Friday, September 13, 2013
Bomblets of Death in Syria
(the interior of a cluster bomb - "cluster bomblets")
As we all are probably aware, the nation of Syria is currently experiencing a lot of upheaval and destruction due to the ongoing civil war. The country has been embroiled in violence since the protests of 2011, the initial killings of protesters by the government sparking revolution and rebellion. Now, the violence has escalated to unprecedented levels and the entire world is becoming concerned if not involving themselves directly. The concern stems from the now-confirmed use by the Syrian government (the Assad regime) of chemical weapons on its civilians. On top of their use of chemical weapons, the Syrian government has for months been bombing civilians with cluster bombs. This is, to me, more disturbing than the singular instance of a chemical weapon being used and is arguably a greater offense to human rights as well.
Cluster bombs are essentially bombs containing other, smaller bombs that explode after being released from the larger bomb (for a more detailed description: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cluster_munition). This is the kind of weapon the Syrian government has deemed acceptable for use, a weapon most countries do not allow, and the government can do so because “Syria is not among the 112 nations that have signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions.” (www.hrw.org). This is a violation of human rights because not only are the Syrian officials not acting in the service of their citizens but they also are using harmful weapons to suppress the freedoms the citizens want. I am very uncomfortable with the use of cluster munitions because their sole purpose is indiscriminate mass destruction of life, which is completely unnecessary in this day and age. The UN exists to try to mediate disputes and prevent such occurrences, and I much prefer the discussion table to the battlefield for settling arguments. Unfortunately, “The Syrian government’s response has been to deny it is using cluster munitions, dismiss the evidence as “untrue,” and claim that its armed forces do not even possess the weapons … cluster munitions have been so stigmatized by the treaty banning them that the Damascus government feels unable even to try to justify using these banned weapons.” (www.hrw.org).
Many countries are currently taking action or preparing to interfere in the Syrian civil war, and hopefully these atrocities will soon cease. Though fighting has been ongoing for two years, the chemical and cluster weapons have been in use for a much shorter time period, hence the failure of other nations to get involved. Since the Syrian government has begun use of these banned weapons, however, and because Syrian civilians are at risk not only from the initial use of these weapons but also from unexploded bomblets, it is a time for action. Now that a real threat has been shown by the Syrian government’s use of two different types of prohibited weapons, it is time to put a stop to the carnage and, thankfully, President Obama believes the same.