21 April 2011

Cluster Amnesia

Hilary Clinton was outraged at the possibility the Libyan government was using cluster bombs.

This is despite the fact that the United States has rendered the Convention on Cluster Munitions essentially meaningless. Without the backing of the United States, the Convention isn't worth much. The U.S. stands with Russia and China in refusing to sign on.

The United States has used cluster munitions in Iraq and Afghanistan and has received extensive criticism for doing so. In fact we could have a little discussion about which country generates and uses more chemical and anti-civilian weapons than any other country in the world, but that's for another time.

Clinton herself seems to be suffering a little amnesia as this 2008 article from the Guardian demonstrates.

Here's an excerpt.........

Clinton and Obama differed most famously on the 2005 energy bill that helped pad the profits of oil and gas companies while expanding ethanol use. But while Clinton adopted the consensus liberal stance against that bill, which Obama backed, the contrasts in their records give neither one a leg up with true-blue Democrats. On immigration, ethics, gun control, and other controversial questions, Clinton and Obama tended to switch off, each wearing the liberal mantle some of the time.

One little-mentioned split occurred on a proposal to restrict Pentagon spending on cluster bombs, which explode and scatter thousands of tiny weapons over a vast area. Those small bombs are prone to going off years after a battle, sometimes killing and maiming Middle Eastern children who mistakenly trigger them. Israel came under fire from the UN and international human rights groups for its use of cluster bombs during its 2006 war with Hizbullah forces in Lebanon. In the autumn of that year, with memories of the conflict still fresh, several Democrats sought to limit US defence spending to cluster bombs that would not be used in civilian areas.

While they praised the moral case for shielding civilians from combat weapons, opponents argued that curbing spending on cluster bombs would tie the hands of US military leaders.

"In an extreme situation, the commander must be able to use all options to shape the battlefield to protect our forces and those allied with us," Republican senator Ted Stevens said at the time.

"Restricting the deployment of cluster munitions could severely hinder aviation and artillery capabilities and reduce the commander's capability to wage war successfully," he added.

Obama voted in favour of limiting use of the bombs, while Clinton and 69 other senators opposed the spending limits, defeating the proposal.

Whether the former first lady cast her vote to avoid a perceived rebuke of Israel or because of the Pentagon's resistance remains unknown: Clinton did not speak during the senate debate and did not issue a statement afterwards, according to her website.

You see the rest of the world just not terribly impressed with the 'rightness' of America's stands and arguments. There's another side to the story that our media often misses. One has to wonder if it is missed on purpose.

I have to believe the State Department and White House are well aware of the facts here. Bottom line? They just don't care. They know the American public doesn't either and that most are only watching FOX, CBS, CNN, and the rest of the Establishment stations. They're lying and being deceitful, they know it, and they couldn't care less.

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