Israel is playing an 'Oliver Twist'. It seems it really needs Cluster Bombs to drop on Lebanon.
More? More? You want more?But unlike the workhouse master Mr. Bumble in the Charles Dickens classic, the US will probably gladly oblige.
WASHINGTON, Aug. 10 — Israel has asked the Bush administration to speed delivery of short-range antipersonnel rockets armed with cluster munitions, which it could use to strike Hezbollah missile sites in Lebanon, two American officials said Thursday.Why would they be careful with these bombs? They're hardly renowned for the care when bombing are they?
The request for M-26 artillery rockets, which are fired in barrages and carry hundreds of grenade-like bomblets that scatter and explode over a broad area, is likely to be approved shortly, along with other arms, a senior official said.
But some State Department officials have sought to delay the approval because of concerns over the likelihood of civilian casualties, and the diplomatic repercussions. The rockets, while they would be very effective against hidden missile launchers, officials say, are fired by the dozen and could be expected to cause civilian casualties if used against targets in populated areas.
Israel is asking for the rockets now because it has been unable to suppress Hezbollah’s Katyusha rocket attacks in the month-old conflict by using bombs dropped from aircraft and other types of artillery, the officials said. The Katyusha rockets have killed dozens of civilians in Israel.
The United States had approved the sale of M-26’s to Israel some time ago, but the weapons had not yet been delivered when the crisis in Lebanon erupted. If the shipment is approved, Israel may be told that it must be especially careful about firing the rockets into populated areas, the senior official said.
The M-26 “is a particularly deadly weapon,” Bonnie Docherty, a researcher with Human Rights Watch, who helped write a study of the United States’ use of the weapons in the 2003 Iraq invasion. “They were used widely by U.S. forces in Iraq and caused hundreds of civilian casualties.”Will the State Dept. learn from the mistakes of the past? Will it aid the IDF in making the same horrific attacks?
After the Reagan administration determined in 1982 that the cluster munitions had been used by Israel against civilian areas, the delivery of the artillery shells containing the munitions to Israel was suspended.
Israel was found to have violated a 1976 agreement with the United States in which it had agreed only to use cluster munitions against Arab armies and against clearly defined military targets. The moratorium on selling Israel cluster weapons was later lifted by the Reagan administration.
Last week, State Department officials were studying records of what happened in 1982 as part of their internal deliberations into whether to grant approval for the sale to go forward.
We all know that answer.
Source: New York Times