Monday, November 20, 2006

Months After Israeli-Lebanese 2006 Summer War, Once Peaceable Kingdom Remains Littered With Large Number Of Civilian-Maiming Cluster Bombs

"The chief of staff of the Israeli military, Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz, ordered an inquiry today to determine whether the military followed his orders in its use of large numbers of [American-made] cluster bombs in Lebanon during the month-long war with Hezbollah there over the summer.

Several human rights groups have criticized Israel’s use of cluster bombs in the fighting, saying they were dropped in or near populated areas.

Cluster bombs are not prohibited in warfare, but much controversy surrounds them. The munitions spray out many small bomblets that explode over a wide area and may strike unintended targets. In addition, some of the bomblets do not explode when they first hit the ground, and effectively become land mines that can be unwittingly detonated by civilians long after the fighting has stopped....

Cluster bombs are considered effective against an enemy in an open area, because the hundreds of bomblets inside each individual shell can strike such a wide area.

But critics say that this also makes them imprecise, potentially causing widespread casualties beyond the intended target and remaining a threat for years afterward.

Lebanese officials say civilians there are still suffering numerous injuries and deaths caused by detonations of bomblets dropped months before." ...

Greg Myre "Israeli General Orders Inquiry Into Cluster Bombs" New York Times November 20, 2006

Edward Hicks (American, 1780–1849). The Peaceable Kingdom, 1833–34. Oil on Canvas. Brooklyn Museum, the United States.

Image credit: (c) With thanks.


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