can’t see the forest

UN Blasts Israel for ‘completely immoral’ use of cluster bombs in Lebanon

Posted in foreign policy, middle east, Social and Politics, Terrorism by Curtis on 8/30/06

UN personnel inspecting cluster bombletThe BBC reports that the UN humanitarian chief, Jan Egeland, has castigated Israel for using cluster bombs in the last 72 hours of its Lebanon offensive, when at least a temporary resolution was already clearly in sight.

So far, UN clearance experts have found 100,000 unexploded cluster bomblets at 359 separate sites in Lebanon. With no offers of help forthcoming from Israel, the UN is removing as many of the explosives as possible but warns they will continue to pose grave danger for years.

“Cluster bombs have affected large areas—lots of homes and farmland,” the UN representative said.

The White House says it is “investigating” whether Israel used US-made bombs on non-military targets, although that Israel in fact did so is, apparently, already evident to the UN, as Egeland has asked the US and any other cluster bomb suppliers to have “serious talks” with Israel (as if they shouldn’t have taken place before the sales). It is important to remember that a peaceful farm, once it has been occupied by a few militants, becomes a “military target” in the view of the US and Israeli defense departments. No further qualification appears to be necessary.

Typically, Washington’s investigative focus is too narrow and evasive to address the obviously fundamental issue of whether or not it was moral at all for Israel to use American bombs to so generously and expansively destroy any part of Lebanon within days of an impending ceasefire, particularly using insidious weaponry designed to remain a threat on the ground into the future. The issue for Washington is only whether or not the targets were “military.”

Israel insists its actions were within international law.

Chalk another one up for “God’s anointed” in Jerusalem and their cynical partners in the US government. I have no room to criticize the Israeli people, but their government, much like my own, makes me sick with its warmongering irresponsibility. I suppose fundamentalists would advise me to move to Cuba, since anyone who disagrees with the news as reported on television is obviously not “citizen material.”

Israel has already refused the UN’s request that it immediately withdraw its troops from Lebanon, stating that it will not do so until its military prisoners are released. Israel continues to hold unidentified numbers of Lebanese and Palestinian civilians without criminal charges; credible estimates have placed the number of illegal detentions near 1,000.

In Ramallah, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has said that at least two hundred Palestinian civilians have been killed since June and has implored for an end to the fighting. This number alone far dwarfs the number of Israelis killed in recent rocket attacks by Hezbollah.

Cluster bombs release small bomblets in midair which then spread over an area of the ground. The bomblets are specifically designed to cause maximum tissue damage upon detonation by sending shockwaves through human bodies. The bombs are also designed to only partially detonate the payload so that many bomblets will effectively become landmines waiting to be triggered by further activity on the ground.

Below is a picture of what one US cluster bomblet did to a Laotian child unlucky enough to stumble across it while playing, long after the end of fighting in Southeast Asia in the 1970s. It is graphic, indeed.

Perhaps the US is especially qualified to judge the effects of cluster bombing on civilian populations in the Middle East, since undetonated bomblets dropped in Iraq during the First Gulf War have since killed thousands of Iraqis and have injured thousands more. By some estimates, the number of civilians killed by US clusterbombing in Iraq exceeds the number of US civilians killed in the attacks of September 11, 2001. This isn’t “moral equivalency.” It’s math.

Recent reports suggest that as many as 250,000 Lebanese refugees may be unable to return to their homes in southern Lebanon because of the unexploded munitions.

Those who denounce pacifism and diplomacy might enjoy an unguided stroll through southern Lebanon or through eastern Laos, where unexploded Honeywell cluster bomblets continue to kill children to this day. Children are attracted to the latent bomblets by their unnecessarily and purposefully bright colors.

Cluster bomblet damage to Laotian child

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5 Responses

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  1. eteraz said, on 8/30/06 at 8:55 pm

    that was gruesome.

    i’ve never seen a cluster bomb before. that’s insane.

    other than that im adding you to my blogroll.

  2. John Leachman said, on 1/18/07 at 1:43 am

    Google is the best search engine

  3. Nas said, on 5/18/07 at 12:21 pm

    that was one of the most sadest things ive ever heard about, seeing a chiled bein bombed to death is grusome! and knowing that they could hace lived a wonderfull playfull life is so sad that wen i see the pics of theit dead brocken bodies with thier family arround rely makes me cry!

  4. David said, on 2/27/08 at 7:00 pm

    washington, United Nations and Human Right are gulity of given Israel green card and support them to do that all criminal.Therefore, they are to be acounted for those murders.

  5. Jennifer said, on 4/30/08 at 1:03 pm

    It’s so heartbreaking to read this. My family is from Laos. It makes me aggravated and furious that the US bombed a defenseless peasant country such as Laos. I believe that the American government would want to bomb Laos because it is a communist country. I understand that Americans hate commies but those airmen had no right to drop bombs and murder innocent victims. According to reports that have been made, Muang Savannakhet of Laos, is said to be scattered with bombs across the province! There are still many undetonated US bombs and plenty more innocent lives to be killed once they are detonated by accident. US officials needs to take action and collect the remaining bombs regardless of the country’s political status!


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