Not only is war hell, it is hellishly stupid. Wars tend to be run by smart people who do stupid things.
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Take the gross stupidity of cluster bombs, which America’s political and military leaders embrace as an effective weapon of warfare. Certainly these bombs are effective killers – but not just of enemies. A cluster bomb has hundreds of small bomblets packed inside it. When the container bomb explodes, it showers the bomblets over a wide area. Some of the bomblets explode, but a big percentage do not. They fall to the ground and just lie there, stupidly.
Days, months, or even decades later – after the battles are over – along comes a child, a farmer, or someone just walking along. BLAM! Another stupid bomblet goes off, maiming or killing another innocent. Handicap International reports that 98 percent of cluster-bomb victims are civilians, and 27 percent are children. The weapon is indiscriminate, brutal, stupid.
In early December, nearly 100 nations signed a treaty, agreeing to ban cluster bombs – but the United States was not one of them. Our nation has about a billion of these murderous weapons in ready supply, and our leaders do not hesitate to deploy them, with lasting efficiency. Nearly four decades ago, for example, our military left an estimated 80 million of these unexploded bomblets in Laos. Since then, some 15,000 Laotians have been killed by them, and many more horribly wounded.
At a recent White House press briefing, Bush spokeswoman Dana Perino was asked why the administration opposes the ban on cluster bombs. “I have forgotten” Perino responded. No doubt she forgot because no rationalization makes a lick of sense. But if anyone needs a reminder of why our great country should take the lead on banning this stupid weapon, contact The Cluster Munition Coalition: www.stopclustermunitions.org.