Peace Action Idea
by Geov Parrish •
Monday December 16, 2002 at 01:35 PM
Civilian Weapons Inspections in the United States
I want a list.
I want a full accounting of every weapon in the country. Not Iraq; I don't
give a fig about Iraq. It's halfway around the world, it has no means of
threatening the United States from its territory, its economy is decimated,
it has been disarmed more effectively than any other country in the history
of the world, its every move is closely monitored by any number of other
agencies and countries, and it knows that any move to threaten any other
country would be instantly suicidal. There are plenty of threats to the
safety of Americans. Iraq is not one of them. Among all the American-trained
dictators plaguing the planet, he's the least of our problems.
I want a list of our weapons.
After all, we pay for them and pay, and pay, and pay. John W. Snow, the
CSX chairman nominated yesterday to replace the loose-tongued ex-Alcoan Paul
O'Neill as Treasury Secretary (great, just what we need another titan of
corporate America, and veteran of the Ford Administration, in Dubya's
cabinet) was strident in the mid-'90s in his advocacy for a balanced budget.
I wonder what he'll say now about his new boss's infliction of a giant
sucking wound where the federal surplus of 18 months ago once was? That
money, yours and mine, went almost entirely for weapons and the capacity to
use them. I want an accounting.
It's the United States, after all, which has proven that it poses a threat
to not just its neighbors but countries anywhere in the world ask Iraq,
Afghanistan, Kosovo, Serbia, Pakistan, Sudan, Haiti, Somalia, Bosnia,
Panama, Libya or Grenada, all countries the U.S. has bombed or bullied in
the last 20 years. It's the United States whose foreign policy is now
officially predicated on reserving the right to strike militarily anywhere
in the world, any time it likes, for any reason, and without any backing by
an ally or international body. It's the United States whose weapons are sold
to one or more sides of virtually every one of the five dozen or so wars now
raging in the world. It's America with the oldest and biggest nuclear
weapons program in the world, the U.S. alone that has proudly used such
weapons on civilian populations, in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
It's the U.S. whose weapons are now the weapons of choice for everyone from
mentally disturbed serial killers to jungle guerrillas to kleptocratic
dictators the world around. It's the government of the U.S., including every
embassy and consulate around the world, that makes it a priority to pay for
the marketing, credit underwriting, and purchase of those weapons, and
closes the deal. It's the U.S. that underwrites and trains intelligence
agencies and secret police the world over, including any number of countries
where state torture and murder are the norm. We pay for it all. I want a
I want it in three weeks.
I want to know every single weapon or potential weapon in the possession of
the United States government. Not just the Pentagon or the Department of
Defense, but every single agency down to the U.S. Mint and the Library of
Congress. If the Library of Congress's assistant medical archivist carries a
can of mace in her purse when she goes to the parking garage, I want to know
Not just what the government owns; I want a list of every potential weapon
government employees possess, too. Every firearm John Ashcroft and his
NRA-loving appointees own, and everyone else down to the grade C-3 summer
interns. That includes dual-use weapons, like nail files, or certain kitchen
spices which when mixed with a nasal decongestant can produce a certain
redness in the eyes. I want the list. All of it. Typed. Neatly. No typos,
But that's not all. After all, it's not just our government that poses a
threat to the world; corporate America does, too, and as we've repeatedly
witnessed (ask Mr. Snow), our government is a revolving door with corporate
boardrooms. They're all in on it together, and if Coca-Cola doesn't
constitute an invading army (and a global menace) I don't know what does.
Therefore, I also want all of the weapons or potential weapons possessed by
any business in the United States.
Let me clarify that: any entity that does business in the United States,
whether or not they're owned by Americans. Air Botswana, this means you.
That includes all their employees, and all of the subcontracting employees
and agencies (like Coke's bottling plant at Ouagadougou) they work with.
Can't be too careful.
You've got three weeks. And it had better be complete. Alphabetized, please.
With an index.
Of course, I don't think you'll cooperate. I don't think everything will be
in the list that has been specified in my demand. The Pentagon alone
routinely can't figure out what it has done with billions of dollars of
taxpayers' money. Asking it to account for every single paper clip after
all, it might poke an eye out, and besides, at $90 per paper clip they've
got to be able to do something other than hold paper together even during a
nuclear war seems like a long shot. And I expect many companies won't
fully cooperate, either. They'll claim proprietary information or some other
We'll have to inspect them, of course. Unannounced visits, preferably
accompanied by a battalion or two. When they object, we'll call it part of
their sustained pattern of non-cooperation.
Have I mentioned that I retain the right to shoot down any aircraft that
appear over the skies of Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio or certain parts of West
Virginia? They'll probably pitch a fit about that, too.
But then, that's what you'd expect from people whose love of power is so
fierce that they would willingly endanger their own people, right?
After all, by making America a country loathed by billions of people around
the world some of which are virtually guaranteed to be as omnicidally
inclined as the power-crazed, money-poisoned thugs now running our country
it's you and I who are being put at risk. We're the ones who will be walking
past the exploding hotel or working in the office towner that collapses.
We're the collateral damage.
And we're paying for it. We're filing the tax returns, we're getting the
money extracted from our paychecks. We pay for the carnage. Now, and later.
The least we can get out of the deal is a list.