June 5, 2008

NLG Urges United States to Sign and Ratify Treaty Banning Use of Cluster Bombs

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NLG Also Renews Its Call for the U.S. to Ratify Land Mine Treaty

New York. The National Lawyers Guild is disturbed to see that, once again, the rhetoric of the United States government about building peace and security is directly contradicted by its actions. While more than 100 countries met in Dublin and signed a treaty banning the use of cluster bombs, the United States, along with Russia, China and Israel, refused to participate in the conference that led to the treaty and have refused to sign it. The Guild calls on the United States to immediately sign and ratify the treaty, and also renews its call for the United States to ratify the land mine treaty as well.

Cluster bombs are particularly insidious munitions. First, they litter an area with hundreds of submunitions, known as “bomblets,” which both kill and maim. Many of the bomblets do not explode on impact and, like land mines, lurk undetected until unfortunate civilians, often children, stumble on them or pick them up. While the State Department’s Stephen D. Mull had said that removing unexploded ordnance from a battlefield is “an absolute moral obligation,” he did not explain how that was to be accomplished. He also maintained that, for some unexplained reason, the United States needed to utilize cluster bombs as part of its national defense, as inconceivable as it may be to imagine the use of such bombs on U.S. soil. If countries that do not have enormous stockpiles of nuclear weapons, massive land, sea and air power, laser-guided smart bombs and missiles, drone planes and countless other weapons of death and destruction can agree to give up their cluster bombs, there is no reason the United States cannot also agree to cease using them.

In the interest of world peace, and as a means of gaining back a measure of its lost credibility in the international community, the National Lawyers Guild calls on the United States to sign and ratify the treaty banning the use of cluster bombs, and renews its call for the United States to ratify the land mine treaty.