Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Ninety-three countries signed a treaty banning cluster bombs
yesterday. I say blessing be upon them. Unfortunately our government chose not to even attend the gathering. You can read the linked article and many more for information on who else chose not to attend. I am enraged but not surprised.

I often say I do not use the word “evil” in my vocabulary much because I think it is impossible to judge what evil is, as it is so subjective. Also I think it is a word that is overused to the point that it loses all meaning. But if I were to identify anything as “evil” from my standpoint, there are two items on the list. One is methamphetamine, an insidious scourge sweeping through our communities like a uncontrolled wildfire, leaving destruction everywhere it goes.

The second item deserving of my highest condemnation are cluster bombs. I call them the “Gift that keeps on giving”. They deserve to be included on the list of weapons of mass destruction. The indiscriminate nature of the way they kill is a crime against humanity. Those who choose to order their use deserve to be tried for war crimes. As you may have judged, I am very opinionated on this matter, to the point that I sometime find it difficult to even write rationally on the subject and lose all sense of objectivity.

Just a little primer here. Cluster bombs are 1,000-pound munitions that break into the 202 bomblets, and each bomblet fractures into 300 fragments of steel. The exact 'footprint,' or landing area, of the bomblets is difficult to control and have an initial failure-to-explode rate of some seven percent. 98 percent of the deaths are civilians and a third of those are children. These unexploded little bombs are scattered all over Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Most recently Israel left the “gift that keeps on giving” for the children of Lebanon before they left the war zone.

Shortly after we started bombing Afghanistan “back to the stone age” Cynthia McKinney used her seat in the Congress to question Pentagon leadership about the similarity between food packets and cluster bombs dropped on Afghanistan. Both being bright yellow in color and similar in size. Children in Afghanistan would rush out seeking much needed food being dropped in humanitarian aid, instead to be blown to pieces as they touched the bomlets. Sweet…

I could go on and on about this but I will close this post for now. In closing I would encourage you to join an organization working on this issue such as the Cluster Munition Coalition or Human Rights Watch. There are many others but that is a good start. Do Google searches for more information. Most importantly I would suggest writing the President elect Obama and ask him to reverse the United States stance on the issue and perhaps even suggest we stop selling them to Israel like Regan once did. I haven’t looked recently to find where best to write a message to Obama but perhaps his web site would be a good place to start.

Work for Peace