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

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
January 20, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Charles R. Larson
Review: Robert Coover’s “Huck out West”
January 19, 2017
Melvin Goodman
America’s Russian Problem
Dave Lindorff
Right a Terrible Wrong: Why Obama Should Reverse Himself and Pardon Leonard Peltier
Laura Carlsen
Bringing Mexico to Its Knees Will Not “Make America Great Again”
John W. Whitehead
Nothing is Real: When Reality TV Programming Masquerades as Politics
Yoav Litvin
Time to Diss Obey: the Failure of Identity Politics and Protest
Mike Whitney
The Trump Speech That No One Heard 
Conn Hallinan
Is Europe Heading for a “Lexit”?
Stephen Cooper
Truth or Twitter? Why Donald Trump Is No John Steinbeck
Binoy Kampmark
Scoundrels of Patriotism: The Freeing of Chelsea Manning
Ramzy Baroud
The Balancing Act is Over: What Elor Azaria Taught Us about Israel
Josh Hoxie
Why Health Care Repeal is a Stealth Tax Break for Millionaires
Kim C. Domenico
It’s High Time for a Politics of Desire
Shamus Cooke
Inauguration Day and Beyond
Clark T. Scott
More and More Lousy
David Swanson
Samantha Power Can See Russia from Her Padded Cell
Kevin Carson
Right to Work and the Apartheid State
Malaika H. Kambon
Resisting the Lynching of Haitian Liberty!
January 18, 2017
Gary Leupp
The Extraordinary Array of Those Questioning Trump’s Legitimacy (and Their Various Reasons)
Charles Pierson
Drone Proliferation Ramps Up
Ajamu Baraka
Celebrating Dr. King with the Departure of Barack Obama
David Underhill
Trumpology With a Twist
Chris Floyd
Infinite Jest: Liberals Laughing All the Way to Hell
Stansfield Smith
Obama’s Hidden Role in Worsening Climate Change
Ron Leighton
Trump is Not Hitler: How the Misuse of History Distorts the Present as Well as the Past
Ralph Nader
An Open Letter to President-Elect Donald Trump
Binoy Kampmark
NATO and Obsolescence: Donald Trump and the History of an Alliance
Zarefah Baroud
‘The Power to Create a New World’: Trump and the Environmental Challenge Ahead
Julian Vigo
Obama Must Pardon the Black Panthers in Prison or in Exile
Alfredo Lopez
The Whattsapp Scandal
Clancy Sigal
Russian Hacking and the Smell Test
Terry Simons
The Truth About Ethics and Condoms
January 17, 2017
John Pilger
The Issue is Not Trump, It is Us
John K. White
Is Equality Overrated, Too?
Michael J. Sainato
The DNC Hands the Democratic Party Over to David Brock and Billionaire Donors
John Davis
Landscapes of Shame: America’s National Parks
Andrew Smolski
Third Coast Pillory: Politicians and Rhetorical Tricks
Chris Busby
The Scientific Hero of Chernobyl: Alexey V. Yablokov, the Man Who Dared to Speak the Truth
David Macaray
Four Reasons Trump Will Quit
Chet Richards
The Vicissitudes of the Rural South
Clancy Sigal
“You Don’t Care About Jobs”: Why the Democrats Lost
Robert Dodge
Martin Luther King and U.S. Politics: Time for a U.S. Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Jack Sadat Lee
I Dream of Justice for All the Animal Kingdom
James McEnteer
Mourning Again in America
January 16, 2017
Paul Street
How Pure is Your Hate?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail