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Biden Announces U.S. Will Supply Ukraine with Cluster Bombs: A Rain of Death That Kills for Decades

Children play near cluster bombs in Laos, 1997.


Children play near cluster bombs in Laos, 1997.    Photo: AP

Soupha is a nine-year-old boy in the town of Kasi, Laos. Two years ago, he was playing with friends when he picked up what he thought was a ball. The “ball” he picked up to play with was a cluster bomb that had been dropped years before by the U.S. The “ball” exploded when Soupha touched it.

Soupha was seriously injured and scarred, but survived. Two friends he was playing with were killed. Soupha’s friends were among the approximately 20,000 people—almost all of them civilians, 45 percent of them children—who have been killed or injured in Laos by cluster bombs since the end of the 10-year-long “secret war” that the U.S. waged on Laos between 1964 and 1973, as it waged war on the people of Vietnam and other countries of Southeast Asia.

During those years, U.S. pilots flew 580,000 bombing attacks on Laos, and dropped an average of one planeload of bombs every eight minutes for almost ten years. When it was over, a total of 2,093,100 tons of bombs—many of them cluster bombs—had fallen on the neutral country. The bomb that killed Soupha’s friends was one of an estimated 80 million unexploded cluster bombs still in Laos.

Biden Sends Outlawed Ammunition to Ukraine

The cluster bomb is so horrific that 120 countries have signed an agreement prohibiting the production, use, stockpiling, and transfer of this weapon. But not America (nor Russia or Ukraine). On July 7, Joe Biden announced that he is ordering a shipment of cluster bombs to Ukraine.

When cluster bombs “work right” and explode, they release dozens or hundreds of small explosives—“bomblets”—over a wide area. They can be fired from airplanes, by artillery, or by missiles. People in a cluster bombed area are very likely to be killed or seriously wounded. Bomblets that don’t explode upon ground contact remain deadly, even for decades after they were dropped. According to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), in recent conflicts there has been a “dud rate” (bombs that didn’t explode upon ground contact) of up to 40 percent.

In Laos, an estimated 30 percent of the 270 million cluster bombs the U.S. dropped remain unexploded. That is 81 million unexploded bombs in a country with a population of about 7.6 million. Those “dud” bombs can remain dormant for years and even decades, until a child like Soupha thinks he may have found a tennis ball, or a farmer plows one up as she is preparing a field for planting.

Systematically Terrorizing Civilians

Cluster bombs are especially effective in terrorizing civilian populations. The vice-president of the ICRC said in a speech last year, “Cluster munitions remain one of the world's most treacherous weapons. They kill and maim indiscriminately and cause widespread human suffering. They make it unsafe for people displaced by war to return to their homes and farmers to their fields, for years if not decades after conflicts end. Children are among their primary victims.”

Lebanese boy


Lebanese boy maimed by cluster bomb.    Photo: AP

Iraqi child maimed by cluster bomb.


Iraqi child maimed by cluster bomb.   

Again, this is the weapon Joe Biden is now sending to Ukraine. Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security advisor, told reporters that there was a unanimous recommendation from the national security team, and President Biden ultimately decided, in consultation with allies and partners and in consultation with members of Congress, to move forward on this strategy.”

Think for a minute about how twisted and sadistic someone has to be to design and make weapons like cluster bombs, knowing they will kill children. Then think about what kind of social and political system would order these weapons to be mass produced, and sent to war zones. Think about what kind of leaders would say this is a good thing.

The very system of American capitalism-imperialism, with leaders like Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. You know, the country you live in. Then ask yourself, what are you going to do about it?

Democrats Perpetrate and Perpetuate Bloody War Crimes

Nineteen Congressional Democrats signed a letter expressing weak-kneed opposition to sending cluster bombs to Ukraine. The letter was wrapped in self-righteous horseshit, in what these “progressives” called the U.S.’s “proud commitment to global moral leadership and the defense of human rights.” The signers stated their continued support for “our Ukrainian allies’ defense against Russia’s aggression.” In short, they want the war to continue, but with a better façade of “humanitarianism.”

Quit deluding yourself. As Revolution has written, “The Democrats are not the ‘party of peace’—their entire record is one of bloody war crimes and crimes against humanity. They have demonstrated over and over again they have no hesitation at all when it comes to killing millions of people in the interests of the U.S. empire. The Democrats are the party of nuclear bombs dropped on densely populated cities … the party of napalm—jellied gasoline that burns to the bone dropped on children … the party of drone strikes on wedding parties. And now, under Democratic Party leadership, this country is bringing the world to the brink of nuclear war. It’s way past time for people to stop being a tail on the Democratic donkey!”1

And as Bob Avakian said in his speech Why We Need an Actual Revolution and How We Can Really Make Revolution,

...we have two choices: either, live with all this—and condemn future generations to the same, or worse, if they have a future at all—or, make revolution!



1. See Revolution’s chartThe Republican Party Is Fascist. The Democratic Party Is Also a Machine of Massive War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity. This System CANNOT Be Reformed—It MUST Be Overthrown! Republicans, Democrats and U.S. Crimes Against Humanity” [back]

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