Pope Tells World’s Top Arms Dealers to End Arms Trade by David Swanson + Pope Francis’ Speech to Congress + Transcript

Pope Francis rips capitalism and trickle-down economics

Image by Devendra Makkar via Flickr

by David Swanson
Writer, Dandelion Salad
Let’s Try Democracy
September 24, 2015

I lack patience. I admit it.

There’s my confession.

I couldn’t sit through the Pope’s slow and plodding and polite speech to Congress, waiting for him to say something against the primary thing that body does and spends our money on. But finally he got there:

“Being at the service of dialogue and peace,” he said, “also means being truly determined to minimize and, in the long term, to end the many armed conflicts throughout our world. Here we have to ask ourselves: Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society? Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money: money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood. In the face of this shameful and culpable silence, it is our duty to confront the problem and to stop the arms trade.”

No, he didn’t list the wars that must be ended or the bases that must be closed or the resources that Congress itself must stop investing in militarism. But he told the world’s top arms dealers to end the arms dealing.

Perhaps they heard his words as a mandate to end the arms trade by everyone other than the United States, since the United States of course only sells and gives away weapons for the sake of peace and progress. But the Pope explicitly rejected those justifications.

Perhaps, instead, Congress members heard a condemnation of the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia, which is using them to slaughter innocents. Perhaps they heard a warning not to promise $45 billion in new free weapons to Israel. Perhaps they heard a verbal slap in the face to a body that often debates the violence of the Middle East without acknowledging that the majority of the weapons of war in the region originate in the United States. Perhaps Secretary of State John Kerry, whose hand the Pope shook on his way to the podium, heard a suggestion to transform the State Department into something other than a marketing firm for weaponry.

Perhaps in combination with the Pope’s comments on aiding refugees some listeners heard the responsibility of those fueling the violence to address the results, and to cease making matters worse.

Perhaps they even heard the shout of honesty in the line: “Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money: money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood.”

We do all know that, don’t we? But we’re told that it’s good for the world for weapons to be shipped to dozens of nasty governments. It’s for a balance of power. It’s for U.S. jobs distributed across unnecessarily large numbers of Congressional districts. It’s to counter terrorism with greater terrorism.

The Pope brushed aside such logic and spoke the truth. Weapons of war — which are sold and shipped by the United States far more than any other nation — are sold for profit. They encourage, initiate, escalate, elongate, and exacerbate wars for profit.

But in the end, I’m not sure such a remark was hearable by members of Congress. I’m not sure they weren’t secretly thinking of something else. Because they gave those lines in the Pope’s speech a standing ovation.

Did they mean it? Will the U.S. corporate media ask them if they meant it, if they’ll act on it? Of course not, but perhaps we can.

David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of WorldBeyondWar.org and campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org. Swanson’s books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at DavidSwanson.org and WarIsACrime.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio. He is a 2015 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee.


[DS added the video and link to the transcript.]

Pope Francis addresses Joint Session of Congress – FULL SPEECH (C-SPAN)

C-SPAN on Sep 24, 2015

Pope Francis addressed a joint meeting of Congress, the first pontiff in history to address both chambers.


from the archives:

Richard D. Wolff: I’m Becoming a Fan of Pope Francis: “Capitalism Runs Counter to the Plan of Jesus” + What is Community Wealth Building?

Abby Martin: Tortured and Enslaved: Enter the World’s Biggest Prison

Immigrants for Sale

European Refugee Crisis – The Anatomy of a Coverup

A Revolutionary Pope Calls for Rethinking the Outdated Criteria That Rule the World by Ellen Brown

15 thoughts on “Pope Tells World’s Top Arms Dealers to End Arms Trade by David Swanson + Pope Francis’ Speech to Congress + Transcript

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  6. Listening to this meticulous address, that for many present must have been a sobering master class in rhetorical morality and humanitarian ethics, makes Obama barracking around at the UN sound like a sleazy amateur shyster trying desperately to peddle a dodgy old wreck to a dirt poor victim of bank seizure….

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  8. Is the USA spreading out too far at huge cost to maintain like many countries in the past did, to then crumble away. At some point they will be forced to stop expansion due to no more spoils to cover the military costs and then it will wither and die.

  9. Today speed is of paramount importance in particular when one is listening to the media or watching the ideas are flowing at such a rate it is like looking at the countryside on a fast moving train at 300 kilometres or so per hour, is the world becomes a blur? sometimes 4 or 5 or so are speaking at the same time? I have no idea what is being said, it is so racy and clever to go at it at a rate no one can savour exactly what the meaning is? that is to reflect contemplate as to what is? the speed at which the environment is being devastated is all part of our neurosis of time? the rapid speed of destruction such as war and the time to reconstruct, we are now working against the clock and time invented in the construction of the clock as a departure from biological time as with the human psyche of the change of seasons as opposed to industrial time became all part of a problem for the mind in changing values of time is money? when money is inflated by printing money is time changing? we now know time is relative and not constant? also, the fact that we are born and carnal interrelated to the time of what is a in built biological time is a problem or not? here I am referring to if in the universe other life forms exist would a day be the same time as earth time? if as I believe planets exist on different time scales as with a day’s length our concept of time would be different.
    Here in Australia politicians we are to become to become more efficient what to maintain our standard of living? what this means in what this means ? is not gone into by what the politicians mean is? is not gone into as I presume the details having not gone into as time restricts the answer?
    Because the “dandelion salad” has so many intellectuals a question of time is a problem to me and would appreciate a comment from DS, here in Australia we have more or less harmonious society which is becoming more in debt and we need to borrow more from sources such as the IMF, when listening to the Syrian progress of war I note Syria has few natural if any resources, the question is the war now some 4 years plus, this society has little production of food as a result of this condition? how is it possible that this war may continue for years and yet their is no mention of Syria’s national debt? considering time, energy and money?

    • I think this is a very interesting comment dw even with the occasional typos! I referred to some of your thoughts on another post recently (Abby Martin & Chris Hedges.)

      Lewis Mumford (“the last of the great humanists”) was a remarkable and original thinker, who came up with some very pertinent historical observations, among them was his theory of monastic time, and how it came to dominate the post-industrial notion of productive activity, the way the day was divided and tasks apportioned accordingly. Of course, prior to heavy industrialisation, most of the natural rhythms of life still prevailed & monastic routine was actually largely a Buddhist invention.

      You mention Syria, and I heard only today a fascinating short programme on BBC Radio 4 about Aleppo, how fertile this area used to be, and were it not for the chaos, could still be. It strikes me that the entire Middle-east is now regarded by some right-wing “hawkish” types, as a total sacrifice zone. Just like the Israelis testing their ordnance on Gaza, the “fertile crescent” is just another business opportunity for the unscrupulous and sinister merchants of genocide.

      Let Europe cope with the inconvenient but suitably disruptive migrant crisis…seems to be the unspoken assumption of these exceptionally perverse blockheads. Serves ’em right for not being more pro-American I hear them muttering. Listening to Obama preaching the gospel of superiority today at the UN did not bring tears to my eyes, only a red mist of outrage.

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