Democrats & Liberals Archives

End Our Rogue Nation Status!

Over one hundred nations agreed this week to outlaw cluster bombs. But along with Russia, China, India, Pakistan, and Israel, the U.S. opted out of the agreement. These munitions infamously kill and maim disproportionate numbers of non-combatants, and are prone to leave behind live fragments which can detonate months and years later.

In yet another embarrassing break from an international movement toward a saner and more humane consensus, our government has chosen to defend the indefensible, and support the manufacture of weapons primarily used by our military and those of the other holdout nations. Whether on banning torture, rights of habeus corpus, or actions in response to global warming, this administration again thumbs it nose at international attempts to address serious issues of human rights with common sense agreements.

We have become one of those rogue nations we claim to oppose.

With respect to torture and global warming at least, there is good reason to hope that the next administration, whether led by Obama or McCain, will steer us back toward the mainstream of the community of nations. This has nothing to do with liberal vs. conservative arguments, but rather with common decency. The rule of law, whether it be state, national, or international, best serves us when abhorrent extremes are marginalized. Such laws and treaties need not be perfect to have some positive impact. Sure, some of the signatories to these agreements do so only for propaganda purposes, but that's no reason to oppose them. In fact, by being on record, nations may held to account later when their actions do not match their commitments.

Though some of his more recent votes have been disappointing, McCain has been outspoken in the past in opposition to the Bush administration's relaxations of the prohibitions against torture. We can hope that should he become Commander in Chief he would be truer to his earlier sentiments and move us toward a more enlightened foreign policy.

Disappointingly however, both McCain and Clinton voted against an unsuccessful Feinstein amendment in 2006 which aimed to limit the deployment of cluster munitions in proximity to civilian populations. Obama voted for the amendment. If our government's voice joins the majority strongly in support of banning such capriciously destructive weaponry, one can imagine the pressure on other holdout nations to join such treaties would be greatly increased.

Posted by Walker Willingham at May 30, 2008 7:39 PM
Comment #254015

Cluster bombs would be a terrorist’s weapon if the terrorist had a plane designed to drop them. Indiscriminate bombing of masses of people is the very definition of terrorism today, isn’t it?

But when you can cloak your terrorist weapons in banners of democracy and charitable apologetic giving afterward, whose going to call users of cluster bombs, terrorists?

The Neutron bomb is the ultimate terrorist’s weapon. Kill all the people but leave their homes, businesses, and wealth intact for the taking. It takes an inordinately civilized mind and heart to call for the end of these weapons without ulterior motives. Humanity however, is not entirely civilized by a long shot.

The right set of triggers and barbarism and predation rears its ugly head in an instant. Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, Nagasaki, Hiroshima, carpet bombing of Viet Nam, Cambodia and Laos, rendition, and water boarding torture are all acts of one of the more civilized nations on earth.

Doesn’t say much for the rest of the world, does it? Except now you have nations calling for the end of these practices and the U.S. doesn’t want to go along. What does that say about this administration and those who support it? What many of us have known for years now.

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 31, 2008 6:42 AM
Comment #254032

…..and….beyond all the technical explanations, and military posturing comes the humanity part of the deal. When Bush (as the head of this administration, and one who adamantly and fervently espouses Christianity as a lifestyle) is so righteously against stem-cell research and clinical abortions, yet can go to sleep at night with a clear conscience after this decision…… beyond me!!!
Three generations later in VietNam are still being maimed, mutilated and killed by cluster bombs left behind there!
We have become evil, led by the darkest force in our history… how proud we should be…. :(

Posted by: janedoe at May 31, 2008 11:11 AM
Comment #254057

You forgot to mention land mines. Many people think McCain is lying now, and will go back to being himself if he is elected. If we are the only ones actually using the cluster bombs, then the international agreements are obviously aimed at us, the most agressive nation on earth, and, after 7 years and 130 days of GWBush, the focus of evil in the modern world. Congratulations to all who voted for W, and quit complaining that you don’t like the results if you voted for the Decider.

Posted by: ohrealy at May 31, 2008 5:12 PM
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