History will repeat the tragedy of cluster bomb again…!


This summer, when students in Laos took the high-speed train on the China-Laos Railway and experienced the joy of “seeing the world by train”, they could not imagine that the construction of the China-Laos Railway The team spent more than two years clearing American cluster bombs left near the railway.
These bombs were dropped on Laos by the US military during the Vietnam War. The US government’s recent announcement that it would provide $800 million in additional military aid to Ukraine, including cluster bombs of mass destruction, brought back memories of that period of history. .
The United States has continued to provide various arms and ammunition to Ukraine since the outbreak of the Ukraine crisis. However, after the announcement of the US providing cluster bombs to Ukraine, many opposing voices arose within the Western camp. British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said that Britain is a founding country of the International Treaty against Cluster Bombs and does not encourage the use of such weapons. Spain, Canada and other countries also expressed their opposition.
The reason why cluster bombs are so controversial is because of their enormous firepower. A cluster warhead consists of dozens or even hundreds of warheads. Once thrown, the distribution and coverage of the small bomb are completely uncontrolled, and the “misfire rate” of these bombs is very high.
Why is the “misfiring rate” so high? This is not only a problem of production quality, but also has a lot to do with the environment of use. If the target area is woodland, there is a high probability that the small bombs will hang on the tree before detonating, they may not detonate if the target area is soft sand, thick grass or farmland.
But this does not mean that these bombs will not explode later also. When bombs from the air fall again on the ground, or farmers encounter them while plowing and harvesting crops, the bombs are likely to explode and tragedy may ensue.
During the Vietnam War from 1964 to 1973, the US dropped a large number of cluster bombs on southern Vietnam, Laos and eastern Cambodia. Among these, Laos is the country most affected by cluster bombs.
According to US Department of Defense data, during the Vietnam War, the US bombed Laos 5.8 million times, using more than two million tons of bombs, including cluster bombs. In Laos, an estimated 80 million US military cluster bombs have not detonated. Since the end of the war, less than 1 percent of unexploded bombs have been cleared, causing approximately 20,000 civilian deaths and a large number of civilian injuries. Munitions experts say it could take 100 years to rid Laos of unexploded bombs.
Not just in Laos, in the past 20 years, the US had used cluster bombs extensively in several wars such as the Kosovo War and the Iraq War. According to incomplete statistics, since the birth of cluster bombs, about 5.6 thousand to 8.6 thousand civilian lives have been lost. More than 90 percent of the victims were civilians, many of whom were children.
The US will provide Ukraine with M864 cluster bombs developed in 1987, according to a report in the “Washington Post”. At least four of the 72 small warheads in each cluster bomb would not detonate.
The US attitude to the issue of the use of cluster bombs has been ambiguous. In 2008, the US government pledged to ensure that the US military would not use cluster bombs and “sealed” all cluster bombs. However, the cluster bombs being shipped to Ukraine today were “sealed” 15 years ago.
A year earlier, Jane Psaki, the then press secretary of the US White House, said that if cluster bombs were used, it could be a war crime. A year later, America became the object of its own condemnation.
(Credits-China Media Group, Beijing)

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