Friday, September 6, 2013

Cluster Munitions: Syria Use Persists


Every soldier who enlists in the army is constantly drilled home the point of the difference between a civilian and another combatant, and that how we execute our duties in war is reflective of our nation’s ideals and beliefs.

Syria’s use of cluster munitions (cluster bombs as they are colloquially known) goes against the fundamental ethics that soldiers are meant to adhere to in war. Cluster bombs are manufactured such that the shrapnel that is created upon detonation is both lethal and far-reaching. The fact that this weaponry has been used in urban areas where civilians are located is absolutely abominable and beyond reprieve. Thee depravity of this act is further highlighted by the fact that these bombs can sometimes go undetonated for decades before perhaps some unsuspecting child accidentally stumbles upon it with tragic consequences.

Syria’s detestable actions during the war seem comprehensive. As mentioned in the article, they have also been accused of chemical warfare against civilian populations. During my training, we were given a taste of the effects of chemical weaponry. We were placed in an enclosed room pumped with a mix of certain chemicals (a mild form of course) and made to stay inside. Almost immediately, the effects were obvious and within 3 minutes, the majority of those inside were close to collapsing. My officer described death by mustard gas like drowning in the air. There is a fantastic poem by Wilfred Owen, “Dulce Et Decorum Est”, that describes the atrocities of chemical warfare. I have listed a link to the full poem below.

This behavior is unforgivable and calls for immediate retribution. It seems outrageous that political maneuvering is considered more important by the countries and members of the United Nations than the atrocious war crimes being committed against innocent civilians in Syria. Every day that the world continues to neglect this problem, more and more innocent people will perish in appalling ways and this is inexcusable.  

Dulce Et Decorum Est --

1 comment:

  1. Wow. Thank you so much for bringing up this poem. It's true, gas poisoning has been used in almost war since WWI, even though it has been declared illegal. In WWII, gas was used to kill in the Holocaust, in Vietnam there was Agent Orange, which is still killing people today, and here we are today in Syria. It's a weapon of mass destruction, but one that continues to kill, as you pointed out, for many years afterwards.This poem helps us really put a human, individual face on what it means to die this way. We just have to multiply it by millions.