U.S. takes the lead on behalf of cluster bombs

Glenn Greenwald writes: Slightly more than two months after he was awarded the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, President Obama secretly ordered a cruise missile attack on Yemen, using cluster bombs, which killed 44 innocent civilians, including 14 women and 21 children, as well as 14 people alleged to be “militants.” It goes without saying that — unless you want Rick Perry to win in 2012 — this act should in no way be seen as marring Obama’s presidency or his character: what’s a couple dozen children blown up as a part of a covert, undeclared air war? If anything, as numerous Democrats have ecstatically celebrated, such acts show how Tough and Strong the Democrats are: after all, ponder the massive amounts of nobility and courage it takes to sit in the Oval Office and order this type of aggression on defenseless tribal regions in Yemen. As R.W. Appel put it on the front page of The New York Times back in 1989 when glorifying George H.W. Bush’s equally courageous invasion of Panama: “most American leaders since World War II have felt a need to demonstrate their willingness to shed blood” and doing so has become “a Presidential initiation rite.”

But one aspect of the December, 2009, attack that perhaps did merit some more critical scrutiny was the use of cluster bombs, weapons which “scatter hundreds of bomblets over a large area but with limited accuracy and high failure rates.” The inevitability of “duds” — “unexploded ordnance” — poses a great risk to civilians, often well after the conflict has ended, since — like land mines — they often detonate when stumbled into by children and other innocents long after they disperse. According to the Cluster Munitions Coalition, cluster bombs “caused more civilian casualties in Iraq in 2003 and Kosovo in 1999 than any other weapon system.” As Wired pointed out, while the U.S. used these weapons in both Iraq and Afghanistan, “neither the Taliban nor Saddam used cluster bombs against U.S. troops.

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3 thoughts on “U.S. takes the lead on behalf of cluster bombs

  1. charlie

    What a surprise, the coalation against cluster bombs says they are a bad thing . They said the same sort of thing about napalm in viet nam.
    I know this going to come as a shock but in war, the enemy is bombed and things are broken. If the enemy would seperate themselves from the innocent civilians it would make our job of killing the enemy much easier. Buth they won;t. The United States has done more than anyone to avoid civilian casualities but war is a nasty business.

  2. Joseph Partida

    I believe that the US and our trusty sidekick Israel are the only countries that continue to use these weapons as well as others such as white phosphorous in spite of international laws. Why? Because we can. “war is a mental disorder of the highest degree.”

  3. eddy mason

    Thanks for the information ‘charlie’. I’m not from the USA and I’m pleased to learn that “the USA has done more than anyone to avoid civilian casualities”. I’m sure the civilians of Iraq will be comforted by that knowledge, that’s if anybody has got around to telling them how fortunate they are.
    And I’m sure the civilians of Palestine would appreciate it that the USA has done more to reduce civilian casualities. It’s just a pity the USA didn’t include restraining the IDF in their list of things “done”.

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