Afghan Children Being Maimed and
Killed As They Pick Up Unexploded U.S. Cluster Bombs
November 25, 2001
The food packets being
dropped on Afghanistan are yellow. The cluster bombs being dropped on
Afghanistan are designed to break up and disperse dozens of smaller bombs,
which are yellow. A concern immediately expressed by humanitarian
officials was that children looking for food would see a yellow unexploded
cluster bomb and think it was a food package. They would grab the bomb and
be killed or maimed.
That is what is now
happening. Even The New York Times, a newspaper which has been
notoriously averse to doing any serious
investigations of civilian casualties, just reported
that a 10 year old, mistaking a cluster bomb for a food package, lost
three fingers and is expected to lose his whole hand.
A 16 year-old was decapitated
after picking up a piece of that same bomb. Two other children were
also injured. This is just in one neighborhood.
[It can't help but be noted
that the "parent" cluster bomb in question, when it initially
landed, killed twelve people, most from the same extended family. This
was not reported by The New York Times until now, in the context of
the yellow color issue.]
Of course, even children not
looking for food can pick up these and other types of unexploded
ordinance. Not to mention the fact Afghanistan is strewn with millions
of land mines from its previous wars.
Now that the fighting is
almost over, the United States must take responsibility to spend whatever it
takes to rid the country of all this unexploded ordinance, certainly that
portion of it resulting from our present bombing campaign.
Cluster Bomb Color Still
Addressing the immediate
issue of the common yellow color of cluster bombs and food packages, one
must ask, what is wrong with the U.S. government?
They said they would change
the color of the food packages to blue, after the supply of yellow
food packages ran out. That's obscene! Why didn't they
immediately change the color of the food packages?
Certainly they can find a use
for the yellow packages. They can be utilized the next time we distribute
food to hungry people on whom we are not also dropping cluster bombs.
When the Soviet Union was
fighting the mujahedeen in Afghanistan, it scattered land mines disguised as
toys. Our actions now are not much better. Every yellow cluster
bomb dropped after the U.S. military became aware of the
confusion-with-food-packages issue is akin to a war crime!
Every child who loses an arm
or a foot, we cut it off. Every child who is killed, we cold-bloodedly
It would have been the
simplest thing in the world to have switched the color. But we
didn't. And we still haven't.
All that blood is on our