During the Afghan War the Americans delivered a thousand Stinger Rockets with a value of 25 million dollars to the anti-communist Mujaheddin fighters.Now their secret service is trying to buy back the ones that still remain – because of their fear of international terrorists who could use them to carry out attacks on commercial flights. The CIA has offered a reward of 55 million dollars for the rockets. This case reveals, in detail, the fatal logic of weapons trade in general.During the Cold War the two superpowers generously supplied the third world with weapons. Somalia should put us all in a reflective mood. It was the weapons deliveries (originally from the East, later from the West) that made the War of the Clans so horrifying. Saddam Hussein too used weapons from both suppliers to attack Kuwait.
However, the deliveries continue. In 1992 the USA exported military goods costing almost 14 Billion Dollars to the third world; the Federal Republic of Germany managed to supply 700 Million dollars worth. It is as if these developing countries had no more urgent need and as if getting the rockets back were simple. Those who sell weapons sell potential boomerangs.
[This is a rough translation of a brief editorial comment by Publisher Dr. Theo Sommer, which appeared in Die Zeit, International Edition, 6 August 1993]