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Kill And Maim

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U.S. Rejects World Move To Ban Evil Cluster Bombs

By James Donahue

About 100 countries are agreeing this week to sign a landmark treaty banning the use of cluster bombs in warfare. But one of the largest producers of this heinous weapon, the United States, is refusing to participate.

The document, finalized in Dublin by the Convention on Cluster Munitions, was referred to as “the biggest humanitarian treaty of the last decade” by coalition representative Richard Moyes.

Among the nations signing the pact are Britain, France, Germany, Canada, and Norway. Also participating is Laos, were the US Air Force dropped 260 million cluster bombs between 1964 and 1973.

Cluster bombs are extremely ugly because they explode in mid-air and randomly litter a war zone with hundreds of small mini-bombs that kill or maim every living creature in sight. Worse than this, many of the explosive devices, which can be as small as three inches in size, fail to explode on impact, thus becoming landmines that can continue killing and maiming long after the conflict ends.  

The convention claims that an estimated 100,000 people have been killed or severely wounded by cluster bombs throughout the world since they went into production in 1965. Most of the victims were civilians, and many of these were children who picked up the tiny bombs thinking they were toys or tin cans.

Weapons like this, while possibly effective in a conventional battlefield situation, have such long-lasting effects on the area in which they are used there is good reason to collectively ban them, much as nations banned the use of mustard gas after World War I.

But the world’s largest producers and users of cluster bombs, the United States, Russia, China, India, Israel and Pakistan, are refusing to sign the treaty. The U.S. State Department issued a statement explaining that “such a general ban on cluster munitions will put the lives of our military men and women, and those of our coalition partners, at risk.”

This argument makes little sense since armies have rarely fought the old style of conventional warfare since Korea. The modern soldier fights a more guerilla-styled form of combat, sometimes amid private citizens in towns or in mountain and jungle terrain. The enemy is rarely found in large numbers in a single place. The cluster bomb therefore has no real practical use except to kill and maim large numbers of mostly innocent civilians who get caught up in wars.

Because of the many new and even scarier weapons being produced we suspect that the generals and military leaders also can choose from a variety of options that kill and maim as effectively as cluster bombs. We have heard reports that some weapons utilize sound frequencies and devices that confuse the minds of soldiers in the field, thus making them ineffective in battle. Thus future battles can theoretically be won without bloodshed.

From our vantage point, the only real reason a military leader might want to use cluster bombs would be for the sheer joy of killing. That describes the psychopath, and such people do not belong in command of troops.

In a perfect world, the human race should be rising above the need to ever go to war. Sending soldiers into battle over any dispute, be it for financial, political, property, religious or racial differences, is barbaric and needs to be put to rest.

The nations that are joining the pact to ban cluster bombs say they are optimistic that by taking their stand, they are creating a moral obligation on the rest of the world not to use them as well.

Also the group is hoping the United States will consider signing the treaty once President George W. Bush leaves office and President-Elect Barack Obama takes over. Obama voted in the Senate in 2006 to support a bill that would ban the use of cluster bombs in heavily populated areas. The proposal was rejected, however.