    wrecked whatever was left of chances for reconciliation between Israel and Palestine.
And you mean to tell me we’re going to allow Dick Cheney and George Bush to give us a larger regional strategy? Someone tie these men to their chairs until January 19, 2009.
Insurgent
The Saudis, who we are about to bless with $30 billion in armaments, supplied 15 of the 19 terrorists that attacked us on 9-11 and continues to provide 55% of the foreign insurgents in Iraq who are killing our troops. Not to put too fine a point on it, but not a single 9-11 terrorist came from or was connected to Iraq.
In the very likely circumstance that the Saudi monarchy loses
control and gets their ass kicked out of their own country, we will be
faced with $30 billion of our own armaments in the hands of Saudi
fundamentalist Muslims when we knock on the door for oil to run our
country.
It might seem a good time to begin a search for the peace that looked so near to hand when we talked about a peace dividend. Armament dividends and war
dividends aren’t paying off all that well. As any ordinary investor in
world markets can tell you, when the stocks and bonds in your portfolio
aren’t producing dividends, it’s time to invest elsewhere, not double down on a failing strategy.
Gandhi
Gandhi got the Brits out of India with nothing more than a loincloth
and determination. Jesus preached turning the other cheek. Attila the
Hun occupies the dustbin of history, as are do all those who followed
Attila’s formula.

"We
want to convince Congress to continue our tradition of military sales
to all six" states, the senior administration official said. "We’ve
been helping Gulf Arabs for years, and that needs to continue."

Can anyone parse that last sentence for me and explain how continuing to invest in losing hands is sustainable?
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