Skip to content or view screen version

Bristol Against Arms Trade meeting

john Lennon | 25.01.2011 23:22

Joanne Baker talks at meeting
BAAT meeting at Smiling Chair, Stokes Croft, next to Sprinters the printers at 6pm 2 Feb.
Joanne Baker from Child Victims of War talking about the weapons
of modern warfare and their deadly legacy on civilians. With slide show.
Cake back on the menu!
Extract from Child Victims of War website:
In modern warfare over 90% of casualties are civilian. Around 50% of the populations of Iraq and Afghanistan are children.

“Total global military expenditure in 2009 is estimated to have been $1531 billion. This represents an increase of 6 per cent in real terms compared to 2008, and of 49 per cent since 2000.”

Despite the global financial recession, military spending is continuing to rise. This is partly due to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and partly because the military-industrial complex has created strong relationship between arms producers and governments, and has exaggerated the importance of weapons development in relation to national security.

The UK is the world’s 4th biggest military spender, with a high cost per head of population. Spending in 2009 was $58.3 billion
The UK is the world’s 5th largest supplier of conventional weapons. Major clients are USA, India and Saudi Arabia.
In 2008 a UK company, BAE Systems, was the first non-US company to register the highest number of global arms sales: $32420 billion in sales and $3250 billion in profit.
In the UK the investment in militarism is at the expense of technologies which might increase environmental sustainability and security. The US, UK and allies are still basing their national security policies on military force projection in order to control global oil and gas supplies and other profitable natural resources.

The UK defence strategy has led to wars which have resulted in the death and injury of British troops, made Britain an even greater target for terrorists and encouraged the growth of privatised militias.

For the people of Iraq and Afghanistan it has meant millions of lives lost; decades of war and civil strife; the loss of control over their natural resources; the imposition of governments based on power, corruption and division; the undermining of women through the support of fundamentalist factions, and continuous occupation via the hundreds of military bases that are being built.

Aid is becoming increasingly tied to militarism. The recent Strategic Defence Review, October 2010, states that in order to tackle the root causes of instability, Britain requires “an effective international development programme making the optimal contribution to national security within its overall objective of poverty reduction, with the Department for International Development focussing significantly more effort on priority national security and fragile states.” Through the new National Security Council the aid agenda is now linked to the Ministry of Defence.

The UK is now joining the US in endless war based on asymetric threats such as terrorism, weapons of mass destruction and cyber threats. The result is endless profit for large corporations and financial institutions and endless suffering for the poor and vulnerable.

john Lennon
- Original article on IMC Bristol: