Tuesday, April 13

Voting for life. U.S. Cluster bombs.

[The brief introduction to this exchange is posted on April 19 as VOTING FOR LIFE: PREAMBLE. The following was written on April 7.]#5
Fanni writes: Hello, again. In reply to your assertion that cluster bombs were not used in Iraq, I went to USA Today, a source that can hardly be called "left wing" (by perhaps anybody other than Rush Limbaugh, for whom everyone else but himself and a few like-minded fascists are "liberals"-- where that means something to be reviled -- but I am not sure about Rush's "take" on the insipid USA Today, and that's not the point here). There, I found conclusive evidence that not only were cluster bombs used, but that many were used. Moreover, their strategic pertinence to the war had been seriously put to question before the war was commenced, and their inhumane consequences warned against.

In the face of this evidence (which was hardly hidden from public view), the point is this: why do you keep holding out a juvenile image of the present administration's supposedly righteous ways in Iraq? How much evidence do you need to tilt your ambivalence so that it becomes actual skepticism?

You say, "there were no cluster bombs." On what basis do you say this? Out of optimistic hope that your anti-abortion hero in the executive office is not a thug? And a member of an administration full of thugs? For how long can you hold out this hope? And for what stakes other than those relating to abortion?

Here a few decisive statements taken from the USA Today report:

"The world's most modern military, one determined to minimize civilian casualties, went to war with stockpiles of weapons known to endanger civilians and its own soldiers. The weapons claimed victims in the initial explosions and continued to kill afterward, as Iraqis and U.S. forces accidentally detonated bomblets lying around like small land mines."

"A four-month examination by USA TODAY of how cluster bombs were used in the Iraq war found dozens of deaths that were unintended but predictable. Although U.S. forces sought to limit what they call "collateral damage" in the Iraq campaign, they defied international criticism and used nearly 10,800 cluster weapons; their British allies used almost 2,200."
13,000 cluster bombs, including those of our British allies, is a far cry from none. You would agree, wouldn't you? You would agree that the 10,800 cluster bombs used by Rumsfeld's forces are a lot more than zero, and not very "smart," in any sense of this word, wouldn't you?

You might go to bed tonight dreaming of "smart bombs," righteous U.S. leadership in Iraq, and defeated isolated, radical, liberty-hating terrorists, and still hoping and praying that the international hooliganism of Bush can be portrayed in a pretty light so that no one in the U.S. can gain any ground in the fight to maintain or further practices of abortion, but I have done what I can to give you reason to increase your ambivalence with respect to U.S. aggression in Iraq in particular and to stop living in a Fox World of "smart bombs" and a "war on terror," and an "Operation Iraqi Freedom," etc.

I will address the other, statistics-based claims when I have time later.

p.s. To be precise, you made a distinction between the city and country use of cluster bombs (as if only civilians lived in cities and only soldiers lived and worked outside them! How "smart" that sounds! And, oh, if war were only that clean and tidy, then we could just remove evil from the face of the earth, couldn't we?). Even more pertinent to your false impression that cluster bombs were not used in cities, then, is the first sentence from the article to which I sent you a link already:

"BAGHDAD ・The little canisters dropped onto the city, white ribbons trailing behind. They clattered into streets, landed in lemon trees, rattled around on roofs, settled onto lawns."
And this, from further on in the article:
"U.S. forces fired hundreds of cluster weapons into urban areas. These strikes, from late March to early April, killed dozens and possibly hundreds of Iraqi civilians. Forty civilians were killed in one neighborhood in Hillah, 60 miles south of Baghdad, say residents and Saad Khazal al-Faluji, a surgeon at Hillah General Hospital who tracked casualties."
"The attacks also left behind thousands of unexploded bomblets, known as duds, that continued to kill and injure Iraqi civilians weeks after the fighting stopped."
I include this p.s. because I don't want you to think that I misunderstood the nature of your flatly false impression. Your "knowledge" on this point was about as accurate as the "best intelligence" that served to rationalize the administration's war-making in Iraq. But you should have known better, because even a widely distributed newspaper like USA Today had presented an investigative report on cluster bombs. The question thus rears its head once more: where are you (not) getting your information from? And why?