In Dublin, Ireland, representatives from nations across the world will meet to set the terms of an agreement on cluster bombs. Under this agreement, most types of cluster bombs and weaponry would be illegal to use let alone use in combat. Many groups have fought to have cluster bombs banned from combat.
During the war in Lebanon during 2006, the Israeli military had deployed the use of cluster bombs. But, it is deemed legal under international law to use cluster bombs. Recently, Israeli military prosecutors said that it was legal under international law to use them. Officers that used them would not be indicted. This inquiry had lasted for up to a year.
According to the United Nations, that verdict was shocking and immoral. The main reason many are pushing to have the use of cluster bombs banned is that they do not always explode on impact. Those cluster bombs could remain dormant during the war and well after the war. After the war is over, the cluster bombs could go still go off and kill many civilians in the process.
So far, there was a suggestion of a task force charged with the task of defusing cluster bombs. It was made at a UN conference in Geneva back in January of this year. The conference was aimed to talk about conventional weapons while protecting the civilians after the hostilities were over.
There was something called the “Oslo Process” back in 2007 launched by Norway which is aimed to ban cluster bombs by the end of 2008. So far, the United States, Russia, China, and Israel all are against banning cluster bombs.
So far, the International Red Cross estimates that over 400 million people live in areas across the world affected by cluster bombs. Those areas are literally minefields. As an alternative of banning, the United States suggested and supports measures to defuse cluster bombs.
Now, the United States has warned that if the treaty is signed that makes the use of cluster bombs illegal, soldiers that fight along American troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan would get prosecuted in the courts. Right now, it is concerned that Great Britain might sign the agreement and sacrifice the futures of its troops to please its critics.
The United States government has voiced its concerns. It said that it would hurt the operations of NATO. In short, the soldiers would be branded as war criminals as a result. That is the concern voiced by the US. In this predicament, British troops would be sent to court for calling in an airstrike from an US war plane.
In short, this situation leaves two moral dilemmas.
Not signing it could possibly place many civilians in danger because there are still plenty of cluster bombs lying around that have not detonated. Those bombs could explode at any given time.
The other moral dilemma presented would be that many British troops would be sent before the criminal courts.
There is a good chance that the use of cluster bombs will be a hot button issue in the US presidential races between presumed GOP nominee Senator John McCain of Arizona and the eventual Democratic nominee. Right now, frontrunners Senator Barack Obama of Illinois and Senator Hillary Clinton of New York are fighting it out for the Democratic Party’s nomination.