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63,779. These people are either too superstitiously religious, or too cowardly for arms; they either can not or dare not defend; their property is open to anyone who has the courage to attack them ... The supposed quietude of a good man allures the ruffian; while on the other hand, arms, like law, discourage and keep the invader and the plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property. The balance of power is the scale of peace. The same balance would be preserved were all the world destitute of arms, for all would be alike; but since some will not, others dare not lay them aside. And while a single nation refuses to lay them down, it is proper that all should keep them up. Horrid mischief would ensue were one-half the world deprived of the use of them; for while avarice and ambition have a place in the heart of man, the weak will become a prey to the strong. The history of every age and nation establishes these truths, and facts need but little arguments when they prove themselves. Thomas Paine, Thoughts on Defensive War, article Pennsylvania Magazine July 1775; signed A Lover of Peace and attributed to Paine
77,408. I’m proud of my invention, but I’m sad that it is used by terrorists. (Invention & Arms & Gun) Mikhail Kalashnikov
75,273. A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed. (Guns & Arms & Army) US Constitution 2nd Amendment
94,770. Foreign economies as well as our own are now mainly dependent on the scope of continued arms spending in this country. Magazine of Wall Street 1951
1,058. Here’s what we can do to change the world right now to a better ride: take all of that money we spend on weapons and defence each year and instead spend it feeding, clothing and educating the poor of the world, which it would many times over, and not one human being excluded, and we can explore space together, both inner and outer, in peace. I believe that God left certain drugs growing naturally upon our planet to help speed up and facilitate our evolution. (Life’s Like That & God & World & Armaments & Weapons & Poor & Space & Drugs & Evolution) Bill Hicks, Revelations, Live at Dominion Theatre London
63,719. I’m so sick of arming the world and then sending troops over to destroy the fucking arms. You know what I mean? We keep arming these little countries then we go and blow the shit out of them. We’re like the bullies of the world. We’re like Jack Palance in the movie Shane throwing the pistol at the sheep herder’s feet. (Arms & Empire US) Bill Hicks, Revelations, Live at Dominion Theatre London
93,439. Away with scrupulous wit! Now arms must rule. (Wit & Arms) William Shakespeare, Richard Duke of York IV viii 61, Hastings
1,194. To be, or not to be – that is the question.
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? – To die – to sleep –
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to; ’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To die – to sleep –
To sleep! Perchance to dream. Aye, there’s the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause. There’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life.
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law’s delay,
The insolence of office...’ (Life’s Like That & Be & Question & Noble & Mind & Suffer & Fortune & Arms & Trouble & Opposition & Death & Pain & Suicide & Dream & Oppress & Law & Office) William Shakespeare, Hamlet, III i 56-73
6,742. One of the charges at the time of course was that in some way I must have known because I had been the chancellor, because I had been the foreign secretary, because I had been the prime minister. And therefore I must have known what was going on, but I didn’t. (Knowledge & Politics & Arms & Iraq) John Major, response to Scott Inquiry into Arms Sales to Iraq
29,130. Senator Levin, you and other Democrats in the Congress have voiced fears that you simply don’t have enough for the large increases in defense that the Pentagon is seeking, especially for missile defense. Does this sort of thing convince you that an emergency exists in this country to increase defense spending? (United States & Military & Arms & War on Terror & Missile & Defence) Donald Rumsfeld berating Senator Carl Levin, then Chairman of Senate Armed Services Committee, evening of 9/11
29,346. In 2011 the US sold an astonishing 78% of the world’s arms. (United States & Arms) Oliver Stone's Untold History of the United States X: Bush & Obama: Age of Terror
30,070. British society had embraced the arms race. (Great Britain & England & Arms) Bettany Hughes, Seven Ages of Britain 1500 B.C. - 43 A.D.
30,071. Tribal warfare, human sacrifice, this was a savage land for sure. (Great Britain & England & Arms) ibid.
31,186. His factory on the Tyne became Britain’s largest manufacturer of guns and warships. With the profits of war Armstrong built his very own stately home ... In 1887 he became Baron Armstrong. (England & Great Britain & Manufacturing & Factory & Arms) Jeremy Paxman, The Victorians: Having It All, BBC 2009
32,465. However strong your armies may be, you will always need the favour of the inhabitants to the possession of a province. (King & Monarch & Prince & Army & Arms) Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince ch III
89,709. The main foundations of every state, new states as well as ancient or composite ones, are good laws and good arms – you cannot have good laws without good arms, and where there are good arms, good laws inevitably follow. (Prince & State & Law & Army & Arms) ibid.
63,722. Above all else, be armed. (Prince & Army & Arms) ibid.
63,725. For among other evils caused by being disarmed, it renders you contemptible; which is one of those disgraceful things which a prince must guard against. (Prince & Army & Arms) ibid.
32,911. In two other sections, the report exposes the central government hypocrisy – that arms to Iraq were carefully restricted throughout the period. First, all sorts of weaponry, often of the most lethal kind, got to Iraq from Britain through ‘diversionary routes’, chiefly through Jordan. Arms sales from Britain to Jordan were 3,000 percent (about £500 million) higher in the 1980s than in the 1970s. This had nothing to do with the expansion of the Jordanian armed forces, which were actually contracting in the 1980s. Almost all the extra weaponry went on to Iraq, and there were other conduits too: Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Portugal, Singapore, Austria.
Secondly, the ‘restricted’ policy became much less restricted for Iraq after the ceasefire of 1988. The entire British government was tempted by the honeypot which was opened up by Saddam Hussein as he expanded his vast armed forces after the peace treaty with Iran in 1988. The guidelines were changed to liberate a whole new category of defence sales, and no one was told about it. (Iraq & Arms & Weapons) Paul Foot, Armed And Dangerous
33,063. The most earnest part of the negotiations was about commissions. This was the debate which took Jonathan Aitken to the Ritz in Paris in 1988 to meet no less than the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. If there is anything which must be kept quiet more than any other it is the paying of commissions on the Al Yamamah arms deal between the British and Saudi governments. For a moment the entire deal was in peril. Aitken felt it was time for him to intervene. He went to Paris to meet his friends to talk about another round of unforgivable commissions.
The secrecy of those talks was crucial. Literally nothing mattered more. If word got out about the extent of the commissions or even that a minister was discussing the extent of the commissions in open conversation the result would have been catastrophic. The arms trade cannot be expected to flourish except in circumstances of the utmost secrecy. Aitken had been found out, but it was his bounden duty not to talk to anyone about his hidden fortune. Lie followed lie, hypocrisy followed hypocrisy; and so they always will do as long as the world is competing to buy the best value in the instruments of mass destruction. Paul Foot, ‘Jonathan Aitken, Weaving A Tangled Web’
63,739. Such people are in for a shock. The first section of the Scott Report, which has been widely leaked, deals with the history of arms export control. The judge, who gleefully sequestrated the funds of the South Wales NUM during the miners’ strike, is no socialist or rebel. His attitude to government control of arms exports is that it has been far too strict.
He is disgusted that the government has used a short draconian measure passed during the wartime emergency of 1939, which effectively gave ministers complete power over all arms exports. This, the Lord Justice thinks, is an appalling interference with the inalienable right of businessmen to export what they want, including the means of slaughter. He believes that, if the government wants to control such commendable free enterprise, it must move cautiously with carefully constructed statutes which allow enormous leeway for free marketeers. (Arms & Iraq) Paul Foot, Arms Dealing: Will They Get Off Scot Free? May 1995
63,740. The advantages of arms exports are obvious. They produce a high return, and can be kept utterly secret from the public. They are in constant demand all over the world. Yet their disadvantages lead to equally obvious problems. Arms are needed most where wars are being waged – wars which ‘responsible’ democratic governments such as the British government are usually trying (at any rate in public statements at the United Nations) to stop.
The big conflicts which are the real honeypot for the arms exporting industries are almost always subject to embargoes. The Iran-Iraq war was no exception. To keep up its wholly unjustified reputation as a peacekeeper, the British government had to be seen to be discouraging arms exports to either side.