The Obama administration has decided not to sign an international convention banning land mines.As a reminder:
State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said Tuesday that the administration recently completed a review and decided not to change the Bush-era policy.
"We decided that our land mine policy remains in effect," he said.
The essence of Bush's new policy is that after 2010, the U.S. will no longer use any persistent land mines -- that is, mines that do not self-destruct or self-deactivate -- and after 2004, the United States will not use nonmetallic mines, which are difficult to detect. The measures cover not only antipersonnel land mines but also those that target vehicles. . .(via Berman Post)
[T]here are now two partial mine bans: the Ottawa Convention, which permits only anti-vehicle mines, and the new U.S. policy that permits only selfdestructing mines.
To compare them, imagine two minefields: one laid by the U.S. and one by, say, Belgium, a signatory of the Ottawa Convention. Both are deadly weapons of war. The U.S. minefield contains antipersonnel and anti-vehicle mines that self-destruct in 30 days or less.
The other contains anti-vehicle mines that will be active indefinitely, and the Ottawa Convention also permits it to contain some anti-vehicle mines that are nonmetallic and that will explode if a person accidentally kicks one and turns it over.
Three months later, the U.S. minefield will be perfectly safe. But after three months, or three years or three decades, the Ottawa-compliant field will be as dangerous as the day it was laid. Clearly, the Bush plan is more humanitarian than the Ottawa Convention. . .
The United States is the first major nation to take these humanitarian steps, which make it the world's moral leader in land mine policy.