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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Cluster bombs don’t kill people; the government kills people. US refuses to sign Convention

Our bombs are getting smarter, but what about our politicians? Maybe.

Canada today became a signatory to the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Ambassador Jillian Stirk, acting on behalf of Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon, signed the Convention in Oslo, Norway.

“This convention is a significant achievement. Over time, it will save the lives of many thousands of people around the world and will help to end the use of a weapon that has devastating effects on civilians,” said Cannon.

“Canada looks forward to working closely with like-minded states, UN agencies, the International Committee of the Red Cross and civil society organizations to fully implement the Convention, rid the world of cluster munitions, and as far as possible repair the shattered lives of people who have suffered because of them,” added Cannon.

The Convention will prohibit the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of cluster munitions. Signatory nations will be required to destroy their stockpiles, clear contaminated areas and help the victims of these weapons with rehabilitation. Canada will assist in this process primarily through its Global Peace and Security Fund.

Cluster munitions typically contain dozens to hundreds of small, explosive sub-munitions that can have a devastating and indiscriminate impact on civilians, who account for 98 percent of all recorded casualties associated with this weapon.

As for security concerns, it’s Canon’s position that this ban on cluster bombs “strikes an appropriate balance between humanitarian and security considerations.” The Bush administration, however, disagrees and has refused to join the 92 signatory nations.

National security expert with the US-based Independent Institute thinks the Bush administration is wrong to oppose the Convention and that the cluster bomb ban would not compromise US security interests. In an interview with the Western Standard, Ivan Eland said:

"The ban on cluster munitions is a start.  Even though the U.S. did not sign the convention, it would not have adversely affected the security of the U.S. to get rid of this weapon.  The US military is so vastly superior to any other military that it has many other less indiscriminate weapons that could be used instead.   

Even if the U.S. does sign the convention, however, such a development should not obviate the need to reduce US military interventions.  Even if you use discriminating, and even precision, weapons in a war that shouldn't have been fought, killing even adversarial soldiers is morally questionable--for example, in the invasion of Iraq.  That is to say, these soldiers were killed needlessly in an unnecessary war."

Posted by Matthew Johnston on December 3, 2008 in Military | Permalink


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Canada has no business signing this treaty. We should not the left wing ideologues force us to take military options off the table.

Posted by: Travis | 2008-12-03 8:32:28 PM

It really is a shame that it is so difficult to get the big guns on board for agreements like this. It's a big step forward to get anyone to sign, but the coup would be for US, Russia etc to sign on.

Posted by: Rob | 2008-12-03 10:15:08 PM

All these treaties, including Geneva are meaningless, since gentlemen nations will no longer use them on each other. Tell me how many conventions did the Japanese, who were arguably civilized compared to our Mad Mohammed enemies, break?

Posted by: Faramir | 2008-12-03 10:40:20 PM

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