How Many Violations of US Arms Laws are Too Many?
It depends whether the miscreant enjoys "We will always have your back regardless"". status
On March 6, 2012, the US Congressional Research Service released a report to the US Congress concerning Restrictions on the use of American weapons by recipient countries. For those who have followed the subject there was not a whole lot new in the CRS study, yet it is instructive in identifying Israel once again as far and away the most egregious violator of virtually every provision of every US law which purports to regulate how American weapons are used.
According to one CRS researcher, requesting anonymity during a Skype conversation and subsequent memo:
"An intern and I decided, almost for amusement, to count violations of US Arms Export Control laws by Israel between the date of ACEA enactment, 1976, through last month and we estimated more than 2.5 million violations if we applied the law given the legislative history and intent of Congress at the time of its passage. We based that figure on our estimation of each individual violation of the act as well as of the 1961 Foreign Assistance Act. It could be firing a US 155 mm artillery shell, various missiles, bombs, rockets and of course cluster munitions. For example, were Israel brought before a Court, the prosecutors would surely argue that each cluster booklet dropped on Lebanon in 2006 was a separate violation plus the two million estimated dropped during the 1982 invasion of Lebanon and during the 1978, 1993 and 1996 invasions. Add to this figure Israel's records of violating US Arms export laws in Gaza, the West Bank and Syria and the true number is surely several million violations. Essentially all committed with impunity."
In accordance with U.S. law, the U.S. Government is mandated to enforce strict conditions on the use against civilians, of weapons it transfers to foreign recipients. Violations of these conditions can lead to the suspension of deliveries or termination of contracts for such defense items, and even the cutting off of all aid to the violating country.
Section 3(a) of the 1976 US Arms Export Control Act (AECA) sets the standards for countries to be eligible to receive American arms and it also sets express conditions on the uses to which these arms may be put. Section 4 of the AECA states that U.S. weapons shall be sold to friendly countries "solely" for use in "legitimate self-defense, for use in "internal security," and to enable the recipient country to participate in "collective measures requested by the United Nations for the purpose of maintaining or restoring international peace and security."