The most militarized states (1/4 of the total) received almost 2/3 of America's arms transfers (i.e., the 38 most militarized of 148 nations, plus Taiwan, which did not have a militarization ranking). This, of course, prompts a question about cause and effect: Do our arms sales contribute to increased militarization of other countries, or does the militarization encourage more business with the United States? Either way, our behavior is unconscionable. Over a quarter of all our arms sales goes to five "Non-Free" countries: UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iraq, Oman (Democracy Index calls three of them "authoritarian regimes," and Iraq and Egypt "hybrids"). The U.S. share of global arms sales is anywhere from 31 to 75 percent of the total, depending on the source and method of analysis. Adding to our shame is that our #1 arms recipient through 2013 -- India -- has a median net worth of $1,000 and one of the highest Gini Coefficients (i.e., high inequality) in the world.
Weapons for ISIS -- from US!
It has been reported that ISIS has confiscated large numbers of weapons from Saudi Arabia, which has become the Number 1 U.S. customer for arms sales, as well as the world's Number 1 importer of weapons.
Where To Find Peace
A comparison of the Economist's Democracy Index with the Global Militarization Index reveals that, on average, democracies are just as militaristic as authoritarianism/democratic "hybrids."
Militarization Averages (1 = Most Militarized, 150 = Least Militarized):
Authoritarian 68.....Flawed Democracy 74.....Full Democracy 80.....Hybrid Regime 80
Israel is ranked as most militaristic, Haiti and Costa Rica as least militaristic, and the U.S., with a ranking of 31, as more militaristic than about 80 percent of the world's nations.
Apologies to the Troops
Instead of thanking the troops, we should be begging them for forgiveness, or, better yet, we should be properly informing them of their likely roles in the killing machine:
The 'Freedom' Deception
War and 'freedom' have always been interconnected in American history. Abraham Lincoln spoke of the Civil War as "a new birth of freedom," World War II had FDR's "Four Freedoms" and the pro-war "Fight for Freedom Committee." The Cold War was waged to defend the "Free World." The Iraq War was labeled "Operation Iraqi Freedom." After 9/11 President George W. Bush told America: "Freedom itself is under attack...They hate our freedoms."
But the U.S. military, says a special report from the LA Times, "is gradually becoming a separate warrior class...that is becoming increasingly distinct from the public it is charged with protecting." Almost half of our 1.3 million active-duty troops come from just five states (California, Virginia, Texas, North Carolina and Georgia), and only a quarter of Americans admit to closely following news of war.
War does not bring freedom. It is an invitation to young men and women to begin a journey into their own personal worlds of terror.