Pope Calls Out Global Arms Trade, ‘Drenched’ in “Innocent Blood’

The Pope is here, if you haven’t noticed. I heard he is kinda of a big deal… As a former Catholic, I have mixed feelings about church doctrine, the papacy and its (alleged) privileged access to grace but I’m not going to get into that here. Instead, let’s talk about Pope Francis’s comments on Thursday concerning global arms sales.

While addressing Congress on his ongoing mission to “minimize and, in the long term, to end the many armed conflicts throughout our world,” Francis said the following:

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.

I agree with the Pope in principle. But in practice, the real world is a bit more complicated. The U.S. is indeed the biggest arms broker in the world. To give you an idea, domestic manufacturers sold more than $23.7 billion in arms in 2014 to over 100 countries.

While one can argue that some of those deals were questionable, selling cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia for example doesn’t exactly sit well with me, I’d like to believe that by and large the majority of our munitions fall into the hands of good global actors and not bad ones. Then again, I’m not really one to trust the government’s judgment when it comes to transferring weapons (Operation Fast and Furious ring a bell?), so maybe I’m being a bit naive with that presumption.

In any event, whether we are selling more guns to more good people than bad people is actually irrelevant to the larger question of global violence. I say that because even if the U.S. were to stop exporting firearms altogether, bad actors are still going to find ways to obtain arms (thanks to Russia, China, and others). We may be the biggest and the most influential, but our leaving the global arms party wouldn’t change a thing. Demand for munitions would remain, and Russia and China and other countries would just fill the void that we left behind.

Moreover, and this is the critical point to bear in mind, tanks by themselves don’t kill people, bombs by the themselves don’t kill people (that’s true for even smart bombs), guns by the themselves don’t kill people, it takes people to operate hardware. Yes, this is obvious. But it bears repeating in this context because the appeal the Pope should be making is to stop bad actors (despots, dictators, failed states, terrorists) from carrying out their violent agenda.

In short, the real battle were fighting is one of ideas. People don’t kill others simply because they have a gun in their hand. They do it typically for one of two reason (a) fear that if they don’t, they’ll be killed, or (b) they believe it’s the right thing to do, e.g. it’s the will of God or the will of an supreme leader.

So, with that said, our mission ought to be to liberate people from the shackles of malevolent religions, regimes and ideologies. I’ll let you read into that what you’d like. But it’s the truth. As we know from our experimentation with gun control in the U.S., when you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have em. Same would hold true on a global scale (which is why the U.N.’s Global Arms Trade Treaty is a complete joke). Doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive to be more scrupulous on who we sell arms to, but at the same time, we need to be realistic about the limitations of this strategy.

Bottom line: If we want to end global conflict, the call to action should focus on freeing, educating and empowering people — not on hardware.

Anyways, that’s my $.02.

What are your thoughts about global arms trading? What are your thoughts on the Pope’s comments?

{ 19 comments… add one }
  • Dan July 21, 2017, 7:12 am

    Pope should concentrate on protecting his followers from pedophile priests.

  • Scott Terdine December 16, 2016, 2:28 pm

    In my opinion the Pope is addressing the mechanism of effect not the cause of global bloodshed,
    Arms not people and ideology.
    You do not need small arms,missles or aircraft to commit atrocities.
    A truck full of machetes works just fine.Just ask the Rwandans if you can find any their neighbors did not kill.
    If you do not know what I am talking about.Educate yourself.If you are commenting here you know how to use google.

  • Frank B December 16, 2016, 12:03 pm

    This Communist Pope should keep his niose the heck out of political affairs and direct his attention and resources to saving and protecting all the Christians who are being persecuted by the Islamic Terrorists.

  • Kepha December 16, 2016, 9:20 am

    Even the Bible has provisions for a person to arm themselves and be ready to defend their life, liberty, and property. The Pope needs to stick with encouraging freedom not to passing more draconian laws!

  • Robert December 16, 2016, 7:35 am

    From the KJV
    “But the fearful, and unbelieving,……… shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

    To be fearful and unbelieving that the Pope is the custodian of the Church Christ establish is being a protestant and protesting the Authority of Christ………

    KJV
    “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

    What am I saying?

    I am saying Saint Catherine of Sienna shows faith in that Church when she said

    “Even if the Pope were Satan incarnate, we ought not to raise up our heads against him, but calmly lie down to rest on his bosom.”

  • Janus September 29, 2015, 4:15 pm

    The pope resides over one of the oldest and most criminal syndicates,
    Puck the Fope!
    However the international arms trade, esp. US politician’s involvement is CRIMINAL
    they should be executed for treason,
    having said that this has nothing to do with civilian gun ownership,
    though they would use this to do exactly that,
    no pope or foreign entity has ANYTHING to say to Americans about their domestic affairs, PERIOD

  • Jerry September 29, 2015, 7:58 am

    Just like the papal wars…Anyone read about the Crusades or the other Papal wars, more blood shed has been caused by the office of the pope,than just about any single office!

  • Gary September 28, 2015, 8:46 pm

    Gotta love those child molesting’ priests…………….. with the POPE sitting on that fortune he and the church has amassed.

  • Michael Keim September 28, 2015, 7:28 pm

    Maybe the pope should deal with all the pedophile priests.

  • BR549 September 28, 2015, 2:40 pm

    I suppose the Spanish Inquisition means nothing to him.

  • taxx73 September 28, 2015, 2:09 pm

    And this is coming from the head of the richest most corrupt organization on the face of the planet. I’m not religious but religion should be comforting not a guilt trip. The Roman Catholic church is responsible for more deaths through out history than both world wars Vietnam Korea and Iraq/Afghanistan combined. Where do you think the Italian Mafia came from.

  • Snubby September 28, 2015, 1:02 pm

    The only big deal about the Pope is his outfit and crazy big hat. As to why people react to this old virgin man the way they do is quite baffling. He just walks around talking in mostly cliches like Captain Obvious. But why doesn’t he focus more on the conflict that creates a natural demand for an arms trade business? It is because the conflict that exists in the first place in order to demand an arms trade is driven by his stupid religion.

    • alex September 29, 2015, 1:01 pm

      virgin my ass,ha,haa,ha!!!

  • Buddy September 28, 2015, 12:21 pm

    Please pass this on to the person that said it. THE POPE! We agree with you but this needs to be addressed to the proper ones as an enlightenment on their misunderstanding . I believe anytime someone posts an article or opinion on a subject it should be addressed also to the one who created the stir.

  • Nemo September 28, 2015, 11:29 am

    pope Frankie’s hands may be clean, but the Vatican is surrounded by a pool of blood 9 centuries old and counting.

    What’s the old line about glass houses and stones? How much murder and mayhem did the Catholic Church sign off for in Central and South America these past hundred years? Did they think it was committed by beating the victims of that murder and mayhem with palm fronds?

    Or how about how the Vatican helped Nazis escape judgment? My father fought them at Normandy, and then I find the Holy See made it possible for many of those Nazis to escape via ‘rat lines’ (look it up, it’s disgusting) to South America? He and so many others fought and died…to let them go? WTF?

    Glass houses, indeed. Somebody needs to fill Pope Frankie in that he is NOT ‘infallible’. Especially not in the hypocrisy department. Not when the Vatican Bank makes money from dirty drug money laundering. If anything is ‘drenched in blood’, that is.

  • DRAINO September 26, 2015, 9:06 am

    Pope, Schmope. I fully agree with your bottom line, Mr. Blannelberry. Hardware isn’t the problem. As always, people are. If politicians around the world(and I include the pope in that category, cause he’s just a politician too) wanted to do anything to really do some good, they need to put their efforts into cracking down on these drug lords and child porn rings and people trafficking in person and these warlords who keep people impoverished. There are a lot more serious issues in the world to deal with besides the law abiding American gun owner.

    • philip September 28, 2015, 8:24 am

      When guns are outlawed outlaws will still have guns! GUNS don’t shoot themselves it takes people. You ban guns you violate rights I am granted under thje 2nd ammendment, and the makes it impossible for me to adequately protcct myself and family from criminals and drug dealers who want to invade my home!

    • Cecil B. September 28, 2015, 9:12 pm

      So, after a post about the global arms trade, all you have to say is leave Americans and their guns alone. What about global don’t you get, this isn’t about your stupid second amendment rights you bonehead. I’m all for gun ownership, but this isn’t about magazine capacity on your silly semi-automatic AR. This is about surface to air missiles, and rpg’s, and Black hawk helicopters in the hands of anyone who wants them, no matter what they’re going to use them for, whether it’s revolution or genocide.

      • DRAINO September 29, 2015, 4:23 pm

        I’m afraid this IS ALSO about my 2A rights. America is the last stand. We are the place that has the freedoms that everyone else wants….the place all the people in other countries want to come to. If we fall, there is nothing for anyone else to look forward to. Look at all the other countries….rights stripped because there is no way to defend them. If they had 2A rights, things may be somewhat different where they live. That’s thinking globally. WE ARE the most exceptional country in the world, and if you and president Moron don’t agree, feel free to leave….or stay out, whichever applies to you, my ignorant/misguided/delusional friend. Make no mistake about it, the Vatican will never give up their arms as long as they breathe. Why should we free Americans??

Leave a Comment

Send this to a friend