Sunday, July 29, 2007

Arms Sales Concern and Behind the Scenes Money

While President George Bush works to ensure the world is awash in weapons, a few members of Congress are unhappy over some of the recipients. Slated to benefit from Uncle Sam's largess include Israel at $30 billion over 10 years, Egypt's $13 billion, and Saudi Arabia et al totalling $20 billion. A few members of Congress don't want the Saudi's to get the latest and greatest weapons systems. Why? The Washington Post cited several politicians and their reasons:

But Tom Lantos (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, who was briefed on the deal Tuesday, said he had several reservations. "This is not a sale at Macy's that you go in and buy a bunch of stuff. There are a complex set of relationships behind it, and while it's very desirable to have the Saudis and others recognize that Iran is an existential threat, there is also a degree of responsibility that they have to show on broader U.S. foreign policy interests," he said in an interview.

In the context of the arms deals, Lantos said the oil-rich countries should use windfall profits from high oil prices to cover the expenses of Iraqi refugees who have flooded Jordan. Saudi Arabia should not try to re-broker reconciliation between Palestinian moderates and militants, he added, and Qatar should look at the television network al-Jazeera's role in the region.

Other names in the story beside Lantos include Weiner, Wexler and Engel. How much money do these gentlemen get from the Pro Israel lobby? Tom Lantos' number three lifetime donor is the Pro Israel lobby weighing in at $311,000 while Mr. Weiner received $53,000, Rep. Wexler got nearly $68,000, and Congressman Engel a sizable $283,000. How much influence did $715,000 spread over 4 Congressional Representatives purchase?

There's too much money being spent on the wrong things, influence pedalling and systems of war. For that the common person pays dearly on a daily basis...