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End foreign weapons sales. Don't expand them!

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The Obama administration has just taken action to seriously loosen restrictions on the sale of weapons abroad.

Tell the White House and Congress not to go down this path.

Already, the United States dominates world weapons sales, accounting for 78% of such sales in 2011.[1] Russia is in second place with 5.6%.

Already, U.S. weapons sales are dominated by arms transactions in the Middle East, funneling weapons to such violators of human rights as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Israel.

Many weapons sales involve gifts of dollars from the U.S. government to a foreign government that turns around and buys from U.S. weapons makers. (A different mode is in effect with the U.S. simply giving weapons to the rebels in Syria.)

Governments fall, and alliances change, but the weapons remain. U.S.-supplied weapons wind up on both sides of conflicts, often used against civilians. At times, the tear gas canisters shot at peaceful protesters are marked "Made in the U.S.A."

Tell the White House and Congress to end foreign weapons sales, not expand them.

The Obama administration has now moved many weapons sales from the State Department to the Commerce Department, a shift that is expected to seriously reduce oversight.[2] In a new report, William Hartung writes that "human rights groups and the Government Accountability Office have raised serious concerns over the potential for the Obama administration's reforms to undercut current laws designed to keep U.S. defense articles out of the hands of terrorists, human rights abusers, or countries or groups seeking to develop nuclear weapons."[3]

ProPublica reports that "critics, including some who've worked on enforcing arms export laws, say the changes could undermine efforts to prevent arms smuggling to Iran and others."[4]

What is the up-side to risking such horrors and fueling so much violence? Nothing but profits for a few unscrupulous profiteers!

Arming the world to the teeth is not a path toward peace. Please take a moment to join the movement to reverse this disastrous trend!

Please forward this email widely to like-minded friends.

-- The RootsAction.org team

P.S. RootsAction is an independent online force endorsed by Jim Hightower, Barbara Ehrenreich, Cornel West, Daniel Ellsberg, Glenn Greenwald, Naomi Klein, Bill Fletcher Jr., Laura Flanders, former U.S. Senator James Abourezk, Coleen Rowley, Frances Fox Piven, and many others.

P.P.S. This work is only possible with your financial support. Please donate.

1. Congressional Research Service: Conventional Arms Transfers, 2004-2011
2. Stars and Stripes: In Big Win for War Industry, Obama Rolls Back Limits
3. William Hartung: Economic Illogic of the Obama Administration's Reforms
4. Stars and Stripes, op. cit.

Democracy Now: U.S. Eases Rules on Exporting Military Technology
Democracy Now: U.S. Weapons and Arms Parts Continued to Flow to Egypt


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