Shoot first, ask questions later
Understanding the civilian and environmental risks from weapons before using them is a key part of the legal review process for new weapons - even if the bar is not set particularly high. However, when it comes to the toxic constituents of weapons, this process can take far longer to complete, as scientific research struggles to catch up with military enthusiasm.
So it has proved with DU, where research was left behind in the rush to develop and deploy the weapons. Often factors relating to how the weapons are used in conflict and what, if anything, is done to reduce harm after they are used are not taken into account. Even decades on, significant uncertainties may still remain, for example the extent to which civilians have been, and continue to be, exposed to DU.
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