Thursday, December 04, 2008

Descending Testicles

And yet another US puppet has turned on the puppet master. Hamid Karzai, President of Afghanistan, has indicated that his country will sign a treaty banning cluster bombs, according to this NY Times article.

In a last-minute change, President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan agreed on Wednesday to join some 90 other nations signing a treaty banning the use of the cluster munitions that have devastated his country in recent years.

The decision appeared to reflect Mr. Karzaiā€™s growing independence from the Bush administration, which has opposed the treaty and, according to a senior Afghan official who spoke on the condition of anonymity following diplomatic protocol, had urged Mr. Karzai not to sign it.

Now, it's not too hard to start standing up to George W. Bush these days. His days are numbered and he's too busy being selectively nostalgic about the joyous years he spent in the White House to spend much time doing the hard work of presidentin'. His designated replacement was soundly trounced by the US electorate, which means his actual successor is probably going to have a different view on foreign relations, even if President Elect Obama has decided to retain the current Secretary of Defense.

However, during his campaign, Mr. Obama made it clear he would prosecute the "good" war in Afghanistan with vigor, sending troops from the "bad" war in Iraq to Afghanistan to finish things in Mr. Karzai's nation. By taking this stand, Mr. Karzai has sent a message to the new administration that things must change, and I think that a healthy sign, especially on this issue.

Cluster bombs, like land mines, are nasty and barbaric, as nasty and barbaric as biological and nuclear weapons. The bomblets which comprise the cluster bomb don't all explode at the same time, which leaves many of these unhappy surprises lying about to blow off the legs, at the very least, of civilians. Children don't recognize them as instruments of war and so they treat them as toys, as balls to play with. Like I said, nasty.

Now, the US claims that it hasn't used cluster bombs since 2003, yet the munitions were given to Israel by the US to use in its attack on Lebanon in 2006, strewing the unexploded bomblets across that nation. One of the unintended consequences of this action was to give impetus to the campaign against these munitions. As a result, 90 nations will sign this treaty, including 18 of the 26 nations comprising NATO.

Unfortunately, the US will not be a signatory, nor will Russia, China, India, Pakistan and several Middle Eastern nations, as the article noted. But it's an important start because it makes clear that civilized nations find the munition intolerable.

Hopefully, the Obama administration will also find the courage that Mr. Karzai found and will join those civilized nations and will sign the treaty, thereby exerting additional pressure on the other nations resisting this step.

I think we ought to let Mr. Obama know how we feel about this issue. And I think we ought to let the 111th Congress know as well.

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