The American Forces Press Service in Washington DC on Friday, February 27th, 2004 revealed plans for the US military to eliminated use of landmines
Lincoln Bloomfield, assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs said that the United States will become "the first major military
power to adopt a policy ending use of all persistent landmines and maintaining the international standard of detect ability for landmines of any
American military de-miners, as well as those from other nations, Bloomfield said, already are involved in marking, monitoring and clearing live
minefields left at the end of hostilities in at least 40 countries.
Each year thousands of people fall victim to live landmines buried around the world, Bloomfield said. U.S. forces, he pointed out, didn't leave those
mines behind -- except for the potential exception of landmines remaining after the Vietnam conflict from three decades ago.
"The worldwide humanitarian (landmine) crisis is very much the product of persistent landmines used by other militaries or non-state actors who did
not observe the international conventions relating to the use of these munitions," Bloomfield said.
Future American military use of landmines engineered to self-deactivate after a specific period of time should save civilian lives without taking away
a key defensive weapon, he noted.
Bloomfield said the new policy doesn't impact on old-style contact landmines used on the Korean Peninsula to deter possible North Korean aggression
against South Korea.
Joseph Collins, deputy assistant secretary of defense for stability operations, also at the briefing, said the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the
Joint Staff and the military services were involved participants in the development of the new landmine policy.
The new policy requires DoD to develop and use more sophisticated, civilian- friendly landmines in the future, Collins said, noting that landmines
would remain an important component of the U.S. military's weapons inventory.
Landmines are employed as force-multipliers, Collins explained, "allowing us to fight and win with fewer forces ? against numerically superior
opponents," while protecting American troops.
This is really a big announcement that probably won't get the international recognition it deserves... on the otherhand, one has to wonder why 2010
and not now?
[Edited on 28-2-2004 by Zion Mainframe]
[Edited on 16-3-2004 by SkepticOverlord]