Sunday, December 06, 2009

"Oceana Was Always At War With Eurasia" of the Day

As reported last month at the Puffington Host:
The Obama administration has decided not to sign an international convention banning land mines.

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.
As a reminder:
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. . .

[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.
(via Berman Post)


OBloodyHell said...

They won't care, they don't grasp the relevance of mines in the efforts of a smaller, weaker force acting against a larger force.

While this can be problematic for us (think IED), it applies much more critically to those who would be freedom fighters against a despot.

A possible mine field represents a slowing factor for any well-equipped force, which can both set up an ambush and also assist in a tactical retreat from a larger force.

The worst aspects of mine fields is their persistence -- long after wars are over and the questions they are central to the "vigorous physical debate" on have been settled, one way or another, they historically remain, and have certainly been at the heart of a great deal of utterly pointless human tragedy.

By making mines self-deactivating after a time, you resolve the worst of this.

People who argue against the use of mines are, as in most cases, woefully ignorant of their purpose, use, and effectiveness in some very important ways. The typical anti-mine individual is, as you would expect, a hypocritical pacifist who imagines all the world's problems would be solved if only people would decide to "coexist" -- It would, indeed be so, were that to happen.

I'd invest in heavy-duty umbrellas for protection against aerial porcine fecal droppings before I'd buy into "coexist" as a reasonable expectation for human behavior, though.


Self-deactivation deals with the worst aspect of them, which is land sown with mines being used years later for various purposes, sometimes even with small children playing in a place where people have long since forgotten there were mines sown.

It's one thing to be a soldier injured by a mine. It's quite another to be an innocent, uninvolved civilian, long after the battle is over, to lose a limb or a child to one.

Carl said...