The Common Good
August 2008

Ban Cluster Bombs

by Alexis Vaughan, Rose Marie Berger | August 2008

In May, representatives from more than 100 nations met to forge a global agreement to ban cluster bombs, aerial weapons that release tiny “bomblets” over a wide area and kill ...

In May, representatives from more than 100 nations met to forge a global agreement to ban cluster bombs, aerial weapons that release tiny “bomblets” over a wide area and kill indiscriminately. At the Dublin summit, 111 countries formally agreed to end the use, production, transfer, and stockpiling of cluster bombs. Though Britain and Canada signed the pact, other major purveyors and stockpilers—the U.S., Russia, China, Israel, India, and Pakistan—refused to take part. Instead of supporting a ban, the U.S. called for improvements that would make cluster bombs “safer.”

The World Council of Churches issued a statement in February encouraging the elimination of cluster munitions. Even though the bombs are developed for military purposes, the group explained, fully “98 percent of the casualties caused by cluster munitions are civilians.” Titus Peach­ey, director of peace education for the Mennonite Central Committee, attended the summit. “The U.S. considers cluster bombs very effective military weapons, so they advocate for things like ‘technological fixes’ to keep them,” Peachey told So­jour­ners. “Clus­ter bombs actually un­der­mine U.S. security because they cultivate a sense of resentment toward the U.S. across the world. Things like developing clean wa­ter systems and micro-financing loans will go a lot further in ensuring our security.”

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