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Cluster Bomb Horror
In recent history the most commonly used of the cluster munitions is the cluster bomb.
A”cluster” ammunition is one larger shell, bomb or missile that holds inside its body lots of smaller bombs. It can be used for dispersing explosives in the form of mines or bombs, it can also be used to disperse biological or chemical weapons or it can even be used for the dispersal of written propaganda.
Its primary use had been for the incapacitating of runways. Many not so large holes in the tarmac were harder to patch and took longer. It therefore made an enemies use of aircraft restrictive for longer periods.
Since then though, it has been used more frequently in conventional bombing and for mining an area.
These bombs are extremely dangerous. Mainly because their bomblets can spread over a large area and are indiscriminative in whom they hurt, military, civilian or child.
- Another Mans Freedom Fighter
Terrorist or freedom fighter, who decides? What criteria are used to make the call? Is this a destructive human trait?
In recent history millions of these bomblets have been dropped, many of which still have not exploded.
Since the end of the Vietnam War it is estimated that still some 300 people are killed annually from unexploded bomblets.
In Kosovo in the first year after the war, 100 people were killed from bomblets.
Israel has repeated used cluster bombs in Lebanon. After the ceasefire in 2006 it was estimated that 3 or 4 people died daily from bomblets.
In 2001 the USA used cluster bombs in Afghanistan and in 2003 the UK and USA used them in Iraq.
In Dublin in 2008 a Convention on Cluster Munitions adopted a policy that, ratifying states, would be prohibited in the use of these weapons by international law.
As of August 2011, 108 states had signed up to the convention, with 60 having ratified it.
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The United States
The US, not having ratified or even signed onto the convention are now trying to lobby and bully those that did, including the UK, France and Germany to sign a different international law allowing the use of these weapons.
These countries, after careful consideration of the number of children that are killed by these weapons years after conflicts have stopped, signed up to the convention with no thoughts of changing their minds. However, pressure now being applied by the US may make them change their votes at a Convention on Conventional Weapons being held in Genoa next week.
The United States, in an act against terror, should ratify the convention themselves instead of coercing countries to go against it.
Any war, on its own is bad enough. We should not condone any weapon that prolongs the agonies of these conflicts.
Belated deaths by these weapons do not help in securing the lasting peace but renew hatreds and dreams of vengeance.
Using weapons that we know may kill innocent children after any conflict is over, is little better than the acts of terrorism we so much abhor and fight against.
If we must go to war, then let us try and do it in a humane manner and encourage other countries to do the same.
When the United States will not sign this and still refuse to be accountable to International War Crime Tribunals, it is little wonder that others are losing trust in their policies and stated intentions.
To lead, you must set the example. To lead well, you should set a good example.
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