Allison Kilkenny: Unreported

Global Cluster Bomb Ban Approved Over US Objection

Posted in Uncategorized by allisonkilkenny on May 30, 2008

Once again, despite the United State’s most heartfelt efforts, goodness has prevailed.

Still, some of the language of the agreement is worrying. For example, a provision allows signatories to engage in military operations with non-signatory states. Well, spectacular. That’s sort of like claiming not to be a bank robber, but then giving a criminal blueprints to the bank, standing in the bank while the robbery is happening and then splitting the money afterwards.

Technically, parties can keep their hands clean, but the end result is still the same: poor children and women losing limbs and their lives because of left-over murder bomblets.

What kind of moral stance is that? We’ll fight with you and let you use your dirty bombs on our neighbors, but WE won’t be the ones dropping ’em! Take THAT, Military-Industrial Complex!

Source: Democracy Now

More than 100 countries have agreed to ban cluster bombs. The agreement does not include the United States, which boycotted the talks in Dublin. Russia, China, Israel, India and Pakistan also did not take part. But the deal got a boost when the British government ignored US pressure and signed on in a last-minute intervention. Thomas Nash of the Cluster Munition Coalition said the deal is robust.

Thomas Nash: “It’s an incredibly strong document. It’s an incredibly strong document, because it will ban forever all cluster munitions. There’s a very strong restrictive definition in here that doesn’t allow for any cluster munitions to be ever used again.”

Clusters bombs are packed with bomblets that spread out over a large area and often don’t explode on first impact. They have been particularly lethal to children who pick them up off the ground, sometimes years down the line. Simon Conway, director of Landmine Action, said the deal would affect tens of thousands of lives.

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Simon Conway: “This is massive. This will make a huge difference in the world. We’re talking about tens of thousands of people who would otherwise lose their
lives or their limbs.”

The Bush administration defended its boycott by saying eliminating cluster bombs would endanger US soldiers. Despite its opposition, US officials apparently worked behind the scenes to affect the final language. Anti-cluster-bomb activists say US pressure was likely decisive in ensuring a provision allowing signatories to engage in military operations with non-signatory states.

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