I may have been wrong to dismiss the EE for having no army – it may be secretly working on one.
But for the past 10 years, a group of Belgian researchers based in Tanzania have been training a species of giant African rats to sniff out land mines and unexploded ordnance.
“When people see they can use these animals for humanitarian purposes, it changes their perception,” said Bart Weetjens, whose nonprofit group, Apopo, has pioneered the use of the African or Gambian giant pouched rat in mine detection…
Sounds reasonable – that’s exactly the sort of thing Belgians get up to if left alone. But then it gets sinister:
Mr. Weetjens and Apopo hope the creatures, the largest rats by size in the world, will join hand-held metal detectors, armored vehicles and dogs in the effort to detect and remove land mines, which kill or maim as many as 20,000 people a year, according to the International Campaign to Ban Land Mines.
That’s thoroughly commendable, although the Chinese and Russians who supplied these mines should be cleaning them up.
But Belgian-enhanced giant rats driving armored vehicles sounds exactly what you’d expect the EE to field as an army.
Just a thought.