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LEBANON: Cluster Bombs Could Kill for Years

World  (tags: world, politics, middle-east, israel, Lebanon, cluster bombs, landmines, health, 'HUMANRIGHTS!', 'CIVILLIBERTIES!' )

- 2417 days ago -
Although Lebanon has been plagued by landmines since its 1975-1990 civil war and subsequent Israeli occupation, it faced unprecedented contamination levels from cluster munitions after Israel launched a 34-day war in July 2006

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AWAY AWHILE Cal Mendelsohn (1067)
Monday September 12, 2011, 4:07 am
Not pleased to have to report this and I think that Hezbollah "launched" this war, but landmines are a leading cause of death and destruction on the old battlefields in three continents.

Cheree M (46)
Monday September 12, 2011, 4:28 am
Sadly Noted.

Past Member (0)
Monday September 12, 2011, 4:06 pm
Here's my suspicion:

Hezbollah rules southern Lebanon. It gets its recruits and many supplies there (those not brought in through Syria). At the time, southern and northern Lebanon did not get along and, I understand, still don't. This can easily be seen as after the war, the government, which gets its support from the north, actually tried to shut down Hezbollah's internal communications (and failed when Hezbollah threatened to kill the parliament). If Israel could drive the people living in the south out then that would cripple Hezbollah's support-infrastructure, and if it could completely clear the area near the southern border, that would even destroy Hezbollah's official reason for existence. Cluster bombs, by creating exactly the current situation, are perfect for driving such emigration.

It's one really nasty method and I don't like it, but if it can bring a less horribly violent end to the conflict between the two countries then I could forgive it. Mines and unexploded ordinance is bad and I'm proud to say I once almost got a job clearing it in Eastern Europe (the company hired me, but then did not get the contract). Another war would be worse. Of course, I suspect all it will end up doing is tying up relief-resources clearing the bombs.

Tereza Zugloi (0)
Monday September 12, 2011, 11:10 pm
its hame really.

Rose Becke (141)
Tuesday September 13, 2011, 12:27 am
it certainly will Thanks Cal

Bob Algeron (47)
Thursday September 15, 2011, 5:55 am
Stephen, I think Olmert just did not know what to do, and in desperation threw those trashy bombs, which do not explode.

Mines are good deterrent against terrorists, but need to be used carefully.

Past Member (0)
Thursday September 15, 2011, 10:20 pm
It might have been a calcuated move, or just Olmert panicking. If it was a matter of not knowing what to do, though, my guess is it would have been Israel's Lt. General.

The 2006 fight was the first significant conflict in which Israel's top uniformed officer had been drawn from the air force. Whatever technological advances there have been in the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st, while air supremacy does provide many benefits, war is still fought on land. The general was used to commanding forces for which his primary objective was staying out of the enemy's reach and that just does not work overall with current technology. He tried everything he could imagine which might let the ground forces advance unimpeded, but I suspect the UXOs (unexploded ordinance) left over from the bombings may have stopped that.

There is one not-nasty lining: These are UXOs, not mines. I studied their removal when I got a job with a company removing them in Eastern Europe. (Unfortunately, the company did not get the contract so I never started work. That would have been a great trip, good money, and a good experience helping people.) They are not too difficult to find, and if neither a drop from a plane nor their detonators being activated set them off, they are not likely to go off easily. In fact, the explosive power tends to vary inversely with how easily it goes off (except for mines). Grenades are like eggshells and anti-vehicle rounds will go off (and probably kill you) if you step on them. Beyond that, mortars, artillery shells, and dropped bombs will usually only go off if you try to move them or do something stupid. Of course, there are children in the area who may not know better and adults who may not recognize a half-buried bomb.

On that note, for any students here looking for a summer job that you'll feel good about, if you're in really good physical condition I recommend UXO mapping. It consists mostly of walking back and forth across old battlefields or practice-grounds with a heavy metal detector searching for buried UXOs. Then maybe you can process your results and make the maps. (Vehicles would blind the detectors.) You get to travel (unless you're unfortunate enough to have such work near home), help save lives, and make a good bit of cash doing it.
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