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Rest of the world showed courage

June 03, 2008

Re "Britain deals a setback to U.S.," May 29

Last week's treaty to ban cluster bombs is a great victory. I'm disappointed by the U.S. government's attempts to undermine the treaty by claiming that the major players were not at the negotiating table. As the largest stockpiler of cluster munitions, and the country that has used them most frequently (three times) in the past decade, the U.S. is not one of the major players -- it is the major player. Just by showing up, the U.S. not only could have conferred greater legitimacy to the treaty but could have put pressure on other no-shows to participate.

Cluster munitions overwhelmingly claim the lives and limbs of civilians as a result of their inaccurate and unreliable nature.

The U.S. should set the global standard for protecting innocent civilians, not undermine one. It's time to ban these bombs.

Lora Lumpe

Coordinator, U.S.

Campaign to Ban Landmines

Washington

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I'm glad to see most of the world getting together (without the Bush administration, of course) to ban cluster bombs.

Who makes these deadly weapons? The Times' article never says what companies get contracts to make them. I was arrested 25 years ago in Minneapolis outside the offices of Honeywell International Inc., which made parts for cluster bombs at that time. Our "Honeywell Project" eventually got the company to go back to making parts for blenders.

When The Times writes about air tanker contracts, it mentions the names of the companies. Why not do the same when writing about cluster bombs?

Henry Rosenfeld

Santa Monica

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So British Prime Minister Gordon Brown had the courage to stand up to his generals and decide to go along with the ban on cluster bombs. I'm equally sure that his spineless predecessor and none of our own political "leaders" would do that. I can't imagine with the current "war on terror" hysteria that a U.S. political leader would have the strength to say no to the military.

Good for Brown, and good for humanity!

R.C.Gibson

Irvine

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