May 29 2008: 111 countries agreed on a treaty to ban the use of cluster bombs, except the USA, Israel, India and China.
Friday, May 30, 2008
TO KNOW WHY
CLUSTER BAN BILL
Presidential candidate Ralph Nader wants to know why Senators McCain, Obama and Clinton have not signed onto legislation, S. 594, introduced by Senator Dianne Feinstein, that would serve as a de facto ban on the use and export of nearly all of the one billion cluster bombs in the U.S. Stockpile.
The bill has 21 Senate co-sponsors.
The bill would prohibit the sale or use of cluster munitions that have a high failure rate. It would also prohibit the use of U.S.-made cluster munitions in civilian-populated areas. And third, the bill requires that if cluster munitions are used, the President must submit to Congress within 30 days a plan for cleaning up unexploded duds -- in the case of foreign use of U.S. cluster munitions, the plan must be prepared by the government to which the U.S. provided the weapons.
"This is life saving legislation," Nader said. "I urge the Senate to pass this legislation."
"It just doesn't make any sense, given all the talk about change in Washington, why my fellow Presidential candidates -- McCain, Obama, and Clinton -- haven't signed on as co-sponsors -- even though they or their staffs have been briefed and asked to sign on," Nader said.
Each cluster munition scatters several hundred bomblets that spray shrapnel fragments over a wide area, sometimes the size of several football fields.
While they are designed to explode on impact, many bomblets fail to detonate, leaving behind large numbers of unexploded duds.
Hundreds of thousands of unexploded cluster munitions that Israel dropped in the 2006 war continue to plague Lebanon, killing and maiming hundreds of civilians, many of them children.
"These munitions can and do explode when children pick them up and play with them," Nader said. "The munitions are sensitive enough to function like land mines. Thousands of innocent men, women and children around the world have died as a result. Often large areas are cordoned off, denying people access to farmland, walkways and their livelihood."
There are billions of munitions that are stockpiled and yet to be used.
"By passing S. 594, the United States can help prevent the killing and maiming of countless more innocent people around the world," Nader said.
All articles and videos by Ralph Nader on internationalnews:
Cluster Bombs: A Weapon out of Control - Human Rights Watch
Short film documenting the lethal effects of the use of cluster munitions worldwide, with commentary, new statistics and analysis from military experts at Human Rights Watch. Footage shows how cluster munitions have endangered civilian populations from the Vietnam era through current conflicts in Iraq and Lebanon. During the last THREE DAYS of the War on Lebanon, Israel fired up to 4,000,000 cluster bomblets according to UN estimates - twice the amount used by the US in the attack on Iraq in 2003.