by Frida Berrigan and William D. Hartung
At a Rose Garden press conference earlier this week, President Bush struck one of his favorite themes, asserting that 'the U.S. is a country that promotes freedom around the world.' But the reality of U.S. arms sales policy contradicts Bush's rhetoric.
The United States' longstanding policy of arming, training and aiding some of the world's most repressive regimes has accelerated during the Bush years. The United States transferred weaponry to 18 to 25 countries involved in active conflicts in 2003, the last year for which full Pentagon data is available. From Chad to Ethiopia, from Nigeria to India, transfers to conflict nations totaled over $1 billion in 2003.
Thirteen of the top 25 recipients of U.S. arms transfers in the developing world are undemocratic according to the State Department's Human Rights Report. These undemocratic regimes received over $2.7 billion in U.S. arms transfers in 2003.
This article is based on their new report, U.S. Weapons at War 2005