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Weapons: Why Land Mines Won't Go Away
   Next Article → INTELLIGENCE: North Korean Mass Diplomat Defections Nightmare
April 9, 2007: The 1999 Ottawa Convention was supposed to have reduced land mine casualties among civilians. It hasn't worked, because the largest manufacturers of land mines, Russia and China, refused to sign. Chinese land mines are still available on the international arms black market. China is believed to have a stockpile of over a hundred million land mines (mostly anti-personnel). The old ones are often sold before they become worthless. But even these mines, which go for $5-10 each, are too expensive for many of the criminal organizations that buy them. In Colombia, leftist rebels are losing their four decade war to establish a socialist dictatorship. So they have been using more land mines against soldiers and police, as well as civilian populations they want to control. This was how land mines were widely used in Afghanistan and Cambodia. In Colombia, the rebels find it cheaper to build their own landmines. Labor is cheap, as are the components. Thus land mines, competitive with the factory built ones from China, can be built for less than three dollars each. You can find all the technical data you need on the Internet.

 

Anti-vehicle mines are increasingly popular, and are particularly popular in poor countries where there are still a lot of dirt roads, traveled by busses and trucks carrying dozens of passengers each. While these mines are usually intended for military vehicles, mines can't tell the difference. As a result, in this year or next, Colombia will have the largest number of annual mine casualties in the world.

 

 

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andyf    err   4/10/2007 3:34:33 PM
i do remember reading that the US also refused to sign
 
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Horsesoldier       4/10/2007 10:14:53 PM

i do remember reading that the US also refused to sign



US refusal to sign was specifically related to our defense commitments along the Korean Demilitarized Zone.  While not a signatory to the agreement, the US otherwise abides by its guidelines, and US units not stationed in Korea do not employ (nor even train to employ) landmines.  (Command detonated mines like the Claymore being an obvious exception to this, and one that is in keeping with the agreement on landmines.)
 
The situation is not unlike the Hague Conventions banning (among other things) the use of hollow point ammunition, etc.  The US is not a signatory to the accords, but has always taken the view that our military operations are bound by the Conventions.
 
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Jeff_F_F       4/11/2007 5:52:28 PM
Besides which, most of the landmines the US does employ are designed to self destruct after a predetermined period of time, at least the artillery and aircraft scatterable ones. Nothing is 100% but it means that we have less mineclearing work to do after any war we were to use them in. The level of command approval needed to use mines of any sort is very high, and the specifics of the minefield have to be documented as part of the approval process.
 
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Yimmy       4/11/2007 6:47:53 PM

  The US is not a signatory to the accords, but has always taken the view that our military operations are bound by the Conventions.


Which is a very sound tactic for going by conventions when it suits you, and not when it doesn't.

 
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Horsesoldier       4/11/2007 8:20:39 PM




  The US is not a signatory to the accords, but has always taken the view that our military operations are bound by the Conventions.




Which is a very sound tactic for going by conventions when it suits you, and not when it doesn't.


If only.  Every time someone brings up the idea of how we should use hollow point rounds against Iraqi insurgents or Taliban holdouts, etc., illustrates how we could selectively adhere to the standards in question . . . but we don't scheme around the Conventions in such a manner.
The US is not a signatory because the Conventions were a European affair, because you folks over there couldn't seem to fight a decently civilized war back in the day.  They are taken to represent international law as far as land conflict is concerned by just about everyone, including the US and various other nations that were never invited to original get together to hash out ways to make war more palatable.
 
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Yimmy       4/11/2007 9:14:38 PM
Oh please, our wars were perfectly civil until you came along and ruined everything!

 
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FJV       4/12/2007 2:27:42 PM
The real reason that mines, cluster bombs, napalm and white phoshor will never be seriously banned is that these weapons are too  effective and usefull in warfare and that if you must win a war *1), not using them will give you a disadvantage that you cannot make up by improvisation.

I don't know about you guys, but in my opinion Taiwan is a lot easier to defend from a Chinese invasion after you mined their harbor and cluster bombed their airfields and air facilities. For instance....

*1) The crap really hits the fan type of war, the we will all be killed if we lose war, that type of war.





 
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Yimmy       4/12/2007 4:38:27 PM
Erm, where does nuclear weaponry come into this "we have to win" scenario?


 
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Blackshoe    'X treaty'    4/13/2007 2:59:09 AM

"But, what about a pointed stick?"-- Monty Python

 

No wait, let's cut to the chase; if we just all sign a treaty requiring that no bad things happen anywhere and that everyone must always be happy, that will solve all the world's problems.  When I hear ridiculous comments like "we ought to sign the 'X treaty' which will outlaw 'bad things'", I'm reminded of the ridiculous N. Chamberlain waving a silly piece of paper, just before Europe is plunged into the most destructive conflict in human history, so much for the value of paper.  I'm more pragmatic and believe tying your hands before a fight is a good way to end up dead or worse someone's slave.

 
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jastayme3       8/29/2007 10:27:10 PM




The US is not a signatory to the accords, but has always taken the view that our military operations are bound by the Conventions.




Which is a very sound tactic for going by conventions when it suits you, and not when it doesn't.



Which is what everyone else does. If there was any need for mines we would use them treaty or no just like everyone else. I see no reason to make a promise we can't keep and commit perjury-before-the-fact just to sound nice.
And another thing. One time Sweeded criticised the Finns for not signing. The Finns said, "Finland is your landmine."
 
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