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The U.S. government’s illicit gun trade

Theodore R. Griffiths
Staff Writer

I need to stop watching the news. I need to stop reading the news. The line between dream and reality is blurred every time those LEDs light my display, and each time my eyes dance across the pixelated text on the monitor.
Anyway, this week Republicans and at least one Democratic senator (hey, I’m trying) have an issue with not being able to sell weapons to terrorists. So yeah, there’s that. You decide what is real.
The Arms Trade Treaty, or ATT for you tech-savvy kids (I think these Senators have it confused with AT&T; hey I miss the unlimited data plan too), was originally proposed at a global conference under the auspices of the United Nations in July of last year. They could not agree on the final text during that conference, so a new meeting was scheduled for this past March. Shortly after, on April 2, the UN General Assembly adopted the ATT.
To continue this summary that just lost my remaining ten readers, the ATT advocated to stop the illicit trade of small arms and light weapons to any country in violation of international human rights, any country committing acts of genocide, any country trying to facilitate terrorists attacks, and many more.arms-sales-in-2011
Now these senators, obviously remembering the great times we have had militarizing the Latin American drug war recently, and the support for Iraq in the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s, decided that selling guns to terrorist states so they can kill our own soldiers is kind of a staple in American culture, so they just couldn’t have that.
Their actual excuse can be summed up in a quote by Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla. “The U.N. Arms Trade Treaty that passed in the General Assembly today would require the United States to implement gun-control legislation as required by the treaty, which could supersede the laws our elected officials have already put into place.”
The issue remains that his statement, which is a shared sentiment among these dissenting senators, is simply not true. For instance, the treaty explicitly states that it is “the exclusive right of States to regulate internal transfers of arms and national ownership, including through constitutional protections on private ownership.”
As a side note, I would like to point out that besides this small group of senators in the United States, only Syria, Iran, and North Korea opposed the treaty. I tried to think of a witty comment for that all morning, but at this point it is just sad that we have elected leaders so impotent and ignorant that they now share similar ideals to what essentially amounts to our modern Axis of Evil.
I’m not trying to make a big claim about the United States and its already shaky global policy, but you would think its leaders would at least try to cover up the fact that we almost always end up fighting wars against people that we armed.
According to the New York Times, our most recent and accurate overseas weapons sales numbers are from 2011 and they total $66.3 billion. You should now be expecting the runner-up to be in a similar position of wealth, except you would be wrong because it is Russia with a distant $4.8 billion in deals.
This leads me to my final point which is the fact that these leaders, regardless of party affiliation, do not care about the protection of your second amendment rights or the safety of oppressed populations abroad. They care about their income. They care about America accounting for three-quarters of the global arms market. They care about financing wars that we are then responsible for resolving when things get out of hand.
They care about the spectacle that is war, your mindless support of it, and the troops sent to fight it. Unfortunately, there is nothing to be proud of. We should point the finger at a broken government that shoots itself in the foot each chance it gets, and expects you to ignore the fact that it is limping across the globe as a shell of what it used to be.