Israel’s Cluster Bombs: Still Killing and Maiming


After Israel’s no-holds-barred attack on population centers in Lebanon last year, thousands of little bomblets were left behind that exacted little damage on the Islamic cleric and his rocket-armed Hizbullah forces. But those little things are still causing misery and damage to the Lebanese populace,its homes, farms and apartments.

In addition to massive destruction in the cities, Israel left millions of cluster bomblets scattered in villages and countrysides. Like nearly all of Israel’s ordnance, the bomblets were manufactured in the United States.

Nothing new about that. When U.S. forces exited Kosovo ten years ago, they also left a legacy of millions of cluster munitions armed with decades-long killing power. In both Lebanon and Kosovo, these tiny munitions become evident only when they blow up people or body parts.

In legislation seeking to prove that the Democrats are really dedicated to peace under a Democratic Congress, Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Patrick Leahy have introduced tricky new legislation appearing to curb cluster weapons. Both claim to want to reduce "appalling" civilian deaths and injuries wherever the U.S. has employed-or will employ–cluster weapons. Even more the two Senators say they want to reduce the cluster bombs’ use by other nations-although it’s apparent "other nations" including Israel, are still receiving everything from mass-wrecking bulldozers to massive tanks, supersonic jets, plus village-busting bombs, all emblematic of the U.S. as the world’s leading arms supplier.

The problem is the Senators-and other Democratic co-sponsors- don’t want to ban the bomblets altogether, but to ban only defective weapons that have a failure rate of 1 per cent or more. One peaceminded organization, Jewish Voice for Peace–despite this atrocious legislative hook-is publicly supporting the legislation.

But there’s even more deception tied to this new legislation, for even if the specified level of defective bomblets is confirmed, their legislation allows the President to waive the prohibitions in the interest of "national security."

Ha ha ha.

Even while introducing their legislation, Sens. Feinstein and Leahy were well aware that their bill does nothing to ameliorate or curb Israel’s air aggression. All they have to say is their bomblets aren’t defective at all, and to use the claim to push ahead with their aggression.

Of course, in bombing Lebanon, Israel was only emulating its trusty ally elsewhere.The United States, which provided them (probably free for "self defense") and has itself extensively launched the bomblets from aircraft in Kosovo and especially throughout Afghanistan. Yet so impressed is the U.S. military by the devices, it’s currently replacing its aging and less effective Vietnam-era stock and stockpiling improved versions that are intended to disable not only humans but lightly-armored ground weapons .

So far, cluster weapons are not known to have been used in the bloody Iraq war, but it’s a clear possibility this Administration will suddenly discover "emergencies" like the 2 percent exemption to do so.

Meantime, the Bush Administration refuses, despite the fact that 122 nations have signed a 1999 treaty,

One organization that has been especially active worldwide in banning the bomblets is Human Rights Watch, an international organization that maintains a considerable presence in the United States. By international treaty the organization promotes a much more sweeping program that is more extensive and far superior to the Feinstein-Leahy bill. Human Rights Watch seeks:

* A prohibition on bomblet use in or near populated areas.

* Accurate mapping and recording of cluster bomb distributions.

* Clear warning markers for civilians, clearance crews and others at danger.

* Anti-cluster bomb research to defuse the weapons over time.

* Research into development of self-destruct weapons to curb their tragic and indefinite aftermath.

Because Israel is involved, it’s uncertain that even peaceminded Democrats will move toward approving the Feinstein-Leahy legislation, which as yet has no counterpart in the House of Representatives. And after that? Whenever has George Bush dignified an effective, peaceminded proposal that the world sorely and bloodily needs?

MITCHELL KAIDY, A journalist for over half a century, lives in Rochester, New York. He has contributed articles to a series which won a special citation from the Pulitzer Prize Committee in 1963, and in 1993 won a Project Censored award. He can be reached at: mkaidy@rochester.rr.com


Weekend Edition
November 27-29, 2015
Gary Leupp
Ben Carson, Joseph in Egypt, and the Attack on Rational Thought
Pepe Escobar
Will Chess, Not Battleship, Be the Game of the Future in Eurasia?
Dave Lindorff
Gen. John Campbell, Commander in Afghanistan and Serial Liar
Karl Grossman
Our Solar Bonanza!
Ramzy Baroud
Forget ISIS: Humanity is at Stake
Elliot Murphy
Cameron’s Syrian Strategy
Gareth Porter
How Terror in Paris Calls for Revising US Syria Policy
Michael Perino
The Arc of Instability
Yves Engler
Justin Trudeau and Canada’s Mining Industry
Tom H. Hastings
ISIS and Changing the Game
John Halle
A Yale Education as a Tool of Power and Privilege
Norman Pollack
Syrian “Civil War”?: No, A Proxy War of Global Confrontation
Sheldon Richman
Let the Refugees In
Ron Jacobs
Rosa Luxembourg–From Street Organizer to Street Name
James A Haught
The Values of Jesus
Binoy Kampmark
British Austerity: Cutting One’s Own Backyard
Ed Rampell
45 Years: A Rumination on Aging
November 26, 2015
Ashley Nicole McCray – Lawrence Ware
Decolonizing the History of Thanksgiving
Joseph Grosso
The Enduring Tragedy: Guatemala’s Bloody Farce
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
Imperial Myths: the Enduring Lie of the US’s Origin
Ralph Nader
The Joys of Solitude: a Thanksgiving!

Joseph G. Ramsey
Something to be Thankful For: Struggles, Seeds…and Surprises
Dan Glazebrook
Turkey Shoot: the Rage of the Impotent in Syria
Andrew Stewart
The Odious President Wilson
Colin Todhunter
Corporate Parasites And Economic Plunder: We Need A Genuine Green Revolution
Rajesh Makwana
Ten Billion Reasons to Demand System Change
Joyce Nelson
Turkey Moved the Border!
Richard Baum
Hillary Clinton’s Meager Proposal to Help Holders of Student Debt
Sam Husseini
A Thanksgiving Day Prayer
November 25, 2015
Jeff Taylor
Bob Dylan and Christian Zionism
Dana E. Abizaid
Provoking Russia
Oliver Tickell
Syria’s Cauldron of Fire: a Downed Russian Jet and the Battle of Two Pipelines
Patrick Cockburn
Trigger Happy: Will Turkey’s Downing of Russian Jet Backfire on NATO?
Robert Fisk
The Soothsayers of Eternal War
Russell Mokhiber
The Coming Boycott of Nike
Ted Rall
Like Father Like Son: George W. Bush Was Bad, His Father May Have Been Worse
Matt Peppe
Bad Policy, Bad Ethics: U.S. Military Bases Abroad
Martha Rosenberg
Pfizer Too Big (and Slippery) to Fail
Yorgos Mitralias
Bernie Sanders, Mr. Voutsis and the Truth Commission on Greek Public Debt
Jorge Vilches
Too Big for Fed: Have Central Banks Lost Control?
Sam Husseini
Why Trump is Wrong About Waterboarding — It’s Probably Not What You Think
Binoy Kampmark
The Perils of Certainty: Obama and the Assad Regime
Roger Annis
State of Emergency in Crimea
Soud Sharabani
ISIS in Lebanon: An Interview with Andre Vltchek
Thomas Knapp
NATO: This Deal is a Turkey