Eine Kleine Nichtmusik

Witty and pertinent observations on matters of great significance OR Incoherent jottings on total irrelevancies OR Something else altogether OR All of the above

Thursday, July 19, 2012

We come in peace: shoot to kill

British MPs are demanding that the government review its arms trade agreements with authoritarian regimes (aka dodgy dictators). For some reason they are unhappy with the way givernment minister describe sniper rifles, sub-machine guns and armoured troop carriers as "crowd control goods". Mind you, considering the behaviour of some of those to whom we gleefully promote arms sales, they might as well have added artillery to that list.

There are moves afoot at this very moment in the UN to get a global treaty regulating the arms trade. Amnesty International is supporting it, as are many other organisations.

153 UN member states supported a treaty. 24 abstained (of which the least surprising were probably Russia and Israel, both famous for supplying weapons to anyone who iss willing to pay). The USA under George Bush originally voted against the proposed treaty, though this shameful position has now been reversed. Whether the USA will be able to muster the necessary support in Congress to ratify any treaty may be another matter.

The NRA, unbelievably, is lobbying against the treaty: because clearly, preventing ETA or Islamic Jihad from obtaining rocket launchers, and stopping the sale of tanks for the Syrians or Chinese to use against protestors, infringes the Second Amendment. Even if one took the view (as set out by the Texas Republican Party) that it is the right of every US Citizen to buy a grenade launcher and carry it under her/his clothing into school), it's hard to see how this would be abridged by a treaty on international arms sales. Perhaps it's about Americans' God-given right to but cheap Israeli or Czech grenade launchers instead of domestic ones: nobody said "patriots" had to support America, after all.


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