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Biden Admin Sending Ukraine Cluster Munitions, a Weapon Banned by 100 Countries

Biden Admin Sending Ukraine Cluster Munitions, a Weapon Banned by 100 Countries

Democrat Rep. Betty McCollum: “The legacy of cluster bombs is misery, death, and expensive cleanup generations after their use. The U.S. pays tens of millions of dollars annually to remove cluster munitions in Laos from the Vietnam era as these remnants of war continue to kill and maim civilians.”

I’m shocked it took the Biden administration this long to do this with Ukraine. Democrats, you can never ever say you’re the anti-war party. Then again, that stopped during the Obama administration regarding Syria.

Biden has already sent millions in military equipment to Ukraine. But this time around, Biden isn’t sending ordinary weapons. He’s shipping off a horrible weapon.

Cluster Bombs

Over 100 countries have banned cluster munitions, also known as cluster bombs, because of the death and destruction it causes. Weird that the U.S., Russia, Ukraine, and China, along with 70 other countries, haven’t banned the use.

The munitions literally spill smaller munitions as it falls from the sky:

Cluster munitions, also called cluster bombs, are canisters that carry tens to hundreds of smaller bomblets, also known as submunitions. The canisters can be dropped from aircraft, launched from missiles or fired from artillery, naval guns or rocket launchers.

The canisters break open at a prescribed height, depending upon the area of the intended target, and the bomblets inside spread out over that area. They are fused by a timer to explode closer to or on the ground, spreading shrapnel that is designed to kill troops or take out armored vehicles such as tanks.

The Biden administration will send Ukraine cluster bombs known as DPICMs:

The US has a stockpile of cluster munitions known as DPICMs, or dual-purpose improved conventional munitions, that it no longer uses after phasing them out in 2016.

According to an article on the US Army’s eArmor website, the DPICMs Washington will give to Kyiv are fired from 155mm howitzers, with each canister carrying 88 bomblets. Each bomblet has a lethal range of about 10 square meters, so a single canister can cover an area up to 30,000 square meters (about 7.5 acres), depending upon the height it releases the bomblets.

The bomblets in a DPICM have shaped charges that, when striking a tank or armored vehicle, “create a metallic jet that perforates metallic armor,” the article says, adding that it can take 10 or more bomblets to destroy an armored vehicle, but it may take only one to disable the armored vehicle’s weapons or render it immobile.

The U.S. phased out cluster bombs “because of the danger they pose to civilians.”

White House Response

Jake Sullivan leaves out a key point. Ukraine has also been using cluster bombs in the past 18 months:

SULLIVAN: “We have provided Ukraine with a historic amount of unitary artillery rounds, and we are ramping up domestic production of these rounds. We’ve already seen substantial increases in production, but this process will continue to take time, and it will be critical to provide Ukraine with a bridge of supplies while our domestic production is ramped up. We will not leave Ukraine defenseless at any point in this conflict period. Second, Russia has been using cluster munitions since the start of this war to attack Ukraine. Russia has been using cluster munitions with high dud or failure rates of between 30 and 40 percent. In this environment, Ukraine has been requesting cluster munitions in order to defend its own sovereign territory. The cluster munitions that we would provide have dud rates far below what Russia is doing — is — is providing, not higher than 2.5 percent.”

Promises, promises:

I hate it when the government puts me in line with Human Rights Watch:

In a statement Friday, Human Rights Watch said both Ukraine and Russia had killed civilians with their use of cluster munitions in the war so far.

“Cluster munitions remain one of the world’s most treacherous weapons. They kill and maim indiscriminately and cause widespread human suffering,” Gilles Carbonnier, vice president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, said at a conference on the munition in Switzerland last year.

“Any use of cluster munitions, anywhere, by anyone, must be condemned,” Carbonnier said.

Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN), the ranking member of the House Appropriations defense subcommittee criticized Biden’s decision:

“The decision by the Biden administration to transfer cluster munitions to Ukraine is unnecessary and a terrible mistake,” Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn., said in a statement.

“The legacy of cluster bombs is misery, death, and expensive cleanup generations after their use. The U.S. pays tens of millions of dollars annually to remove cluster munitions in Laos from the Vietnam era as these remnants of war continue to kill and maim civilians.”


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While Biden pushing DPICM to Ukraine is unquestionably the height of irresponsibility and will cost us a fortune in treasure, international standing, and possibly blood – the US isn’t the first to introduce cluster munitions to Ukraine (but we’ll get blamed for it of course).

Human Rights Watch reports that at least 10 types of cluster munitions have been used in Ukraine so far, mostly Russia ones or Ukrainians using former USSR cold war stockpiled ones. Turkey is also a rumored source of them.

If the US phased out the use of these artillery deployed mines and other cluster munitions in 2016 because of the danger they pose to non-combatant civilians, why did we still have a stockpile of them to transfer to Ukraine?

    Olinser in reply to Idonttweet. | July 7, 2023 at 7:41 pm

    Because this so-called ‘war’ is simply a chance for all the connected military contractors to charge a massive premium tp empty out their storage of obsolete crap they can’t sell anywhere else.

    As far as why they still have them – it’s expensive to properly destroy actual explosive munitions.

    This crap has probably been sitting in unventilated storage for decades, and I’d be willing to bet a casual inspection would demonstrate a ludicrous dud rate. The idea that decades-obsolete munitions have a dud rate ‘less than 2.5%’ is a JOKE.

      The Gentle Grizzly in reply to Olinser. | July 7, 2023 at 8:17 pm

      Not just a ridiculous dud rate, but, likely, a high level of spontaneous detonation.

        The dud rate is pretty high in the government, too. There are a lot of duds running the country—with a high level of spontaneous idiotic decison making accompanied by mental and moral breakdown.

      Lucifer Morningstar in reply to Olinser. | July 9, 2023 at 3:49 pm

      As far as why they still have them – it’s expensive to properly destroy actual explosive munitions.

      Really? To expensive to destroy them? This is a country that currently spend millions of USD cleaning up the messes of past conflicts wars where cluster munitions have been used and yet doesn’t have the money to destroy these weapons that are stockpiled in the United States? Yeah, right. Tell me another one.

      They weren’t destroyed for one simple reason. The military wanted them. And that’s all.

    iconotastic in reply to Idonttweet. | July 7, 2023 at 10:52 pm

    Hopefully because a few people in the US military know cluster munitions are extremely effective against our enemies.

      pkreter in reply to iconotastic. | July 9, 2023 at 10:27 pm

      Effective against dismounted infantry, and maybe against an APC with very light armor. Against an MBT? Not.

      So, U.S. gives the DPCIM to Ukraine, who starts using them against dug-in defensive positions in the grey zone, and even more dug-in at the first defensive line. Effectiveness much reduced. And the lack of true 155 mm artillery reduces the effectiveness of ukr attempts even more.

      Russia starts using cluster munitions against the new Ukraine tactic of attack by small infantry groupings…SHEER HELL for ukr. BTW, this new tactic is against NATO advice. NATO wants Ukraine to continue using their “proven” offensive maneuvers (tanks and other armor), which have been disastrous for Ukraine to date. Why? Because Russia has used accurate 152 mm artillery against their heavy armor very effectively.

      End result is that Zhou has given Russia “permission” to more effectively annihilate ukr military more quickly than they are doing at present.

      Let’s go Brandon!

    geronl in reply to Idonttweet. | July 8, 2023 at 9:14 am

    Because warehouses and boneyards exist. We should give Ukraine everything they need to expel the invading zombies from their territory.

“The legacy of cluster bombs is misery, death, and expensive cleanup generations after their use. “… caveat … But it’s OK because they are Russians. We now edge even closer to WWIII. This is well on the way to a Pyrrhic victory. Once the Nuclear Genie is let slip…. the world will never be the same.

    scooterjay in reply to alaskabob. | July 7, 2023 at 7:53 pm

    I’m kinda looking forward to a nuclear holocaust. The aftermath will be fun! Just think…scrounging for water, fighting for stale bread, crime skyrocketing with no electricity. What isn’t to like?

      jb4 in reply to scooterjay. | July 7, 2023 at 9:30 pm

      Also, with no fossil fuel use and a nuclear winter, Greta will be ecstatic.

      iconotastic in reply to scooterjay. | July 7, 2023 at 10:54 pm

      Living as we do triangulated between three separate military targets in the PNW I don’t think stale bread will be an issue for us.

      Free State Paul in reply to scooterjay. | July 8, 2023 at 10:59 am

      “I’m kinda looking forward to a nuclear holocaust. The aftermath will be fun!”

      At first, I thought the same thing. A good way to get out from under my credit card debt!

      But then I realized Visa would probably just send Toecutter and Johnny the Boy to my hovel to collect. 😢

    jb4 in reply to Gosport. | July 7, 2023 at 9:40 pm

    My hunch is that the difference between last year and this year is that Ukraine is not making material progress in its offensive and that there is a prospect of them losing before next year’s election. I doubt that “war crimes” matter in that context.

This will not end well

Really, I wish purer would just go all out for a few days , put up fences and be done with it

    geronl in reply to gonzotx. | July 8, 2023 at 9:15 am

    Putin is crazy evil. Ukraine needs to do everything they can to protect their country.

      Free State Paul in reply to geronl. | July 8, 2023 at 10:39 am

      When are you going to the Ukraine to fight? If you’re between the ages of 17 and 55 and still have all four limbs, I’m sure they’d be happy for your service.

      Free State Paul in reply to geronl. | July 8, 2023 at 11:08 am

      PS: When you get to the Ukraine, no need to find a recruiting center. Simply stand on any street corner and nice men from the secret police will pick you up in a van and give you a free ride to the front.

You should not be quoting Frau McCollum. While another Israel/Jew-hating Congresswoman from Minnesota gets the attention, she has been at her Israel bashing and Jew-hating in Congress far longer than Frau Omar.

Terrible idea. The Ukies have used them but apparently our own Pentagon has not confirmed Russian use. The Russian will use the same munitions now, and they will use them on our supply dumps in Ukraine. America will fight till the last Ukranian

Lets pretend that US service men are not in this war and getting killed. The New World Order Globalist policies are failing and destroying lives of working class people around the world. Stop the War.

The unapologetic conservative | July 8, 2023 at 7:33 am

At almost every decision point in Ukraine the Biden WH has chosen escalation v an off ramp to armistice. Ukraine can’t defeat Russia on its own. They lack the material and the manpower to do so. The neo con cheerleaders most, though not all, are chicken hawks who never grow weary of others doing the fighting and the dying while they take in lucrative grift from defense complex. The Ukrainian people are getting the shaft while the West urges them on into a no win scenario.

    geronl in reply to CommoChief. | July 8, 2023 at 9:17 am

    Fellate Putin harder. Ukraine should do whatever it needs to do to get their territory back, The first thing “the west” after the invasion was to tell Zelensky to flee the country and let Russia have it. Everything the Russians have said about this war is a lie going back to 2014.

      Free State Paul in reply to geronl. | July 8, 2023 at 10:48 am

      If Zelensky had simply fled the Ukraine in 2022, his country would be intact and 200,000 young men would not be dead or maimed. But I suppose he couldn’t fit all his cocaine and loot into the plane.

      CommoChief in reply to geronl. | July 8, 2023 at 11:38 am

      Ha, no thanks we’ll leave the pleasuring of your man crushes to you since you have so much more experience slobbering neocon knobs for fun and profit.

      The fact is Ukraine is out of its weight class and over time that deficit in manpower and material will grind the Ukrainian forces down. That’s not rooting for Putin that’s realism, something the neocons and their knob slobbering acolytes refuse to acknowledge.

      If you want to do something besides run your yap spouting nonsense then get on a plane and go to the front lines, the Ukrainian military needs all the help they can get. It won’t make a difference in the outcome but it may open your eyes to the reality of ground combat as a direct participant in for the duration instead of your normal role as voyeuristic sycophant of the defense contractors and the deep state goons who kicked all this off.

    Edward in reply to CommoChief. | July 8, 2023 at 11:52 am

    So how much of Ukraine would you give Putin to achieve an armistice? Good choice of term by the way. An Armistice is a temporary cessation of fighting. As you are sure that Putin will win, the only reason he would agree to an armistice is to regroup and resume fighting when it is to his advantage.

      CommoChief in reply to Edward. | July 8, 2023 at 5:03 pm

      Thank you for recognizing and approving my deliberate linguistic choice of ‘armistice’. I have no idea if Putin will be alive next week so I can’t speak to whether ‘Putin will win’ but in a contest of arms between Russia and Ukraine the smart money is on Russia.

      It isn’t up to me to set the terms of the armistice, that’s up to the two belligerent Nations to work out. Hopefully they can do a better job than the last try in the Minsk accords which were more or less imposed by the West as a deliberate and deceptive ploy (Merkel recently admitted this in public) to gain time to better arm Ukraine for what every serious person knew would be a resumed conflict.

      As you acknowledge the armistice would likely be a temporary pause. Just as NATO used the ‘ceasefire’ declared but not very effectively implemented by the Minsk Accords as the basis for training, arming, equipping Ukrainian forces. Including use of Western Nation military contractors in portions of the Donbas which was a violation of the accords.

      Of course the armistice might be enduring if all parties will create it and seek to honor it in more/less good faith. See the armistice of the Korean War which is coming up on its 70th anniversary later this month.

Why would anyone think that pedophile in the white house has any sort of standards. He’s pushing this to protect the money-laundering operations everyone was running there.

Destruction and death is the point. It makes retreat look attractive.

    Edward in reply to rhhardin. | July 8, 2023 at 11:47 am

    Artillery isn’t called the King of Battle without reason. Destruction and death is exactly what artillery is intended to deal.

Russia uses them. The weapons are not banned by the US, Russia or Ukraine.

Russia, the US and Ukraine – none of the three are signatories to the treaty. The Bush (W) administration managed to allow the do-gooders in the world to bully them into deciding to eliminate US use of these weapons. Russia has been using them in Ukraine.

This is saving US taxpayers money as we will now not have to pay to destroy these weapons and they will be put to good use in payback to the Russian Army’s use of this type munitions.

Horrible weapon – that’s a good one. Artillery is designed to destroy things and kill people (often very efficiently), how can any one artillery weapon be “horrible” and others not. The failure to explode rate of the US weapons is less than 2.5%, not the 20% those opposed to their use claim. Ukraine will be using them on their own territory (Putin’s claims to have annexed notwithstanding) and if they are willing to do the eventual cleanup in order to use the weapons now, that’s their decision. It’s easy to sit here completely out of the line of fire and kvetch about the use of a weapon by a country fighting for its very existence. Those who have civilian populations targeted (a war crime I’d add) and are being shot at with various weapons (including “suicide drones” from Iran) need to ignore the complaints and do that which they believe is in their best interest.

inspectorudy | July 8, 2023 at 11:58 am

The more the merrier to the globalist who are waiting in the wings to “Rebuild” Ukraine. Some have already signed reconstruction contracts with Ukraine and further destruction is not only wanted but probably encouraged by these same groups. Nukes, however, are not wanted and I don’t believe are on anyone’s table since that precludes reconstruction. Just think, Ukraine has the potential to be the largest and newest country in the world with a neoNazi government with total dictatorial power built and paid for by the free world.

I’m kinda sorta happy to see the democrats become the party of war.

In 50 years they will be the party of chastity. Things move pretty fast now, so maybe five years.

The US has never been a signatory to the “ban” on cluster bombs. Whining about this used to be a tool of the left whenever the US used them.

Sad to see “conservatives” acting like anti-American leftists.

    henrybowman in reply to Crawford. | July 8, 2023 at 3:08 pm

    Is that what’s going on here?

    Or are we simply pointing out the hypocrisy of leftists who yammer for decades to ban these weapons, yet immediately throw them around like party confetti when the goal to be gained is theirs?

henrybowman | July 8, 2023 at 3:06 pm

“Cluster munitions will be used extremely carefully, specifically to minimize risks to civilians – White House”

Shut your lying yap, you gaslighting hypocrite.
You are abysmally unable even to keep illegal drugs out of the highest security venue on the East Coast.
You can’t even vet immigrants properly, and border enforcement is 100% under your control (except that you’re deliberately crippling it).
You’re promising us that a bunch of Nazi soldiers of fortune not even under your control will fight a gentlemen’s war on your say-so?

Psaki states unambiguously that the use of cluster munitions is a war crime.

    GravityOpera in reply to JustSayN2O. | July 10, 2023 at 1:11 pm

    What alternate reality do you live in? Psaki said that the use was POTENTIALLY a war crime when asked about Russia’s use of cluster munitions against civilians.

BierceAmbrose | July 9, 2023 at 1:57 pm

Seems like a lot of people are offended.

Legally, what’s the interplay between treaties, international “agreements”, administration policy, department policy, and declarations of this or that by some guys or other?

I get that people who thought they had this particular horse locked back in the barn by outrage-y agreement, are all wee-wee’d up that the genie’s out again. What comes of this?

    CommoChief in reply to BierceAmbrose. | July 9, 2023 at 5:33 pm

    Other than exposing another instance of d/prog hypocrisy not much. If push came to shove it isn’t as if the US wouldn’t use our stockpile of cluster munitions ourselves. I suppose it also helps illuminate who are the globalist true believers and the unfortunate dupes/useful idiots who also wholeheartedly back this travesty in Ukraine.

    Once again the neocons, IC, deep state goons, defense contractors and their public/private sycophants align to back another globalist agenda warfare scheme. Some folks just refuse to learn or maybe they aren’t dupes at all but knowing and willing participants. Though their participation never seems to be on the battlefield. The sycophants always have an excuse for their refusal to personally fight but want to send our Sons and Daughters along with large amounts of tax payer funding to the next globalist action item to support their agenda.

GravityOpera | July 10, 2023 at 1:32 pm

LI, please do not allow Mary to publish any more articles on military or strategic topics. This was painful to read.
– Cluster bombs aren’t known as such “because of the death and destruction it causes.”
– Cluster bombs aren’t “horrible weapons”. They are conventional explosives.

She also completely glosses over the true long term danger to Ukrainian civilians: Russia. Russia is mining the ever-loving !@#$ out of Ukraine, leaving unexploded ordnance everywhere, destroying multiple dams, targeting electrical infrastructure, disturbing Chernobyl, screwing with ZNPP ever since they captured it, etc, etc. That’s in addition to the indiscriminate bombing, mass murder, looting, rape, kidnapping children and adopting them into Russian families, castrating POWs, and other atrocities that Russian troops are known for. (If you care for your mental health do not read about Russia’s behavior in WWII.)

BierceAmbrose | July 12, 2023 at 2:14 am

What does a “cluster bomb” do that single-warhead artillery doesn’t?

I read the descriptions looking for the particular, distinctive, heinousness I might not already know. Horrible weapon — same. Kills civilians (if they’re where it lands) — same, Spews shrapnel shredding everything around — same. (The smaller cluster muntions do less concussion damage — different and not mentioned.) Some don’t explode — same.

Not good, but same, same. So, what, throw wads of explosives at people, to tear them to bits, but don’t do it so much, all at once?

What am I missing?