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Trump Dumps DACA as Well as Child-Maiming Cluster Weapons

When Donald Trump says he “loves children” as he did in trying to make the case that his termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was not a case of child abuse, it’s important to remember that Trump has also amped up US support for Saudi Arabia’s brutal war on Yemen, and has specifically continued to supply the Saudi air force with US-made cluster bombs, the primary victims of which are children.

Here is what President and Commander in Chief Trump really thinks of kids.

A UN Convention on Cluster Munitions that prohibits the “use, transfer and stockpiling” of cluster bombs and shells was adopted in Dublin, Ireland in 2008, went into force on August 1, 2010 after being signed by 30 nations, and today has 116n countries that have ratified it. Among the holdouts are the US, Russia, China, India, Israel, Pakistan and Brazil — all countries that both produce and stockpile such weapons.

In the US, the last company manufacturing these horrific Weapons of Child Destruction Textron, Inc., announced last September that it would no longer make them, most likely because of massive global and domestic objections to their use. Last year too, the Obama administration, which had been supplying these weapons to Saudi Arabia for it’s war on Yemen (and which had been using them in its wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and probably Syria, too), cancelled shipments to Saudi Arabia, allegedly because of concerns that the Saudi’s were indiscriminately bombing hospitals and other civilian targets with them.

A report by the Intercept [1] in December says that the US continues to supply cluster weapons to its client state Saudi Arabia, and to allow it to use the stockpile of these bombs that were already shipped there from Pentagon stockpiles.

Clearly if this president “loved” children, he would order an immediate halt to their use by US client states and by US forces. According to research by the group Cluster Munitions Monitor [2], 97 percent of the victims of cluster munitions are civilians — the majority of them children. And the “gift” of cluster murder is one that keeps on giving long after wars in which the weapons are used have ended. Ask the long-suffering people of Laos, where the US dropped colossal numbers of them on peasant fields to disrupt support for the Pathet Lao, and where farmers and young children still inadvertently trigger them when working or playing in the fields. (It’s a safe bet that Trump chief of staff Gen. John F. Kelly, isn’t letting Cluster Munitions Monitor reports reach the Oval Office!)

I visited Laos in the mid 1990s, a full two decades after the US air war on that impoverished Southeast Asian nation had ended, and was struck by the number of young children, clearly born after the war, that I saw I saw on the street. It was explained to me that they were the victims of the “bombis” — small ball-shaped bomblets that had been released over 20 years earlier from US cluster bomb casings, to become buried, unexploded, in the soft earth. It is known that some 30 percent or more of such cluster bomb bomblets don’t not explode on impact, leaving them lying around to be found by curious children years later.

It’s worth remembering President Trump’s support for this horrific weapon to put his politically calculating termination of DACA in context.

In the case of DACA, some 800,000 young people who were brought to the US without documentation by their parents as babies or young children, opted to register themselves with the government, trusting promises that they would be allowed to stay on without fear of deportation. They provided information about their address, where they worked or attended school, and about their families. Now, with DACA being terminated, there is the distinct risk, if the Republican-led Congress does not or cannot pass DACA-type legislation, that the very information they provided will be used to hunt them down and deport them to a country where they will be strangers, in many cases not even speaking the local language.

In some cases, they will be getting deported to places where their lives could even be in danger, such as Mexico or Honduras, where drugs and gang violence are endemic, and were the reason many of their parents fled with their young children.

The cold political calculation of this president is clearly that he can use the popular support for DACA among Democrats, and the rear of inflaming Latino voters among at least some Republican members of Congress, to win passage of his much loathed and ridiculed plan for a “beautiful wall” along the Mexican border.

He may or may not be right. But the game he is playing with almost a million young lives of people who are as American as any native-born citizen, and who entrusted their fate to the US government when they registered for DACA is nothing short of obscene.

Maybe not as obscene as his continued support for the US use of and export of WCDs — cluster munitions that primarily kill children — but obscene nonetheless.

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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).

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