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House Dems Argue, Biden Ignored Our Opposition to Cluster Bombs

July 9, 2023, 2022 (EIRNS)—Politico provided an initial round of objections, on July 7, to President Biden’s decision to send cluster munitions to Ukraine. Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN), the ranking member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, said: “The decision by the Biden administration to transfer cluster munitions to Ukraine is unnecessary and a terrible mistake. The legacy of cluster bombs is misery, death and expensive cleanup generations after their use.” She added that “These weapons should be eliminated from our stockpiles, not dumped in Ukraine.” Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), ranking member of the House Appropriations subcommittee that funds the State Department, tweeted that she was “alarmed” at the move.

Progressives, some of whom called in a letter last year for the administration to ban the U.S. military use of cluster munitions, have been lobbying the administration to refrain from this move for months. A House Democratic aide said he pointed to that letter multiple times with State Department officials over recent months. “There are a number of progressives who are really hacked off. We thought the communication was clear,” said the aide, who spoke anonymously to discuss tensions with the executive branch. “They can’t say we weren’t emoting clear signals that this was a momentous step. A 6-year-old doesn’t step on an F-16 and lose their leg.”

Politico also cited an unnamed Defense Department official who said, prior to Biden’s decision, that the Pentagon had provided test results, which are classified, to members of Congress upon request. (The higher the “dud” rate, the more civilians are exposed to casualties later.) The official acknowledged that variables in the field can significantly affect the dud rate: “Shoot this in the desert, dry, flat ground, you might get a totally different result than if you shot this in a mountain jungle.” That confirms what Scott Ritter described in his Sputnik op-ed, and suggests that Congressional opposition might have been based on the fact that test results didn’t reflect the extent of the problem.

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