Friday, February 23, 2007

Another Thought on Cluster Bombs

The campaign to ban cluster bombs is long overdue. These weapons were developed to take out large enemy formations massed on battlefields. That sort of conventional war seems to have become a rarity, replaced by low-intensity wars, guerrilla war and insurgencies.

Cluster bombs have no place being used against small groups or dispersed targets in the midst of civilian areas. Aerial bombardment generally against civilian areas needs to be banned.

We've come to be a bit deluded about the notion of "precision guided munitions" and their vaunted surgical strikes. The only thing precise about a 2,000 lb. bomb with a laser guidance system is the guidance system. When that bomb hits, it is neither precise nor discriminate. Its blast wave will kill anyone within hundreds of feet, completely indifferent to age, gender or culpability. It also tends to transform the survivors into our avowed enemies.

Those who resort to using cluster bombs should be held accountable for going back in and clearing all the duds, the unexploded bomblets, when the fighting ends. Kids are still being blown to bits in Laos from cluster bomblets the Americans left behind after losing Vietnam. How can we call a country that will deliberately leave that mayhem in its wake to claim innocent lives for decades afterwards our ally, our friend? It is nothing short of monstrous.

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