This is from Wiredispatch. All the great humanitarian countries such as Russia, China, and the United States want to keep these bombs for "legitimate military purposes" but even if they are used in areas where there are only enemy troops they leave many unexploded bomblets that cause untold collateral damage long afterword just as do land mines. Of course they have been used both by the U.S. and Israel in locales where even on impact there will be collateral damage.
US to skip cluster bomb meeting
US to Skip Cluster Bomb Meeting in Dublin, Focus on Geneva Talks
Apr 11, 2008 12:42 EST
The United States will skip a meeting in Dublin next month that aims to ban cluster bombs, officials said Friday.
Instead, Washington will focus on separate United Nations talks in Geneva that will restrict — but not ban — the use of the weapon, the head of the U.S. delegation said.
The U.N. talks will aim to draft a legally binding protocol to address the humanitarian impact of cluster bombs, said Stephen Mathias, a State Department lawyer. The protocol may also include nonbinding best practice guidelines for militaries, he said.
"We don't accept for a moment that the only game in town is the Oslo Process," Mathias said, referring to the breakaway talks organized by countries frustrated with the pace of U.N. negotiations.
More than 100 countries are expected to meet May 19-30 in Dublin, where they will try to forge a final agreement on banning a weapon they consider a serious threat to civilians.
Cluster bombs are built to explode above the ground and release thousands of small bomblets primed to detonate on impact.
Combat results show that 10 to 40 percent of the bomblets fail to go off on impact but can explode later, killing and maiming civilians. Children are particularly vulnerable as they are attracted to the bright flashlight-battery sized bomblets.
The United States, Russia, China, India, Pakistan and Israel oppose a ban on cluster bombs, arguing that there are legitimate military uses for the weapon.
Source: AP News