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Old 02-10-2002, 04:11 PM   #1
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Cluster Bombs

How many people know that the usage of cluster bombs is very common in military excursions, and how many know how they work?

During the Vietnam War, when the U.S. bombed Laos, they dropped several tons of them, with the sole purpose of killing civilians. In addition to destroying mass villages, the cluster bombs were used to destroy livestock and crops. Basically, since the U.S. didn't know who the enemy was, they chose to destroy everything. Those who fled to caves often met their fate by seeing a rocket shot into their cave. Cluster bombs, contrary to what anyone may tell you, have absolutely no effect on military targets like tanks or bases. They are meant to kill people.

What is the most troubling about cluster bombs is their high rate of failure. An estimated 1/3 of all cluster bombs dropped on Laos failed to explode. Many of them landed in marshes or soft ground, where they simply fell undetonated. Thirty years later, an estimated 100,000 are slowly eliminated a year, and it is expected to take several decades more to even make a substantial dent in ridding them from Laos. In the meantime, civilians are being killed and the economy has remained poor, as the threat of hidden bombs have prevented major construction. All in a "secret war" on Laos that wasn't even supposed to have happened, and wouldn't have been discovered, had it not been for journalists (which have since been forbidden to report from war zones due to "national security").

But this isn't the end. They are still often used in military campaigns. NATO used them in the fight against Kosovo. I do not have statistics on Afghanistan if they were used or not. Maybe someone can fill me in on that. They are not only an inefficient bomb with the sole purpose of killing people, rather than military targets, but they have major repercussions for the civilian populations afterwards, which will mire them in poverty for decades to come. Like the quest to end land mine use, I think it is only responsible that we end the use of cluster bombs.

Melon

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Old 02-11-2002, 12:05 AM   #2
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well, since you asked me in the Chief Wahoo thread:

I think in this day and age, we (the U.S. at least) have the military technology to negate the use of cluster bombs. I'm no military expert, but I think we have seen the precision, since the Gulf War, that our modern arms are capable of delivering, and ideally limiting civilian casualty. Granted, even with precision bombing we have seen that it is not a perfect science and civilian casualties do occur. But I think it is better than cluster bombs.

Also, in this day and age of frontline media coverage of conflicts, cluster bombing does not seem like a good public relations move for any nation; if we do that, then whom will we have liberated once the smoke clears?

You mentioned the Kosovo situation and NATO's use of cluster bombs, and I recall hearing that during the conflict. I am curious as to which NATO members were using them (U.S.?). I recall most of the U.S. aerial involvement to be aerial support (refueling, recon/surveilance), while our ground troops saw more combat situations.

Basically, I would prefer cluster bombs not be used to kill civilians as I ideally think we should prevent civilian casualties.

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Old 02-11-2002, 03:10 AM   #3
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All bombs are terrible!!

But especially the cluster bombs because when they dont detonate the become a kind of mine instead.....




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Old 02-11-2002, 10:01 AM   #4
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War is Hell, but not end of discussion. You were kind enough to point out the effects of what can happen when the liberal media intervenes in a war, well done. Luckily we have put a cap on that this time around, although I have seen on Fox news channel reported use of cluster bombs.

One thing they tell you in the military is that certain weapons are for shooting people, and others are considered inhumane and against the Geneva Convention. Those weapons are the ones you use to take out equipment only, at least thats how they do it today.

All bombs are bad, and hopefully ours are badder than our enemies
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Old 02-11-2002, 10:54 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by the HORROR:
Luckily we have put a cap on that this time around, although I have seen on Fox news channel reported use of cluster bombs.
You prefer blissful, patriotic ignorance over the truth? If it weren't for the "liberal media" with Laos, Congress wouldn't have even known about this war. The President ordered this little excursion, with over 13,000 bombing raids a day, without the knowledge of Congress and in violation of a 1962 treaty, which promised not to bomb Laos. It's no wonder the Pentagon finally banned the media...they can now, technically, blow up any nation they want and have us pretend that everything is wonderful.

Quote:
One thing they tell you in the military is that certain weapons are for shooting people, and others are considered inhumane and against the Geneva Convention. Those weapons are the ones you use to take out equipment only, at least thats how they do it today.
I have two objections with cluster bombs:

1) the manner which they were used in Laos, which were to wipe out villages, their civilian inhabitants, and to destroy their farms.

2) the fact that they have had and continue to have a high failure rate, whereas even if the war ends, they affect the population for decades to come.

Now #1 is history, and I can only hope that we have learned our lessons and won't bomb with the expressed intent of destroying civilian populations.

#2 is still a reality, and will continue to be one as long as we use them.

Quote:
All bombs are bad, and hopefully ours are badder than our enemies
Why do I find this statement to be a bit frightening? I think the does it for me. But don't worry...no one can destroy whole nations quite like the United States.

Melon

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Old 02-11-2002, 11:23 AM   #6
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Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah
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Old 02-11-2002, 05:14 PM   #7
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To begin with, yes the US are using cluster bombs in Afghanistan. Something which I found truly disgusting is that the limited number of food packages dropped in Afghanistan were in fact the exact same colour as the bomblets (essentially landmines) from cluster bombs. Someone picks up an item believing it's food and instead it explodes in their hands. And don't forget that Afghanistan was already one of the countries most severely affected by landmines even before the current US war.

Why are cluster bombs so bad? Each bomb which is dropped contains about 200 smallers bombs or 'bomblets' which are spread over an area of approximately 800ft X 400ft. Not only do they kill and injure people who are hit by them directly, but many of them fail to explode and so remain on the ground like landmines. That means even after the war has ended, people are still being killed and wounded by these weapons. People can't farm their land because it's covered in landmines. And it falls to humanitarian organisations to attempt to clear areas of landmines.

As for the legal side of it, the US signed the 1980 Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed To Be Excessively Injurious or To Have Indiscriminate Effects, (Which is also know as the Convention on Conventional Weapons.) which does place restrictions on the use of landmines or 'booby-traps' which is essentially what unexploded cluster bombs are.

I would make reference to the Mine Ban treaty, but while 120 countries signed up to that, the US wasn't one of them.

And so that I'm not accused of being anti-American, I'll point out that cluster bombs were used in the NATO war in Kosovo by the US, UK and Holland. It doesn't matter which country uses them, they are a disgusting and inhumane weapon.
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Old 02-11-2002, 08:21 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by z edge:
Then tell me how and why Al Queda or any other terrorist network should even be given this consideration.
That's the problem. Cluster bombs don't give a shit whether you are Osama bin Laden or Mullah Omar or one of the liberated Afghanis. Now that the war in Afghanistan is essentially over, though, it is the regular Afghanis who will now suffer over the unexploded cluster bombs, even when bin Laden and Al-Qaeda are merely distant memories in the remote pages of history texts.

We have plenty of weaponry to kill people. The least we can do is use one that, once it is set off, it actually explodes. Then, when the war is over, that bomb/missile can simply be a distant memory.

Besides, this post wasn't even referring to Afghanistan or the "war on terrorism" in any form. These bombs should not be allowed in any war on any side.

Melon

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Old 02-11-2002, 08:27 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by z edge:
Well, first off, cite your proof when where and they were prohibited by the Geneva Convention. And I mean PROOF.
I think what they are talking about is a Geneva stipulation which bans detonation of any weaponry after a peace treaty. This was designed to apply to landmines, but since cluster bombs have the potential to remain undetonated upon impact and instead go off randomly on some distant day, by technicality, it applies to them as well.

Here again, not being a military technology expert, I am curious as to whether the delayed detonation is an intended effect or if it is some flaw in their design.

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Old 02-11-2002, 08:36 PM   #10
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z edge;

I can not cite a BBC report that was heard by millions of British citizens here in the UK, but if it is concrete evidence you require I will comply to the best of my ability.

The fact is I don't have anti-american sentiments. We really must be rid of this self-important and not to mention self-righteous attitude that whenever someone critcises America they are anti-American, it is a thoroughly arrogant and simplistic view of things.

My observation was, if you need to have it spelt it out, that although there may be good guys and bad guys in war, as AchtungBubba would have it, all methods of killing is barbaric, no matter what side you are on. AMERICA should apply the same standards it imposes on everybody else, the same as everybody else should do, and that has always been my view; I will always criticise America as much as my own country, and still impose the same standards they apparently live up to.

Honestly, its your kind of self-important mentality that the moment someone even says something about America you don't like to hear, you think its a slant on America. You see, THAT'S how the stereotype of America's arrogance started, because of that same self-important attitude propagated by individuals such as yourself.

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Old 02-11-2002, 08:41 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by U2Bama:
Here again, not being a military technology expert, I am curious as to whether the delayed detonation is an intended effect or if it is some flaw in their design.
From what I understand, it is a design flaw. They are supposed to detonate on impact, and most do. However, the percentage that do not explode is too high to be an isolated incident.

Melon

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Old 02-11-2002, 08:51 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by z edge:
Then, tell me why the USA seems to be the only country (when we are involved in a conflict) who bothers to abide by the Geneva Convention.
I really don't understand what you mean by that statement. Are you actually SAYING that the USA does everything according to the Geneva Convention? What nonsense - NO ONE does anything by the Geneva Convention, the Geneva Convention is a useless piece of pap quoted by the victors to make their victories all the more glorious. It is NOT A reality and it is NOT as black and white as all that.

I'm not saying the USA is the only one not abiding by the Geneva Convention, I'm just saying that everyone should be aware that everyone violates such conventions in some way or another, no one is ever as heroic as they make themselves out; and I apply this standard to EVERYONE, including my own country, which has a pretty awful history (and present) in itself.

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Old 02-11-2002, 09:57 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon:
From what I understand, it is a design flaw. They are supposed to detonate on impact, and most do. However, the percentage that do not explode is too high to be an isolated incident.

Melon

That's some hideous design flaw if a cluster bomblet can not detonate when it hits the ground at terminal velocity, but can go off when someone picks it up.
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Old 02-12-2002, 03:25 AM   #14
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Oh, this is too rich.

What conveniently doesn't seem to be common knowledge is that the 'cluster bomb' is actually prohibited by the Geneva Convention, and yet its been used HOW many times by the USA?

I lost account ages ago.

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Old 02-12-2002, 03:42 AM   #15
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Well, first off, cite your proof when where and they were prohibited by the Geneva Convention. And I mean PROOF.

Then, tell me why the USA seems to be the only country (when we are involved in a conflict) who bothers to abide by the Geneva Convention.

Then tell me how and why Al Queda or any other terrorist network should even be given this consideration.

You are doing a GREAT job of hiding your distaste for us americans.
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