Dossier: To Arms, To Arms

Global military expenditures topped $950 billion in 2003 … Arms transfers accounted for $25.6 billion of this figure … 60 percent of all arms sales from 2000–03 were made to developing nations … The five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) are the largest arms dealers, contributing 88 percent of all conventional arms sales … Of the G8 nations, Japan is the only country that fails to make the top 10 arms-exporting countries … In 2004, China and India were the two largest recipients of global arms sales … China relies mostly on outdated Russian weapons for its purchases, but is pressuring the European Union to lift its arms embargo so it can purchase technologically advanced weapons and upgrades … The U.S. share of total arms deals in 2003 was 45 percent … The total value of these sales was $6.2 billion … A year before, that figure was $8.9 billion … The United States sells weapons to Oman, a country that spends twice as much on its military as on health and education services … The United States sold weapons to 18 of the 25 countries actively engaged in military conflict, including Angola, Chad, Colombia, and Pakistan … Such conflicts claim an estimated half-million lives each year … 80 percent of casualties are civilians … In 2003, 80 percent of the top 25 importers of U.S. arms, including Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan, were identified as either “undemocratic” or human-rights violators by the U.S. State Department … $845.6 million of U.S. arms sales that year went to Israel … President Bush's fiscal year 2006 budget seeks to increase military aid to Israel by $80 million … Of nations said by the State Department to harbor terrorists, nearly 90 percent have been sold weapons by the United States … In spite of these facts, the United States and the European Union have enacted “Codes of Conduct” for arms sales … They stipulate that companies should not sell arms to countries with undemocratic governments or regimes that engage in human-rights abuses, nor to nations where internal or external conflicts will be increased due to the presence of weapons … Taxpaying Americans subsidize domestic arms-trading companies to the tune of $6 billion to $7 billion annually … 95 percent of Lockheed Martin's $31 billion annual sales are military transactions … America's highest-paid CEO -- pulling down $88.7 million in 2004 -- was George David of United Technologies, which last year did $5.1 billion in military sales.