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Monday, May 19, 2008

Cluster bombs and Nu Labour's 'ethical' foreign policy

The IHT reports:

Ireland convened diplomats from more than 100 countries Monday in hopes of negotiating a treaty banning cluster bombs, which have littered battlefields worldwide with potentially deadly "duds."
Each bomb, rocket or shell scatters "bomblets" that carpet enemy troops or armored vehicles. But some fail to detonate, creating unmapped minefields that kill or maim civilians - including children who can mistake the objects for toys - months or years later....
Most countries want a full ban. Pope Benedict XVI backed that call Sunday.
So did nine British generals in a letter published Monday in The Times newspaper of London. The signatories included former field commanders in Yugoslavia and Iraq.
"Cluster munitions were developed to combat a level of Cold War confrontation that never happened," the generals wrote. "However, in modern wars, conducted among the people, they have consistently caused civilian casualties both during and after attacks."

Britain is not among the 100 countries who want a ban on cluster bombs. Yes, that's right: the Nu Labour government which repeatedly promised us an 'ethical foreign policy' is quite happy to see these dreadful weapons remain legal.

Among other countries who oppose a ban are the U.S., Russia and China.

It's not often you see Britain, the US, Russia and China on the same side these days. What a dreadful issue on which to find common ground.


Jim Jay said...

Unfortunately the UK aren't just tolerating cluster bombs they both drop them on people and sell them to people who drop them on people.

Because we don't use mines we take a moral highground on that issue - even though cluster bombs effectively turn into mines once dropped.

Anonymous said...

Landmines are defensive weapons. Countries lay them around their borders to prevent invasion.

Landmines are cheap and are therefore an excellent choice for poor countries. It does not surprise me that the neocons want to ban landmines.

Anonymous said...

If it were true that landmines were only used by sovereign countries as a defensive mechanism; however, the truth is very different. They are often used 'offensively', planted to place territory off limits within civil conflicts and to terrorise local populations. Against major military powers, intent on invasion, they are of limited use (witness Iraq). Meanwhile, defending cluster as 'we' (the UK) are is indefensible.

olching said...

Thanks for drawing attention to an important issue. It never ceases to amaze me how openly hypocritical the new imperialists are. Only in C21 can you get a head of state talking about ethical warfare while buying cluster bombs (and using them). At least the old imperialist toffs of the eighteenth and nineteenth century didn't pretend to be anything else than they were. They just didn't give a damn and said it.