The Trump regime is lifting an Obama-era ban on America’s deployment of most landmines in warzones, according to a new report from CNN as well as a cable from the U.S. State Department that was leaked to Vox.
The change will reportedly allow the Pentagon to deploy landmines at its discretion, as long as the weapons have a feature that allows the mine to self-destruct or deactivate after 30 days, sometimes called a “smart mine.” But activists warn that smart mines aren’t so smart and are often dropped indiscriminately from aeroplanes into battlefields. The Trump regime plans to officially unveil the policy change on Friday, according to Vox.
Human rights organisations are not happy with the Trump regime’s decision to loosen the rules on landmines.
“The Trump administration has done a complete about-face in deciding to cling to landmines in perpetuity,” Mary Wareham, arms advocacy director at Human Rights Watch, told Gizmodo via email. “Landmines have claimed too many lives and limbs to justify any use by any actor under any circumstances.”
Landmines kill thousands of people per year, many of them civilians. At least 42,000 Vietnamese civilians have died from leftover landmines since the Vietnam War ended in 1975, and roughly 62,000 more have been seriously maimed or injured.
CNN, citing multiple unnamed officials at the Department of Defence, says that the change is a result of a review by the Pentagon that was instigated under former Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis. Secretary Mattis resigned his post at the White House on January 1, 2019, after growing frustrated with President Trump’s very public decision to leave Syria—something that never even happened.
A total of 164 countries signed the worldwide Mine Ban Treaty in 1999, but the U.S., China, and Russia all declined to jump on board. But in 2014, President Barack Obama enacted a new policy that was more or less in line with the Mine Ban Treaty, also known as the Ottawa Convention, despite exemptions for the Korean peninsula. The new Obama policy also destroyed many anti-personnel landmines (APL) stockpiles outside of Korea.
But U.S. President Trump is personally obsessed with undoing literally everything that President Obama accomplished, no matter how small.
Trump has previously advocated in favour of war crimes, such as killing the families of terrorists and taking oil from Iraq for the benefit of U.S. corporations, so it’s no surprise that he wants to bring back one of the most brutal and indiscriminate weapons of the modern battlefield.
The cruelty is the point, as they say. And we can bet on plenty of other needlessly cruel moves by this president until he’s finally out of office. Assuming that ever happens, of course.