Letter to the editor: Ban cluster bombs
August 28, 2014
OPINION By ALLAN COOPER
President Obama was quoted recently saying that the murder of reporter James Foley by Islamic State militants was an act of terrorism. Obama’s saber-rattling speech was obviously provoked by the manner in which Foley was executed…vis-a-vis decapitation…which has been described by the popular press as “barbaric.”
And yet the U.S. is systematically killing innocent civilians every day in a far more barbaric manner.
For years, the U.S. has scattered unexploded, fist-sized “bomblets” (a.k.a., cluster bombs) over large areas of Afghanistan, Viet Nam, Laos, Iraq and Yemen. These bombs kill and maim in particularly excruciating ways. The majority of the victims of these unexploded bombs are children who accidentally detonate them. Cluster bombs cut babies in half, pepper their bodies with shrapnel, blacken the skin, smash heads and tear limbs.
The U.S. press won’t comment on this, far less film it, because it is considered too terrifying to witness. In conclusion, 63 U.S. financial institutions currently finance cluster munition production for producers such as Lockheed Martin, Textron and Raytheon. Eighty-three countries have ratified a ban on their use. The United States is not among them.
Allan Cooper is a retired Cal Poly professor.