Thursday, February 13, 2020

The Erickson Report, Page 8: Two Weeks of Stupid: Clowns and Outrages [the Outrage]

The Erickson Report, Page 8: Two Weeks of Stupid: Clowns and Outrages [the Outrage]

[Because the discussion of the "Deal of the Century" ran so long, I had to edit on the fly and the part about "non-persistent" mines didn't make it to air.]

Living in a sea of Outrages and with time for just one, I chose this one because it has gotten, I think, too little attention.
In 1997, something called the Ottawa Process lead to the Mine Ban Treaty, an agreement to ban landmines, which are notoriously indiscriminate and persist to cause injury long after the conflict in which they were used is over.

It went into force in 1999. Today, 164 nations are party to the Treaty. Despite helping to develop it, the US is not among the signers.

However, in September 2014 the Obama administration announced a commitment not to use antipersonnel landmines outside of the Korean Peninsula and not to assist, encourage, or induce other nations to use, stockpile, produce, or transfer antipersonnel mines outside of Korea. This came three months after the US forswore future production or acquisition of antipersonnel landmines.

So while the US still was not a signatory to the Treaty, it had taken a big step towards being in line with it.

But on January 31, the Tweetie-pie White House reversed that directive, allowing combatant commanders to use antipersonnel landmines anywhere the "specific operational context" allows.

result of a landmine in the war in Yemen
This is attached to a claim that landmines are necessary for US forces and that not using them "could place them at a severe disadvantage." However, the US has not used antipersonnel mines since 1991, has not exported them since 1992, has not produced them since 1997, and has destroyed millions of stockpiled mines. And yet somehow the military manages to carry on.

The claim is that the mines to be used in the future are an advanced, "non-persistent" type intended to "reduce unintended harm to civilians" but that's a verbal fig leaf to cover the fact that the mines are indiscriminate weapons that still can't tell the difference between friend and foe, innocent and enemy, adult and child, human and animal (note they only promise to "reduce" the number of civilians killed and maimed).

Moreover, Jeff Abramson, senior fellow with the Arms Control Association, dismisses the "advanced" landmines outright. "Technical solutions to make landmines self-destruct or otherwise labeled as 'smart.'" he said, "have failed to work as advertised" and have been rejected by the countries that have signed onto the Treaty.

What makes this especially outrageous is that you know damn well that the only reason this was done is that it was an Obama-era policy and Tweetie-pie seems determined to make it like the Obama years never happened.

On all accounts, an Outrage.

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