George Graham

One Industry Doing Well – Building Weapons of War

I doubt this is what the Founding Fathers had in mind. From what I know of American history, they thought they were founding a peaceful nation, one that would wage war only if attacked, a nation that would spread brotherhood, peace and mutual prosperity throughout the world.

And I doubt that Barack  Obama wants to be remembered as the president who oversaw the most thriving arms industry in American history.

But, as John Lennon observed in “Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)”, life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.

Today comes news that President Obama is set to notify Congress of a proposed sale of advanced aircraft to Saudi Arabia worth up to 60 billion dollars – the largest U.S. arms deal ever.

The administration reportedly wants to sell the Saudis as many as 84 new F-15 fighters (photo above), upgrade 70 more, and purchase three types of helicopters — 70 Apaches, 72 Black Hawks and 36 Little Birds.

And, according to the Wall Street Journal, the administration is talking with the Saudis about naval and missile-defense upgrades that could be worth tens of billions of dollars more.

How’s that for putting some pep in America’s sluggish economy?

The  Journal said the Saudi deal is part of the Obama administration’s policy aimed at shoring up Arab allies against Iran.

To me, it also seems to be part of the administration’s economic recovery plan. I read a report recently that the President was relaxing controls on arms exports to boost the industry.

Assuming that the war machines are actually built in America (with parts made in America) and not in some low-wage part of the world, this deal could mean desperately needed jobs.

So I am not about to rain on Obama’s parade.

But isn’t it sad that the world’s largest democracy is so dependent on the “merchants of death” for its economic survival? As the country becomes ever more mired in war and the world sinks deeper into conflict and chaos, the prospect of beating those swords into plowshares becomes increasingly elusive.

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for