The Biden administration announced it plans to send cluster munitions to Ukraine to bolster the county’s war efforts.
War is always horrifying, and you may be wondering how this decision differs from the many forms of financial and weapons support the United States has provided Ukraine since Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022.
The difference is in the impact these weapons have on civilians, especially children. Their harm can be felt for decades after a conflict ends. In the words of FCNL’s Nuria Raul: “Cluster munitions stand out even amid the terrible weaponry of modern war. Designed to blanket an area with “bomblets” that disperse in midair, these unguided munitions pose a unique threat to civilians. The bomblets frequently fail to detonate immediately, leaving them to maim and kill children who happen upon them as they play in fields, run errands, or travel to school. They are, by design, indiscriminate and inhumane weapons.”
Most of the world agrees that cluster munitions’ use, production, transfer, and stockpiling should be prohibited. Despite the U.S. not being a signatory to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, the transfer of current U.S. cluster munition stockpiles is against U.S. law. It is only made possible through a presidential waiver.
That makes today’s decision all the more disappointing and heartbreaking.
“More weapons, and certainly not more indiscriminate weapons, are not the answer. Diplomacy is,” said FCNL’s Bridget Moix. “If we are now OK with sending banned munitions into an active warzone, is anything off the table? Can we, at some point, stop the killing and start talking? That is the only way this war will end.”
The Biden administration must reconsider this decision. Congress, too, needs to take a stand. The House will have an opportunity soon to vote on an amendment—introduced by Reps. Sara Jacobs (CA-51) and Ilhan Omar (MN-05)—to prohibit the transfer of these weapons in the annual defense authorization bill.
The war in Ukraine, like all wars, has shown us that meeting violence with violence only adds to human suffering and deepens the roots of conflict. Yet Congress and the administration seem unable to offer any response besides more weapons and war. A diplomatic resolution will not be easy, but it is the only option that does not lead to even more devastation. It is past time to shift focus and resources from winning on the battlefield to gaining long-lasting peace at the negotiating table.
Israel Launches Major Military Operation in West Bank
On Monday, the Israeli military launched a major incursion into Jenin, a city in the occupied West Bank. The operation, which included drone attacks, snipers, and armored bulldozers, was the largest Israeli military operation in the West Bank since the Second Intifada. At least 12 Palestinians and one Israeli soldier were killed. This is the latest in an escalating cycle of violence. Urge Congress to protect the rights of Palestinian children and families.
Deadly Independence Day Underscores Need for Action on Gun Violence
Over the July Fourth holiday weekend, at least 20 people were killed in mass shootings. This is precisely the kind of violence that community violence interrupters are working to prevent. With a small investment from Congress, we can grow these efforts and do more to make our communities safe.
Extreme Heat Sets Records Worldwide
Wherever you were this week, it was probably hot. A weather pattern called El Niño, combined with human-caused climate change, resulted in deadly, record-breaking heat across the globe. The need to pivot to a more sustainable future is urgent. One encouraging development: This week, the Interior Department approved the largest offshore wind project in the United States to date.
Come to D.C. to Lobby for Just Migration
Join us in Washington, D.C., for our inaugural Friends Place Fly-In, Oct. 15-17! Learn and lobby with FCNL on federal migration policy with programming and lodging at Friends Place on Capitol Hill. Advocates from Maine, Michigan, Washington, and Texas (TX-12, TX-23, and TX-28) are encouraged to apply!
The Friends Committee on National Legislation is a national, nonpartisan Quaker organization that lobbies Congress and the administration to advance peace, justice, and environmental stewardship. This Week in the World. The FCNL weekly newsletter of advocacy actions and updates and opportunities to take action on the issues you care about.