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Supplying cluster bombs to Ukraine: how low can the US go?

Posted by: John Phoenix
Cluster bombs

“Cluster bombs don’t end wars: they prolong the killing for years afterwards”

Stuart Littlewood writes:

So Biden is “doing the dirty”, this time the dirtiest imaginable. He’s approved the US sending cluster munitions to Ukraine to help its war against Russia. This will be part of a new military aid package worth $800 million.

Peace movement Code Pink are telling their activists:

Instead of supporting a ceasefire and peace talks, the Pentagon is sending illegal weapons to a conflict zone… Congress can block the transfer of these weapons whenever they want, but they need to hear from you.

There’s a reason why over 100 countries have banned the use of cluster munitions. Shells that contain hundreds to thousands of smaller bomblets dropped from the air to litter areas the size of football fields. These shiny bomblets often do not explode until children – thinking they are toys – pick them up and have their limbs ripped off.

During the secret US war on Laos, the US military blanketed the country with almost 300 million bomblets. Many of them never detonated, killing and injuring tens of thousands of Lao people in the decades after the US pulled out of Southeast Asia.

Has the US not learned it’s lesson? Cluster bombs don’t end wars: they prolong the killing years after wars end.

One hundred and eleven states have signed up to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which became international law in 2010 and prohibits the use, development, manufacture, storage and transfer of cluster bombs. Those signatories, tellingly, do NOT include the United States and Israel.

Haaretz reports that Israel used cluster bombs in the October 1973 war and in its 1978 invasion of Lebanon, during the first Lebanon war in 1982 and the second Lebanon war in 2006, that last occasion bringing condemnation from the then-UN secretary-general, Kofi Annan. Israel used cluster bombs again in the 2008-09 Gaza war.

All diplomatic efforts to convince Israel to join the Convention on Cluster Munitions, at least as an observer, failed. Israel refuses to sign the accord, as well the convention prohibiting the use of land mines. That didn’t prevent Israel, with typical hypocrisy, from joining the 2018 UN condemnation of Syria for using cluster bombs.

We expect such nastiness from Israel. But by dodging the convention the US, too, divorces itself from all norms of human decency.

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