"The United States is trying to bully its allies into weakening a treaty banning cluster bombs, Jody Williams, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for leading a campaign against landmines, said on Friday.
The United States said on Wednesday the treaty could jeopardise U.S. participation in joint peacekeeping and disaster relief operations by "criminalising" military operations between countries that signed the ban and those that did not.
Cluster munitions open in mid-air and scatter as many as several hundred "bomblets" over wide areas. They often fail to explode, creating virtual mine fields that can kill or injure anyone who comes across them -- often curious children." (Thanks akhuy fil-mahjar)
I have written about cluster bombs in South Lebanon before, and one of my students did a thesis on the subject, which remained unfortunately unpublished (what is it with students? They seem to lose interest once they get their MSc) . I often go for long hikes in my little Southern village, and there is an area I usually avoid as I was told that the Israelis had dropped little presents for the children a few hours before the end of the bombing in August 2006, 48 hours AFTER the cease fire had been agreed. But recently, I have started walking there again as many hunters and wild plant gatherers have assured me that the bomblets had all been removed by the demining teams. I went for a motocross ride in that area today, a gorgeous valley with thick oak coppice and rocky slopes. Back in the village after a fantastic ride, my cousin stopped by my house to warn me to avoid that same valley. He told me he found there yesterday an unexploded Israeli 2 tons bomb as he was picking wild thyme. He called the Lebanese army and they came and removed it but no one thought about cordoning off the area. And if they miss a 2 tons bomb, how can I trust them with 1 kilo bomblets? There will continue to be victims for decades, and you can be sure that the Western press will not mention them.