Monday, September 05, 2016

Arms and humanity

Bombing in Yemen from Wikipedia by Ibrahim Qasim
The UK has become the second biggest exporter of arms in the world.  The promotional leaflets talk about "defence exporters" as though the results of our "defence exports" weren't being used to kill women and children and to bomb hospitals in Yemen

Our whole approach to this must change if we ever hope to have a world in which we end wars.  At the moment we are allowing rich corporations to make money by selling death and destruction to other countries, and we are spending money we don't have on a nuclear deterrent that deters no one.

We need to be thinking about these things on a smaller scale, the one thing about Margaret Thatcher that appealed to me was her ability to do that.  Our renewing trident, for example, is like a family deciding to spend their money on some sort of state-of-the-art burglar alarm while starving in the kitchen.

The arms trade is worse.  That's like a family selling their knives to the next door neighbour knowing he plans to kill his wife and children with them.  We should get out of it.  It starts with making the trade less lucrative by refusing to allow licences for any country that is acting aggressively towards its neighbours.  There's no way that we could be selling arms to Saudi Arabia (who are aggressively attacking Yemen, including bombing Medecins sans frontiers hospitals, against international treaties).

Years ago I saw a documentary about East Timor, and among the facts in the programme was the fact that we were selling arms to the Indonesians knowing that they would be used against the East Timorese... in fact there was film showing the jets we had sold to Indonesia being used against the populace. 

I wrote to Alan Clark, completely astonished that someone who was so active in care for animals, would sell arms to a repressive regime that would use them against their own people.  Somewhere I have the letter I got in reply, which said that the Indonesians had signed agreements not to do that, and basically indicating it wasn't OUR fault if they weren't as good as their word.  Don't forget we also armed Saddam Hussein, who was originally our ally.

It's all a game to them.  It sems to me that if we don't stand up and be counted, they'll simply continue to sell arms while it is profitable, and damn the consequences.

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