Death Merchants

Direct TV’s most basic package is a cornerstone in my daily battle with ennui. One of my favorite programs is The Dog Whisperer. That dude knows his dogs. One of the things I learned last night is that dogs don’t rationalize. They live their lives completely in the present. (Yes, smart ass, I realize that’s the only way anything lives. It’s their emotional lives, such as they are, that I’m referring to). What you did or didn’t do five minutes ago is irrelevant to dogs. It’s strictly what you are doing for them presently that they’re interested in.

The U. S. government’s policy on selling arms to other countries is reminiscent of the dogs the Dog Whisperer charms into submission. There’s no rationale. There’s no weighing the potential consequences based on past performance. Nope, it’s strictly based on what is happening right at the very moment the sale is proposed that is relevant. In short, the U. S. government will approve arms sales to any country as long as they aren’t actively engaged in war with the U. S., or threatening to be at some not-to-distant point.

The U. S. recently sold a bunch of F-16 Fighting Falcons to the Pakistanis. They already had a bunch of them anyway, so I guess somebody somewhere figured what the hell. Never mind that Pakistan is a military dictatorship. Never mind that it is, with the possible exceptions of Iran and Saudi Arabia, the most rabidly anti-American nation in the world. Never mind that the Pakistanis did and do prop up the Taliban, who the U. S. is fighting in Afghanistan. They needed F-16s. Somebody in the United States needed a house at the lake. Done deal.

The U. S. policy on selling arms is strictly one of do as it says, not as it does. Even now the Russians have found themselves on the outs with the U. S. over jet sales to South American strong man, Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. It seems that Mr. Chavez isn’t parroting the proper rhetoric to his subjects. For this reason, the U. S. won’t sell him replacement parts for the F-16s he already has. Fortunately for Chavez, but not the pilots in Venezuela’s Air Force, the Russians stepped in with their inferior, but affordable and available product.

I don’t doubt for a second that at some point the U. S. will wind up having to shoot a bunch of Chavez’s Russian jets down. It seems likely, at least to me, that the U. S. will also end up having to shoot down the F-16s it has just sold Pakistan, and that will undoubtedly prove much more difficult than destroying the Venezuelans and their crappy Russian Air Force.

Bottom line, the U. S. should be thanking the Russians, instead of punishing them, for “helping” Mr. Hugo Chavez. Had they not, he’d have been forced to seek replacement parts for his American jets on the black market. That, undoubtedly, would have made the upcoming destruction of his planes exponentially more difficult, like the upcoming destruction of the Pakistani F-16s will prove to be.


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