Florida Support

Florida Support works to stop the executions in Florida and to work for alternatives to the death penalty. Florida Support will work to prepare information for media and update the public on what is really happening in Florida. Florida Support also works on international related issues

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Cluster bombs lie in wait for Lebanese children


Cluster bombs lie in wait for Lebanese children
Fri Aug 25, 2006 2:21 AM BST

By Alistair Lyon, Special Correspondent
BINT JBEIL, Lebanon (Reuters) - Like a small black football, it lies in the dirt not far from Haitham Daaboul's front door in the southern Lebanese town of Bint Jbeil.
It looks innocuous, but a careless kick from a passing child would detonate this cluster bomb, one of thousands of unexploded devices Israel scattered over the towns, villages and hillsides of south Lebanon during its 34-day war with Hizbollah fighters.
The bomblets can maim or kill. In war time, they might hit guerrillas firing rockets. Now with a shaky truce in force, they lie where they fell, creating random minefields over wide areas.
"We can't let the children go outside. There are many cluster bombs in the streets," said Daaboul's wife Nadia.
"We've told them to be frightened of things shaped like a ball, a plate, anything, even stones in the street," she said.
"It's a real pain. The children are asking 'how can we live like this? When can we go out? When can we have a normal life?'"
The Daabouls and their four children are living with a score of relatives in a house they rented after returning to the shattered town after an August 14 truce halted fighting.
Bint Jbeil saw some of the fiercest battles of the war, forcing almost all the townsfolk to flee. The Daaboul family odyssey took them from one makeshift shelter to another around the southern city of Tyre and eventually to Beirut.

"Their life has changed," Nadia, a slim 28-year-old woman in a headscarf, said of her children. "They used to wander all over Bint Jbeil -- to the market, the playground, their grandfather's house. Now they are caged in.
Down the street, an unexploded shell lies on the balcony of a building overlooking a bombed stadium -- it's hard to imagine how Bint Jbeil's 4,000 people can pick up their lives while so many deadly leftovers from the war carpet the landscape.
Children are at particular risk from cluster bombs, such as the one that was lying in wait for 10-year-old Hassan Tahini and his cousin in the border village of Aita al-Shaab.
"We were walking without paying attention, we saw something, but we didn't know it was a bomb," said Tahini from his hospital bed in Tyre. "We saw a little bit of it sticking out of the earth. We said to ourselves, 'it's a toy, so what?'
"We trod on it. It exploded and we flew two or three metres through the air," he said. "God saved me."
Tahini spent two days in intensive care at Tyre's Jebel Amel hospital, along with his 12-year-old cousin Sikni, with multiple wounds to his small intestine, liver and stomach.
Both will survive, said Nasser Farran, the surgeon who has treated them and a dozen other recent cluster bomb victims.
The United Nations has confirmed 249 Israeli cluster bomb strikes across south Lebanon and says the bomblets have killed eight people and wounded at least 38 since the truce.

"It's a huge problem," said Tekimiti Gilbert, operations chief of the U.N. Mine Action Coordination Centre in Lebanon.
He said he had "no doubt" that Israel's use of cluster bombs violated international law which bans the use of such munitions in civilian areas.
Israel denies using the weapons illegally and accuses Hizbollah of firing rockets into Israel from towns and villages.
The five-week war claimed 1,200 lives, mostly civilians, in Lebanon. At least 157 Israelis, mainly soldiers, were killed.
In Bint Jbeil, Nadia chain-smokes and says her nerves are shot trying to deal with cooped-up children 24 hours a day.
"Every time a plane goes over, the children are afraid. At any sound, they jump. They aren't sleeping at night," she said.
On the cement floor of a dark room, some of the younger boys play listlessly with toy guns, planes and rockets.
The stresses of war on families like the Daabouls are replicated among thousands of civilians in south Lebanon.

Among aid groups trying to respond is Save The Children, which plans to launch programmes soon to teach children about the dangers of cluster bombs and other unexploded ordnance.
"We also want to set up safe spaces where children can play, paint, do drama or sing," said Ribka Amsalu, the group's emergency health adviser in Tyre. "It's a way for them to express themselves and their emotions, and to be children."
Save The Children can also provide school materials to enable formal education to continue even where school buildings have been physically destroyed, Amsalu said.
The three-storey school that the Daaboul's 12-year-old daughter Zainab used to attend on the outskirts of Bint Jbeil is a ruined shell, with all its walls torn away, revealing desks and chairs still laid out in rows in a third-floor classroom.
Daaboul's music store was pulverised by Israeli bombing, like the rest of Bint Jbeil's market area, now a wasteland of flattened buildings, broken masonry and twisted steel.
The 37-year-old shopkeeper's home fared a bit better.
Clothes spill from a collapsed washing machine hit by shrapnel, but plates and glasses lie intact on kitchen shelves.
Dust and debris below a hole gouged in the roof cover teddy bears and furniture. The television set has survived. So has the framed photo of a youthful Daaboul as a Lebanese army conscript.
"The house can be repaired, but if we can't finish it before winter we'll have to rent something in Beirut," his wife said.

Cluster bombs continue to kill after ceasefire


Cluster bombs continue to kill after ceasefire

Updated Fri. Aug. 25 2006 10:02 PM ET

CTV.ca News Staff

While the guns have gone silent over southern Lebanon amid a tense ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah guerrillas, civilians continue to die from cluster bombs.
Israel dropped cluster bombs -- anti-personnel weapons that spray bomblets over a wide area - on at least 170 villages in their 34-day offensive, according to Tekimiti Gilbert, operations chief of the UN Mine Action Coordination Centre in Lebanon.
The bomblets that failed to explode are now proving to be dangerous weapons against the civilians who never fled during the conflict, or who are starting to return home.
The UN group is attempting to map the 285 unexploded cluster bomb sites that have so far been identified in southern Lebanon, said Dalya Farran, a spokesperson for the group.
"And our teams are still doing surveys and adding new locations every day," Farran told The Associated Press. "We find about 30 new locations per day."
Meanwhile, The New York Times is reporting that the U.S. State Department is investigating whether Israel's use of the American-made bombs violates secret agreements made between the two nations about how the weapons can be used.
The U.S. had planned to send another shipment of M-26 artillery rockets, another weapon in the cluster family, but has now put the shipment on hold, the newspaper reports.
At least eight people have been killed and 25 wounded, including several children, by the devices since a UN-sponsored ceasefire took hold on Aug. 14, Gilbert told the Reuters news agency.
"It's a huge problem. There are obvious dangers with children, people, cars. People are tripping over these things," Gilbert said.
CTV's Denelle Balfour, reporting from Beirut, said some of the bomblets are easy to see, while others are brightly coloured and look like toys or batteries.
One wrong move, she says, and she could step on one.
"This is what the people of southern Lebanon are finding in their gardens, in their homes when they return."
The cluster bombs were dropped after Israel launched its offensive July 12 in response to the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah guerillas.
The ordnance are not illegal, but they are not supposed to be used in civilian areas, and now Israel is facing a backlash over their use.
Israel denies using the bombs illegally, and accuses Hezbollah of firing rockets into Israel from civilian areas.
Cluster bombs consist of a canister that breaks open to release many smaller bombs. They are dropped from planes, but do not have precision guiding, so can wander off target. They are also fired by artillery.
A controversial weapon, the bomblets have a failure (dud) rate of about 14 per cent, says the New York-based Human Rights Watch. If they don't explode right away, the cluster bombs may sit like landmines, only to explode years later.
"They are designed to explode, maim and kill people," says Chris Clark, head of the UN Mine Action Service in southern Lebanon.
Large numbers of the cluster bombs have been found south of the Litani River, about 29 kilometres from the border with Israel, as well as in northern cities, such as Nabatiyeh and Hasbaya.
Clearance teams from the British-based Mine Advisory Group (MAG) have been working with the UN to clear, collect and destroy live munitions. But for every 100 or so they blow up daily even more have been discovered.
Gilbert thinks it will take at least a year to clear them all.
Earlier this year, Belgium became the first country to ban the use of cluster bombs. Norway also announced a moratorium on the weapon in June 2006.
With reports by CTV's Denelle Balfour in southern Lebanon and The Associated Press

War refuser's dad explains son's reasons



War refuser's dad explains son's reasons
Charles Burress, Chronicle Staff Writer
Saturday, August 26, 2006

Bob Watada is proud of his newly famous, and infamous, son. And he's making 26 public appearances this week to tell Bay Area audiences why.
The son is said to be the Army's first commissioned officer to refuse to go to Iraq, on the grounds that he's bound to disobey orders to fight in an illegal war.
Both lauded and vilified in columns and letters to editors around the country, 1st Lt. Ehren Watada, 28, faces a possible seven years in prison. Following a hearing last week, the Army's investigating officer in the case recommended Tuesday that he be court-martialed.
His refusal has prompted support rallies in San Francisco's Japantown, Berkeley, his hometown of Honolulu and outside Fort Lewis in Washington state where he's based, while many veterans have denounced his stance.
And being Japanese American, Watada has touched a sensitive nerve among Japanese Americans who recall how military sacrifice was seen as proof of their loyalty during the ordeals of World War II.
"It's scraped the scab off an old wound that has never healed," Japanese American Citizens League member Andy Noguchi said in a column last week in the Nichi Bei Times, a Japanese American paper based in San Francisco that has featured extensive coverage and commentary on the case.
World War II saw the upheaval and internment of Japanese Americans, the sacrifice of Japanese American soldiers who suffered extraordinarily high casualties and the ostracism of the internees who refused to fight in the U.S. military.
Bob Watada sees a big difference between World War II and Iraq.
"There's a lot of people who don't know what's going on in Iraq," the father said in an interview. "There's no doubt about it. It's illegal. It violates the Constitution. ... The president lied, outright lied to the people, and to Congress, about why we're in Iraq."
Lt. Watada argues he is obliged -- under precedents established in the Nuremberg war-crimes trials -- to refuse illegal orders, in this case to support what he sees as an illegal invasion. Watada, who could not be reached for comment, has said he would be willing to serve in Afghanistan.
He refused to depart with his unit, the 3rd Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, when it left Fort Lewis on June 22. The Army charged him with "missing movement" for his refusal to go to Iraq and accused him of contempt toward officials and of conduct unbecoming an officer because of his public comments, such as allegedly criticizing the war as morally wrong and accusing President Bush of lying.
The Army also cited his alleged comment, "I was shocked and at the same time ashamed that Bush had planned to invade Iraq before the 9/11 attacks. How could I wear this horrible uniform now knowing we invaded a country for a lie?"
The Army is now reviewing the recommendation for a court-martial.
"To my knowledge, he's the first commissioned officer to back away from his commitment (by refusing to deploy to Iraq)," said Army spokesman Sheldon Smith at the Pentagon. Nor do Army officials know of any soldier of any rank who has disobeyed Iraq deployment orders for the reason asserted by Watada, Smith said.
Fort Lewis spokesman Joe Hitt said Watada is currently assigned to administrative tasks on base and free to come and go.
Watada's father, who retired in December as executive director of Hawaii's election-spending watchdog agency, the Campaign Spending Commission, said his son heeded Bush's call to join the war on terrorism and entered the military in March 2003, the same month the United States invaded Iraq. He began active duty in June that year, after graduating from Hawaii Pacific University.
The son discovered only later that Saddam Hussein's alleged ties to Al Qaeda and weapons of mass destruction were myths, the father said.
Among his most vocal critics are Japanese American veterans such as Robert Wada, charter president of Japanese American Korean War Veterans. Wada of Fullerton (Orange County) said in a Nichi Bei Times column this week that he was relaying "the opinion of many veterans that Watada is bringing shame to the Japanese American veterans who willingly served and valiantly fought in all of America's wars."
"My brother, Ehren's uncle, was killed in Korea," said Bob Watada. "He's very proud of his uncle, very proud of the vets who fought and died for their country. They fought for the Constitution. ... That's the same Constitution he's fighting to support."
Lt. Watada's attorney, Eric Seitz of Honolulu, said there's a "100 percent" chance of the case going to court-martial, probably in November or December.
Although many war critics have challenged the legal basis of the Iraq war, Seitz said he is not aware of any court rulings on the legality.
E-mail Charles Burress at cburress@sfchronicle.com.

Veterans’ conference helps develop GI resistance


Veterans’ conference helps develop GI resistance
By Jim McMahan

Published Aug 26, 2006 12:40 AM

Lt. Ehren Watada’s case highlighted a week of growing GI resistance that began at the national Veterans for Peace Convention in Seattle, Aug. 10-13, when Sgt. Ricky Clousing opened the events with a news conference announcing his opposition to the Iraq War. Sgt. Clousing stated his inten tion to turn himself in at nearby Ft. Lewis, Wash., and confront charges against him after being absent from the military.

The conference closed on the U.S./ Canadian border, where Kyle Snyder, an Iraq War veteran absent from the military, came forward as an objector. Snyder said if he returned to the army now he would be court-martialed by a military court “composed of generals who didn’t fight with me. If anybody has a right to judge me it should be the 35 soldiers I fought with for six months.”

Lt. Ehren Watada had addressed the Vets’ conference a day earlier. When he got up to speak he was backed up by 40 Iraq War veterans on the stage. Watada, who turned himself in earlier, is insisting on his right to refuse to participate in an illegal war in Iraq, and has a campaign to reach out to all service people and civilians to “Refuse Illegal War.” Watada offered the soldiers what he called a “radical idea. To stop an illegal and unjust war, soldiers and service members can choose to stop fighting it,” he said.

Such opposition gained momentum at Watada’s preliminary hearing on Aug. 16 and 17. On Aug. 16, about 500 people came to support Watada with an extended demonstration and rally outside the gates of Ft. Lewis. Among the supporters was Capt. James Yee, a Muslim chaplain formerly at the U.S.-run concentration camp for Islamic prisoners in Guantánamo, Cuba. Yee had spent 76 days in prison after being falsely charged with espionage in 2005, a charge that was dropped.

This hearing determines whether or not Watada will be court-martialed, which the defense expects. Lt. Watada has been formally charged with two counts of contempt for public officials (namely Presi dent George Bush), conduct unbecoming of an officer and a gentleman, and missing movement (to Iraq). He faces over seven years in prison—over five years for simply expressing his opinion that Bush misled the people here into an illegal war.

Watada’s defense went on the offensive and put the war on trial during the 4 1/2-hour hearing. Law professor Francis Boyle, former Undersecretary General of the United Nations Dennis Halliday and former army officer Anne Wright all presen ted information on the illegality of the Iraq War—an opinion that has the backing of hundreds of legal scholars across the country.

Many people now consider Watada’s statements to be not only his right but his duty. The charges against him show the naked tyranny and contempt of the U.S. military command toward Watada and all service people.

Many soldiers have made statements in support of Ehren Watada too. Geoffrey Millard, a sergeant in the Army National Guard supports Lt. Watada. Millard was in Iraq in 2004-05 and said GI resistance is a growing trend. “American GIs are beginning to respect the Nuremburg principles,” said Millard. “They are resisting orders. They are going to jail, going to Canada, and going AWOL. And they’re talking about why they’re doing it.”

Supporters of Spec. Suzanne Swift announced an action on her behalf at the conclusion of Ehren Watada’s rally. Swift bases her refusal to return to Iraq on her experience of being sexually abused there, which included being raped by several members of her command. Her supporters announced an encampment outside the gates of Ft. Lewis to begin on Aug. 19. They are demanding an unconditional discharge from the army for Swift, prosecution of the officers who abused her and payment of her medical expenses, including those for post traumatic stress syndrome.

Service people and soldiers of the U.S., too often abused by the military brass, are refusing in growing number to report to Iraq. In doing so they are showing solidarity to the long suffering and resisting Iraqi masses.

Why the Case of Lieutenant Watada Matters


Why the Case of Lieutenant Watada Matters

by Joey King
Email: jbkranger@aol.com

24 Aug 2006

One of the most important cases to wind its way through the military justice system since the Nuremburg trials at the end of World War II began in mid-August at Fort Lewis Washington. It involves the case of Honolulu-native First Lieutenant (1LT) Ehren Watada. In June 2006, he refused to deploy (known in the military as “missing movement”) to Iraq on the basis that doing so would be a war crime. He insists the war itself is illegal. He is the first officer to miss movement in this conflict. It is important to note that 1LT Watada agreed to deploy to Afghanistan.
One of the most important legal principles established at the Nuremburg trials is that no one in the military can use the, “I was just following orders” defense. The top ranking Nazis tried that and it failed. In other words, an order issued by a superior must first-and-foremost be lawful. Subordinates who follow an unlawful order can be just as guilty of war crimes as the superior who issued the illegal order.The Army conducted an Article 32 hearing into the Watada matter and found enough evidence to charge him with 3 crimes carrying a maximum jail time of 7 years. An Article 32 hearing is the equivalent of a grand jury in the civilian world. Next, the case goes to a court-martial. If the court-martial proceedings find him guilty, as I imagine they probably will, the case will most likely be appealed all the way to the US Supreme Court (USSC). There is where it gets interesting, but it is worth observing that the Bush Administration will be out of office by the time the Watada case gets to the Supreme Court. If the USSC refuses to hear the case, Watada will likely spend a couple of years in jail for his actions. If the USSC hears the case and rules that the war is legal, Watada will go to jail too. But the most interesting scenario emerges if the USSC agrees with Watada’s contention that the Iraqi war is illegal and that he was right to refuse deployment. The war would have to end quickly. It does not stop there; it could also mean war-crimes tribunals for Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld and some top military officers. The USSC recently held that Bush violated both the US Constitution and the Geneva Conventions in the treatment of prisoners in Guantanamo Bay. In other words, they said that the President is constitutionally bound (under Article VI) to honor the treaties--like the Geneva Conventions--that the US enters into. That is of interest because the Geneva Conventions also specify what constitutes a legal war. Since we will probably never see war formally declared by Congress in my lifetime, the Geneva Conventions are all we have left to define legal military action. The Watada case could be historic if high-profile Americans are found guilty of war crimes. Future Presidents will be far less imperialistic if they know a single Lieutenant can land them in front of a war crimes tribunal. Paradigm shifts happen gradually. One reason that we don’t have the half-million troops in Iraq right now is because the Vietnam-era draft was so unpopular. In other words, Presidential imperialism has been limited by the all-volunteer military. The Watada case could have a similar effect if the court finds that George Bush started an illegal war. Wouldn’t it be a strange turn of events if the very people who are prosecuting Watada are found to be guilty of war crimes?

For more information on the Watada case visit: http://www.thankyoult.org/

Lieutenant Watada Should Be Prosecuted, Article 32 Hearing Finds


Lieutenant Watada Should Be Prosecuted, Article 32 Hearing Finds

By Sarah Olson t r u t h o u t Report
Friday 25 August 2006

The Army has cleared another hurdle in its attempt to court-martial First Lieutenant Ehren Watada, the first commissioned officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. In a report released Thursday afternoon, investigating officer Lieutenant Colonel Mark Keith determined that the Army has grounds to proceed with a full court-martial of Lieutenant Watada. "I find that 1st Lieutenant Watada's beliefs regarding the war in Iraq do not excuse his refusal to deploy or his public statements," wrote Lieutenant Colonel Keith.
The Army held an Article 32 hearing Thursday, August 17th, attempting to prove that the prosecution of Lieutenant Watada had sufficient evidence to proceed with a full court-martial on charges of 7 violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). For his part, Lieutenant Watada took the opportunity to "put the war on trial."
"The defense contends every officer is duty bound to evaluate each order given for legal sufficiency. I agree," Lieutenant Colonel Keith wrote in his official report about the Article 32 hearing. "However, due to the complexity of U.S. and International law, I believe it would be very difficult for Army officers to determine the legality of combat operations (nor should they attempt to do so) ordered by the President of the United States of America/Commander in Chief."
Eric Seitz, civilian defense attorney for Lieutenant Watada responded: "We are not surprised by the hearing officer's report and recommendations because it was our assumption all along that once the Army rejected all of our overtures and proposals and convened an Article 32 hearing that was tantamount to a decision to put Lieutenant Watada on trial."
Lieutenant Colonel Keith found "reasonable grounds" to believe that Lieutenant Watada violated Article 87 of the UCMJ, missing troop movement. Further, he says, "As an officer and leader his refusal to obey a lawful order cannot be excused and serves to embolden others to commit the same or similar misconduct."
Lieutenant Colonel Keith found similar reasonable grounds to believe that Lieutenant Watada had violated Article 88 (contempt toward officials) of the UCMJ, for statements he had made to the press. "1st Lieutenant Watada's contempt for the president serves to break down the good order and discipline of all military personal ..."
The hearing officer Lieutenant Colonel Keith also found that Lieutenant Watada had violated Article 133 (conduct unbecoming an officer and gentleman) of the UCMJ. "I find his message (contempt for civilian leadership and description of Army actions on the ground as "wholesale slaughter") and his actions (missing movement) support a charge of Conduct Unbecoming an Officer."
While Lieutenant Watada has not been charged with additional violations, Lieutenant Colonel Keith wrote: "I believe Lieutenant Watada's contempt for the President and suggestion that U.S. soldiers can stop the war simply by refusing to fight borders on a violation of Article 94 (mutiny and sedition)."
During the Article 32 hearing, defense attorney Eric Seitz presented three witnesses: University of Illinois law professor and international law expert Francis Boyle, former UN Assistant Secretary General, and twenty nine-year Army veteran, retired colonel Ann Wright. "We appreciated the opportunity to lay the groundwork to prove that the war in Iraq is illegal and that Lieutenant Watada, coming to this conclusion after much research, was duty bound to refuse to participate," said Seitz. "This case is really about the duty of individual soldiers to look at the facts and fulfill their obligation to national and international law."
During the Article 32 hearing, law professor Francis Boyle contended the United States had not met the requirements to go to war. "In order for the United States to enter into a war, there are two basic requirements. First, warfare would have to be authorized by the US Congress pursuant to the War Powers Clause of the Constitution, and secondly, unless the US itself is attacked militarily, or its troops, it would have to be authorized by the UN Security Council. Otherwise, aggressive warfare would be a Nuremberg Crime against peace, and that is stated in the Laws of Land Warfare." Professor Boyle also said the use of cluster bombs in civilian areas, depleted uranium, and the initial shock and awe tactics all violated various international laws.
Denis Halliday is the former Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations. During Lieutenant Watada's Article 32 hearing, Halliday was called to testify regarding the impact of war on the Iraqi people. "The people of Iraq had become used to living under very difficult conditions after the destruction in the name of the United Nations by the United States of the civilian infrastructure, water supplies, sewer systems, electric power, use of depleted uranium and cluster bombs."
Halliday was prevented from providing complete testimony when the investigating officer presiding over the Article 32 hearing ruled that the "consequences of the war or the situation on the ground" were irrelevant to Lieutenant Watada's argument that the war was illegal and that he had an obligation to refuse to fight it.
Twenty nine-year retired colonel Ann Wright also provided testimony in Lieutenant Watada's hearing last week. She said that while it's not too often that a soldier will refuse to obey an order on the grounds that it is illegal, that is not only part of a military tradition and training, it is also a military necessity. "We call on people in the military to use their brains to distinguish situations," Wright says. "You don't want personnel who will carry out illegal orders and say that they were told to do it. You want military personnel who will think about what they are doing."
Further, Wright testified it was her assessment that Lieutenant Watada was fulfilling his obligation: "The obligation of someone such as the accused who, by participating in the current conflict in Iraq, would be participating in war crimes would be to stand up and say that he cannot participate in it and that it would be an illegal order."
In calling for the full court-martial of Lieutenant Watada on all seven violations of the UCMJ, the Army rejected this testimony, but found that the Lieutenant was "sincere in his beliefs."
Defense attorney Eric Seitz responded, "I am pleased that the hearing officer finds Lieutenant Watada to be sincere, and recognizes the seriousness of the issues that Lieutenant Watada raises in this case," he said in a written statement. "I am dismayed, but not surprised, that the hearing officer dismisses the undisputed testimony of our experts as to the illegality of the war and ignores the well reasoned legal briefs that we submitted both on the war and the speech issues."
The Army is expected to announce whether or not it will proceed with a general court-martial of Lieutenant Watada within several weeks, and a court-martial could happen as early as November.
For the latest information on Lieutenant Watada, see http://www.thankyoult.org/. Sarah Olson is an independent journalist and radio producer. She can be reached at solson75@yahoo.com.

Cluster Munitions as Inhumane and Indiscriminate Weapons


Drop Today, Kill Tomorrow
Cluster Munitions as Inhumane and Indiscriminate Weapons

I. What Are Cluster Weapons?
II. Where Have Cluster Weapons Been Used?
A. The Example of Laos
B. The Example of the Gulf War
C. Other Regions of Cluster Bomb Use
III. Why Are Military Establishments Opposed to Including Cluster Munitions in the Landmine Ban?
IV. Conclusion
Appendix 1
Appendix 2

An Acrobat (PDF) version of this document is also available for download.

We wish to thank a number of persons who contributed to the research for this report. Timothy Dockery and David Guerrera, summer associates from the New York law firm of Rogers and Wells in 1996, researched various aspects of cluster munitions use and development. All conclusions drawn in this report, however, are those of the writers and cannot be ascribed to the firm of Rogers and Wells. Rebecca Kauffman, the Mennonite Central Committee United Nations intern for 1996, updated research on the situation in Laos. Eric Prokosch made helpful editorial comments on drafts of the report.

Virgil WiebeSupervising AttorneyInterfaith Community Services308 W. 46th St., 34th Fl.New York, New York 10036(212) 399-0899 fax: (212) 265-2238
Titus PeacheyStaff Associate for Peace EducationMennonite Central Committee U.S.21 S. 12th St., Box 500Akron, PA 17501(717) 859-3889 fax: (717) 859-3875E-mail: tmp@mccus.org

"Ton Kemla is only 15, but his fate is settled: He will never have children of his own. While tilling the family rice paddy behind a water buffalo [in May 1996], his plow hit a long-hidden cluster bomblet that exploded and ripped apart his genitals."
- Account of Laotian cluster bomblet accident in 19961
"It looked like the ball boys and girls toss to each other during Hmong New Year festivities. [Six-year-old] Sia Ya threw it to her [4-year-old] brother. He couldn't catch it and it landed behind him, exploding and killing him instantly. Sia Ya died after two agonizing days and nights in the provincial hospital."
- Account of Laotian cluster bomblet accident in 19932
"19 March 1991. The first civilian cluster bomb victim died today. It was a child. These insidious bombs were sprinkled all over the desert. Despite numerous warnings to the contrary, people could not leave them alone. They seemed to be drawn to them, almost mystically.
"The devastation they caused on explosion was unbelievable. Shrapnel flew everywhere. Limbs were severed by the force of detonation. Massive abdominal bleeding and pulmonary pressure wounds occurred."
- MASH unit account of Gulf War cluster bomb victims3
"Toy-size bombs designed to kill tanks and soldiers appear as white lawn darts, green baseballs, orange-striped soda cans -- and have proved deadly to children. . . . `When you see a 5-year-old boy come to the hospital without any limbs,' asked Kuwait City surgeon Dr. Mohammad Khaled, `how can you forget the sight?'"
- "Ft. Worth Star Telegram", January 12, 19924
"Saturation of unexploded submunitions has become a characteristic of the modern battlefield."
- U.S. Military Procedures Report5
The growing movement to ban anti-personnel landmines is a tribute to the courage and persistence of the hundreds of thousands around our world who suffer daily from the tragedy of landmines. While the world pauses to celebrate, then implement the provisions of the Ottawa Treaty, we join in urging all nations to fully support this remarkable effort. When international policies begin to reflect the aspirations for peace and healing among those who suffer most from war, it is truly a sign of hope.
This study continues the efforts of Mennonite Central Committee and others6 to draw attention to the human suffering caused by cluster weapons, "close relatives" of landmines. Cluster weapons, like landmines, continue to kill long after a conflict is over, because many fail to function as designed. Civilian adults and children are among the primary victims. Cluster weapons inhibit agricultural production, impede the return of refugees and displaced persons to their homes, sap families' economic prospects by transforming breadwinners into disabled dependents, and overburden already deficient public health networks.
Meant to be illustrative rather than exhaustive, we seek here to demonstrate the immediate and lasting humanitarian damage done by even the "careful" use of cluster weapons and to advocate for the day when these weapons are banned. As in the case of landmines, we urge the international community to take a "victim-centered" approach to the regulation of cluster weapons.
This study considers both the legacy of cluster munitions' use during the past 30 years, as well as technology now in production. The actual use and long-term impact of cluster munitions receives most focused attention in the cases of Laos and Iraq/Kuwait. Ongoing use of these munitions around the globe is also surveyed. (See also the companion paper Cluster Bomb Use in the Yugoslavia/Kosovo War.)

Ten years ago, a ban on anti-personnel landmines would have been unthinkable. The public awareness and political will needed to enact a ban were simply not strong enough. Thankfully, through the tireless efforts and vision of landmine survivors, NGO staff and government officials, the unthinkable has become the possible.
The many people around our world who have suffered injury from cluster munitions will not understand the careful legal and technical distinctions between landmines and cluster munitions. They await our action to once again turn the unthinkable into the possible. We hope this brief study will contribute to that effort.

I. What Are Cluster Weapons?
A cluster weapon is a munitions container that breaks open in mid-air and disperses smaller munitions or submunitions. These munitions are usually designed to explode on impact, just before impact or a short time after impact. Cluster weapons are carried by a variety of delivery systems, including bombs dropped from aircraft, rocket launchers and artillery projectiles.7
Cluster weapon delivery systems often carry hundreds of submunitions, saturating an area with flying shards of steel. These submunitions are small, often the size of a baseball or small lawn dart. Depending on the delivery system, the submunitions from one munitions container may cover an area the size of several football fields, or be dispersed over an even wider area up to 100 acres.8
Cluster weapons and landmines are different in design and intended function. Both weapons can be delivered by air, but only landmines are intended to rest in the soil indefinitely and blow up when disturbed. As noted above, cluster weapons are designed to explode close to the time of impact, so that their effect is felt during the time of military engagement.
The submunitions in cluster weapons generally have a higher explosive charge than anti-personnel landmines. This, coupled with the fragmentation pattern of the heavy outer shell, results in more upper-body injuries and deaths when compared to landmines. Understandably, these submunitions also have a longer lethal range than most anti-personnel landmines.
Despite these differences in technology and design, cluster weapons are very similar to landmines in their actual effect. The failure rate for cluster munitions has been placed between 5 percent and 30 percent, insuring that any use of these weapons will result in the reckless and unregulated creation of minefields. The fact that these weapons have "failed," does not mean that they are harmless. They may explode with the slightest touch, when picked up by a child, or when stepped on or kicked by an unsuspecting passerby. Bomb disposal experts in Laos have noted repeatedly that cluster munitions become less stable and therefore more dangerous with each passing year.
Given the quantity of submunitions involved in most cluster weapons, even a low dud rate can result in large amounts of unexploded ordnance (UXO) after a battle is over. According to the U.S. Office of Munitions, some 30 million submunitions were dropped over Iraq and Kuwait during the Gulf War.9 An optimistically low dud rate of 5 percent would still leave 1.5 million unexploded submunitions strewn across these two countries after the war, all of them dangerous.
A Government Accounting Office report on Operation Desert Storm10 states that at the time of the Gulf War, over half of the Army's MLRS (multiple-launch rocket system) cluster weapon lots exceeded the 5 percent dud rate goal, with some reaching a high of 23 pecent duds. These figures are based on lot acceptance tests. Dud rates on the battlefield were likely even higher.
The cluster submunitions that fail to explode may rest on top of the soil in clear view. In many cases, their very size and shape make them almost mystically attractive not only to children and civilians but also to souvenir-hungry soldiers, even when warnings and orders have been issued to leave them untouched. In some cases, markers or streamers attached to submunitions to warn people away actually attract the unsuspecting child or farmer to pick them up.
Submunitions may also hide themselves if they land in weeds, soft soil, sand or a body of water. Alternately, those on top of the ground may become buried over time when they are covered by vegetation or soil erosion. In this way, they become "hidden killers" blending into their surroundings like landmines. One of the more "typical" cluster bomb accidents in Laos occurs in the fields and gardens, when Lao villagers use hoes and diggers to prepare the soil for planting. The hidden submunitions have in effect created a minefield.
Military experts recognize that unexploded cluster bombs transform themselves into landmines. A South African army officer at the Certain Conventional Weapons conference in Vienna in October 1995 completed the sentence of a nongovernmental representative in revealing fashion. The NGO representative was speaking about unexploded "bombies" in Laos. "When they don't explode on contact," began the NGO representative, ". . .they become mines," finished the officer.
A U.S. military service procedures report on unexploded ordnance corroborates the S.A. officer's statement, noting: "Although UXO is not a mine, UXO hazards pose problems similar to mines concerning both personnel safety and the movement and maneuver of forces on the battlefield."11 Reports from the Gulf War underscore this claim. For example, "When US Marine Corps forces attempted a night assault against Iraqi-occupied Kuwait International Airport, they reportedly were held up, not by fierce resistance, but by unexploded coalition cluster-bomb submunitions and mines."12
The similarity of cluster weapons to landmines is also apparent in their violation of international humanitarian law. Cluster weapons are, by their very nature, indiscriminate. Their basic form of delivery, which discharges hundreds of bomblets over large areas, prevents individual targeting of each bomblet. It is impossible to know the precise "footprint" made by the submunitions in each cluster weapon attack. During the Gulf war, "locations of UXO footprints [areas of possible UXO concentration] were not tracked, and never passed to mobility planners."13 According to the U.S. military service procedures report cited above, "Currently no system exists to accurately track unexploded submunitions to facilitate surface movement and maneuver."14
The indiscriminate nature of cluster weapons is not only present in their method of delivery but, like landmines, in their continued threat over time. The year 1998 marks the 25th anniversary of the end of the U.S. air war over Laos. During these 25 years of relative peace, a high percentage of injuries and deaths have occurred among children not yet born at the end of the war. Weapons that lurk in the soil, waiting for the unborn to live so that they may be killed, are indiscriminate in the extreme.
In summary, while cluster weapons are different in design from landmines, experience demonstrates that their effects are nearly identical. Cluster weapons kill and maim civilian populations, and continue to do so long after hostilities cease. The rationale that led the international community to stand with the survivors of landmine injuries and enact a ban on anti-personnel landmines, also applies to cluster weapons.
II. Where Have Cluster Weapons Been Used?
Cluster weapons have made their most publicized mark on two war zones: Laos and Iraq/Kuwait.
A. The Example of Laos
Until a year ago, Kham Meung spent his days like many boys in rural Xieng Khouang Province [Laos]: planting rice seedlings, herding water buffalo, romping with friends. Then early one morning last November [1996], the 8-year-old's life changed forever. Kham Meung and two friends were digging for crabs when one boy struck something hard. As the boy turned to call the others, a buried cluster bomblet exploded, killing him. Shrapnel flew in Kham Meung's eyes. The third boy was only slightly wounded.15 Rough surveys of villages by humanitarian groups estimate that more than 10,000 people have been killed or injured by bombs since the end of the war.16 With a failure rate of 30 percent, an estimated 4 million BLU-26s [cluster bomblets] are still lying in rice fields, roadsides and village grounds.17
During the air war carried out between 1964 and 1973, the U.S. executed more than 580,000 bombing missions over Laos. Some 2.3 million tons of bombs, a large percentage of them cluster bombs, were dropped, making Laos the most heavily bombed country in the world. On average, a plane load of bombs was dropped every eight minutes, around the clock, for nine years.18
In Xieng Khouang province, where young Kham Meung lost his sight and a friend to a "bombie" blast, an average of two tons of bombs per person living at the time was dropped.19 According to one Lao official, clearing the ordnance will take 100 years as compared to a mere nine years of warfare.
The consequences of this ongoing disaster go beyond obvious physical pain and suffering. An already burdened medical system is unable to cope with victims of bombie blasts. Large areas of land can only be tilled at great risk, at a time when populations are returning to pre-war levels. Efforts to reclaim land result in injuries and death -- the greatest number of injuries occurs in February, when the field stubble is burned away to prepare the soil for planting. Rehabilitation, if it is even available, is often beyond the financial reach of poor families.
B. The Example of the Gulf War
Hundreds of civilians were also killed by these [cluster-type] bomblets. With the inordinate number of bomblets dropped in Iraq, thousands will become victims in future years. "Since the end of the war, more than 2,000 Kuwaitis have been injured from bombs and munitions, and most of these casualties have been children."20
The use of millions of submunitions in the Gulf War created a giant minefield in Iraq and Kuwait.21 In 1994, unexploded U.S. bomblets in Iraq killed a brother, 13, and sister, 11.22 In 1993, a similar incident killed an Iraqi boy, 8, and seriously injured his sister as they were playing at a family picnic.23 Baghdad reported that as of August 1991, 440 injuries and 168 deaths befell Iraqi civilians as a result of unexploded bomblets that the United States dropped.24
Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark decried the use of cluster munitions by the U.S. Army in the Gulf War, including the alleged use of cluster munitions banned under international conventions.25 Unexploded bomblets were responsible for the death of nearly 10 percent of the U.S. fatalities in the Gulf War.26 U.S. soldiers estimated that the dud rate for cluster bombs used in the Gulf War was between 10 and 20 percent, well above the "acceptable" level of 3 to 5 percent. The GAO had reported for more than 10 years about quality control problems in the manufacture of submunitions.27
The line between "mines" and "cluster bombs" became impossibly blurred in Iraq. The U.S. Air Force used both conventional cluster weapons and the "gator" mine, a mix of anti-tank mines and "anti-handling devices" (i.e. anti- personnel mines). President Clinton recently claimed, in justifying his decision not to join the Ottawa process, that these devices posed no threat to civilians as they were "self-deactivating." Contrary to such claims, hundreds of Iraqi civilians have been killed or injured by those devices which never got around to self-deactivating.28
Iraq continues to clear unexploded ordnance from throughout its territory, including cluster bombs.29 The Iraqi News Agency claimed on August 30, 1997, that a peasant was killed while working in his field by the explosion of ordnance from the Gulf War.30
C. Other Regions of Cluster Bomb Use
Afghanistan. Not only has Afghanistan been visited with the scourge of anti-personnel landmines, but cluster bombs have also been used extensively in the ongoing conflicts.
During the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, the Soviet Army used cluster munitions against civilians.31 In 1995, the Afghani Government claimed that Russian forces bombed the city of Taloquan and surrounding areas with cluster bombs. The Afghani Government disputed Russian claims that these bombings occurred on the Russian side of the border and that those bombed were guerrillas based in Afghanistan fighting for the independence of the Tajikstan region of Russia.32
In 1997, the ongoing battles between the Taliban and their opponents have also involved the use of cluster bombs.33
Angola. There have been reports of cluster bombs as unexploded ordnance in Angola, including the account of a young girl who was maimed after a shiny object she was playing with exploded.34
Azerbaijan. Azerbaijani forces reportedly used cluster bombs as a tool of ethnic cleansing against both Nagorny Karabakh defense forces in 199435 and civilians in 1993.36
Former Yugoslavian Republics. Cluster bombs have been used throughout the conflict in the Former Yugoslavia. Different examples include:
Livno. Bosnian Serbs use Orkan Rockets to carry out a cluster bomb attack against the town of Livno.37
Bihac. Bosnian Serbs shell the proclaimed UN safe area of Bihac with submunitions; NATO retaliates for this action.38
Banja Luka. Bosnia Serbs claim that NATO strikes include the use of cluster munitions. They claim that civilian targets were hit.39
Zivinice. Bosnia Serbs shell a Bosnian refugee camp south of Tuzla with cluster bombs and kill seven in the attack.40
On May 2-3, 1995, the Serbs in the Krajina region shelled civilian targets in Zagreb, Croatia, in retaliation for Croatia's effort to regain territory in the Krajina. Orkan M-87 multiple rocket launchers delivered cluster munitions which reportedly killed five and wounded 130.41
Milan Martic, the leader of the Krajina Serbs, was indicted in July 1995 by the War Crimes Tribunal of the Former Yugoslavia for ordering the attack.42 Little has been actually done to bring Martic to trial, due to the hesitance of NATO to take Serb leaders into custody.43
The War Crimes Tribunal indicted Martic because the Orkan cluster bombs worked as intended: They exploded on impact, murdering civilians. Could he have been indicted as well for those bomblets which failed to explode on impact and for which he could be held accountable knowing they would later explode indiscriminately?
According to press reports, Nato warplanes did not use cluster bombs against Serb gun and mortar positions in bombings in 1995. Cluster bombs would normally be used against such positions. This was seen as "unacceptable. . . as about one in ten of the bomblets fails to go off creating a long-term hazard for civilians."44
(See the paper Cluster Bomb Use in the Yugoslavia/Kosovo War for a detailed account of cluster bomb use in the 1999 conflict.)
Chechnya. Both the Russian Army and the Chechen forces have allegedly used cluster munitions. The Russians killed 30 civilians in a cluster bomb bombardment of the Chechen capital in 199445 and 10 in a similar attack in 1996.46 Both the Russians47 and the Chechens48 accused the other side of using cluster bombs banned under international conventions.
Colombia. The explosion of a cluster bomb in a crowded area killed 30 in Medellin. The bomb was set off in retaliation for the arrest of an alleged drug kingpin.49
Ethiopia. In its efforts to suppress the Eritrean independence movement in the early 1990s, the Mengistu government then in power in Ethiopia repeatedly used cluster bombs against civilians.50 For example, an aerial attack spared the facilities of a nearby port to concentrate its attack on civilians, killing 50.51
Georgia. In December 1992, Abkhazian fighters accused Georgian forces of using cluster bombs in the fighting within Georgia.52
Lebanon. In the late 1970s, Israel used cluster bombs against civilian targets in Lebanon, prompting Jimmy Carter to threaten a cut-off of U.S. arms sales.53 According to one military observer,
The Israelis used U.S. [cluster bombs] in large numbers during their first invasion of Lebanon in a rather indiscriminate way. They were scattered by dispensers and lay in fields, bushes and undergrowth. It took UN bomb-disposal teams a considerable time to find and destroy them. They looked like tennis balls and children tended to pick them up, suffering ugly injuries when the bombs went off in their faces. Farmers ploughing and animals also suffered badly.54
Nicaragua. In 1987, the Nicaraguan government allegedly used cluster bombs against rebel forces. The government dropped 500-pound cluster bombs from Soviet planes.55
Sierra Leone. In May 1997, a military coup in Sierra Leone toppled the civilian-led government of president Ahmad Tejan Kabbah. Under the aegis of the Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS), Nigerian forces attempted to force out the military junta. In October 1997, Nigerian ground troops reportedly laid plastic landmines, while Nigerian pilots were accused of dropping cluster bombs on civilian targets in Freetown.56
Turkey. Turkey has used cluster bombs against Kurdish villages; this factor played a large role in Turkey's failure to obtain cluster munitions from the United States.57 In 1994, the Turkish Government apologized to Iran for the accidental bombing of Iranian civilians with cluster bombs in an attempt to bomb Kurdish rebels in Iraq.58 Kurdish rebels accused the Turkish army of continuing to use cluster bombs in northern Iraq in late 1997.59
III. Why Are Military Establishments Opposed to Including Cluster Munitions in the Landmine Ban?
Opposition by the U.S. Pentagon to the Anti-Personnel Landmines Treaty and domestic U.S. legislation stems in part to definitions of landmines that potentially include a variety of cluster munitions. Pentagon briefers were "horrified" in July 1997 to discover that dropping the word "primarily" from a definition of landmines would result in the banning of a number of other systems.60
Why is that one word, "primarily," of so much concern? Proposed U.S. legislation to ban anti-personnel landmines by the year 2000, suggests a definition of landmines as those munitions "designed, constructed, or adapted to be detonated or exploded by the presence, proximity or contact of a person and that will incapacitate, injure or kill one or more persons."61 The Anti-Personnel Landmines Treaty adopts a similar definition in this respect.62
The Pentagon planners would insert the word "primarily" at the beginning of the definition, making it read that a landmine is a munition that is "primarily designed, constructed, or adapted to be detonated or exploded by the presence, proximity or contact of a person. . . ." Their fear is that by not including the word "primarily," munitions that incidentally operate in the same way, i.e. cluster munitions, might be covered by a landmine ban.
The cluster munitions experience of Laos was front and center in the minds of the briefers in July 1997 as they commented on a definition that did not include the "primarily designed" language:
Ninety-five percent of that problem [in Laos] is unexploded ordnance dropped there during the '60's and '70's. These were old cluster bomb type units. And under some circumstances, if you took the existing land mine ban definition, without that primarily in there it could be, in fact, stretched to include this high unexploded ordnance rate. That could knock out a number of systems that we really do need -- some of our runway and island munitions and that sort of thing, and that's what we're concerned about. We want to be sure that if we're talking about a land mine ban we're talking about land mines.63
Essentially, in the eyes of military planners, so long as there is no primary intention for a munition to turn into a "landmine," when it does turn into a landmine, it is not one.
Where does such an argument lead when there is foreknowledge of likely injury to civilians? Munitions manufacturers build dud rates into computer models designed to determine kill rates of cluster bombs in various situations.64 Such programs relate not to "old cluster bomb type units" from 30 years ago, but for weapons now in use. If the known design of a weapon system includes dud rates, is that not an acknowledgement that de facto mine fields will be created?
Submunitions are increasingly "high-tech" and favored by modern militaries. Among the reasons militaries have been increasingly drawn to greater restrictions on landmines may well be because they are so "low-tech." Banning the manufacture and sale of low-tech and cheap landmines, which often fall into the hands of insurgents willing to use them indiscriminately against soldier and civilian alike, becomes attractive to high-tech armies. Insurgents are less likely to get their hands on not only the submunitions themselves but also the technology needed to deliver them to target.
New generation "Combined Effects Munitions" (CEMs) by design destroy and kill in a variety of ways that make them more difficult to restrict than anti-personnel landmines. A typical CEM, can do three things by design and a fourth "unintentionally": (1) kill soldiers and civilians with anti-personnel shrapnel; (2) destroy tanks with anti-armor materials which burn through up to 18" of steel; and (3) ignite buildings with incendiary materials. Finally, they can (4) fail to go off on impact, in effect transforming them into landmines. Current efforts to ban landmines focus exclusively on their anti-personnel nature.
The U.S. military also sees in new cluster technology a way to adapt to war fighting in the post cold war era. The B1-B nuclear bomber, once considered a casualty of the end of the cold war, lives on as a rehabilitated conventional bomber. So unreliable that it was the only major air weapons system not to be unleashed in the Gulf War, the B1-B has found new meaning as the deliverer of a new generation of cluster munitions.
The first test of the new bomber's cluster bomb capability occurred on May 28, 1997, at Eglin Air Force Base.65 By September, enough refits were to have been completed to equip the B1-B fleet with 10 1,000-pound conventional cluster bombs.66
While the multibillion dollar B1-B has never been used in a combat situation, two of the aircraft were recently deployed by the U.S. Air Force to Bahrain, equipped with cluster bombs.67
The United States is by no means the only military to rely increasingly on air-delivered submunitions. This technology is finding its way into a growing number of military arsenals around the globe. For a partial listing of submunitions and the countries that have them, see Appendix 2.
Military establishment will oppose restrictions on cluster munitions because they are integral to future war fighting strategies and weapons systems. For example, cluster munitions with anti-personnel applications make up important elements of the so-called "Joint Stand Off Weapons" (JSOW) being developed for air forces around the world.68
IV. Conclusion
We can take no comfort in the knowledge that cluster munitions are not designed to kill and maim indiscriminately long after a conflict has ceased. We know from experience that cluster weapons are difficult to target with precision, that their "footprints" may cover large areas of land, and that even low dud rates will result in large amounts of unexploded ordnance. These results are not isolated, but can be predicted with certainty any time that cluster weapons are used. On these things military planners and those living in countries torn by war agree.
The Campaign to Ban Landmines gave the world a remarkable gift when it demonstrated that weapons systems can be evaluated and regulated, based on the perspective of those who suffer from their use after hostilities cease. Landmine survivors and communities seeking agricultural and economic development in the presence of minefields have taught us that the cost in life, security and well-being is too great.
Cluster weapons, whose effects on individuals and communities are very similar to landmines, must be evaluated from the same perspective. There is a growing and consistent body of evidence which demonstrates the need for strong, clear action to remove these weapons from military arsenals.
Appendix 1
Cluster Weapons69 in the U.S. Federal Budget 1997-2001Procurement/RDT&E (in millions of $)
TOTAL for 1997-2001: $5.28 billion (5,280,000,000.).

Source: Procurement Programs (P-1), Department of Defense Budget for Fiscal Years 2000/2001 RDT&E (Research, Design, Test and Evaluation) Programs (R-1) Department of Defense Budget Department for Fiscal Years 2000-2001
Summary by Titus Peachey
Appendix 2
Submunitions in U.S. and Foreign Stockpiles
from "UXO: Multiservice Procedures for Operations in an Unexploded Ordnance Environment"Air Land Sea Application Center, July 1996
Foreign Submunitions
The following tables show typical foreign air and surface launched submunition ordnance. It is not intended to be all inclusive but for information only.
Foreign Air Dispensed Submunitions ("UXO" Table E-1)

Source: Fereign Science and Technology Center Briefing at HQ TRADOC on 21 Apr 93
Submunitions in Army Stockpile
These tables list the submunition ordnance currently in the US Army Stockpile. With the exception of the M80 submunition, the current generation of these submunitions do not have self-destruct fuses.
Source: US Army Materiel Systems Analysis Agency

Source: US Army Materiel Systems Analysis Agency
1Catherine Toups, "Vietnam War still takes toll on Laos; Unexploded bombs often maim, kill," Washington Times, June 28, 1996, p. A19.
2"Laos: War Legacy," Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), 1994. (Available from MCC, 21 South 12th St., P.O. Box 500, Akron, PA 17501-0500 or MCC Canada, 134 Plaza Drive, Winnipeg, MB R3T 5K9.)
3Brian Ginn, "807th MASH Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm `Restore to Serve,'" 1995, from http://www.igbu.com/law/mash.htm.
4James Vincent Brady, "Kuwaitis dying from old menace: unexploded bombs," Ft. Worth Star Telegram, January 12, 1992.
5"UXO: Multiservice Procedures for Operations in an Unexploded Ordnance Environment," Air Land Sea Application Center, July 1996, ch. 1 p. 1.
6Bruce Shoemaker, "Legacy of the Secret War: The Continuing Problem of Unexploded Ordnance in Xieng Khouang Province, Laos and the Response of the Mennonite Central Committee and the American Friends Service Committee 1972-1994," March 1994.
Frederick Lim and Joshua Peirez, under the direction of John Rempel, "The State of International Law Relating to Cluster Bombs: A Report on the Issues and a Proposal for a Protocol Regulating the Use of Cluster Bombs." (Available from MCC.)
7Eric Prokosch, The Technology of Killing: A Military and Political History of Antipersonnel Weapons, Zed Books, 1995, p. 82.
8Eric Prokosch, "Cluster Weapons," Papers in the Theory and Practice of Human Rights, #15, Human Rights Center, University of Essex, UK, 1995, p. 12.
9Lt. Col. Gary W. Wright, "Scatterable Munitions = Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) = Fratricide," U.S. Army War College Study Project, AD-A/264/233/C.2, March 22, 1993, p. 38.
10Government Accounting Office Report NSIAD-93-212, "Operation Desert Storm: Casualties Caused by Improper Handling of Unexploded U.S. Submunitions," August 1993.
11"UXO," ch. 2 p. 1.
12Christopher Centner, "Ignorance is Risk: The Big Lesson From Desert Storm Air Base Attacks," Airpower Journal, Winter 1992, p. 28.
13Wright, "Scatterable Munitions," p. 17.
14"UXO," ch. 1 p. 1.
15Pearl Sensenig, "For Bombie Victims and Their Families, The Toll is Financial as Well as Physical," Mennonite Weekly Review, Nov. 6, 1997, p. 6.
16Catherine Toups, "Vietnam War still takes toll on Laos; Unexploded bombs often maim, kill," Washington Times, June 28, 1996, p. A19.
17Denis D. Gray, Associated Press, "War's Bomblets Continue to Kill 20 Years Later," Chicago Tribune, June 3, 1996, p. 8.
18Linda Gehman Peachey and Titus Peachey, "Making War in Peace" (slide set), Mennonite Central Committee, September 1986.
19Shoemaker, "Legacy."
20Wright, "Scatterable Munitions," p. 1 (citations omitted).
21For a summary of the use of cluster munitions during the Gulf War, see Stephen Goose, "U.S. Cluster Bombs for Turkey?" Human Rights Watch Arms Project, December 1994.
22Part 4: Middle East, BBC Summary, July 5, 1994. (Available on Lexis.)
23"Iraqi Boy Killed, Girl Injured in US Cluster Bomb Explosion," Xinhua General Oversees News Service, Nov 23, 1992. (Available on Lexis.)
24"Iraq Says Bombs Left Over From Gulf War Kill 168 Civilians," Reuters, Aug. 7, 1991. (Available on Lexis.)
25"Gulf War Americans Were Not Allowed to See," San Francisco Chronicle, Nov 23, 1992.
26Thomas Williams and Karen Wagner, "GAO to Study Army's Use of Cluster Bombs in Gulf War," Hartford Courant, Feb. 5, 1992, p. A3. (Available on Lexis.)
27Id.; Karen Wagner and Thomas Williams, "Look of Innocence Hides Lethal Military Killer," Hartford Courant, Dec. 21, 1991, p. A8. (Available on Lexis, News library.) "[T]he artillery rounds scatter 88 tiny M42/46 bomblets or 644 of the M77 bomblets across roads and surrounding areas. . . . The M42. . . is a sub-munition of a 155mm artillery round used by the Army and Marines. A similar bomb, the M46 is shot from an 8-inch howitzer. The M77, a newer version of the bomblet, is shot from a multilaunch rocket system." Id. The military had produced 39 million of the M42s and 314 million of the M77s as of Jan. 1, 1991. Id. The size and shape of these cluster bomblets proved irresistibly attractive even to GIs, eager for war souvenirs.
28William M. Arkin, "Landmine Decision: The President Draws a Line -- But Not on the Ground," Pacific News Service, Sept. 22, 1997. (Available on Lexis.)
29"Iraq Explodes 151 Gulf War Alliance Bombs," Agence France Presse, Sept. 4, 1997. (Available on Lexis.)
30"One killed, another wounded when Gulf War missile explodes," INA news agency: BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, Sept. 1, 1997. (Available on Lexis.) The broadcast also claimed that the area, the Qadisiyah Governate, was bombarded with 8665 cluster bombs. Id.
31"The Amnesty International Home Page," Amnesty Journal, Jan./Feb. 1996, "Afghanistan -- The World's Guilty Secret."
32"Russian Bombing Kills 150 People, Kabul Says," Reuters, Apr. 13, 1995. (Available on Lexis.)
33"World Digest," Aug. 5, 1997, Dayton Daily News. (Available on Lexis.); "Kabul hit by early hour jet attack," Agence France Press, July 19, 1997. (Available on Lexis.)
34"Out of the Ashes," Maclean's Hunter, Jan. 16, 1995, p. 22.
35"Part 1: Former U.S.S.R.: Caucusus," BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, Mar. 29, 1994. (Available on Lexis.)
36"Part 1: Former U.S.S.R.: Caucusus," BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, June 24, 1993. (Available on Lexis.)
37"Part II: Central Europe and the Balkans," BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, July 12, 1995. (Available on Lexis.)
38"NATO, Expanding Bosnia Role, Strikes a Serb base in Croatia," New York Times, Nov. 11, 1994.
39"Part II: Central Europe and the Balkans," BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, Sept. 13, 1995. (Available on Lexis.)
40"Bomb Kills Six, Injures Dozens at Camp for Refugees," Baltimore Sun, Oct. 8, 1995.
41Andrew Biliski, "A Deadly Turn," Macleans, May 15, 1995, p. 29; Tom Post, et al., "The Other War in the Balkans," Newsweek, May 15, 1995, p. 32.
42Indictment, The Prosecutor of the Tribunal v. Milan Martic, International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia; See also Mike Corder, Associated Press Worldstream, July 25, 1995. (Available on Lexis.).
43Martic reportedly lives only meters away from a house occupied by NATO troops. Ian Hunt and Greg Kent, "War Criminals in the Dock," The Guardian, July 1, 1997, p. 10. (Available on Lexis.)
44Independent (London), Sept. 1, 1995. (Available on Lexis.)
45Robyn Dixon, "Russia Blitzes Rebel City," The Age (Melbourne), Dec., 24, 1994; see also "Part I: Former U.S.S.R.," BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, Aug. 22, 1995. (Stating possible use of submunitions to deliver toxic agents in Chechnya).
46"Russians Bomb Chechnya After Lone Wolf Dies," Daily Telegraph, Mar. 3, 1996, p. 11.
47"Seven Russian troops killed over 24-hour period," Interfax news agency," BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, SU/2301/B, May 12, 1995. (Available on Lexis.)
48"Fierce Artillery Duels Rage in Chechen Capital," Agence France Presse, May 4, 1995. (Available on Lexis.)
49"Bomb Kills 30 After Drug Baron's Arrest," The Independent, June 12, 1995 p. 12.
50Editorial, Washington Post, Dec. 30, 1991; "A War of Hunger and Horror," Chicago Tribune, Feb 21, 1991.
51"The Ordeal of Eritrea," Boston Globe, May 3, 1990, p. 12.
52"World and National News," Star Tribune, Dec. 27, 1992, p. 5A. (Available on Lexis.)
53"The Cluster Bomb Furor," Newsweek, April 24, 1978, p. 50. (Available on Lexis.)
54E.D. Doyle, "`Nuclear' Target Attack May Have Cost $40m," Irish Times, Jan. 19, 1993, p. 6. (Available on Lexis.)
55"Contras Open Major Offensive on Eve of Talks," Los Angeles Times, Dec. 12, 1987, p. 1.
56"Sierra Leone Defense Chief Reports Gains Against Nigeria," Agence France Presse, Oct. 6, 1997. (Available on Lexis.)
57"Arms Sale `Conduct Code' Opposed," Washington Post, May 24, 1995, p. A6.
58"Turkey Accepts Kurd Strike Killed Iranians," Reuters, Feb. 3, 1994. (Available on Lexis.)
59"Kurdish Rebels Say Turkish Army Using Napalm, Cluster Bombs in Northern Iraq," BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, Oct. 9, 1997. (Available on Lexis.)
60"U.S. Dep't of Defense Background Briefing," M2 Presswire, July 7, 1997. (Available on Lexis.)
61George Seffers, "Pentagon May Resist Effort to Ban Antipersonnel Mines," Defense News, June 30/July 6, 1997, p. 11. (Available on Lexis.)
62Under the draft Anti-Personnel Landmines Treaty to be signed in Ottawa in December 1997, the definition is as follows: "`Anti-personnel mine' means a mine designed to be exploded by the presence, proximity or contact of a person and that will incapacitate, injure or kill one or more persons. . . ."
63"Background Briefing."
64See, e.g. "IMI Analysis," International Defense Review, Feb. 1, 1991, p. 149. (Available on Lexis, News ibrary, Mag File.) The company conducting the test assumed a 10% dud rate for the ATAP-1000 munition and a 5% rate for rockeye cluster munitions. Not surprisingly, in simulations, infantry were "neutralized" by submunitions much more easily than hard targets such as tanks. Id. In the clinical language of munitions research:
A single aircraft equipped with a [fire control system] and armed with four ATAP-1000s could neutralize 21 per cent of a T-62 tank company, 18 per cent of a T-72 company, 15 per cent of an artillery battery, 56 per cent of the standing infantry [company], and 8 per cent of infantry in foxholes. . . This compares with an aircraft carrying six Rockeyes, which obtained attrition rates of 16 per cent, 15 per cent, 11 per cent, 12 per cent and 4 per cent against identical targets. 65"B1-B Crew Tests New Weapon," Air Force Magazine, Aug. 1997, p. 10. (Available on Lexis.)
66"Robins Team Delivering on B1-B Modification Program," FDCH Federal Department and Agency Documents, July 10, 1997. (Available on Lexis.)
67"U.S. to send two B-1 bombers to Bahrain," Agence France Presse, Sept. 24, 1997. (Available on Lexis.)
68See, e.g., Bill Sweetman, "Scratching the Surface: Next Century Air to Ground Weapons," International Defense Review, July 1, 1997.
69"Cluster Weapon" is a general designation for a munitions container which dispenses smaller munitions or submunitions. A variety of delivery systems have been developed to carry these submunitions, including bombs which are dropped from aircraft, as well as rocket launchers and artillery projectiles. Some of the submunitions, dispensers and delivery systems are interchangeable. Some dispensers and delivery systems also carry non-cluster warheads. These realities, coupled with incomplete information, make it difficult to offer a precise accounting of the federal dollars spent on "cluster weapons."
The figures above are thus a rough indication of the cluster weapons (anti-personnel and anti-armor) included in the federal budget for fy 1995-1999. Where information is available, costs are broken down between procurement and research (RDT&E), associated with a particular weapons system.
It is also increasingly difficult to make clear distinctions between cluster weapons and landmines. We have tried to include cluster weapons only in the budget tables.
70MLRS (Multiple-Launch Rocket System): The MLRS is a tracked vehicle containing 12 missiles designed to deliver a large quantity of munitions to one area in a short time. The basic MLRS rocket (M26) contains 644 submunitions or bomblets. Range: 20 miles
The Extended Range MLRS (ER-MLRS) carries 518 submunitions, and has a range of 45+ km.
Recent Foreign Military Sales of the MLRS rocket pods, launchers and carriers include sales to Bahrain (202 pods on May 10, 1996), Korea (271 pods, 29 launchers, and 29 carriers on Dec. 10, 1996), and Turkey (270 pods on Aug. 11, 1994)

The prime contractor for the MLRS is Loral Vought, Dallas, TX, and Camden, AR.
Sources include: Army Times 10/9/95, Mr. Michael Courtney, Project Engineer, White Sands Missile Range, March 3, 1997, Arms Sales Monitor (Nov. 30, 1994, Feb. 1995, March, 1995, Dec., 1995, Feb., 1997). Website: http://www.dtic.dla.mil/armylink/factfile/mlrs.html.
71ATACMs (Army Tactical Missile System): ATACMs are a "ground-launched missile system consisting of a surface-to-surface guided missile with an anti-personnel/anti-materiel warhead."
ATACMS Block I missile carries 950 antipersonnel/antimateriel bomblets and has a range of 165 km.
Recent Foreign Military Sales of the ATACMs include sales to Greece (40 ATACMs with launching assemblies, July 12, 1996) and Korea (111 ATACMs, December 10, 1996).
The prime contractor for ATACMS is Loral Vought, Dallas, TX; Horizon City, TX; Camden, AR. Subcontractor information is available on the website listed below.
Sources include: Mr. Michael Courtney, Project Engineer, White Sands Missile Range, March 3, 1997, Arms Sales Monitor, and website: http://www.dtic.dla.mil/armylink/factfile/army_tacms.html.

72BAT is the Brilliant Anti-Armor Submunition. These submunitions are launched in the Army TACMS Block II missile. Each missile carries 13 submunitions. BAT has both acoustic and infra-red sensors, and is targeted agains moving armored combat vehicles.
The prime contractor for BAT is Northrup Grumman (Hawthorne, CA and Perry, GA). The subcontractor is Raytheon, Manchester, NH.
73XM915 105MM DPICM: an artillery projectile which dispenses submunitions, Dual-Purpose Improved Conventional Munitions.
74SADARM 155MM DPICM (Sense and Destroy Armor): A 155 mm artillery projectile can deliver two of these submunitions, while one of the MLRS rockets can deliver six. The munition can also be fired from aircraft. Parachutes are deployed once the munition has reached the target area. The parachute slows the munition, allowing it to scan the area for targets and to arm itself. Once the warhead is armed and a target detected, the warhead is fired.
The prime contractor for the SADARM is Aerojet Corp., Azusa, CA

75Wide Area Munitions (WAM) can be placed by hand, by ground vehicles, rocket, or aircraft. "WAM, designated XM93, is a derivative of the Skeet submunition that is used in the BLU-108/B submunition...it can be dispensed quickly above ground over a wide area. Once on the ground WAM self rights and arms itself. It then uses acoustic sensors to detect any vehicle movement and doing so launches a submunition into the air over the target area. An infra-red sensor on the submunition searches the ground for the target, and once detected fires an explosively formed penetrator at the vehicle/tank top armor."
The prime contractor for WAM is Textron Defense Systems. WAM is a US Army munition.
76Sensor Fuzed Weapon (CBU 97/B): an air-launched anti-armor weapon system. Each dispenser contains 10 BLU-108/B submunitions. Each submunition carries 4 SKEET anti-armor warheads. Jane's Air Launched Weapons, Issue 9
The prime contractor for the Sensor Fuzed Weapon is Textron Defense Systems, Wilmington, MA. Armed Forces Journal, International
77Wind Corrected Munitions Dispenser (WCMD): "The WCMD kit is a modification kit that replaces the tails on a portion of current inventory direct attack cluster munitions. . . The intent is to enable Tactical Munitions Dispensers (TMD) to correct for the effects of launch transients, ballistic errors, and unknown winds between the release point and the dispenser's functioning point. . . The threshhold weapons for WCMD are the CBU-87/B (Combined Effects Munition `CEM'), CBU-89/B (Gator), and the CBU-97/B (Sensor Fuzed Weapon `SFW')."
The prime contractor the WCMD is Lockheed Martin, Orlando, FL
Subcontractors: Simmonds Precision Motion Controls, Cedar Knolls, NJ; Honeywell Military Avionics, Minneapolis, MN; Litton Guidance and Control Systems, Woodland Hills, CA; PRB Associates, Hollywood, MD
Final Operational Requirements Document for Wind Corrected Munitions Dispenser, John M. Loh, General, USAF, Commander, Air Combat Command, Sept. 23, 1994.
Figures for FY 95-97 are from the President's 1997 Budget, Program Acquisition Costs. Figures for 1998-1999 are from the 1998-1999 Biennial Budget.
78JSOW (Joint Standoff Weapon): a precision-guided weapon developed by the US and its allies carrying submunitions or bomblets. The guidance system allows the pilot to launch the weapon from a safe distance. The missile which carries the submunitions is designated AGM-154. The three variants are: AGM-154A, which carries 145 BLU 97A/B submunitions; AGM-154B, which carries six "sticks" of BLU-108/B sensor fuzed sumbumition arrays; and AGM-154C, which carries the BLU-111/B, a 500 lb. bomb. Aviation Week and Space Technology, July 22, 1996
The prime contractor for the Joint Standoff Weapon is Texas Instruments, purchased by Raytheon.
Tuesday, November 1, 2005 Mennonite Central Committee MCC, 21 South 12th Street, PO Box 500 Akron, PA 17501 tel: +1 (717) 859-1151 or toll free (888) 563-4676MCC Canada, 134 Plaza Drive, Winnipeg, MB, R3T 5K9 tel: +1 (204) 261-6381 or toll free (888) 622-6337

Hollywood Billionaire backs Bush's Wars


Hollywood Billionaire backs Bush's Wars

Michael Carmichael, GlobalResearch.ca

August 23, 2006

As Israel prepares for round two in its battle against Hizbullah, and Iran moves onto a war footing with a defensive mobilization and with the US already at war in the Middle East, the California governor's race has become a crucible of American politics. In the politically charged world of Hollywood, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has triggered a minor realignment on the Democratic right and some familiar names are now in the process of moving across the partisan divide.
Israeli billionaire Haim Saban endorses the 'Governator’ - and so do Stephen Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg
Led by billionaire media mogul, Haim Saban, several prominent Hollywood Democrats: James Campbell, Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Jerry Zucker and and Bud Yorkin have announced their support for the Republican 'Governorator,’ Arnold Schwarzenegger, who once pitched a film that featured an unlikely hero, an "Everyman" characterized as a kind and decent Nazi caught up in the violent conflict of the Second World War. How Schwarzenegger planned to treat his character’s anti-Semitism remains obscure.
In recent months, Hollywood billionaire Haim Saban's support for the Democratic Party came under intensifying public scrutiny. John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt focused on Saban's growing political influence in their paper, The Israel Lobby. Describing Saban as an "ardent Zionist," Mearsheimer and Walt demonstrated the formidable power base of the Israel Lobby in both political parties.
Reflecting on Mearsheimer and Walt, one of America's leading experts in international law, Dr. Francis Boyle, has dubbed the Democratic Party, "a front group for the Israel Lobby." To a growing number of Americans, Boyle appears to be correct. Saban – not known for his restraint - has vacationed with former president, Bill Clinton, a fragment of evidence that supports the lamentations of Boyle, Mearsheimer and Walt.
A gifted, brilliant and industrious man, Saban was born into the Jewish community in Alexandria, Egypt. In the mid-fifties when the Arab-Israeli wars made their lives as Jews in Egypt more difficult, Saban and his family immigrated to Israel. There, he eventually became involved in promotional and sales activities. In the seventies, Saban relocated to France, where he operated a successful music business.
In the eighties, Saban left France for Hollywood and turned his hand to composing music for films - not major films mind you, but popular ones - and, of course, for television – with an emphasis on children’s TV. Eventually, his success with music, scores and production for films and television series including: Heathcliff: The Movie; The Super Mario Brothers, Super Show!; Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Movie; Lord Zedd’s Monster Heads: The Greatest Villains of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and Casper meets Wendy put him in position to sell his production company, Fox Family Worldwide, to Disney for a personal profit that made him a billionaire overnight. For years, Saban has been a business partner of neoconservative media mogul Rupert Murdoch, another billionaire who admires George Bush and Tony Blair. Murdoch is the owner of Fox News and News International. Reports in the financial press indicate that Saban’s personal profit from the Fox-Disney transaction was $1.6 billion.
Today, Saban presides over the Saban Capital Group where he is currently in the process of negotiations for further media acquisitions. Criticized for the violent content of his children’s programming, Saban is regarded as a tough businessman with decidedly right-wing views. Saban makes no secret of his keen support for the neoconservative policies of George Bush, Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Michael Ledeen, Richard Perle, John Bolton, James Woolsey, Daniel Pipes and Donald Rumsfeld.
Saban’s rise to power is much more familiar to Europeans than Americans. When Saban acquired Germany’s largest privately owned television network, he became the media mogul of Germany. An acquisitive investor, Saban also owns a major interest in Keshet, an Israeli television broadcaster. He is a power in Israeli politics as well as a major shareholder (30-45.7%) in Bezeq, the formerly state-owned Israeli telecommunications provider. Bezeq was part of a privatization package that required intense negotiations between Saban and the Israeli government.
With major political clout in Tel Aviv and Berlin, Saban claims to swing a lot of weight in the United States as well where he is known to wield the balance of power in right-wing Democratic Party circles. In Washington, Saban is known to have given twelve million dollars to the Democratic Party. His contributions to the Labour Party of Israel have not entered the mainstream media, but they are known to have been substantial. According to reports from party insiders, Saban’s political support comes with heavy strings attached. In an interview with the New York Times, Saban casually admitted, "I’m a one issue guy, and my issue is Israel."
In addition to his political power in Washington and Tel Aviv, Saban gives large tax-deductible amounts to US-based charities – enough to dwarf his non-tax-deductible political contributions. Saban and his wife, Cheryl, preside over the Saban Family Foundation, their private philanthropic organization. Recently, the Sabans funded the establishment of the forty million dollar Saban Research Institute based at its sparkling new building at Sunset Boulevard and Vermont Avenue in Los Angeles. The Sabans are deeply interested in medical research. According to their biography published on the website of Childrens’ Hospital of Los Angeles, two of their children, Ness and Tanya, were born after a surrogate was used for gestation.
Scientific research is not Saban’s sole charitable interest. He is a major contributor to the prestigious Washington think tank, The Brookings Institution, where a generous endowment established the Saban Center for Middle East Policy. Dr. Martin Indyk directs the Saban Center. Indyk was the founding executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), an organization that is frequently described as the military-industrial wing of the American Israel Political Action Committee (AIPAC). Mearsheimer and Walt discuss AIPAC, WINEP and Indyk’s crucial importance to the Israel Lobby at some length in "The Israel Lobby."
Indyk is the originator of the policy of "dual containment" that called for a substantial increase in US troop levels in the Persian Gulf. While he was working at WINEP, Indyk proposed his dual containment policy. In the 1990s under Clinton’s presidency, Indyk moved smoothly from WINEP to the National Security Council where he implemented the dual containment policy that has been celebrated by Daniel Pipes and his fellow neoconservatives for over ten years. Dual containment was the strategic platform for the neoconservative foreign policy that has unfolded under George Bush and Dick Cheney. In the final stages of Clinton’s presidency, Indyk was a key figure at the unsuccessful Camp David peace negotiations.
A ranking expert on the middle-east with a strong and clear pro-Israel record of achievement, Indyk has published analyses of the threats to security posed by Iran and Iraq that have helped to shape the strategic agenda for the neoconservatives in the Bush White House and the Pentagon. In 2002, Saban appointed Indyk to the position of Director of the Saban Center at Brookings.
Earlier this month at a posh party to honor of an Iranian dissident, Saban committed what many see as a faux pas. At a Hollywood reception held in honor of the celebrated Iranian dissident, Akbar Ganji, Saban’s one issue attitude to the state of Israel led to a confrontation with the guest of honor. Before an audience of eighty celebrities who had accepted invitations from Mike Medavoy to meet Ganji, Saban’s pointed remarks caused a scene. During Ganji's address, the Iranian nuclear project became a point of contention between Ganji and Saban. Ganji advocated total disarmament of the Middle East, but Saban objected sharply and argued that Israel needed its nuclear arsenal. During their exchange, Saban made an insensitive remark characterizing the Palestinian people as suicide bombers a crude tactic that introduced a double standard by demonizing all Muslims as terrorists. Precisely what point Saban was attempting to make remains obscure to this day, but he was apparently proposing that the Israeli nuclear arsenal is justified as a deterrent to the suicide bombing in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank although it seems doubtful that he was actually proposing an Israeli nuclear attack on Ramallah. When Saban launched his peculiar insult, Ganji reacted very coolly. With calm self-assurance, Ganji replied, "The only way is to ban the bombs for everyone." With that smooth put down, Saban lost face.
Medavoy's party was attended by eighty celebrities including: Warren Beatty, Annette Bening, Sean Penn, Brad Pitt, Jake Gylenhaal and Mark Ruffalo who all witnessed Saban's clumsy and embarrassing attempt to discredit the guest of honor. They were not impressed. Ganji had just been released from a six-year prison term in Iran. After the contretemps, the audience snubbed Saban. Mark Ruffalo was quoted in the Los Angeles Times, praising Ganji, "This has put a whole new face on Iran for me. It deepens it and makes it more human."
In the aftermath of the Medavoy party, the political fallout is now perfectly obvious. Saban has stalked out of the Democratic Party and taken Spielberg, Katzenberg, Zucker and Yorkin with him. Mearsheimer and Walt might describe this realignment as a decisive move by the pro-Israel faction of Hollywood that is now in the process of jumping from the Democratic ship and moving over to the Republican Party. Perhaps, this epiphenomenon is only local and will be contained in California, but there is polling evidence that indicates the Orthodox Hebrew community in America is more attuned to the values of the Republicans than to the Democrats. Fortunately for the Democrats, this will probably be a relatively small leakage, as the vast majority of American Jews are liberal and progesssive in sharp distinction to Saban, Indyk and their ilk. So, too are many Jews in Hollywood. Barbara Streisand, Elliot Gould, Alan Alda and many more come readily to mind as lifelong liberals and progressives.
At the same time, many Jewish leaders in California have been sharply critical of the policies of the government of Israel especially during its recent losing war against Hizbullah. Rabbi Michael Lerner, the founder of Tikkun, a liberal Jewish organization, recently accused the Olmert government of serious ethical violations of traditional Hebrew morality. Rabbi Lerner implored Americans to, "challenge Israeli policy – (because) Israel has crossed a moral boundary." Elaborating on his theme, Rabbi Lerner charged, "It’s impossible as a Jew and as an American to not notice that a new human rights violation by Israel has taken place which manages to surpass many of its previous violations in cruelty and in the outrage it has generated." Rabbi Lerner’s pleas were apparently lost on the man who became a billionaire by pandering the moral authority of Power Ranger ultra-violence and the principle of might makes right to under-age children.
If the current trend goes national, the political faction that Mearsheimer and Walt dubbed, "The Israel Lobby" appears to be transforming their coats into that plain Republican cloth that another California politician named "Richard Nixon" touted in his famous Checkers Speech. Ironically, since the death of Nixon, Watergate tapes have been released that reveal Nixon’s rabid anti-Semitism, his hatred and suspicion of people he termed, "The Jews." Eventually, the attitudes of rank and file Republicans to Jewish concerns may cause some of Saban's disloyal group to regret their support of Schwarzenegger and his heavyweight neoconservative brand of Republican Party Lite.
Apparently Saban has not learned that mainstream political parties in the US are never devoted to one and only "one issue" - even when they are bullied by their most generous and well-meaning contributors, and much less those who split their allegiances between rival parties and nations other than the United States of America and the constitutional democracy for which it stands.
Michael Carmichael became a professional public affairs consultant, author and broadcaster in 1968. He worked in five American presidential campaigns for progressive candidates from RFK to Clinton. In 2003, he founded The Planetary Movement, a nonprofit public affairs organization based in the United Kingdom. He has appeared as a public affairs expert on the BBC's Today, Hardtalk, and PM, as well as numerous appearances on BBC FiveLive, ITN, NPR and European broadcasts examining politics and culture. He can be reached through his website: