Cluster bombs – the mass murder weapon

cluster bomb victim

A child, reportedly hurt in a U.S. cluster bomb blast, lies on the floor of hospital due to a lack of beds in Hilla, Iraq, on Wednesday. — AFP

I was going to post an image showing the full impact of a cluster bomb on a victim’s body but it was just too horrific.

The CBU (cluster bomb unit) 26, which was widely used in Laos, is an anti-personnel fragmentation bomb that consists of a large bombshell holding 670 tennis ball-sized bomblets, each of which contain 300 metal fragments. If all the bomblets detonate, some 200,000 steel fragments will be propelled over an area the size of several football fields, creating a deadly killing zone. The B1 bomber can carry enough cluster bombs to turn an area the size of 350 football fields into a killing zone.

With a high dud rate estimated to be 10 to 30 percent, unexploded cluster bombs lay on the ground becoming, in effect, super landmines, and can explode at the slightest touch. They have proven to be a serious, long-lasting threat, especially to civilians, but also to soldiers, peacekeepers and bomb clearance experts. Children, who are sometimes attracted to the bomblets’ bright colors and interesting shapes, represent a high percentage of victims.

Wherever they have been used – Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Sudan, Lebanon, Iraq, Kuwait, Yugoslavia, Kosovo, Ethiopia, Chechnya, and Afghanistan, unexploded cluster bombs have created problems for civilians.

Norway is pushing for an international meeting on cluster bombs that it hopes will lead to a worldwide treaty restricting the use of the munitions. The move follows the failure of a United Nations conference to agree any curbs on cluster weapons. Oslo says it will now invite countries to work outside the UN system to agree a ban modelled on the Ottawa Convention restricting the use of landmines.

Countries such as the United States and Russia, which have big stockpiles of cluster munitions, tried hard to keep the issue off the UN agenda completely. A proposal put forward by Britain to talk about cluster munitions in the future was finally adopted but was dismissed by humanitarian organisations as inadequate.

cluster bombs are released over a wide area

Not only do these bomblets kill and maim, they destroy whole environments, economies and societies. Those governments, designers, manufacturers, arms dealers and pilots that utilize this weapon are knowingly taking part in mass murder and should be dealt with accordingly.

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7 Responses to Cluster bombs – the mass murder weapon

  1. Dave On Fire says:

    Let’s not forget how instrumental the UK government has been in blocking cluster-bomb controls and asserting our right to kill and maim civilians. Britain’s inadequate proposals are nothing but tokenism, trying to cover up our active support for the use of these Weapons of Mass and Indiscriminate Destruction.

  2. matt says:

    Yes, and we as UK citizens allow our politicians and the UK arms industry to produce this murderous weapon by not making it a voting issue.

  3. earthpal says:

    Absolutely Matt. Thanks for bringing this up. The Geneva Convention should already cover this because the convention prohibits the use of indiscriminate and excessive use of force and forbids military strikes where there’s a high likelihood of civilian casualties. It’s clearly obvious that cluster munitions fall under this category. Predictably though, the UK and the States feel that the use of these weapons is legitimate warfare. The States blocked an attempted ban last year at the Geneva conventional weapons treaty review. Not sure if the UK opposed a ban too but I know one of our ministers went there along with Amnesty and other groups in support of the ban.

    Cluster bombs have the same humanitarian impact as landmines and they leave the same legacy. Absolutely, they should be banned.

  4. matt says:

    Below are three companies that are involved in cluster bomb design/manufacture. With the immediate link below you can see if your borough is investing its pension money within these companies.

    (I’ve just discovered mine has 70,000 shares with Northrup Grumman as at Dec ’05. I now need to pursue the mysterious local halls of power to find out if they still do).

    http://www.caat.org.uk/campaigns/clean-investment/2006/local-authorities.php

    (1). General Dynamics;

    http://www.caat.org.uk/publications/companies/general-dynamics.php

    (2). Lockheed Martin;

    http://www.caat.org.uk/publications/companies/lockheed.php

    (3). Northrup Grumman

    http://www.caat.org.uk/publications/companies/northrop-grumman.php

  5. Paul Groves says:

    When the US talked about a battle for hearts and minds of ordinary Iraqis, I didn’t think they meant it by blowing them out of their bodies.
    Although the Olso agreement is a welcome one, without the US signing up is it worth the paper it is written on?

  6. Pingback: Guess who hasn’t signed up to a cluster bomb ban? « Groves Media

  7. matt says:

    Appreciate your acknowledging our blog over at Grovesmedia Paul.

    Those that live off the blood money of cluster bomb use should definitely face war crimes charges in The Hague.

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