Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Mean Green, erm, Green Machine

From Yahoo UK:
"LONDON (AFP) - British arms manufacturer BAE Systems is reportedly designing "environmentally friendly" weapons, including "reduced lead" bullets, "reduced smoke" grenades and rockets with fewer toxins.

Other initiatives include developing armoured vehicles with lower carbon emissions, safer and more sustainable artillery and even recycling or composting waste explosives, The Sunday Times added.

"Weapons are going to be used and when they are, we try to make them as safe for the user as possible, to limit the collateral damage and to impact as little as possible on the environment," Debbie Allen, BAE Systems' director of corporate social responsibility, was quoted as saying.

But Symon Hill, from Campaign Against Arms Trade, described the policy as "laughable."

"BAE is determined to try to make itself look ethical but they make weapons to kill people and it's utterly ridiculous to suggest they are environmentally friendly," he told the newspaper.

BAE Systems' policy is reportedly endorsed by Britain's Ministry of Defence, which defended the concept of "green munitions" as not a contradiction in terms. The US Army already has its own sustainability website."

If I remember correctly, one of the arguments advanced in favour of the neutron bomb is that it would vaporise a population but leave buildings intact, making reconstruction easier and less environmentally hazardous. But the facitious tone of this story aside, as superficially ironic as this seems as long as the the world is in the war business it is better to fire a shell that only kills on impact and not also over time through the slow release of toxic compounds. It does all seem a bit rich though, like one of those awful theoretical questions posed in schoolboy philosophy circles (i.e. "would you cut your leg off and risk bleeding to death in order to escape a burning building?").

I propose instead that armies stock up on American grown spinach and throw it at their enemies instead. Not only would it be lethal, it would be easily compostable. Or would that be biological warfare?


Joe said...

Since overpopulation is the root of all threats to the environment, it would appear that products that kill people are environmentally friendly.

weasel said...

Ladies and gentlemen, I present Pol Lobster Pot.

On the subject of the arms trade, avoid the movie Lord of War at all costs. I made that mistake on Friday and am still shaken at the crapness of it all.