The UK has finally agreed to join 45 other countries and work towards a new treaty banning the use of cluster bombs.
The long overdue move follows a two-day conference in Norway where the 46 nations signed a declaration committing themselves to a ban. The principal aim of the declaration is that by 2008 they will prohibit the use, production, transfer and stockpiling of cluster munitions that cause unacceptable harm to civilians.
I’m indebted to this blog for some useful information on exactly why these murderous devices need to be banned and who is supplying them.
The agreement in Oslo is a welcome move and yet as ever there is a “but”. In this case, it is a rather large “but” in the shape of the United States of America.
The US is absent from the list and has refused to agree to any sort of limitation or outright ban. Why? The US military still regards cluster bombs as having a crucial place in its arsenal.
Indeed, it has become a weapon of choice in the on-going battle for hearts and minds in Iraq.
Using such devices will certainly help the US capture a few hearts and minds, not to mention a few other vital organs and limbs and tens of thousands of lives.
Is this what the fight for democracy and freedom really entails?