Landmines


International Campaign to Ban Landmines


"...the Pentagon has requested a total of $1.3 billion for a new type of land mine...

"Since the early 1990s, when the movement to ban land mines became widespread, forty mine-producing countries stopped producing, and millions of land mines have been destroyed, the result being that the casualty rate dropped from 26,000 people a year to between 15,000 and 20,000. But fifteen countries still insist on producing land mines [including the US]...

"...in the Second World War more than half of those who died were civilians...

"Strada rejects the idea of "humanitarian wars," as I do. I can accept that there may be rare situations where a small act of force might be used to halt a genocidal situation (Rwanda is an example). But war, defined as the massive and indiscriminate use of force (and technology dictates that any large-scale use of force cannot be focused on a particular evil-doer) cannot be accepted, once you understand its human consequences...

"Albert Enstein, horrified by the First World War, said: "War cannot be humanized. It can only be abolished"" (Howard Zinn. "A Surgeon's Touch." The Progressive, Sep. 2005: 14-15).


"...the UK coordinating group Landmine Action. "Her [Diana's] involvement put considerable pressure on the British government." Indeed, Diana's posthumous influence is widely credited for the 1997 Ottawa treaty that banned the manufacture, sale and use of anti-personnel landmines.

"Since Diana's death 127 countries have signed up to Ottawa. Over 30m anti-personnel landmines have been destroyed and global trade has dwindled to a low level of illicit trafficking. It is now accepted wisdom that landmines play little role in determining the outcome of a military conflict.

"But not everything is rosy. Russia, China, the US, Turkey, Egypt, Israel, North Korea, India and Pakistan have not signed the Mine Ban Treaty. The situation in Cambodia, Angola, Iraq and Afghanistan, in particular, remains bleak. It is estimated that there are still 15,000-20,000 casualties from landmines and unexploded ordnance each year" (Lain Hollingshead. "Legacy of Diana's action on landmines." Guardian Weekly, Oct. 14, 2005: 33).


Colby Glass, MLIS