Armed Forces: Cluster Bombs

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 11:12 am on 12 October 2006.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lord Triesman Lord Triesman Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) 11:12, 12 October 2006

My Lords, I truly understand the concern, but I do not think that it is true to say that they are the same as landmines. Landmines are left around so that when people or vehicles come into contact with them they explode and damage those people. These munitions are intended to explode on or slightly before impact. I have asked the question: do they make a legitimate difference? The answer that I am provided with is that they do. They offer a capability that means that, when troops are about to advance, there is a chance that the engagement that they will have with a wide-area enemy, particularly an armoured enemy, is not as fierce or protracted and that they do not suffer as many casualties.

I say this to the House, with the greatest respect to all those who have expressed the ethical concern: are the issues of the protection of our troops, which come up so frequently—quite rightly—in your Lordships' House to be real considerations, or are we to abandon those considerations when it appears to be convenient?