When Will the United States Step Away from Cluster Bombs?
At the beginning of the 114th Congress, Senator Dianne Feinstein and Representative James McGovern introduced the Cluster Munitions Protection Act for consideration by the U.S. Congress (as S. 28 and H.R. 157, respectively). If passed, the legislation would forbids the United States government from spending money to use, sell or transfer cluster bombs unless they are shown to have a 1% or lower rate of malfunction, are kept away from civilian areas, and are cleaned up after use.
All bombs kill, so what makes cluster bombs especially bad? According to the Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor 2015 report, here’s what:
- A high dispersal: cluster bombs are designed to spread over an area.
- A high delayed explosion rate: unexploded cluster bombs can stick around for years before finally detonating.
- Between 2010 and 2014, 92% of the people killed by cluster bombs were civilians.
- During the same period, children under 18 years of age accounted for a majority of those killed by cluster bombs.
You’d think that a glitchy, long-term threat that kills civilians 92% of the time and kids more than half the time would be an obvious target for shelving. But while 93 nations have signed on to a treaty that bans the use of cluster bombs, the United States refuses to join the signatories.
More than a year after their introduction, S. 28 and H.R. 157 linger unattended. No one has taken the bills up for a vote. No committee has bothered to even consider the bills. They haven’t even had a hearing.
Isn’t it time to stop using crazy, kid-killing cluster bombs? Call the congressional switchboard at 202-224-3121. Ask to be connected to your Senators’ and Representative’s offices. Leave a message asking your voices in Washington, DC to finally speak out on the issue and move these bills toward passage.