Iraq Ratifies Convention on Cluster Munitions; US Still Opposes

I almost missed this when it happened. On May 14 of this year, Iraq became the 83rd State Party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions. The US remains among the non-signatories to the Convention.

The Convention on Cluster Munitions is an important acknowledgement of the humanitarian consequences of military operations. The US tries to maintain its freedom to use cluster munitions by pushing for self-destruct mechanisms on these munitions rather than an outright ban.  Touting the 99% success rate of these self-destruct mechanisms fails to address the fact that the mere threat of a single unexploded or dud munition is enough to render a water path, crop field, or soccer field impassable. It’s inhumane to ask vulnerable households to take the chance of losing life or limb in the process of providing for their livelihoods.

It is true that banning cluster munitions may present other humanitarian issues, including the greater casualty radius of unitary air-delivered munitions. A ban on cluster munitions must necessarily be seen as but one small part of a much larger ultimate effort to prioritize people over war.

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