Land Mines Still Waiting to Explode; There Is a Growing Dispute between Those Who Believe Mines Are Vital to Legitimate Defenses and Those Who See Them as Cruel Weapons That Kill Long after Wars Are over. (Nation: Military Weapons)

By Spun, Brandon | Insight on the News, June 3, 2002 | Go to article overview

Land Mines Still Waiting to Explode; There Is a Growing Dispute between Those Who Believe Mines Are Vital to Legitimate Defenses and Those Who See Them as Cruel Weapons That Kill Long after Wars Are over. (Nation: Military Weapons)


Spun, Brandon, Insight on the News


You could march through Afghanistan without ever setting foot on the ground because of all the military debris that has accumulated from centuries of warfare. But chances are you wouldn't get too far. The land, covered with more mines per square meter than anywhere else on Earth, presents the classic dilemma of unexploded ordnance--locating and safely removing the antipersonnel land mine.

A billion-dollar industry, removing unexploded ordnance engages economic and logistical complications for which neither bureaucratic indiscretion nor military indifference are entirely responsible. This is dangerous, labor-intensive work. There are millions of land mines and no magic wand for removing them.

These are terror weapons. Concealed and indiscriminate, a Khmer Rouge general described them as "the perfect soldier: ever courageous, never sleeping, never missing." More than 2,000 types are designed not to kill but to maim. "Bouncing Bettys" rise from the ground to crotch level and then detonate. "Toe poppers" do just what their name suggests.

But what makes mines effective also makes them problematic. They neither stop attacking when war is over nor discriminate between soldiers and civilians. The Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation, an antimine organization, has fitted hundreds of thousands of prosthetics during postwar projects, mostly for civilians. They report that children are 20 percent more likely to die or suffer severe limb damage from a detonated mine. Abandoned minefields only rarely are marked or mapped and, even when they are, many children can't read posted warnings. Baseball mines and other configurations even resemble toys.

The Center for Security Policy states that where there are U.S. mines, civilians would have to climb fences to enter the minefields. The organization also says that "of the mines causing problems, none are made by the U.S." The center insists there is responsible and irresponsible mining. That is, the United States makes maps of minefields, while terrorists and rogue regimes rarely do so. Never mind that unstable antipersonnel ordnance frequently is dropped indiscriminately from aircraft.

Despite the flourishing of tremendous political opposition during the last decade, mines have remained a part of military strategies and operations. Some say they are necessary evils. Former president Bill Clinton never quite outgrew the antimilitary prejudices of his Vietnam-era youth, his critics say, but when even he ordered a ban on only "the most dangerous types of mines," some were surprised. Clinton argued that "high-tech smart mines ... will be needed for a few more years to protect troops."

The Pentagon, meanwhile, is of the opinion that a mine is a terrible thing to waste. "A complete ban will cripple legitimate defense against invasion, terrorism and nuclear weapons," a senior Pentagon official tells INSIGHT. He cites South Korea, where potential invasion routes from the north are heavily mined, and names Colombia, where "we need to protect small forward bases in the drug war; otherwise they would be overrun." Insecure Russian nuclear facilities also are cited as in need of such protection. In any case, the United States, Russia and China, to name a few, have refused to sign the 1997 Ottawa Treaty outlawing land mines.

The International Red Cross produced a report in 1997 by military professionals on the effectiveness of mines as weapons in warfare, examining 26 conflicts since 1940. The report concluded that "mine use has rarely been consistent with international law.... Even when used on a massive scale, they have usually had little or no effect on the outcome of hostilities ... and often overlooked are the cost and dangers for forces employing antipersonnel mines." The report also claimed "self-destructing and self-deactivating" smart mines "are considered unlikely to significantly reduce civilian casualties. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Land Mines Still Waiting to Explode; There Is a Growing Dispute between Those Who Believe Mines Are Vital to Legitimate Defenses and Those Who See Them as Cruel Weapons That Kill Long after Wars Are over. (Nation: Military Weapons)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.