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Fri Aug 29, 2003

Pentagon Rethinks Use of Cluster Bombs

Here's some images of a fin of a exploded cluster bomb piece from Afghanistan that I scanned.. Just laid the piece on the scanner and pressed scan so it's distorted and all. They're popular as ashtrays, I'm told.

The metal fin pieces act as fins, to throw the 202 'bomblets' out. The military apparently reports that 6% do not explode, but Land Mine removal people say it's closer to 20-30% (according to Land mine NGOs with Global Exchange trips to Afghanistan). That means if the military sends 6 cluster bombs to an enemy position somewhere between 72 (according to 6% US military estimates) and 363 (according to 30% claim of on-the-ground NGO land mine removal people) 'bomblets' become land mines to kill or maim whomever is unlucky enough to come across them.

To remove and detonate a land mine cost about $1000 apiece (I don't know how much cluster bombs cost, but land mines can cost about $15 a piece).


Here's an article about Cluster Bombs, from the Wall Street Journal. This piece speaks volumes about military thinking.

Pentagon Rethinks Use of Cluster Bombs

Unexploded Bomblets in Iraq Create 'No Go' Areas That Impede Maneuvers

Pentagon planners are rethinking how the military uses cluster bombs, because unexploded bomblets littering Iraq significantly impeded American troops' battlefield maneuverability.

Indeed, Marines trying to clean up unexploded ordnance in the Karbala region south of Baghdad say they are finding more deadly cluster bomblets than they expected, which are killing and maiming civilians and complicating U.S. reconstruction efforts.

"It's a big problem, and the military has come to recognize that it's not just a humanitarian problem, it's a military problem," says a senior Pentagon official recently back from Iraq. "You're creating 'no-go' areas on the battlefield. I don't think we appreciated that until this conflict."

At a time of increasingly precise weaponry, cluster bombs are among the most indiscriminate -- and thus controversial -- conventional munitions. Bomblets left over from the first Persian Gulf War killed 1,600 civilians and injured 2,500, according to a Human Rights Watch study. During and after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, they killed or injured at least 129 civilians, the group says. Read more...

Moral Citizen: evil-barry on Aug 29, 03 | 4:36 pm | Profile

Category: political violence
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Ariel Dorfman: Martin Luther King: A Latin American Perspective


Moral Citizen: evil-barry on Aug 29, 03 | 3:05 pm | Profile

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Exploring the roots of radicalism

Exploring the roots of radicalism
from the Asia Times, By David Isenberg

Back in the fifth century, the Chinese strategist Sun Tzu wrote a classic work called The Art of War . One of the key components of the book was his belief in preparation and in "knowing the enemy". Indeed, one point is widely cited to this day, "If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle."

Now fast-forward to the ongoing United States global "war against terrorism". How well does the US and its leader, President George W Bush, understand the enemy? Not well enough, if one relies on public statements. Consider his remarks to the American Legion National Convention on August 26.

"They attack the civilized world because they bear a deep hatred for the values of the civilized world. They hate freedom and religious tolerance and democracy and equality for women. They hate Christians and Jews and every Muslim who does not share their narrow and violent vision ... because America stands for freedom and tolerance and the rights of all, the terrorists have targeted our country."

This sort of rhetoric reminds one of the saying of the American writer H L Mencken, "For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat and wrong."

Moral Citizen: evil-barry on Aug 29, 03 | 2:42 pm | Profile

Category: political violence
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Teddy Roosevelt

"To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else."

Roosevelt in the Kansas City Star,
May 7, 1918

Moral Citizen: evil-barry on Aug 29, 03 | 11:59 am | Profile

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If it's Friday, it's Meet Victor Davis Hanson!


From VDH's Friday column on National Review Online:

"The theocrats all over the region wish us to fail as well. Modernism emanating from Iraq would undermine the strictures of the clerics, in empowering women and eroding the fossilized structures of a tribal society...
...The real story is not that the news from Iraq is sometimes discouraging and depressing, but that it so often not — and that after two major-theater wars we have lost fewer people than on that disastrous day in Beirut 20 years ago, and less than 10 percent of the number that perished on September 11..."

Moral Citizen: Jacques Vanderdreschd on Aug 29, 03 | 11:08 am | Profile

Category: political violence
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Bush on Smog, R Buckminster Fuller on Smog

Bush Administration: Carbon Dioxide Not a Pollutant
by Seth Borenstein, Knight Ridder

WASHINGTON - Carbon dioxide, the chief cause of global warming, cannot be regulated as a pollutant, the Environmental Protection Agency ruled Thursday.

Environmentalists accused President Bush on August 28, 2003 of further undermining international efforts to curb global warming with a likely ruling that carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. Carbon dioxide occurs as a natural component of the atmosphere as well as being a by-product of industrial processes.
The decision reverses a 1998 Clinton administration position. It means that the Bush administration won't be able to use the Clean Air Act to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from cars.

Had the Bush administration decided that carbon dioxide is a pollutant and harmful, it could have required expensive new pollution controls on new cars and perhaps on power plants, which together are the main sources of so-called greenhouse gases. [...]

From R Buckminster Fuller, Critical Path', p. 278 (in 196?), speaking of industrial plants:

    Christmas and New Year's Days are celebrated everywhere in America, but Los Angeles, being a relatively new and gigantic social body, is able to alter its celebration customs. The L.A. refineries and heavy industries have learned that the people of California want to take a Christmas vacation. So the holiday becomes a ten-or-more-day vacation starting the weekend before Christmas and continuing through the weekend after New Year's Day. It pays all the refineries and other heavy industries to shut down their plants. As the holiday proceeds, the air gets clearer and clearer, until on New Year's Day--the traditional Rose Bowl Day — you find throughout Los Angeles a dreamy-clear view of all the surrounding, often snow-capped mountains. If you went out with scientific devices to measure the fume-level from the cars, your instrument would read approximately zero. The only reason that auto fumes were previously measurable was that the industrial-fume-laden ceiling held the auto fumes down and locked them in at the level at which you and I are breathing. I have taken many New Year's Day pictures from the hills of Los Angeles showing it to be absolutely clear. Then, on back-to-work industrial Monday, you see a vast, molasses-brown cloud rolling in from the southwest gradually to obscure the whole of Los Angeles.
 There is no question about it. It is the refineries, the steel and other mills, and the public utility fumes that produce the smog. But no municipal government anywhere in America is going to let its industry go away. Therefore, cities are always going to find political ways of absolving the industries while blaming the people. Air does not stay in any one place. There is a preposterously stubborn myth about "this being my or someone else's airspace.... This is my air." Air keeps moving right through the geometry of our environment to continually recircle the Earth. The air belongs only to everybody on our planet.

click more to read more from Bucky Fuller:

Moral Citizen: evil-barry on Aug 29, 03 | 9:50 am | Profile

Category: Green
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