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German Army Criticized for Arsenal of Cluster Bombs

Only a few days after more than 80 non-governmental organizations from around the world launched a campaign to ban cluster bombs, Germany’s army came under harsh criticism for not destroying its remaining arsenal of the deadly weapons. After a report scheduled to air on German public television was confirmed by the defense ministry on Monday, politicians and celebrities demanded the immediate destruction of the remaining stock of BL-755 bombs, which is estimated at several thousand. Although the German army refused to give concrete numbers, it did admit to being in the process of phasing out the bombs and admitted there was no reason for them to remain in the Bundeswehr’s arsenal. Angelika Beer, head of the Green party and a defense expert, said the bombs were obvious leftovers from an earlier time and called upon the government to push for an international ban of cluster bombs. Designed to widely scatter dozens of smaller explosive charges before impact, cluster bombs are considered by many human rights groups to be just as devastating as landmines, which are banned under a United Nations treaty. Fifty-eight countries currently maintain arsenals of cluster bombs. The United States, China and Russia hold the largest stockpiles.