The Biden administration sent cluster bombs to Ukraine. He did this despite opposition from US allies; Canada, New Zeeland Spain and the UK. Cluster bombs have been banned by more than 120 countries because of the danger they pose to civilians, but the US, Russia and Ukraine have not.
Cluster bombs typically release many small bomblets over a wide area, thus they pose risks to civilians — during attacks and afterwards. These weapons kill indiscriminately in populated areas and there is controversy over their failure – or dud – rate. Unexploded bomblets can remain in or on the surface of the ground for years long after the conflict has ended. If the munition is inadvertently disturbed it can detonate, killing or injuring innocent bystanders.
The munitions are launched by the same artillery weapons that the US and allies have already provided to Ukraine. Howitzers and the type of cluster munition that the US sent is based on a common 155mm shell that is already widely in use across the battlefield.
In previous conflicts, cluster munitions have had a high dud rate, meaning thousands of smaller unexploded bomblets remained undetonated and killed and maimed people decades later. The US last used its cluster munitions in Iraq in 2003 and decided not to continue using them as the conflict shifted to more urban environments with denser civilian populations.
Biden told CNN in an interview on Friday that he had spoken to allies about the decision, which was part of a military aid package worth $800m. The president said it had taken him “a while to be convinced to do it”, but had acted because “the Ukrainians are running out of ammunition”.
Those words confirmed that the Ukraine is just the battlefield and Ukrainians are just victims in the hands of the military industrial complex. The US and many European countries supplied the Ukraine with more military equipment, signing contracts worth billions of dollars with manufacturers of weapons of war. Thousands of innocent lives and environmental degradation is the collateral damage of the multibillion dollar war business. All actors must be held accountable for these war crimes, including the clowns we call politicians. If this cycle of violence is not broken the lives of our sons and daughters will be the sacrificial offering to the war machine.