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Thursday, May 29, 2008


Cluster bombs banned - except by the countries that use them

111 nations agreed to a ban on cluster bombs. The U.S. military, who wasn't one of the 111, "says that it keeps the weapons in its arsenal as a defense against advancing armies, a strategy closely linked to conventional Cold War approaches to conflict, and that it has not used the bombs since the 2003 invasion of Iraq."

Well, I'm not sure about the "since 2003" part, but the bit about "defense against advancing armies" is a blatant lie. In its war against Yugoslavia, there were no "advancing armies," since the U.S. military wasn't even on the ground, yet dozens of documented examples of the U.S. of cluster bombs, with many civilians amongst the targets and the casualties. Hundreds of Iraqi civilians have also been killed by cluster bombs in the early days of the invasion, and although there was an actual land invasion in that case, there were no "advancing armies" except for the American one. Probably the only thing keeping the U.S. from continuing to use them is the likelihood that they themselves would become the victims.

The other significant non-signatory of the ban, and perhaps the most egregious user of cluster bombs, is Israel. I don't know what "official Israeli military doctrine" on the use of cluster bombs is, but I do know that the actual practice is beyond despicable. In its 2006 war against Lebanon, Israel fired thousands of cluster bombs containing more than a million bomblets and, as reported by the U.N., 90 percent of those occurred in the last 72 hours of the war, not for any military reason whatsoever, but simply as a "f*** you" from Israel to the Lebanese people. Even the head of the Israeli military unit responsible described the action as "insane and monstrous." Since the end of the war, nearly two years ago, 40 people have been killed and 252 wounded as a result of that "insane and monstrous" act, far exceeding, by the way, the number of Israelis who have been killed by Palestinian "terrorist" actions during the same period of time, but, in comparison, receiving not a single word of condemnation from any American politician and certainly not producing a worldwide blockade of Israel by an outraged "civilized" world.

And, by the way, those cluster bombs used by Israel against Lebanon? U.S.-made. And not only that, but resupplied during the war. Ah, but don't worry. "Israel may be told that it must be especially careful about firing the rockets into populated areas." They were careful, all right. Careful to fire them into populated areas.

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