25 June 2008

US Refuses to Sign Cluster Bomb Ban

111 nations have signed a treaty to ban the use of cluster bombs. Among those 11 countries is NOT the United States.
From ITVS: "Cluster bombs are small explosive bomblets carried in a large canister that opens in mid-air, scattering them over a wide area. The bomblets may be delivered by aircraft, rocket, or by artillery projectiles. The CBU (cluster bomb unit) 26, which was widely used in Laos, is an anti-personnel fragmentation bomb that consists of a large bombshell holding 670 tennis ball-sized bomblets, each of which contain 300 metal fragments. If all the bomblets detonate, some 200,000 steel fragments will be propelled over an area the size of several football fields, creating a deadly killing zone. Because the fragments travel at high velocity, when they strike people they set up pressure waves within the body that do horrific damage to soft tissue and organs: even a single fragment hitting somewhere else in the body can rupture the spleen, or cause the intestines to explode. This is not an unfortunate, unintended side-effect; these bombs were designed to do this."
Perhaps worse the devastating impact on the battlefield often comes at a terrible cost to civilians afterward, including farmers who strike unexploded "bomblets" in their fields or children who mistake the objects for playthings. Yes, children innocently pick the up and....
China, Russia and Israel have also refused to sign the ban. But never mind them for a second, this country, as I grew up understanding it, should be a leader in the fight to ban cluster bombs, not a primary user of them. One hopes that with a new administration in Washington next year the United States can repair its tattered reputation among the world community. A reputation that our current president has done sever damage to.
You can join me in sending a message to the presidential candidates asking them to support the ban. Go to the Common Dreams website for the online petition. http://www.commondreams.org/

1 comment:

rdfinch said...

I absolutely agree that the failure of the U.S. to sign the cluster bomb ban is shameful. It's exceeded in recent memory only by the refusal to sign the Kyoto Protocols.