Arms companies go big on Poppies in UK

The No Glory in War website in Britain is marking Remembrance Day with a well-sourced article (by Andrew Smith and Matthew Burnett-Stuart from Red Pepper) on the way in which arms companies batten onto war remembrance. Lockheed Martin and BAE Systems are two companies mentioned in the article for their activities in Britain. Lockheed Martin and BAE were in 2012 the largest and third largest arms companies in the world and both have strong presence in Australia. Lockheed Martin is the main manufacturer of Australia’s new Joint Strike Fighter.

The article also links to research on the role of arms companies in arming both sides in the lead-up to World War I.

World War One was shaped by weapons. It was the first global conflict since the industrial revolution, and the new generation of mechanised arms led to devastating casualties. Attempts had been made to ban Chemical Warfare as early as 1899, but the arms trade persevered, and gas killed 25,000 on the Western front alone.

It’s for this reason that the tragedies of the time should never be forgotten, let alone airbrushed over by an arms trade that is trying to give the impression of legitimacy.

Similar issues have arisen in Australia. A 2011 article explored whether arms manufacturers are appropriate donors for war memorials. (The project referred to in the article has since been shelved.)

10 November 2014

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