Russia may have used “cluster bombs” on a train station in eastern Ukraine last week, killing and injuring many more.
At Fort Sill, during Officer Training School, I was instructed in the use and effect of cluster bombs. We called them ICM, Enhanced Conventional Munitions. Fired from artillery or dropped from aircraft, a cluster bomb opens about 100 meters above soft targets. They are useless against buildings, tanks and hard fortifications. When the shell opens, tens to hundreds of small bombs are scattered over a range as wide as chosen. Each bomb flutters to the ground or clings to trees.
They don’t always explode on contact. In fact, one of their uses is to create an instant minefield. They are not always effective in killing. But that’s one of their design features. They are designed to maim. Killing is a bonus. The wounded must be taken care of, eliminating more potential combatants from the battlefield. The effect of MCIs was demonstrated to us in a film of bomblets falling on a herd of goats. They were a bloody, bleating mess. We used these weapons in the Vietnam War. The remaining bombs abducted the limbs of the farmers and their children for many years afterwards as they fell from the trees.
I’m afraid what it looked like at that Ukrainian train station.
John Widen, Minneapolis
A recent commentator attempted to make the case for greater US military involvement in Ukraine and concluded his article with this sentence: “We did it in the Middle East. Let’s do it in Europe. Stop the killing! (“The World’s Obligation: Get Involved, Stop the Massacre in Ukraine”, Opinion Exchange, April 9.)
“Stop killing” – really? The United States, along with some of its allies, lost an ill-conceived war in Vietnam that claimed the lives of over 58,000 Americans. Thousands of service members and military contractors have also been killed in Iraq after the United States mistakenly invaded that country to search for weapons of mass destruction that were never found. The trillions of dollars and 21 years spent by the United States trying to plant the seeds of democracy in Afghanistan resulted in the death of another 2,500 American servicemen before our government decided to stop. Estimates of military and civilian casualties among the Vietnamese, Iraqis and Afghans vary widely between hundreds of thousands and millions.
This may shock some, but US foreign policy is largely responsible for these deaths. America doesn’t need more self-righteous warmongering – it needs less. There are better ways to help.
Craig Wood, Minneapolis
The writer is a member of Veterans for Peace.
Ron Way’s April 11 comment points out that “When Minnesota declared a nuclear moratorium in 1994, it made sense in the context of the times and the known risks, including…no place to store radioactive waste other than on the plant site” at Xcel Energy’s Monticello Nuclear Generator (“Times are changing. Minnesota’s nuclear moratorium must end,” Opinion Exchange).
He then writes: “But things have changed.”
I’m still waiting for him to say how things have changed regarding nuclear waste at Monticello.
Not much, it seems.
MPR News reported on January 1 that “Xcel … is seeking to extend the license for the Monticello plant to 2040 and is seeking Public Utilities Commission approval to increase the amount of spent fuel therein. stored. This process could take two years.. . .”
Hal Davis, Minneapolis
Given the times, the risks and the alternatives, then and now, there has never been a valid reason for a nuclear moratorium. None of the “alternatives” are durable or reliable.
Jim Bendtsen, Anoka
Buried in Way’s opinion piece, he writes, “Of course, nuclear weapons present a list of risky considerations…”. It’s a disposable line worth illuminating. Some of the “risky considerations” are a) the very long time and cost to build nuclear power plants, b) the unresolved problem of what to do with highly radioactive nuclear waste and c) the risks of nuclear accidents and /or nuclear terrorism (eg Chernobyl).
Yes, we absolutely need to move away from fossil fuels quickly, but a safer, faster and cheaper path is to stop subsidizing fossil fuels and nuclear power and increase our investment in renewable energy and climate conservation. ‘energy.
David Mann, Minneapolis
I was appalled and saddened to read a Saturday letter (on the Jewish Sabbath) that revived an old and hateful duck regarding the death of Jesus. I’m referring to the statement in a letter that claimed “the accusations leveled against this radically compassionate Jesus by religious leaders nailed him to the cross…” (“Look who else you’re criticizing,” readers write ). As scholars and many religious leaders know, it was not the “religious” leaders, but the governing authorities of Roman-controlled Palestine, who “nailed him to the cross.” This year Passover, Easter and Ramadan are happening at the same time. Whatever our faith, let us celebrate what we all share in common by joining in a prayer for peace and harmony in a very troubled world, and not contribute to the division that unfortunately surrounds us by perpetuating lies that do not can only lead to hatred and tragedy. .
Marilyn J. Chiat, Minnetonka
JUDGE KETANJI BROWN JACKSON
Last week, an extraordinary event occurred in our nation’s capital. Ketanji Brown Jackson has been confirmed as Justice of the United States Supreme Court. After more than 200 years of slavery, then 100 years of Jim Crow and more than 50 years of mass incarceration, a black woman has been nominated and confirmed to the Supreme Court. What a day for our country!
And what did many Republicans in the Senate do to honor this momentous event? They went out. How small. How petty and political – in the worst sense of the word.
But more important than the action itself is what that action tells us about our country. It is important that our leaders begin to connect the dots. If our political leaders act disrespectfully and contrary to what is considered civil and humane, the general public will be impacted. If leaders ignore, rationalize or promote violence, then many will see such action as justifiable.
I loved Jackson from the moment she finished her remarks by introducing herself to the Judiciary Committee and the country. She was warm and decent and so remarkably straightforward about her love of country and respect for the law and the Constitution.
Can’t we honor a woman with this accomplishment? Are we beyond this civility? Does our extreme partisanship now trump our humanity? The answer bodes ill for our country.
Victor Sandler, Plymouth
A Saturday letter to the editor spat out several talking points that are convoluted and they should have been a red flag for editors. The writer said, “Judge Jackson supports an abortion industry…”. There is no abortion industry. This is called health care. The letter insisted that the terms “diversity, equity and inclusion” constitute “a mantra that objectifies minorities as political assets…”. Total nonsense. These terms would serve to mitigate the generations of discrimination fostered by “Americans of Christian conscience and conservative character.” Society has long suffered from the myth that “Christian” values and political conservatism are ideologically compatible, and it has long suffered from the offered gibberish that finds its way into the print media.
Bob Worrall, Roseville
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