FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Crime of Frag Weapons

by DAVE LINDORFF

 

The U.S. State Department, we hear, is investigating Israel’s use of U.S.-produced and U.S.-supplied anti-personnel weapons against civilian populations in Lebanon. It seems U.N. and Human Rights investigators have found nearly 300 sites where unexploded examples of these horrific weapons of mass destruction have turned up, many of them with their “Made in USA” labels intact.

The N.Y. Times even ran a color map displaying the wide area of southern Lebanon where the U.S.-built howitzer shells, bombs and rocket warheads fired by the Israeli Defense Force have landed.

This is an atrocity. I spent some time in Laos, in 1995, and saw children aged 10 or 12 missing arms and legs, or blind, because they’d run into stray or buried anti-personnel “bombies” (as they call them there), a deadly legacy of the U.S. secret air war against that country of a decade earlier. That’s what makes these nasty weapons particularly reprehensible: like mines, they kill soldiers and civilians alike, and they keep killing long after a conflict has ended.

But as disgusting as this story is, and as terrible as the IDF’s-and Hezzbollah’s-use of such inhuman weaponry may be, for us in the United States the real question should be not what Israel is doing, but rather why is our country making these weapons in the first place? And why haven’t we seen maps in our media showing where these weapons were used in Afghanistan and Iraq?

Because make no mistake: the U.S. military used and continues to use antipersonnel shells, bombs and rockets in both those places in quantities that dwarf their use by Israel in Lebanon.

There were isolated reports about anti-personnel ordnance being used in urban settings like Baghdad during the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Some were even parachuted down to the ground, so that they could explode later, when someone passes by-thus further clouding the matter of who actually gets killed (and increasing the likelihood that the victims would be inquisitive children). There were also a number of reports that anti-personnel ordnance was used in quantity during the assault on the city of Fallujah in 2004. But as far as I can tell, no mainstream media outlet has done a systematic investigation or report on how widespread U.S. use of anti-personnel weapons has been and is now in Afghanistan and Iraq, nor have I seen any report that looks at the actual rules controlling the use of those weapons by U.S. forces.

Reportedly, the State Department is investigating Israel’s use of anti-personnel weapons because of reports that the IDF violated a secret agreement not to use them against civilian targets. Israel’s response reportedly is that it only used them against Hezzbollah missile launching sites, but then they note that since Hezzbollah was allegedly launching its missiles from locations in residential neighborhoods, this means that the weapons were in fact being used where civilians were concentrated.

Is this the way the U.S. military uses these same weapons, too? The few reports I recall seeing suggest this is so. Certainly if our forces dropped anti-personnel weapons into cities like Fallujah and Baghdad, as reports indicated at the time, then they were putting large numbers of civilians in harm’s way.

It seems the height of hypocrisy for the State Department to be investigating Israel for doing just what the U.S. does with these ugly weapons.

It also seems hypocritical for the U.S. media to be devoting so much time and ink to reporting so breathlessly on the IDF’s use of American anti-personnel weapons and on Hezzbollah’s use of a primitive version of the same thing, while largely ignoring our own military’s much wider use of them.

DAVE LINDORFF and Barbara Olshansky will appear on “The Case for
Impeachment” on C-Span Books TV Saturday night at 11 Eastern and Sunday morning at 8:15 am Eastern.

DAVE LINDORFF is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal and “This Can’t be Happening!“. Lindorff’s new book is “The Case for Impeachment“,
co-authored by Barbara Olshansky.

He can be reached at: dlindorff@yahoo.com
 

 

 

Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

August 29, 2016
Eric Draitser
Hillary and the Clinton Foundation: Exemplars of America’s Political Rot
Patrick Timmons
Dildos on Campus, Gun in the Library: the New York Times and the Texas Gun War
Jack Rasmus
Bernie Sanders ‘OR’ Revolution: a Statement or a Question?
Richard Moser
Strategic Choreography and Inside/Outside Organizers
Nigel Clarke
President Obama’s “Now Watch This Drive” Moment
Robert Fisk
Iraq’s Willing Executioners
Wahid Azal
The Banality of Evil and the Ivory Tower Masterminds of the 1953 Coup d’Etat in Iran
Farzana Versey
Romancing the Activist
Frances Madeson
Meet the Geronimos: Apache Leader’s Descendants Talk About Living With the Legacy
Nauman Sadiq
The War on Terror and the Carter Doctrine
Lawrence Wittner
Does the Democratic Party Have a Progressive Platform–and Does It Matter?
Marjorie Cohn
Death to the Death Penalty in California
Winslow Myers
Asking the Right Questions
Rivera Sun
The Sane Candidate: Which Representatives Will End the Endless Wars?
Linn Washington Jr.
Philadelphia District Attorney Hammered for Hypocrisy
Binoy Kampmark
Banning Burkinis: the Politics of Beachwear
Weekend Edition
August 26, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Louisa Willcox
The Unbearable Killing of Yellowstone’s Grizzlies: 2015 Shatters Records for Bear Deaths
Paul Buhle
In the Shadow of the CIA: Liberalism’s Big Embarrassing Moment
Rob Urie
Crisis and Opportunity
Charles Pierson
Wedding Crashers Who Kill
Richard Moser
What is the Inside/Outside Strategy?
Dirk Bezemer – Michael Hudson
Finance is Not the Economy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Bernie’s Used Cars
Margaret Kimberley
Hillary and Colin: the War Criminal Charade
Patrick Cockburn
Turkey’s Foray into Syria: a Gamble in a Very Dangerous Game
Ishmael Reed
Birther Tries to Flim Flam Blacks  
Brian Terrell
What Makes a Hate Group?
Andrew Levine
How Donald Trump Can Still be a Hero: Force the Guardians of the Duopoly to Open Up the Debates
Howard Lisnoff
Trouble in Political Paradise
Terry Tempest Williams
Will Our National Parks Survive the Next 100 Years?
Ben Debney
The Swimsuit that Overthrew the State
Ashley Smith
Anti-imperialism and the Syrian Revolution
Andrew Stewart
Did Gore Throw the 2000 Election?
Vincent Navarro
Is the Nation State and Its Welfare State Dead? a Critique of Varoufakis
John Wight
Syria’s Kurds and the Wages of Treachery
Lawrence Davidson
The New Anti-Semitism: the Case of Joy Karega
Mateo Pimentel
The Affordable Care Act: A Litmus Test for American Capitalism?
Roger Annis
In Northern Syria, Turkey Opens New Front in its War Against the Kurds
David Swanson
ABC Shifts Blame from US Wars to Doctors Without Borders
Norman Pollack
American Exceptionalism: A Pernicious Doctrine
Ralph Nader
Readers Think, Thinkers Read
Julia Morris
The Mythologies of the Nauruan Refugee Nation
George Wuerthner
Caving to Ranchers: the Misguided Decision to Kill the Profanity Wolf Pack
Ann Garrison
Unworthy Victims: Houthis and Hutus
Julian Vigo
Britain’s Slavery Legacy
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail