World Nations Sign Treaty Banning Cluster Bombs, U.S. Absent; Mother of Marine Urges U.S. to Sign Treaty
President-Elect Barack Obama has said he supports initiatives to minimize civilian casualties from conventional weapons, including cluster munitions. A spokesperson for Obama told his hometown newspaper this week that the president-elect will “carefully review the new treaty and work closely [with] our friends and allies to ensure that
President Obama would be in good company if he decides to sign the treaty. Because of cluster bombs’ impact on noncombatants, Pope Benedict XVI, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the International Committee of the Red Cross, UNICEF, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and hundreds of humanitarian groups around the world have condemned the use of these weapons. A group of retired British military officers was influential in persuading the British prime minister to agree to give up cluster bombs.
The Foreign Ministers of
Cluster munitions are fired from aircraft or artillery and spray smaller “bomblets” over an expanse the size of two football fields. Many do not explode on impact but remain in fields and parks as landmines, waiting to be found by unsuspecting civilians. Many of the unexploded munitions look like harmless objects, such as toys or cans of food.
“Like the Mine Ban Treaty, the Convention on Cluster Munitions is establishing a powerful norm that cluster bombs are no longer an acceptable weapon of war,” said
The Pentagon has opposed an outright ban on the weapons, arguing that their military utility outweighs the humanitarian concerns. In July, Secretary of Defense
“This treaty signing means a lot to me and the other victims and family members who have lost loved ones to these weapons,” said
For more information www.banclusterbombs.org
The U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines and Cluster Bombs (USCBL – www.uscbl.org) is a coalition of thousands of organizations and people working to ban further U.S. use, production, and export of these indiscriminate antipersonnel weapons. The Friends Committee on National Legislation (Quakers) coordinates the campaign.
SOURCE The U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines and Cluster Bombs