Monday, June 2, 2008

Cluster Cuddle

Cluster Bomb bans are the internat'l feel cool groove of the year. Celebrating a treaty just signed in Dublin - 100+ nations signed on. Including Great Britain. These concerned cats are

"concerned that cluster munition remnants kill or maim civilians, including
women and children, obstruct economic and social development, including
through the loss of livelihood, impede post-conflict rehabilitation and
reconstruction, delay or prevent the return of refugees and internally
displaced persons, can negatively impact on national and international
peace-building and humanitarian assistance efforts, and have other severe
consequences that can persist for many years after use."
Sounds like a good descript for nuclear weaponry. Or intolerant resistence movements.

Fair enough. Cluster bombs also create concern that a few well placed devices can shred dozens of soft-skinned military vehicles and seriously effect the attack of an entire mechanized infantry battalion. A few hundred could annihilate an army corps.

"Cluster bombs are likened to flying land mines. An artillery shell or
air-dropped casing breaks into a shower of tiny hand grenades, which in turn
spew shrapnel or steel needles over an expanse the size of a football field. A
soldier caught in the open hasn't a chance."

Designed for instances when the concept of Force Multipliers is at work. Like trying to halt a NoKo invasion of SoKo. Or a Syrian attack into Little Satan. Or repelling mass attacks on a massive scale like a Russia China war. Or even an Indian invasion of the Land of the Pure.

"To destroy an enemy in place (impact) or to slow or prevent enemy movement
away from or through an area (area denial). Impact submunitions go off when they
hit the ground. Area-denial submunitions, including FASCAM, ( a very deceptively happy name for the Family of Scattering Mines) have a limited
active life and self-destruct after their active life has expired.

The major difference between scatterable mines and placed mines is that the
scatterable mines land on the surface and can be seen. Placed mines may be
hidden or buried under the ground and usually cannot be seen. "

This is significant. The major players and deployers of clustering munitions like Red China, Russia, Great Satan, Pakistan, India, Little Satan didn't bother to show up in Ireland for the conference though the Pentagon did acknowledge there was such a gig. Concerning

"...humanitarian concerns of those in Dublin, cluster munitions have
demonstrated military utility, and their elimination from U.S. stockpiles would
put the lives of our soldiers… at risk."

Thus the feel good groove. With zero legal compulsion. Signatories are legally bound though there are no enforcement measurements. For those who blew off the entire event there are no formal constraints of any sort.

None of these cluster bomber nations hooked up with the 1997 Land Mine ban treaty either. So what purpose does the treaty hold?

For the signers, cluster weaponry is now immoral, illicit, illegit. There may be a chance that militaries will develop doctrine prescribing and proscribing scenerios.

San Francisco Chroni's editorial board editorially theorizes that

If these countries, especially the United States, won't join the ban, then
their leaders should set specific ground rules for their use and promise to rid
the terrain of unexploded munitions when the fighting stops.

Sens. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., have authored a
proviso in a spending bill signed by the president stating that cluster
munitions can't be sold to allies unless the weapons have a failure rate no
greater than 1 percent and will only be used against defined military targets.
It won't prevent the United States from using the weaponry, but it should curb
an infamous "Made in the USA" export.

It could also cause an increase in quality control. Many cluster munitions - an amazing 10% to 40% - fail to detonate and sweetly lie safe as milk until surrounded by innocent civilians.

"The Pentagon is readying a new generation of "smart" cluster bombs that
can be more precisely targeted and even ordered to self-destruct if they go
astray. These newer models wouldn't be banned by this week's treaty."

Not only that - Cluster munitions send very clear nonconflicting signals that nations who have them may very well use them.

Which should put a very large microscope of responsibility on regimes and resistence movements that tend to deploy and act out in innocent civilian rich turf that those "severe consequences" were severely self inflicted.


Findalis said...

Cluster bombs are effective. They do the job that they are designed to do with minimal effort and little risk to the attacking force.

That is why Israel uses them. There will always be civilian causalities in war. That is one of the natures of war. The idea is to minimize causalities to your side and maximize causalities to your enemy.

kevin said...

"Ground rules" for the not-so-free countries of the world are just as useless as the Camp David accord or any treaty signed by the enemies of freedom.