The U.S. and Cluster Munitions: Lessons Disregarded

by Oct 14, 2004Foreign Policy0 comments

The decision by the United States government to use cluster munitions in the war in Iraq has not gone entirely unnoticed by the American media. A study by USA Today, for instance, acknowledged that civilian deaths – “collateral damage” in Pentagon parlance – from the use of cluster munitions were an “unintended but predictable” result […]

The decision by the United States government to use cluster munitions in the war in Iraq has not gone entirely unnoticed by the American media. A study by USA Today, for instance, acknowledged that civilian deaths – “collateral damage” in Pentagon parlance – from the use of cluster munitions were an “unintended but predictable” result of the decision by the U.S. government, which, the author adds, is “determined to minimize civilian casualties”, to go to war “with stockpiles of weapons known to endanger civilians and its own soldiers.”[1] Little attempt was made to reconcile the contradiction, which seems to have passed unnoticed by the author.

Indeed, with the original pretext now universally known to have been fraudulent (being only slightly less well known well prior to the invasion), apologists for the war, in their revisions, have tried to portray the invasion as a sort of humanitarian intervention exercised for the benefit of the Iraqi people. It is perhaps no wonder, then, that the use of indiscriminate weapons such as cluster munitions was largely ignored, on account of the significant challenge it might otherwise present to that hypothesis.

Cluster munitions are weapons that can be delivered either from the air or from the ground, and consist of a bomb or projectile that opens in mid-air, dispersing large numbers of smaller munitions, or submunitions. Models vary, with some delivery systems having a capacity to carry hundreds of submunitions designed to saturate areas as large as the size of several football fields with deadly shrapnel.[2] This design capability makes the weapons particularly indiscriminate when used in areas where civilians may be present.

But what makes cluster weapons even more controversial is the fact that a number of submunitions with each weapon used will be destined to “fail”, which means that they will not explode, as intended, in mid-air or upon impact, but which will lay dormant on or in the ground as de facto landmines, posing a serious threat to civilians long after the initial strike is ended. “The indiscriminate nature of cluster weapons,” a report by the Mennonite Central Committee notes, “is not only present in their method of delivery but, like landmines, in their continued threat over time.”[3]

The legality of cluster weapons under International Humanitarian Law is questionable at best. Apologists for the use of these weapons rely upon legalistic interpretations that demonstrate their contempt for the spirit of the Geneva Conventions and other international treaties which seek to outlaw the use of indiscriminate weapons that inevitably cause undue harm to civilians. Groups which seek to ban the use of cluster weapons point out that unexploded submunitions are no different in nature than anti-personnel landmines. “The rationale that led the international community to stand with the survivors of landmine injuries and enact a ban on anti-personnel landmines,” the Mennonite Central Committee report observes, “also applies to cluster weapons.”[4] According to Human Rights Watch, “Submunition duds are more lethal than antipersonnel mines; incidents involving submunition duds are much more likely to cause death than injury.”[5]

The 1997 Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production, and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Landmines and on their Destruction, otherwise known as the Mine Ban Treaty, prohibits the use of antipersonnel landmines. The United States, notably, has refused to sign the treaty. Moreover, “While cluster bomblet duds undeniably function like antipersonnel mines,” a report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) states, “they are not covered under the…Mine Ban Treaty”, which defines antipersonnel mines as munitions “designed to be exploded by the presence, proximity or contact of a person”. Cluster bombs, the report adds,  are not designed to be “victim-activated”; they merely “become so” after they “fail to function as designed”[6] – a distinction that the Pentagon and weapons manufacturers, who use built-in dud rates in computer models of the impact of cluster weapons,[7] have not failed to perceive.

Similarly, when U.S. legislation was proposed in 1997 to ban landmines, defined as those munitions, “designed, constructed, or adapted to be detonated or exploded by the presence, proximity or contact of a person and that will incapacitate, injure or kill one or more persons”, the Pentagon insisted that the word “primarily” be inserted at the beginning of the definition lest the ban also be interpreted to cover cluster munitions.[8]

The use of cluster munitions is not a new development in warfare. The U.S. has a long history of using such weapons.

Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam

A meeting of UN bodies and Non-Governmental Organizations issued a statement in November of 2003 noting that cluster bombs “in Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam…still pose a terrible threat, 30 years after the end of conflicts.”[9] With an estimated 2.3 million tons of bombs, including cluster bombs, dropped on Laos during the Vietnam war, it is one of the most heavily bombed countries in the world. A “typical” cluster bomb accident occurs when villagers use hoes or other instruments to prepare the soil for planting and unwittingly detonate the hidden killers.[10] According to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), as many as twenty-seven million unexploded submunitions remain in Laos alone. Some 11,000 people have been killed or injured by such weapons since the end of the war, more than 30 percent of whom have been children.[11]

Iraq and Kuwait

Cluster bombs were used extensively in the Persian Gulf War of 1991. Despite the pervasive self-congratulation in the government and media for the use of “precision” guided weapons, one-quarter of the bombs dropped on Iraq and Kuwait were actually cluster bombs. A significant number of surface-delivered cluster munitions were also used. A study by the U.S. Air Force noted the “excessively high dud rate” of cluster bombs used in Iraq as a consequence of the sandy or marshy environment in which the submunitions landed and the high altitude from which they were dropped. Even using the conservative five percent dud rate often cited by manufacturers and the Pentagon, however, estimates place more than one million unexploded submunitions on the ground.[12] The U.S. also used more than 100,000 landmines in Iraq and Kuwait during the Gulf war.[13]

The dangers posed to the civilian population were also increased due to the extensive use of cluster munitions in urban areas. According to Human Rights Watch, 1,600 civilians had been killed in Iraq and Kuwait by February 2003, as well as more than 2,500 injured, with 60 percent of the victims being children aged fifteen and under.[14] In 2001, it was estimated that casualties in northern Iraq alone averaged thirty per month.[15] The ICRC identified cluster munitions and other unexploded ordinance as the most significant threat to communities in southern Iraq. In March of 2003, as the U.S. was preparing to once again drop cluster munitions on Iraq, unexploded cluster munitions were still being located and destroyed in Kuwait at the rate of 200 per month. According to documents from the Kuwait Ministry of Defense, 2,400 duds were destroyed in 2002, with a similar number the previous year.[16]

Besides posing a serious and direct threat to the lives of civilians, the use of cluster munitions also slows economic recovery, requiring that plants, facilities, fields, and neighborhoods be cleared before any return to normalcy can begin. Unexploded ordinance was also said to represent the “greatest threat” to U.S. troops, with the General Accounting Office reporting that at times “ground movement came to a halt because units were afraid of encountering unexploded ordnance.” More than one hundred American soldiers were killed or injured by bomblets during the conflict.[17]


Instructively, the use of cluster bombs was prohibited during Operation Deliberate Force in Bosnia in 1995 by Major General Michael Ryan, who was later the U.S. Air Force chief of staff. An Air Force-sponsored study noted that “The problem was that the fragmentation pattern was too large to sufficiently limit collateral damage and there was also the further problem of potential unexploded ordnance.”[18] Despite this “problem”, the U.S. again used cluster bombs during Operation Allied Force in Yugoslavia, a decision condemned by human rights groups, including Human Rights Watch, which called upon NATO to “stop using them immediately.”[19]

According to Human Rights Watch, 90-150 civilians were killed by cluster bomb attacks, representing 15-26 percent of all civilian deaths, despite the fact that cluster bombs comprised only six percent of weapons used during the bombing. The group reported in 1999 that more than 100 civilians had been killed or injured by cluster bombs since the end of the conflict.[20] The ICRC reported that “cluster bombs killed 50 people and injured 101 in Kosovo during the first year after the bombing ended in June 1999”.[21] The UK Working Group on Landmines reported a similar number of deaths in August 2001, saying that cluster bombs caused about one death each week, while claiming the number of injuries as more than 150.[22] By April of 2001, Human Rights Watch was reporting that “more than 500 people have been killed or injured by cluster bomblets, mines, and other UXO [unexploded ordinance]” since the end of the conflict.[23]

On May 7, 1999, a cluster bomb struck a hospital and adjacent area,[24] killing 14 and wounding 28 civilians. The incident was widely criticized, forcing President Clinton to temporarily suspend the use of cluster bombs.[25] This directive was welcomed by Human Rights Watch as an indication of the “recognition of the humanitarian impact” and the “lack of necessity to use the weapon to accomplish the military objectives”. The organization also optimistically welcomed the “precedent for restricting cluster bomb use.”[26]

The Pentagon, meanwhile, was reporting casualty figures in what the human rights organization called a “whitewash”. In February 2000, Defense Secretary William Cohen testified before Congress, saying that the campaign was “the most precise and lowest-collateral-damage air operation ever conducted”. While perceiving the directive to cease the use of cluster bombs in a spirit of what could perhaps be called naïve optimism, if the subsequent record is any indication, Human Rights Watch also criticized Cohen for providing “no evidence to substantiate this summary assertion, nor any discussion of how many civilians died, why, or whether these deaths could have been avoided.” A report by the group released the day before Cohen’s testimony documented that “the number of incidents in which civilians were killed in the NATO air campaign in Yugoslavia is at least three times as high as what the Pentagon has claimed.”[27]

In the report, the human rights organization “identified four areas in which NATO fell short of its obligations to minimize civilian deaths”, including “its use of cluster bombs in populated areas, its attacks in populated areas during the day when civilians were most likely to be present, its attacks on mobile targets without ensuring that they were military in nature, and its decision to strike some targets of little or no military value despite a substantial risk of civilian death, such as Serb radio and television headquarters in Belgrade. Roughly half of the 500 civilian deaths in Yugoslavia are attributable to such conduct, which violated international humanitarian law.”[28]

“Many of the lessons to be drawn from NATO’s bombing campaign in Yugoslavia,” the group stated, “should also have been drawn from Operation Desert Storm in Iraq”.[29] William Arkin, a military consultant to Human Rights Watch, observed that “This was a war advertised as humanitarian in purpose, in which the Pentagon stressed that it was doing everything possible to minimize civilian casualties. Yet its report does not mention one measure taken or one lesson learned.”[30] The executive director, Kenneth Roth, prophetically noted that “the lack of critical self-scrutiny in the Pentagon report means that the many needless deaths in Iraq and Yugoslavia may well be repeated in the next war.”[31]

According to Human Rights Watch, 610 cluster bomb strike areas were identified across Kosovo. Using “a very conservative estimate of 5% failure rate”, some 15,000 duds were left behind by NATO forces.[32] While the British Ministry of Defence  also quoted the manufacturer’s estimate for its cluster bombs, the UN Mine Action Coordinating Centre in Kosovo reported a failure rate of 11-12 percent, based on “preliminary statistics”. Of course, the Ministry of Defence was not unaware that the five percent figure was an extremely conservative estimate, since it had admitted the failure rate of the same cluster bombs, also used in the Falklands, as having been 9.6 percent.[33]

The U.N. also criticized NATO for delaying the marking and removal of its unexploded bombs. John Flanagan, the program manger for the United Nations Mine Action Coordination Center, noted that NATO did not provide detailed information on airstrikes until nearly one year after the end of the conflict, and that it had failed to meet its commitments to survey and mark the bombed areas. “Sometimes,” he said, “the first we knew of a strike area was when there was a casualty.”[34]

Iraq (Part II)

The use of cluster bombs in Iraq continued well after the official cease fire of 1991. William M. Arkin, in a column in the Washington Post regarding the bombing of Iraq in 2001, commented that the decision, “still unnoticed by the American media”, to use cluster bombs known as  Joint Stand-off Weapons (JSOWs), which “have no real aimpoint” and “kill and wound innocent civilians for years to come”, is “likely to prove controversial.” While a Pentagon spokesman – preferring the nomenclature of “area munition” – described the cluster bomb as a “long-range, precision-guided, stand-off weapon”, Pentagon sources also acknowledged that “26 of the 28 JSOWs missed their aimpoints”. In the fitting words of the author, “So much for precision.”[35]

While the Iraq Mine Action Program existed at the time and was engaged in clearing unexploded ordinance from Iraq, it is under the jurisdiction of the United Nations and funded entirely through the Oil for Food Program.[36] In other words, the international community placed the financial burden for cleaning up the problem of unexploded ordinance, largely contributed to by the United States, upon the people of Iraq.


Afghanistan is among the most heavily mined nations in the world. Between 1990 and 2000, more than 225,000 landmines and 1.3 million pieces of unexploded ordinance, including submunition duds, were located and destroyed.[37] In 2000 an average of 88 casualties were reported each month, with an untold number of unreported incidents, as a result of landmines and other unexploded ordinance.[38] As the head of the ICRC in Afghanistan noted, “This legacy of 23 years of conflict has a terrible impact on the civilian population.”[39]

On October 7, 2001, the United States began its air campaign in Afghanistan. “The onset of hostilities” and the resulting limitation of international humanitarian assistance, Human Rights Watch reasonably predicted, “are likely to exacerbate the situation”.[40]

When questioned about the use of cluster bombs, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz responded, “We’re trying to avoid killing innocent people, but we have to win this war and we’ll use the weapons we need to in this war.”[41] On October 25, Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, acknowledged the use of cluster bombs in the conflict, saying, “As we said before, we’re going to use the entire spectrum of our conventional weaponry. And…yes, we have used cluster-bomb units.”[42]

The perfectly predictable exacerbation of the situation for the people of Afghanistan did not mitigate in the least the self-congratulatory praise in the government and media for the manner of waging the war. “Probably only the U.S. and its allies,” Meyers boasted, “could do it in such a way that we minimize civilian casualties.”[43] Instructively, in a further attempt at defending the U.S. use of cluster bombs, Meyers employed an argument that is essentially the intellectual equivalent of “two wrongs make a right”, saying, “[W]e understand the impact of [cluster bombs]. I would take you back to Semptember 11. We also understand the impact of that.”[44]

Between October 2001 and March 2002, the U.S. dropped about 1,228 cluster bombs containing 248,056 bomblets in Afghanistan, representing about five percent of the U.S. bombs dropped during that period. Using the conservative five percent failure rate, more than 12,400 explosive duds were left behind.[45] In November 2002, according to the ICRC, at least 127 casualties had been reported (an “underreported” figure), the majority of whom were under the age of eighteen.[46]

One particular concern was the yellow coloring of submunitions used in Afghanistan, which matched the color of food-aid parcels airdropped by the U.S. for humanitarian relief. One United Nations clearance expert stated that “Our experience in Kosovo showed us that children and youths were highly susceptible to the submunitions…. It is highly likely that many in Afghanistan will not know the difference between aerially delivered food aid and aerially delivered munitions.”[47] In June of 2002, the ICRC warned Afghan children not to play with unexploded cluster bomblets. “The size and color of the bomblets are unfortunately very attractive,” the ICRC stated, “especially to children.”[48]

This risk was not one that had gone unrecognized by the U.S. The BBC reported that U.S. psychological operation units broadcasting in Afghanistan warned civilians about the similar color of cluster bomblets and food packages, stating that “[W]e do not wish to see an innocent civilian mistake the bombs for food bags and take it away believing that it might contain food.”[49] The Department of Defense acknowledged this threat on November 1, 2001 and began dropping leaflets warning the civilian population of the danger.[50]

In March of 2002, Human Rights Watch, which had once again, along with the ICRC and the European Parliament, called for the cessation of the use of cluster munitions, conducted a mission to Afghanistan documenting numerous cases where “cluster bombs caused civilian harm” and noting that “The use of cluster bombs in inhabited villages raises serious targeting concerns.” By using cluster bombs in populated areas, the U.S. had “ignored the major targeting lesson of Yugoslavia.”[51]

Fortunately, the presence of demining groups in Afghanistan greatly contributed to the lessening of the impact of cluster bombs. The U.N. Mine Action Program for Aghanistan (MAPA) is involved in the clearance of mines and unexploded ordinance and coordinates numerous other mine action groups, including the U.K.-based HALO Trust. Afghan-based organizations contributing to clearance include the Mine Clearing Planning Agency (MCPA), The Organization for Mine Awareness and Afghan Rehabilitation (OMAR), and the Demining Agency for Afghanistan (DAFA).[52]

Among the obstacles confronting deminers were unfamiliarity with U.S. cluster bombs, a lack of equipment, such as chest and face protectors, and staff shortages due to the fleeing of many deminers after the onset of the U.S. bombing campaign. Often, civilians resorted to their own means of disposing the deadly submunitions. The U.N. requested information on the “nature, timing and targets of daily bombing runs so that innocent civilians would not be needlessly injured”. The U.S. was also requested to provide technical advice and assist with clearance of U.S. submunitions, unfamiliar to demining groups in the country. The Pentagon responded by saying that the U.S. military “does not get involved in clearance.”[53]

In the report released by Human Rights Watch following its mission to Afghanistan, the group acknowledged that “The United States seems to have improved technology and restricted use more than before”. Among the “positive changes” in targeting, “the United States did not target roads or bridges” and “did not use cluster bombs on industrial plants, communications sites, or other potentially dual-use facilities that would need to be cleared for recovery”.[54]

But despite having technologically more advanced cluster bombs available, the U.S. continued using older models and “still stockpiles the older versions as well as some Vietnam-era submunitions, which could be used in future wars.”[55] The U.S. has also taken to “disposing” of some of its older cluster munitions by selling them to foreign militaries.[56] Furthermore, despite the “positive changes”, the report continues, “cluster bomb attacks in Afghanistan raise the same basic problems as in the Gulf and Yugoslavia”, particularly with regard to the “continued” use of “cluster bombs in or near populated areas.”[57]

Iraq (Part III)

And so, when the U.S. was again preparing to invade Iraq in March of 2003, it was no extraordinary feat of prescience to say that “the use of cluster munitions in Iraq will result in grave dangers to civilians and friendly combatants.” Based upon studies of the Gulf war, Kosovo, and Afghanistan, Human Rights Watch observed, the dangers to civilians involved in using cluster munitions “are both foreseeable and preventable.”[58] The “devastating consequences” of the decision to use cluster bombs, Amnesty International similarly noted, “are utterly predictable.”[59]

Recalling the “excessively high dud rate” from the previous Gulf war, “Environmental factors,” HRW noted, “such as sand, wind, and marshes would likely contribute to producing even higher dud rates for submunitions”[60]

According to a study released by the General Accounting Office in 2002, the government’s plans on Iraq included not only the use of cluster munitions, but also the possible use of mines.[61] The International Campaign to Ban Landmines stated that about 90,000 landmines were deployed to the region for possible use in the conflict. Despite international efforts to outlaw their use, the Pentagon says it “retains the right to use landmines.”[62]

The U.S. also made extensive use of ground-launched cluster munitions in the Iraq war, which, according to the Department of Defense’s own report, have a failure rate as high as 16 percent.[63]

Crediting the Air Force with continuing the “trend” of “using fewer cluster bombs in populated areas”, Human Rights Watch nonetheless criticized the use of cluster munitions in Iraq as “a big step backwards for the U.S. military”, adding that “U.S. ground forces need to learn the lesson that the air force seems to have adopted: cluster munitions cannot be used in populated areas without huge loss of civilian life.”[64]

In early April, Amnesty International, citing the March 31 cluster bomb attack at al-Hilla’s hospital, in which “Two lorry-loads of dead civilians, including women in flowered dresses, were seen outside the hospital”, as “an example of indiscriminate killing of civilians and a grave violation of international humanitarian law”, reasonably predicted that “The attacks in the vicinity of civilian targets continue and are likely to escalate as fighting moves into Baghdad.”[65]

The attack on al-Hilla killed at least 33 civilians and injured 109. “While an egregious incident,” reported Human Rights Watch, “this was not an anomaly in the conflict in Iraq, or in Afghanistan in 2001 and 2002, or in Yugoslavia in 1999.”[66]

By mid-April, a report in Newsday said that a Central Command spokeswoman had anonymously confirmed that U.S. forces had hit urban areas of Baghdad with cluster munitions.[67] Human Rights Watch examined a photograph provided by Newsday and identified a cluster submunition from a weapon that has “an especially high failure rate.” The use of such weapons in Baghdad was condemned by the group and described by Kenneth Roth as “a disturbing step backwards – with deadly consequences.”[68]

On April 25, Richard B. Myers, describing cluster munitions as “precision guided”, told a press conference that coalition forces dropped “nearly 1,500 cluster bombs of varying types”, and that all but 26 fell outside 1,500 feet of civilian neighborhoods, causing only “one recorded case of collateral damage.”[69] Human Rights Watch issued a press release the same day calling the claim “misleading” since “Myers did not mention surface-launched cluster munitions, which are believed to have caused many more civilian casualties.” Kenneth Roth also pointed out that “Cluster munitions are not precision weapons.”[70]

Iraq Body Count, an organization which has documented a minimum of 13,224 civilian casualties in Iraq as of the writing of this article, also responded with disbelief to the Pentagon’s claim of one civilian death from cluster munitions, citing “detailed evidence of at least 200 civilians killed by coalition cluster bombs since the start of the Iraq War”, with “up to a further 172 deaths which were probably caused by cluster bombs.” Out of these, “147 have been caused by detonation of unexploded or ‘dud’ munitions, with around half this number being children.”[71]

In June, The Observer released a map produce by the Humanitarian Operations Centre based in Kuwait showing an Iraq littered with unexploded anti-personnel mines, cluster bombs and anti-tank mines. “Although some of the munitions are from the 1991 Gulf war and will have originally been fired by Iraqi forces,” the accompanying article noted, “experts in the field believe that most have been left since the recent conflict.” Officials also pointed out that “cluster bombs were only used by coalition forces.”[72]

No facts on the ground, however, could prevent the self-adulation of the government and the media for waging what George W. Bush praised as “one of the swiftest and most human military campaigns in history.”[73] Yet, a Human Rights Watch report from December 2003 noted, “thousands of Iraqi civilians were killed or injured during the three weeks”, with “Most of the civilian casualties attributable to Coalition conduct in the ground war”, a “result of ground-launched cluster munitions.”[74]

Immediately after the so-called “end of major combat operations” in May, the Associated Press surveyed 60 hospitals in Iraq and estimated that at least 3,420 civilians had been killed. Calling the count “fragmentary”, the news service added that “the complete toll—if it is ever tallied—is sure to be significantly higher.”[75] The Los Angeles Times surveyed 27 hospitals in Baghdad and surrounding areas and found that at least 1,700 civilians had been killed, with more than 8,000 wounded in the capital alone.[76]

In its World Report 2004, Human Rights Watch reported that the U.S. and U.K. “dropped nearly 13,000 cluster munitions, containing an estimated 1.8 to 2 million submunitions” in just the first three weeks of combat. “While only air-dropped cluster bombs were used in Yugoslavia and Afghanistan, far more surface-delivered than air-dropped cluster munitions were used in Iraq. A total of some 11,600 surface-delivered cluster munitions were used, containing at least 1.6 million submunitions.” A field investigation in Iraq resulted in the conclusion, predicted well in advance, that “cluster munition strikes, particularly ground attacks on populated areas, were a major cause of civilian casualties”.[77]

One could say the U.S. military has failed to learn the lessons from the use of cluster munitions in past conflicts, but the reality appears much more frightening than that. Given the lessons learned by numerous precedents, it seems an inevitable conclusion, contrary to its claim of waging the war in Iraq according to self-professed “humanitarian” principles, that this was a war waged with utter disregard for the civilian population. While professing to have improved both the use and manufacture of cluster munitions to decrease the risk to civilians, the U.S. has continued to use older stocks with higher dud rates. While professing to have avoided targeting populated areas with air-dropped cluster bombs, the U.S. has established a new precedent for the extensive use of ground-launched cluster munitions with much higher dud rates than their air-dropped counterparts. While professing to do everything possible to prevent the deaths of innocent civilians, the U.S. continues to use cluster munitions in populated areas where the indiscriminate effects of these weapons will continue be felt for years to come.

The results, though certainly “predictable”, can hardly be considered “unintentional”, any more than it can be said that a country which uses “weapons known to endanger civilians and its own soldiers” can also be said to be “determined to minimize civilian casualties.” In conclusion, it must be recognized, by any competent observer, that the use of cluster munitions is antithetical to any hypothesized concept of humanitarian warfare.

[1] Paul Wiseman, “Cluster bombs kill in Iraq, even after shooting ends”, USA Today, December 16, 2003

[2] “Drop Today, Kill Tomorrow: Cluster Munitions as Inhumane and Indiscriminate Weapons”, Mennonite Central Committee, 2003

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] “Cluster Munitions: Toward a Global Solution”, Human Rights Watch World Report 2004

[6] “Cluster Bombs in Afghanistan”, Human Rights Watch Backgrounder, October 2001

[7] “Drop Today, Kill Tomorrow”,  MCC

[8] Ibid.

[9] Andrew Buncombe, “Allied cluster bombs blamed for 1,000 deaths in Iraq”, The Independent, December 12, 2003

[10] “Drop Today, Kill Tomorrow”, MCC

[11] “Cluster Munitions”, HRW

[12] Ibid.

[13] “Landmines in Iraq: Questions and Answers”, Human Rights Watch, December 2002

[14] “Cluster Munitions”, HRW

[15] “Landmines in Iraq”, HRW

[16] “U.S. Cluster Bomb Duds A Threat: Warning Against Use of Cluster Bombs in Iraq”, Human Rights Watch Press Release, March 18, 2003

[17] “Fatally Flawed: Cluster Bombs and Their Use By the United States in Afghanistan”, Human Rights Watch Report, December 2002

[18] “Cluster Bombs in Afghanistan”, HRW

[19] “NATO’s Use of Cluster Bombs Must Stop”, Human Rights Watch Press Release, May 11, 1999

[20] “Cluster Bombs: Memorandum For Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) Delegates”, Human Rights Watch Memorandum, December 16, 1999

[21] Alexander G. Higgins, “Red Cross Urges Cluster Bomb Halt”, Associated Press, September 5, 2000

[22] Richard Norton-Taylor, “Cluster bombs: the hidden toll”, The Guardian, August 8, 2000,,351742,00.html

[23] “Cluster Bombs”, Human Rights Watch Memorandum, April 2, 2001

[24] Ibid.

[25] “Fatally Flawed”, HRW

[26] “Cluster Bombs: Memorandum For Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) Delegates”

[27] “Pentagon Report Whitewashes Civilian Deaths in Yugoslavia”, Human Rights Watch Press Release, February 8, 2000

[28] Ibid.

[29] Ibid.

[30] Ibid.

[31] Ibid.

[32] “Cluster Bombs”, HRW

[33] Richard Norton-Taylor

[34] Carlotta Gall, “U.N. Aide in Kosovo Faults NATO on Unexploded Bombs”, The New York Times, May 23, 2000

[35] William M. Arkin, “America Cluster Bombs Iraq”, The Washingon Post, February 26, 2001

[36] “Landmines in Iraq”, HRW

[37] “Cluster Bombs in Afghanistan”, HRW

[38] “International Humanitarian Law Issues and the Afghan Conflict”, Human Rights Watch Open Letter to North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Defense Ministers, October 17, 2001

[39] “Red Cross Warns Afghan Children Off Cluster Bombs”, Reuters, June 29, 2002

[40] “International Humanitarian Law Issues and the Afghan Conflict”, HRW

[41] “Fatally Flawed”, HRW

[42] Ibid.

[43] Ibid.

[44] Ibid.

[45] “Cluster Munitions”, HRW

[46] “Fatally Flawed”, HRW

[47] “Cluster Bombs in Afghanistan”, HRW

[48] “Red Cross Warns Afghan Children Off Cluster Bombs”, Reuters

[49] “Cluster Bombs in Afghanistan”, HRW

[50] “Cluster Bomblets Litter Afghanistan”, Human Rights Watch Press Release, November 16, 2001

[51] “Fatally Flawed”, HRW

[52] Ibid.

[53] Ibid.

[54] Ibid.

[55] Ibid.

[56] “Cluster Munitions a Foreseeable Hazard in Iraq”, Human Rights Watch Briefing Paper, March 2003

[57] “Fatally Flawed”, HRW

[58] “Cluster Munitions a Foreseeable Hazard in Iraq”, HRW

[59] “Iraq: Civilians under fire”, Amnesty International Report, April 2003

[60] “Cluster Munitions a Foreseeable Hazard in Iraq”, HRW

[61] “Landmines in Iraq”, HRW

[62] “Iraq: Risk to civilians if landmines and cluster bombs used”, Amnesty International Press Release, March 2003

[63] “U.S. Using Cluster Munitions in Iraq”, Human Rights Watch Press Release, April 1, 2003

[64] “Hundreds of Civilian Deaths in Iraq Were Preventable: Cluster Munitions, ‘Decapitation’ Attacks Condemned'”, Human Rights Watch Press Release, December 12, 2003

[65] “Iraq: Civilians under fire”, Amnesty International Press Release, April 8, 2003

[66] “Cluster Munitions: Toward a Global Solution”, HRW

[67] “U.S. Use of Clusters in Baghdad Condemned”, Human Rights Watch Press Release, April 16, 2003

[68] Ibid.

[69] “U.S. Misleading on Cluster Munitions”, Human Rights Watch Press Release, April 25, 2003

[70] Ibid.

[71] “How Many Civilians Were Killed By Cluster Bombs?”, Iraq Body Count Press Release, May 6th 2003

[72] Kamal Ahmed, “Revealed: the cluster bombs that litter Iraq”, The Observer, June 1, 2003,12239,968181,00.html

[73] “Off Target: The Conduct of the War and Civilian Casualties in Iraq”, Human Rights Watch Report, December 2003

[74] Ibid.

[75] Ibid.

[76] Ibid.

[77] “Cluster Munitions”, HRW

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About Jeremy R. Hammond

About Jeremy R. Hammond

I am an independent journalist, political analyst, publisher and editor of Foreign Policy Journal, book author, and writing coach.

My writings empower readers with the knowledge they need to see through state propaganda intended to manufacture their consent for criminal government policies.

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