"War is the greatest threat to public health." - Gino Strada, Italian war surgeon and founder of the UN-recognized Italian NGO Emergency

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Always [Cluster] Bomb Responsibly


Hopefully you have noticed the Actions You Can Take on the right of this post. Among them are a couple asking you to urge the U.S. Congress to ban cluster bombs. They have been there for a while, but they are STILL current (and necessary). We need to continue gaining sponsors in both the House and Senate in order to get these bills passed. For the realities of cluster munitions, read my previous post.

In the "great ideas/news we've heard recently" category is a plan by the United States to create a "quick reaction force", or QRF, to handle threats to civilians from remnants of war, like cluster bombs. Actually, this is somewhat old news; I read it back in January, 2008. But I'm sure you get the idea. The U.S. official (who "declined to be identified") quoted in this article also said that "cluster bombs... should not be considered bad as long as states involved in conflicts use them responsibly." Indeed, we should always kill responsibly!!!

Researchers believe the US has transferred hundreds of thousands of cluster munitions, containing tens of millions of unreliable and inaccurate bomblets, to 28 countries. They are indiscriminate killers, and they are extremely dangerous to clean up once found. Israel at first refused to report where cluster bombs had been used (extensively) in its 2006 war on Lebanon, hampering clean-up efforts and increasing the risk to civilians, particularly children. Is that responsible use???

So what is up with the Quick Reaction Force??? Well, it would seem that it is a full employment policy for U.S. munitions makers. They make the cluster munitions, sell them (with the blessing of the U.S. government) to governments around the world (and of course the U.S. would use them as well), U.S. taxpayer dollars pay for cleanup whenever and wherever they are used. The euphemistically named Quick Reaction Force would be nothing more than cleanup lackeys. Perhaps the U.S. should consider having the cluster bomb makers fund this.

But really folks, the only way to deal with cluster bombs is to eliminate them altogether. CLICK HERE to learn more about cluster bombs at Friends Committee on National Legislation, where you can also send emails urging Congress to ban cluster bombs.



Photo: From BBC News, Q&A: Cluster bomb treaty

In The News: US Insists Cluster Bombs Not Bad if Used 'Responsibly', Published on Wednesday, January 16, 2008 by Reuters/UK

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