> Is it true that "victim-activated devices" have no place
in modern warfare?
truth is that as long as conflicts continue, victim-initiated
devices - mines, booby-traps, Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) - of one kind or another will be used. When the
chips are down, fighting "By All Available Means" (BAAM!) is
normal. International efforts to alter the BAAM mindset seem
to be the only way to change this. Genuine concern over the
long-term effects of weapons will only become "fashionable"
if led by the world's dominant military forces. At present,
Russia, China and the USA have not banned the use of anti-personnel
landmines - and all continue to develop other indiscriminate
weapons that serve as victim-activated devices. The willingness
to use mines and indiscriminate submunitions (in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Chechnya etc.) may seem to have reversed the
successes of the ICBL. So
numbers of anti-personnel landmines in the ground are falling but the use of indiscriminate weapons is probably increasing.
this setback, I support the ICBL and CCW campaigners - because
I believe that they have had an influence on the profligate
use of ALL persistent weapons. That influence may be predominantly
on civilians - but ultimately civilians do have some say in
what the military finds acceptable. I do not believe that everyone
must be threatened by legal consequences before changing their
attitude to persistent weapons. The moral arguments are compelling
- and are being heard BECAUSE of the campaigns. That said, the
ICBL campaign was effectively neutered by the award of the Nobel
prize. Apart from dividing the movement, it also implied that
success had been achieved. There is very obviously still a long
way to go - and maybe a real ban will not
be achieved in our lifetime - but we have to start from somewhere
and I have always believed that starting from where we happen
to be makes a lot of sense.
thanks to Robin Collins (formerly) Mine Action Canada, Celina and all
the campaigners at home - most of whom give time freely, do
not attend expensive festivals/workshops and do not spend money
that could be available for clearance. No one can say with certainty
that their "profile-raising" keeps up donor-interest in clearance
- but I think that it does.
That said, by 2015 the ICBL campaign seemed to have lost a major part of the plot... See Three Failings of the ICBL.
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