Indefensible: Myths of the Global Arms Trade

The WPF’s Project Indefensible debunks the seven core myths that the arms industry uses to deflect criticism and explains what can be done. It includes a book, Indefensible: Seven Myths that Sustain the Global Arms Trade. The project was sponsored by WPF, and the book’s author is Paul Holden, our colleague at Shadow World Investigations, along with collaborators Bridget Conley, Alex de Waal, Sarah Detzner, J. Paul Dunne, Andrew Feinstein, William Hartung, Lora Lumpe, Nicholas Marsh, Sam Perlo-Freeman, Hennie Van Vuuren, and Leah Wawro. To purchase, click on the image below.

Myths of the Global Arms Industry


Higher military spending equals increased security
Fact: As one country seeks security with increased armament and military spending, it can create insecurity in others, triggering an arms race that makes everyone less secure.


Military spending is driven by security concerns
Fact: The decisions to build, sell or buy weapons often have little to do with defending the nation. Other factors at play include claims that weapons systems generate economic benefits; and pure corruption.


We can control where they go after they’re purchased
Fact: Diversion of arms from their intended recipient is a common problem. Arms dealers can easily fake end-user certificates so that weapons supposedly destined for a ‘legitimate’ state recipient are diverted to a war zone.


National arms industries are technologically innovative job creators
Fact: Even in the biggest arms producers, the military sector is only a small proportion of the economy, and the arms industry is only a tiny proportion of employment — and the role of arms exports is even smaller.


Arms Trade Corruption is only a problem in developing countries
Fact: Corruption is a feature of the arms trade the world over, developed and developing countries alike


National security requires blanket secrecy
Fact: Governments tend to apply wide-ranging secrecy to military, intelligence, and security matters far beyond the legitimate demands of national security.


Now is not the time
Fact: It is indeed more necessary now than ever to challenge the fear-mongering that justifies the global arms business, massive militarization and securitization, and the resort to military force that brings about so much destruction and perpetuates a cycle of instability, fear and violence.

Exposing these myths reveals the final and most important fact: CHANGE IS POSSIBLE
Together, we can foster an evidence-driven, accountable and transparent public discussion of the global arms business.