Could be arming future enemies
Published: Thursday, February 28, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 28, 2013 18:02
The issue of military aid is a big deal for those of us who keep up with world politics.
With revolutions abroad and the apparent need for rebel groups to receive assistance, it is something a lot of people are thinking about.
Since World War II foreign military aid has been seen as a valuable tool for increasing both diplomatic relationships and global security.
The United States in particular has provided billions of dollars in foreign military aid over the years.
Take a couple of our largest recipients for example: Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Both of these countries have extensive problems with militant Islamic extremism.
So it makes sense we would want to be sure their governments are able to combat these groups efficiently enough to insure our own security.
However, once we send the money and equipment or give the training, we have no surefire way of controlling what a government might do with it.
Regime changes, economic hardships, civil unrest, ideological shifts and the like are all common events that can drastically affect the way a government uses its military.
This can lead to human rights abuses, the squashing of democratic movements, or even mean that we end up fighting a war against weapons we paid for ourselves.
The last 60 years of Iranian history is an excellent example where the United States essentially built the Shah a massive, modernized military.
We backed an elitist dictator and overthrew a democratically elected prime minister, Mohammed Mossadeq.
After few decades under this American-backed dictator, there was a revolution. This revolution ended with the Shah being overthrown in favor of a new dictator, the Ayatollah Khomeini.
This is how the current regime in Iran came to exist. Consequently this means that all those aircraft and artillery and the like we gave them, outdated though they may be, now belong to a government that prides itself in being an enemy of the West.
When the Ayatollah came to power, Saddam Hussein’s government initially supported the revolution.
However, due to rising tensions between Hussein’s ruling party and the new Iranian regime, Iraq preemptively attacked Iran on Sept. 22, 1980, starting the Iran-Iraq War.
Once again our government invested in military aid, this time to Iraq. This included the necessary materials for chemical and biological weapons. You read right, the U.S. gave Hussein the ingredients for WMDs as part of the aid package.
The U.S.’s military aid doesn’t stop at these two countries.
We give billions of dollars in military aid to Israel, who has been condemned for human rights violations against Palestinians; killing thousands of innocent civilians.
We gave billions of dollars in military aid to the Taliban to fight the Soviet Union.
We gave the government of Tunisia millions of dollars in military aid right up until the Arab Spring erupted there. Which means U.S. tax dollars contributed to the deaths of civilians fighting for democracy.
Although, military aid is a legitimate tool for improving relations and security in friendly nations, we have a moral imperative to make sure money is not being used in irresponsible or morally deplorable ways.
We pride ourselves on being at the forefront of democratization in the world, on fighting human rights abuses, feeding the hungry, being a place where you have the freedom and ability to make a good life for yourself.
It is extremely important, then, that we make sure these principles aren’t violated by the weapons and funding we send abroad.
Clint Simpson is a senior political science & philospoy major of Russelville.