US bans stupid land mines

RedVenom

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A10711-2004Feb26.html
(Shamelessly borrowed from another board, since noone appears to subscribe to the Washington post)

Washington post article behind a crappy subscriber screen said:
By Bradley Graham
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, February 27, 2004; Page A01

President Bush will bar the U.S. military from using certain types of land mines after 2010 but will allow forces to continue to employ more sophisticated mines that the administration argues pose little threat to civilians, officials said yesterday.

The new policy, due to be announced today, represents a departure from the previous U.S. goal of banning all land mines designed to kill troops. That plan, established by President Bill Clinton, set a target of 2006 for giving up antipersonnel mines, depending on the success of Pentagon efforts to develop alternatives.

Bush, however, has decided to impose no limits on the use of "smart" land mines, which have timing devices to automatically defuse the explosives within hours or days, officials said.

His ban will apply only to "dumb" mines -- those without self-destruct features. But it will cover devices not only aimed at people but also meant to destroy vehicles. In that way, Bush's policy will extend to a category of mines not included in Clinton's plan, which was limited to antipersonnel devices.

Bush will also propose a 50 percent jump in spending, up to $70 million in fiscal 2005, for a State Department program that provides land-mine removal assistance in more than 40 countries, officials said. The program also funds mine-awareness programs abroad and offers some aid to survivors of mine explosions.

A senior State Department official, who disclosed Bush's decision on condition he not be named, said the new policy aims at striking a balance between the Pentagon's desire to retain effective weapons and humanitarian concerns about civilian casualties caused by unexploded bombs, which can remain hidden long after combat ends and battlefields return to peaceful use.

The safety problem stems from dumb bombs, which kill as many as 10,000 civilians a year, the official said. Smart bombs, he added, "are not contributors to this humanitarian crisis."

Bush's decision drew expressions of outrage and surprise from representatives of humanitarian organizations that have pressed for a more comprehensive U.S. ban on land mines. They say the danger to civilians and Allied soldiers during and after a war outweighs the benefits of such weapons. They also dispute the contention that unexploded smart mines are safe, saying there isn't enough evidence to know.

"We expected we wouldn't be pleased by the president's decision, but we hadn't expected a complete rejection of what has been U.S. policy for the past 10 years," said Steve Goose, who heads the arms division of Human Rights Watch.

"It looks like a victory for those in the Pentagon who want to cling to outmoded weapons, and a failure of political leadership on the part of the White House. And it is stunningly at odds with what's happening in the rest of the world, where governments and armies are giving up these weapons."

The Pentagon maintains a stockpile of about 18 million land mines, including 15 million of the newer, self-destructing kinds. The U.S. arsenal of 10.4 million antipersonnel mines is third in size, after those held by China and Russia. But the United States has not used land mines in combat since the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

In 1994, Clinton called for an eventual end to use of antipersonnel mines. But he declined to endorse a 1997 treaty that 150 other countries have joined. It banned the production, use, stockpiling and transfer of antipersonnel mines.

Instead, Clinton restricted use of dumb mines to U.S. forces in South Korea. In a 1998 directive, he instructed the Pentagon to develop alternatives to antipersonnel mines and envisioned the possibility of banning all such weapons in 2006.

The policy has been under review since Bush took office in 2001. With two wars in the interim and the nation still engaged in a worldwide battle against terrorist networks, officials said Bush is particularly sensitive to Pentagon arguments for retaining some types of land mines.

By focusing on eliminating dumb -- or what the administration calls "persistent" -- land mines, Bush and his aides intend to make the case that they are addressing the root cause of the humanitarian problem.

"It's a different formula from the past," the senior official said, "but it comports with the reality of the humanitarian crisis, which is that persistent mines are the ones that are causing the casualties and polluting lands and preventing recovering from wars."

But critics noted that the United States tried with little success to draw a distinction between smart and dumb mines in international treaty negotiations in the mid-1990s.

"The rest of the world rejected this distinction for a number of reasons," Goose said. "Some were technical, based on concerns that smart mines would still have an unacceptable failure rate. Some were political, along the lines of: 'How can you expect other nations to give up their antipersonnel mines but allow the United States to keep theirs, claiming they're more technologically advanced?' "

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), a leading opponent of land mines, noted "some positive aspects" to Bush's decision. But he said, "On the whole, it is a deeply disappointing step backward."

Under Bush's new policy, dumb mines will continue to be used only for the defense of South Korea until their elimination after 2010. Use of dumb anti-vehicle mines will require special presidential approval.

Further, within a year, the United States will ensure that all of its land mines can be detected by minesweeping devices, meaning they will contain at least eight grams of iron, the international standard. Bush also plans to seek a worldwide ban on the sale or export of persistent land mines, officials said.
dumb landmines, more like dumb president am i rite.
 

Tom

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So, hes 'dumb' if he proposes that the US military can continue using devices that only explode if something as large as a truck or tank drives over them? And a device that will self destruct after a few weeks? Also, hes extended the anti-personnel mine ban to include devices that destroy vehicles. Something that most people forget to mention.

Perhaps they'll destruct more readily if bandwagons roll over them.
 

Darthshearer

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2010 thats 6 years. In them 6 years how many people are going to be killed or maimed by landmines?
 

Will

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Aye, but have anti-personnel landmines not been banned internationally?

George W seems to be taking a very selfish standpoint as far as the rest of the world is concerned. Kyoto might harm US business, so they refuse to sign up for it. AP landmines might be needed to kill some people (lets face it, can you see any country being able to stand up to the US in a war?) so they decide to keep them.

At least there are a few positives in here, but it doesn't make me feel any better about GWB being in charge of the world's largest military.
 

Deadmanwalking

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Darthshearer said:
2010 thats 6 years. In them 6 years how many people are going to be killed or maimed by landmines?
The sheer number of landmines already planted around the world should be more worrying. And this won't be doing anything about them.
 

RedVenom

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Deadmanwalking said:
The sheer number of landmines already planted around the world should be more worrying. And this won't be doing anything about them.
The Washington Post said:
Bush will also propose a 50 percent jump in spending, up to $70 million in fiscal 2005, for a State Department program that provides land-mine removal assistance in more than 40 countries, officials said. The program also funds mine-awareness programs abroad and offers some aid to survivors of mine explosions.


And yes, America is the only western nation which hasn't signed up to a ban on landmines. This isn't solely Dubya's fault, but the ban on antipersonnel mines has been reversed by this; which was planned to be completed by 2006.

Tom said:
So, hes 'dumb' if he proposes that the US military can continue using devices that only explode if something as large as a truck or tank drives over them? And a device that will self destruct after a few weeks? Also, hes extended the anti-personnel mine ban to include devices that destroy vehicles. Something that most people forget to mention.

Try reading the article. He's expanded the use of landmines to both antipersonnel as well as veichals. But thats ok, because they're very clever and will only hurt the right people. gg, nextmap.
 

xane

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RedVenom said:
And yes, America is the only western nation which hasn't signed up to a ban on landmines.
True

Notice the usual suspects from the list of non-signatories too; China, Israel, most ME Arab countries, most ex-Soviet countries, Iran, India and Pakistan, both Koreas. Like they'll never think of using them because they're all so peaceful and love each other.
 

xane

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Will said:
Kyoto might harm US business, so they refuse to sign up for it.
Same with Russia (4th largest CO2 emitter), actually they wont sign up for it because it's a load of unsound scientific bollocks. China (3rd largest CO2 emitter) only "approved" Kyoto because it is laughingly cited as a "developing" nation and thereby exempt, you know it is one of those "3rd world countries" who are currently exploring space travel and building nukes.

EU is the 2nd largest CO2 emitter BTW.
 

Will

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I'm just guessing here, but did Russia not withdraw after the US did?

The rightness of global warming...that's a whole other thread, but as a quick summary, there are two arguements. The "It's a load of shite" arguement, and the "If it isn't shite, we're fucked" arguement. I personally go with option B.
 

Tom

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RedVenom said:
Try reading the article. He's expanded the use of landmines to both antipersonnel as well as veichals. But thats ok, because they're very clever and will only hurt the right people. gg, nextmap.
I did read it, but unlike you I don't feel the need to try and insult people based on my lack of knowledge. What hes actually done is propose to stop using dumb landmines altogether, and use landmines (including antipersonnel) that render themselves useless after a set period. I don't see anything wrong with that.

Landmines are a bit of a celebrity cause, yes they kill and maim thousands of civilians each year, but so do unexploded munitions. I don't see anybody proposing a world-wide ban on bombs, do you?
 

Tom

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Will said:
The rightness of global warming...that's a whole other thread, but as a quick summary, there are two arguements. The "It's a load of shite" arguement, and the "If it isn't shite, we're fucked" arguement. I personally go with option B.
The problem is measuring these changes in environmental conditions. All we have to base our understanding of climatic history on, is geology. Since geology isn't an exact science, we only have theories. And theories are often wrong.

Then again, they're often correct, so its best to be safe. Of course, cutting down on pollution means doing away almost completely with many of the things that a civilised society wants (cheap transport, plastic goods, packaged foord), and how many of us would wish to make such sacrifices?
 

xane

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Will said:
The rightness of global warming...that's a whole other thread, but as a quick summary, there are two arguments. The "It's a load of shite" arguement, and the "If it isn't shite, we're fucked" arguement. I personally go with option B.
The Earth thrived and teemed with life during the ages of the dinosaurs when it was considerably hotter (with hardly any polar ice caps) and much more CO2 in the air, how this equates to "we're fucked" is debateable, as humans are without question one of the most adaptable species on the planet.

The dinosaurs got wiped out by a bloody big space rock, so if you want to be concerned about "we're fucked" I'd buy a telescope and get on the phone to Bruce Willis. The only serious argument about global warming is from the "save the earth" brigade, unfortunately its actually "save the earth at the expense of billions of human lives".

Arguing about global warming is a bit strange considering it was snowing here in London on my way to work this morning :)
 

RedVenom

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Tom said:
I did read it, but unlike you I don't feel the need to try and insult people based on my lack of knowledge. What hes actually done is propose to stop using dumb landmines altogether, and use landmines (including antipersonnel) that render themselves useless after a set period. I don't see anything wrong with that.
It was hardly insulting, consindering what you posted first time. Lets see shall we?

Tom said:
So, hes 'dumb' if he proposes that the US military can continue using devices that only explode if something as large as a truck or tank drives over them?
Oh my! This quite clearly isn't the case! Well thats some good backtracking you did sonny, but you forgot to clear up your tracks. Much like America is currently doing with 'dumb' mines.

Its quite a clear cut issue, and quite a backtrack on the previous (and general western government) pollicy. You know, its quite lucky I didn't read the article at all and then posted about it here. You guys are always ready to correct!
 

Doh_boy

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xane said:
Arguing about global warming is a bit strange considering it was snowing here in London on my way to work this morning :)
Didn't the 'experts' say that if global warming (or global climate change as they now call it) would make the climate in the uk akin to sibera? Which I would, personally, equate to being fucked. (by something really fucking cold obviously :p)
 

xane

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RedVenom said:
Its quite a clear cut issue, and quite a backtrack on the previous (and general western government) pollicy.
You mean like the Clinton policy of instigating regime change in Iraq ("Liberation of Iraq Act 1998"), that Bush finally implemented in 2003, but I doubt you'd invoke a "backtrack" argument on that one.

"Backtracking" is not an excuse for demonising a policy, as Tom pointed out, whereas AP mines are back on the agenda, so have some other mines been excluded.
 

xane

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Doh_boy said:
Didn't the 'experts' say that if global warming (or global climate change as they now call it) would make the climate in the uk akin to sibera? Which I would, personally, equate to being fucked. (by something really fucking cold obviously :p)
Yes, it is now referred to as "climate change", in order to negate the rather silly apocalyptic claims made back in the 1970s about global cooling and the impending ice age, made incidently by the same people shouting about global warming.

The UK climate is dependent on the Gulf Stream, this is largely contained by the salination process in the North Atlantic and North Sea, which in turn could be upset by fresh water being discharged by melting ice sheets and Siberian rivers. Whilst it is true that this may well happen and we could experience "Siberian" weather, by the time it does Siberia would be a lot warmer and so will we.

Climate change happens, it has been happening since the dawn of time on this planet, it would be a disaster if climate change did _not_ happen. The argument is whether climate change is being fueled (pun intended) by human activity and to what extent, and if this should be considered a good thing or a bad thing.

Human "pollution" has come about because of mans need to better himself, global lifespans have been improving and infant mortality decreasing, hunger and disease are being eroded, global wars over "limited" resources are even further away than ever, as a result of this we dump CO2 into the air. Most of these advances would be lost if Kyoto and its predicted descendants were to be implemented.

(Kyoto does not "solve" global warming, it will only dely the inevitable effects by a few years, at a huge economic cost to everyone, not just the US).

CO2 is only a pollutant in respect that it contributes to climate change, it is _not_ considered a poisonous lethal gas, you exhale CO2 all the time and plants thrive on it, the weasel words used by environmentalists to pose CO2 rises as some kind of disaster are done for political motives alone, you should suspect them as much as you suspect any government.

The only predictable outcome is that life will get better, barring Mr Big Space Rock coming to visit that is.
 

DaGaffer

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Kyoto is a classic example of GIGO - massive sweeping changes to how we (the West) live our lives (and at the same time denying others the opportunities to reach our standards of living) based on bad science. Fact is, we're only just starting to realise that there have been massive climate/CO2 variations even during the course of Human history, never mind the dinosaurs etc. Analysis of deep ice cores in Greenland is showing that.

Which is not to say I don't have some 'green' sympathies; we are using up non-renewables in a prolifigate (and often unecessary) manner, we do stick stuff in landfill thats going to be there for a million years, and we humans do have a nasty habit of crapping in our own back yard, and we are the biggest threat to biodiversity. I just don't agree with the typical 'sustainable' green answers to these problems; that way lies ruin for us all in the long run.
 

mr.Blacky

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hmmm correct me if I am wrong but are most civilian casualties not in Africa?
Where the US havent put any mines in decades? Most of the casualties from the US arsenal are from unexploded bombs and (in the future most likely) from the depleted uranium they use in bullets.
Oh and tbh I really don't understand it.... being killed by landmines sucks but so is being killed by a bullet. Can't we all just get allong... lets get the world educated starting with this forum... make love not war, starting by getting me some love :touch:
 

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