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Landmine Bombshell

Yet again we have a policy of compromise from the Bush administration which will be spun by its detractors as one-sided arrogant unilateralism.

The Bush administration is set to declare it intends to make all U.S. land mines detectable to American forces and scrap those that are not timed to self-destruct. But it will not join the 150 nations that have signed an anti-land mine treaty.

While continuing to find useful military purposes in land mines, the policy shift rules out retaining any that are not timed to be disarmed. At the same time, though, the Clinton administration’s goal to have the treaty signed by the United States in 2006 if conditions are right is being supplanted by outright opposition to joining the international accord.

The decision to get rid of land mines that are militarily useless and make all land mines detectable by U.S. authorities and automatically defuseable - or “smart” - is designed to lessen the danger of people and vehicles accidentally tripping over hidden mines in countries such as Afghanistan and Cambodia.

The United States, Russia and China are among the 47 countries that have not signed the treaty, on which Canada took the lead, and a senior U.S. official said in advance of the expected announcement Friday that the Bush administration did not intend to be hemmed in by the accord and would not sign it.

Let us not forget, gentle reader, that Bill Clinton refused to sign America to this treaty, yet it will be Bush who is villified for compromising on America’s landmine policies because he didn’t capitulate far enough.  And I would be remiss in not pointing out that the country who “took the lead” in signing this treaty, Canada, is also a country with a bankrupt army.  I imagine it’s quite easy to sign on to a law banning your use of landmines when you have a military that, generally speaking, goes nowhere and does nothing.

The administration, like its predecessors, considers land mines a useful deterrent to attack - on the Korean peninsula, for instance. As a result, those land mines that are retooled to become inoperable may be reset before they self-destruct if they are judged to have a continuing, significant military purpose, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The announcement was expected to include a decision to double to $70 million what the United States spends annually to locate and remove mines considered hazards to people and serving no deterrent purpose, the official said,

Lincoln Bloomfield, an assistant secretary of state who is President Bush’s special adviser on land mines, was scheduled to announce the new policy at the State Department.

So, we’re changing our landmine policies, making the mines self-destructing and easier to locate, and we’re doubling our spending on landmine removal.  Bush = Hitler.

Posted by Lee on 02/27/04 at 12:51 PM in Politics • Permalink


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