Is the US backpedalling on its use of depleted uranium (DU) rounds? There are indications that the use of these highly toxic munitions could increasingly be a political liability for the US, with countries affected by DU, like Iraq, other UN Member States, and populations in contaminated areas all expressing concerns over its use and impact. But stigmatisation, although important, is not enough on its own – in order to make sustained progress on accountability and in reducing civilian harm, a broader framework that addresses all toxic remnants of war is needed.
While the US and its allies have had a monopoly on drone technology until recently, the uptake of military and civilian drones by a much wider range of state and non-state actors shows that this playing field is quickly levelling. Current international agreements on arms control and use lack efficacy in responding to the legal, ethical, strategic and political problems with military drone proliferation. The huge expansion of this technology must push the international community to adopt strong norms on the use of drones on the battlefield.