Only One Product in the World about which it is said—the more it kills, the better it is

Trilateral Missile Defense System

There are so many products which are promoted on the basis of their utility—food products may be promoted for their nutrition or taste, garments may be promoted for their beauty or warmth, a gadget may be promoted for its efficiency and sturdiness. Then there are some products which are scientifically proven to be harmful—such as tobacco, alcohol and various intoxicants— but the manufacturers at least make an effort to play down the adverse effects to the extent possible. There is however one rather unique product that is actually promoted on the basis of its killing capacity—the more it can kill, the better it is considered and generally the higher the price it can fetch. The promotion of this product by its manufacturers and salesmen is likely to be along such lines—it can kill even at a very long distance, it can kill even in basement or bunker, it can kill no matter where its targeted people hide, its killing capacity has been greatly increased.

The reference here is of course to various weapons—to various arms and ammunitions. This industrial product has some other distinct characteristics related to this unique feature. When various useful products are used by people to meet their needs, then there is demand for more products and so the manufacturers, salesmen and traders associated with these products are well-employed. However in the case of arms and ammunition, leaving aside expiry dates, generally future demand for the product is more likely to be created if more wars are declared, or for various reasons people have a strong instinct to kill others or themselves. Hence at least some of the manufacturers and salesmen selling arms and ammunition may get used to thinking in terms of wishing for more wars, strife, crime, violence and insecurity.

However what if there is a phase in which humanity becomes very enlightened and war and violence are greatly diminished. This will make about 99% of the people of the world very happy. But what about those who are manufacturing and selling arms and ammunition. Will they forget about their sales and profits in the interests of the welfare of humanity? Or will they start praying for the return of those days of wars and violence when their sales and profits were very high? Will these manufacturers and salesmen even go to the extent of instigating a policy of forever wars and violence so that their sales and profits again touch a big high? This is a question which many people have actually started asking and exploring in view of the increasing and immense power of the military-industrial complex, its tendency to get very close to those responsible for defense and foreign policy and its increasing ability to influence them, particularly in election years. The military industrial complex has very high profit rates and is known for its high levels of corruption as well.

The military industrial complex has hordes of big money which it can easily use to offer very high salaries and incentives to attract some of the more capable scientists and lobbyists. Having hired some of the top scientists of the world (who elsewhere could have contributed to the welfare of people in a big way) the military industrial complex uses the undoubted talent and capability of these scientists for what? For trying forever to increase the capacity of more and more deadly weapons to kill more and more people and to inflict higher and higher destruction in other ways too.

This went on and on—from the most explosive conventional weapons to nuclear weapons to hydrogen bombs—so that now the world has arsenals of weapons that have the capacity to destroy the entire world many times over.

While the extreme destructiveness related to nuclear weapons is widely realized, it is sometimes not realized how destructive even conventional weapons can be. Saturation bombing of Tokyo on March 3 1945 by American bombers using incendiary bombs for 3 hours created a firestorm, killing 130,000 people. A few weeks later when the first atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima 92,233 people were killed, the number increasing over the years to 138,890 by 1986. In the case of the second nuclear bomb dropped at Nagasaki, nearly 40,000 people were killed immediately and about 8800 more over the next few decades as a result of longer-term impacts. This is a startling example of how conventional bombs could be no less killing than nuclear weapons. Longer-term impacts of nuclear weapons are very worrying of course, but then so are the longer-term impacts of depleted uranium weapons and cluster bombs etc. With the coming in of AI weapons and space warfare, the prospects are getting more and more dangerous. Closer to the bottom line, we have the industrial production annually of at least two bullets for every member of humanity!

Isn’t it time to seriously reconsider the direction in which the arms and ammunition industry is moving, and gathering others along with it?

Bharat Dogra is Honorary Convener, Campaign to Save Earth Now. His recent books include Planet in Peril, Protecting Earth for Children and A Day in 2071.          

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