Worried About “Stigmatizing” Cluster Bombs, House Approves More Sales to Saudi Arabia
Cluster bombs result in unexploded bomblets that later kill and maim civilians. The US is unconcerned about this. Indeed, the US is one of the few nations that still thinks anti-personnel mines, which after a war is over continue to kill civilians (as in Vietnam to this day). In fact, Nicholas Deleon has an interesting article in Motherboard, titled “With All We Know About Concussions, Why Do We Still Love Football?“, which has this concluding paragraph:
“There may be a lot of people out there saying, ‘Well, I may not want my kid playing football, but damn it I’m watching the game this Sunday,’” said Alvarez. “That’s just America.”
That is, Americans really don’t care who gets hurt so long as it’s not themselves. Thus the US continues to use anti-personnel mines and to use cluster bombs—and, as the title article by Alex Emmons in The Intercept indicates, the US Congress thinks that cluster bombs are “stigmatized” if anyone speaks up against them. The Emmons article begins:
THE HOUSE ON THURSDAY narrowly defeated a measure that would have banned the transfer of cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia, but the closeness of the vote was an indication of growing congressional opposition to the conduct of the U.S.-backed, Saudi-led bombing coalition in Yemen.
The vote was mostly along party lines, with 200 Republicans – and only 16 Democrats – heeding the Obama administration’s urging to vote against the measure. The vote was 204-216.
“The Department of Defense strongly opposes this amendment,” said Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., chairman of the House Committee on Defense Appropriations, during floor debate. “They advise us that it would stigmatize cluster munitions, which are legitimate weapons with clear military utility.”
Cluster munitions are large shell casings that scatter hundreds or thousands of miniature explosives over large areas – often the size of several football fields. Some of the bomblets fail to explode on impact, leaving mine-like explosives that kill civilians and destroy farmland decades after a conflict ends.
Cluster bombs are banned by an international treaty signed by 119 countries, not including the United States. The United States opposed the treaty, and instead of signing it, adopted a policy that cluster bombs should never be used in concentrated, civilian areas.
Speaking in support of the amendment, Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., said Saudi Arabia has deliberately targeted civilians with cluster bombs. “Earlier this year, the Saudi-led coalition dropped cluster bombs in Yemen’s capital of Sanaa, specifically targeting known civilian neighborhoods,” he said. “One of the buildings hit was the al Noor Center for Care and Rehabilitation for the Blind, which also has a school for blind children. The destruction of the school and the injuries sustained by the children was unbearably gruesome.”
The coalition has also used U.S.-produced weapons to destroy markets,factories, and hospitals. . .