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New York Times Reports Cluster Bomb Use

Aug 25, 2006

On August 24 The New York Times reported the Israeli use of cluster bombs in Lebanon. It is actually quite a good and complete article. Here is the article in part, along with some personal comments:

Inquiry Opened Into Israeli Use of U.S. Bombs 

By 
DAVID S. CLOUD

WASHINGTON, Aug. 24 — The State Department is investigating whether Israel’s use of American-made cluster bombs in southern Lebanon violated secret agreements with the United States that restrict when it can employ such weapons, two officials said.

The investigation by the department’s Office of Defense Trade Controls began this week, after reports that three types of American cluster munitions, anti-personnel weapons that spray bomblets over a wide area, have been found in many areas of southern Lebanon and were responsible for civilian casualties.

Gonzalo Gallegos, a State Department spokesman, said, “We have heard the allegations that these munitions were used, and we are seeking more information.” He declined to comment further.

MY COMMENT: This is the same State Department that is so quick to judge Iran, Syria, and other countries--with or without evidence. But in this case, they are pretending NOT TO KNOW anything. Believe me, American Intelligence organizations are not that stupid, especially when it involves American-made cluster bombs. the news media has showed footage of cluster bombs in these villages. Did the news media and the U.N. discover this before the CIA knew about it? C'mon now.

Later in the article, we read:

Officials were granted anonymity to discuss the investigation because it involves sensitive diplomatic issues and agreements that have been kept secret for years.

The agreements that govern Israel’s use of American cluster munitions go back to the 1970’s, when the first sales of the weapons occurred, but the details of them have never been publicly confirmed. The first one was signed in 1976 and later reaffirmed in 1978 after an Israeli incursion into Lebanon. News accounts over the years have said that they require that the munitions be used only against organized Arab armies and clearly defined military targets under conditions similar to the Arab-Israeli wars of 1967 and 1973.

A Congressional investigation after Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon found that Israel had used the weapons against civilian areas in violation of the agreements. In response, the Reagan administration imposed a six-year ban on further sales of cluster weapons to Israel.

MY COMMENT: So now we learn that the Israelis used cluster bombs in their 1982 invasion of Lebanon also. If that is the case, then why would the State Department be so reluctant to admit their use of cluster bombs in 2006? Are they afraid that the Israelis have made them all look like fools once again?

Israeli officials acknowledged soon after their offensive began last month that they were using cluster munitions against rocket sites and other military targets. While Hezbollah positions were frequently hidden in civilian areas, Israeli officials said their intention was to use cluster bombs in open terrain.

MY COMMENT: Their use of cluster bombs "in open terrain" resulted in 249 villages being peppered with cluster bombs, as it says below. One or two towns might be a credible "mistake," but 200 towns is a deliberate war crime.

But a report released Wednesday by the United Nations Mine Action Coordination Center, which has personnel in Lebanon searching for unexploded ordnance, said it had found unexploded bomblets, including hundreds of American types, in 249 locations south of the Litani River.

MY COMMENT: The New York Times is to be commended for reporting this, although it is possible that since the story was already out, they had no choice but to report it. This was something that could not be hidden. You may read the full article by going to:

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/25/world/middleeast/25cluster.html?ei=5065&en=640e4b88aef47322&ex=1157083200&partner=MYWAY&pagewanted=print


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Category: News Commentary
Blog Author: Dr. Stephen Jones