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.
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.”
Cluster munitions will be used extremely carefully, specifically to minimize risks to civilians – White House pic.twitter.com/7NEHPGhOKc
— Spriter Team (@SpriterTeam) July 7, 2023
.@JakeSullivan46 on decision by the U.S. to give Ukraine cluster munitions to defend their sovereign territory: "We will not leave Ukraine defenseless at any point in this conflict, period…We recognize that cluster munitions create a risk of civilian harm…" pic.twitter.com/iOZCe6KVOB
— CSPAN (@cspan) July 7, 2023
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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