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A Bipartisan Bill To Reduce Cluster Bombs

We’ve written about the campaign to ban cluster bombs before. Back in 2008, I noted that both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama wouldn’t support a cluster bomb ban. Two years later, J. Clifford wrote about President Barack Obama’s refusal to support the International Convention on Cluster Munitions.

Cluster Bombs

Why does it matter? Cluster bombs are nasty, nasty things. Cluster bombs are weapons that are designed to kill large numbers of people by dispersing a collection of small bomblets that erupt in a secondary explosion, ripping apart the flesh of people over a wide area. It’s been known for quite some time that, often, many of the bomblets contained in cluster bombs don’t explode. They lie there, waiting for some extra stimulus before they’ll erupt in violence – stimulus like the attention of a curious child. Children are often killed and maimed by cluster bombs, sometimes years after a war has ended, which is why the use of cluster bombs is regarded as inhumane.

Nonetheless, companies in the United States keep on making cluster bombs, profiting from their sale, which is approved of by the US federal government.

A new bill in the House of Representatives seeks to address this humanitarian problem. H. R. 881, the Cluster Munitions Civilian Protection Act, would, if passed, prevent the expenditure of money in the federal budget for the use of cluster bombs unless it is certified that fewer than one percent of the bomblets distributed by U.S. cluster bombs fail to explode, and unless the policy dictating the use of cluster bombs specifies that the cluster bombs will only be used against military targets, not in areas where civilians are likely to go. The legislation also would require a plan for cleanup procedures in all areas where cluster bombs are dropped.

The legislation seems to make sense, doesn’t it? Well, here’s something that doesn’t make sense. At present, only three out of the many hundreds of members of the U.S. House of Representatives are supporting the Cluster Munitions Civilian Protection Act. They are: James McGovern, Charles Boustany, and Darrell Issa.

Yes, that’s Darrell Issa, a conservative Republican. If Darrell Issa can support this bill, why can’t more liberal Democrats?

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