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[casi] Fwd: [bham_network] FWD: US to use land mines in Iraq

To All at CASI,

Please do read this. - "Morality"? NOT IN OUR NAME!!!


>Subject: [bham_network] FWD:  US to use land mines in Iraq
>Date: Wed, 12 Mar 2003 12:35:53 +0000
>----- Original Message -----
>Sent: Wednesday, March 12, 2003 4:20 AM
>Subject: US to use land mines in Iraq
>Please see the following news release that we sent out on USCBL
>letterhead on Friday.  If you work with the media or know people who do,
>please forward it to them.  This is quite a disturbing development.
>March 7, 2003
>John Heffernan, Physicians for Human Rights (617) 413-6407
>Today, the US Campaign to Ban Landmines (USCBL) criticized the US
>military for officially and specifically acknowledging for the first
>time that it plans to use antipersonnel mines in Iraq.  At a Pentagon
>briefing on Wednesday a senior defense official told reporters that US
>forces "might deny access to [a chemical weapons site] by using
>self-destructing small mines."  Reportedly, the US has some 90,000
>landmines already stockpiled in the region.  The last time the US used
>antipersonnel mines was in the 1991 Persian Gulf War.
>"The use of antipersonnel landmines would endanger Iraqi civilians, US
>troops, future peacekeepers and deminers," said Dan Smith, retired US
>Army Colonel.  "Use of this indiscriminate weapon in Iraq would more
>than likely lead to civilian and US troop casualties, as it did during
>the 1991 Persian Gulf War," said Smith.
>Members of Congress from both parties recently sent a letter to
>President Bush urging him to prohibit US troops from using antipersonnel
>mines in Iraq. The January letter states: "The United States military,
>unquestionably the strongest in the world, can defend itself and its
>interests without the aid of this indiscriminate menace."
>A recent US General Accounting Office (GAO) report on the use and
>effects of landmines during the Persian Gulf War stated that some US
>commanders were reluctant to use mines "because of their impact on US
>troop mobility, safety concerns, and fratricide potential."
>Any US use of antipersonnel mines would run counter to and serve to
>undermine the complete rejection of the weapon by most of the rest of
>the world.  One hundred forty-six nations have signed the 1997 Mine Ban
>Treaty, but not the United States or Iraq.  All NATO countries except
>the United States have embraced the ban.  Allied forces such as the UK,
>which has already positioned 25,000 troops in the region, will be in
>violation of the treaty if they assist US troops in mine-deployment
>"To use antipersonnel mines in Iraq would further isolate the US, given
>that nearly all of our allies have outlawed this weapon of terror," said
>Gina Coplon-Newfield, Coordinator of the USCBL.
>Moreover, the US Air Force air-dropped Gator mines being discussed are
>unlikely to be effective in denying access to a facility.  They cannot
>be dropped with a high degree of precision, won't have the density of a
>true barrier minefield, and, being on the surface, are easily spotted,
>avoided, or cleared by an enemy.
>Though President Clinton did not sign the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, he did
>issue a Presidential Decision Directive that instructed the Pentagon to
>move toward joining the treaty by 2006 if suitable alternatives were
>developed.  The Bush Administration has not yet finished its formal
>review of US landmine policies.
>"No Landmine in use today, even a self-destructing landmine, is smart
>enough to differentiate between a soldier and an innocent civilian,"
>said Jerry White, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Landmine
>Survivors Network. "Use of antipersonnel mines by the US in Iraq would
>reverse a decade of US pledges to eliminate these weapons."
>The US Campaign to Ban Landmines is a coalition of approximately 500
>veterans, medical, human rights, religious, and humanitarian
>organizations as well as thousands of individuals nationwide advocating
>for the US government to join the Mine Ban Treaty and to increase
>support for demining and landmine victim assistance.  The USCBL is
>coordinated by Physicians for Human Rights, which shared the 1997 Nobel
>Peace Prize for its role in founding the International Campaign to Ban
>----- End Included Message -----

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