Need anything be added to this piece in the LA Times about the quest for a total abolition and banning of cluster bombs?
A mother writes about the devastation wrought by these insidious devices - which Israel and America, amongst others, still use. Can there be any justification for doing so?
"More than half the world's nations are meeting in Oslo on Wednesday to sign a global treaty banning cluster bombs. Although my government won't be there, I will.
I have a personal stake in this treaty. My son, Travis, a corporal in the Marines, was killed by one of our own cluster bomblets in July 2003. He was clearing an Iraqi farmer's field near Karbala of unexploded ordnance when one of the men from his unit mishandled a cluster submunition. It exploded, killing Travis and taking an eye and an arm from the Marine who touched it.
When the military informed me of Travis' death, they did not tell me that the "explosive device" was a U.S. cluster submunition; men in Travis' unit filled in that blank. It was the first I had heard of cluster bombs. In the ensuing five years, I have learned enough to know that I do not want my country using these weapons to protect me -- or our soldiers.
Cluster bombs scatter hundreds of small, unguided explosives over an area as big as several football fields. Usually, some of these small bombs, or submunitions, fail to explode when they hit the ground. These mini-bombs lie in wait like land mines, sometimes for years, unable to distinguish between a soldier and a child.
The weapons were developed during World War II for use against tanks on vast, unpopulated plains of warfare. They were never intended to be used in cities, villages or even agricultural areas.
But they are. In the last 10 years, the United States has used cluster bombs in civilian-populated areas of Afghanistan, Iraq and Kosovo. Israel used them on the villages and olive groves of southern Lebanon. And the United States rained cluster bombs on Laos in a secret side war to Vietnam. The "bombies" in Laos are still exploding, 30 years after that war."
Read the complete piece here.