Tuesday, September 18, 2007


"Humanitarian organisations accuse the Ministry of Defence today of reclassifying one of its newest weapons to escape an expected world ban on cluster bombs. The MoD last year described the Hydra CRV-7 system, which delivers a number of bomblets from a helicopter-mounted rocket pod, as a cluster weapon.
Later in the year, Margaret Beckett, then foreign secretary, said the government did not consider the weapon fell within the term "dumb", because virtually all the bomblets exploded on impact. . ...However, the MoD admitted trials in the US had revealed a 6% failure rate. .. The reclassification is attacked today by Oxfam, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Landmine Action, who also say that Britain has been the world's third largest user of lethal cluster bombs over the last 10 years. "Ten years after it championed a treaty banning landmines, the UK has a chance to do the same with cluster bombs - but instead it is spinning a cluster bomb con," said Simon Conway, Director of Landmine Action. ..Anna MacDonald of Oxfam said: "Current UK policy on cluster bombs makes no sense. They say they want an international treaty but they also want to keep using cluster bombs well known to kill and injure civilians." (Guardian, 18 September)
Ms MacDonald might think it "makes no sense", but from the standpoint of British capitalism, having the cheapest and most efficient weapons, it makes a great deal of sense. RD

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