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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Clinton's cluster bombs

Today's International Herald Tribune carries a report on a meeting in Dublin yesterday where diplomats from more than 100 countries discussed an international treaty to ban cluster bombs. As the article points out, the three biggest producers of cluster bombs--the United States, Russia, and China--have opposed such a ban and did not send representatives to Dublin. However, the ban has received the support of United Nations secretary general Ban Ki Moon and Pope Benedict XVI; and according to the Trib story, nine British generals also backed the treaty in a letter published Monday in the London Times (the generals included former field commanders in the former Yugoslavia and Iraq.)

As I have mentioned earlier, in 2006 Hillary Clinton voted against an amendment introduced into the Senate by Dianne Feinstein that would have barred the Defense Department from buying, using, or transferring cluster bombs unless it could be guaranteed that they would not be used in or near civilian areas--as Israel did wantonly during its recent invasion of Lebanon. Seventy senators, including Hillary Clinton, voted against the ban; 30 senators, including Barack Obama, voted for it (see the roll call here.) Most observers assumed that Clinton did not want to be seen as criticizing Israel, a fair assumption given that she ran to downtown Manhattan to attend a pro-Israel rally right after the Lebanon invasion to show her unqualified support.

This is the kind of "experience" and "judgement" that Hillary Clinton brings to the world stage. Thank God the primary campaign is almost over.

Update I: Speaking of members of Congress and their voting patterns, historian Andrew Hunt--one of the blogosphere's best and brightest up-and-comers--talks today about North Carolina Representative Walter Jones and his fight to keep his seat after turning against the war in Iraq. You will remember that in the now distant past, Jones, a Republican, lobbied for renaming the French fries in the House dining hall "Freedom Fries" after the French expressed doubts about the wisdom of going to war. Jones later had a change of heart about the war (Andrew describes it in detail in his post.) That principled stand led conservative Republicans to oppose him in the North Carolina Congressional primary earlier this month, unsuccessfully as it turned out--yet another bad sign for the party's changes this fall. Hillary Clinton, of course, has yet to express any remorse over her vote to authorize the war, which is one reason why she will not become president of the United States any time soon.

Update II:
Dan Clery, Science's deputy European news editor, reports (see below) that he has completed the 10 km run for diabetes, but I will keep his widget up a few more days as I see he has not yet met his target (see column on the left.)

Dan sez:

"I completed the Woodbridge 10 km race on Sunday with a time of 55 minutes. At this rate of slowing, by the time I'm 54 I'll be doing it at walking pace.
Anyway, many many thanks to all those who supported the run with donations to Diabetes UK. If you still want to contribute, the website will continue to take donations for another 2 months. Just click on:
Thanks
Dan"

Update on cluster bombs: May 28: News report emphasize Britain's abandonment of it's U.S. ally on this issue, Gordon Brown has instructed government negotiators to drop opposition to the cluster bomb ban.

1 comment:

Woody said...

We don't need Congress telling the President and our military which weapons they may and may not use. The circumstances on the field of battle and the appropriate means to combat adversaries are best determined by those who are fighting and whose lives are at risk.