Merchants of Death
“Hey, World, American weapons are available for (nearly) everyone while triggering a new American-inspired Middle Eastern arms race.”
So who won the ‘war’ about the Iran Agreement?
Millions were spent for a stream of ads on TV and radio and in major
newspapers in the ‘war’ over Obama’s nuclear deal with
Back in the world, though, a bruising battle was on. Opponents were
indifferent to the possibility of more war, which Obama said would result if
the deal was rejected, meaning, I thought, so long as their kids didn’t have
to fight. Supporters were branded Israel-haters and worse and several
pro-deal Jewish Democrats were told they belonged in the ovens, the familiar
consignment of adversaries to
In my hometown of Great Neck, NY, with at least 26 synagogues and lots
of Iranian and 0rthodox Jews, panicky local Democratic politicians, Jewish
and non-Jewish, none of whom I presume ever read the huge, highly technical
text of the agreement or had ever taken a public stand on foreign policy,
quickly moved to oppose the deal as did many liberal Jewish politicians in
areas inhabited with lots of Jews, most prominently Charles Schumer, even
though several polls indicated America’s Jews were pro-deal. When it seemed
that the anti’s were going to lose, the New York Times claimed the Israel
Lobby “Suffered a Stinging Defeat” and Newsweek added that the
Closer to what happened was the realization that the unelected leaders of the Israel Lobby spoke only for themselves and that Bibi, as he claimed after the Paris killings, did not speak for world Jewry. What the Iran Agreement battle did was emphasize the growing gap between older and younger American Jews, between those who believe Israel is Judaism – while overlooking its humane social ethic and prophetic vision of the just community – and that Israeli and America’s national interests are the same, dismissing those who favor negotiation and diplomacy rather than aligning themselves with confrontational conservatives and neocons willing to risk another Middle Eastern war.
So, who won?
For a clue I turned to a long-forgotten and treasured 1934 book, “Merchants of Death,” by H.C. Engelbrecht and F.C. Hanighen, the contents of which led me to crown the winner: The Merchants of Death who “sell the instruments with which humans are killed, gassed and maimed” and from which “they reap a tremendous profit … [in] a world which recognizes and expects war, cannot get along without an enterprising, progressive and up-to-date arms industry.”
The book portrayed the intimate relationship between the weapons business, banks, government, media and the citizenry, an observation even more apt today, especially if we throw in our bought politicians. This existing connection helps nurture our endless conflicts and while occasionally revealed, especially by online crusaders, is barely noticed in the larger political world, let alone acted upon.
The Forward, one of the few independent American Jewish newspapers, was among the first to sense what was happening, asking, “Will American Weapons Flood Middle East after Iran Deal?”
Of course they will, even after 14 years of American wars in
New weapons are now being offered to all the regional actors,
If they get all that they want, U.S. aid to Israel, much of which is
required by law since 2012, will only keep growing, the total approaching $6
billion for further missile defense and research and development, according
to former New York Times Israel bureau chief David Shipler. Yet even with all
these freebies, the
Drowning in money, the autocratic Gulf Sunni states will also receive more than they need, and one day ISIS and other assorted murderers and criminal gangs still unknown will have bought, stolen or been gifted with some of these weapons, which led a former State Department official to tell Guttman: “What the Israelis are concerned about is regime change in Saudi Arabia” – or even the Gulf states fortified with advanced military systems – asking, “what would happen with all these weapons under a different regime?”
The super-rich Saudis are also in line to get anything they want, including an enormous $1 billion weapons contract to restock Saudi arsenals, whose weapons have shattered whatever is left of civic life in impoverished Yemen’s vicious – and to the American people, mass media and Washington’s Think Tank “experts,” – incomprehensible civil war.
I know it’s a dumb question, but are there enough VIPs in the