Should the USA discontinue the production of landmines?

Should the USA discontinue the production of landmines, and sign the Ottawa Convention?

Should the USA discontinue the production of landmines?
Yes because...

Landmines do great harm to people that trigger them – but so do all weapons of war. They are not u...

Landmines do great harm to people that trigger them – but so do all weapons of war. They are not uniquely unpleasant and the debate about them has distorted the public perception of landmines – in truth, they are little different to a hundred other types of weaponry that remain legal under the Ottawa ban.

No because...

Landmines are a terrible and immoral tool of war. America should neither practise nor condone this kind of warfare. Unlike other weaponry, landmines remain hidden in the ground long after conflicts have ended, killing and maiming civilians in some of the world’s poorest countries years, even decades later. Even if other weaponry has similar effects, it doesn’t mean landmines are acceptable – it means they are bad, too. But we must start somewhere – we can make a difference by capitalising on the global movement against landmines, and we should.

Should the USA discontinue the production of landmines?
Yes because...

Landmines are an excellent way of defending a wide area for very little money. They permit the defe...

Landmines are an excellent way of defending a wide area for very little money. They permit the defence of an area without requiring large numbers of personnel. This is a legitimate aim both in warfare, when military personnel are spread too thinly to protect all civilians, and in poor countries during peacetime, who would rather invest in their infrastructure than funding the military capacity that would otherwise be required to defend the same ground. \
In the future, landmines may not be needed. However, whilst armies still depend on conventional weapons and movement – moving tanks and large infantry groups – and borders are weak, the defensive tactic of landmines is highly appropriate: it is cheap, affordable, and maintains borders. Their existence can slow or stop an advance, delaying or even halting conflict; they can deter invasion in the first place. By guarding wide areas from swift armed advance on civilians, they can prevent genocide.

No because...

The usefulness of landmines is significantly over-represented. They are easily removed by quite low-technology military equipment – which means that they are not very dangerous to armed forces, but are incredibly harmful to civilians.

Should the USA discontinue the production of landmines?
Yes because...

The usefulness of landmines is significantly over-represented. They are easily removed by quite low...

The usefulness of landmines is significantly over-represented. They are easily removed by quite low-technology military equipment – which means that they are not very dangerous to armed forces, but are incredibly harmful to civilians.

No because...

That is true if we are discussing a single tripwire or booby trap. But the argument avoids the real point of landmines – blanket deployment over very wide areas, making them impassable for military units in the short term, and deadly for the indigenous population in the long term. Nobody rigs up a thousand pressure plates. Removing landmines from the available military options would mean that this kind of deployment would become impossible – it would mean the end of the mine field.

Should the USA discontinue the production of landmines?
Yes because...

The use of landmines in war time or a tense environment is a totally separate issue to cleaning them...

The use of landmines in war time or a tense environment is a totally separate issue to cleaning them up in peace time; efforts to blur the two together by pro-ban commentators should be resisted. The latter can be fixed without banning the former. The proposition completely accepts that the consequence of keeping land mines legal is an obligation on the part of those that use them to fund clean-up efforts, and the USA is indeed doing this in many troubled countries. The attention of the very humanitarian organisations calling for a ban will ensure this obligation is met.

No because...

It is absurd to suggest that there are two separate issues about landmines, use and post-conflict removal: the two are inextricably interlinked. Most nations that deploy landmines, including those manufactured by the United States, never clear them afterwards. As demonstrated by decades of inaction on the part of nations after determined lobbying by passionate activists, it is folly to rely on goodwill or trust to remove landmines. It is simple – if they are manufactured and deployed, innocent people inevitably die. The USA should not dirty its hands by the trade in these wicked weapons.

Should the USA discontinue the production of landmines?
Yes because...

Banning landmines disproportionately punishes small, underdeveloped countries unable to develop the ...

Banning landmines disproportionately punishes small, underdeveloped countries unable to develop the higher-technology military capacity that has made mines less useful to richer nations. Because of this, banning landmines harms precisely the kind of nation most likely to need them for defensive purposes.

No because...

Landmines provide a false sense of security. They are often purchased and placed by nations that are fearful of their surrounding neighbours, rather than entering into diplomatic arena to improve relations. They are the symbol of exactly the wrong approach to international affairs. Small, underdeveloped countries should channel their efforts into improving their economies – they should not be encouraged (or frightened by scaremongering) by the USA into buying the USA’s military equipment.

Should the USA discontinue the production of landmines?
Yes because...

The ban has an asymmetric effect: it only stops nations that obey the law from using landmines. Mos...

The ban has an asymmetric effect: it only stops nations that obey the law from using landmines. Most nations contemplating invasion will ignore it, deploying them aggressively to defend captured territory. On the other hand, many nations that would use landmines defensively for themselves, or for multinational defence of another vulnerable nation or people, will observe the ban and thus weaken themselves and expose those they guard. The landmine should in fact be a primary tool of the United Nations efforts to protect those in its care. \
Nations that want to use landmines will do so regardless of the position taken by the USA (or any other nation) - as demonstrated by the current prolific use of mines despite the mass of signatories to the Ottawa convention. And if we might one day face an enemy deploying landmines, we must expose our soldiers to their use in training so that we do not expose them to serious harm.

No because...

It is obviously true that only those nations that obey laws will obey the law. That is a rationale for never passing any law. There will certainly be some nations that seek to ignore the ban – but as it gains stature and is embedded in the world’s view as a concrete rule that should never be broken, such nations will eventually come around, especially if the diplomatic and moral might of the United States is seen to be behind the ban. For examples, foreign officers trained at US Military Colleges will increasingly view the use of mines as unacceptable. Even if they do not, at least usage will have been vastly reduced by all those nations that do obey the terms of the Convention.\
Moral pressure is felt by the ruling regimes of almost all countries – setting an example will increase pressure on others to do the same. Even if they don’t, doing the right thing in and of itself is very important. \
Ultimately, this is about what kind of global society you want to live in. Do you wish to live in a society that tries hard to stop the use of such horrible weapons, and occasionally fails, or one that never even bothers to try?

Should the USA discontinue the production of landmines?
Yes because...

The ban fails to distinguish between different kinds of mines. The Americans have mines that can dea...

The ban fails to distinguish between different kinds of mines. The Americans have mines that can deactivate themselves and can self-destruct. America only manufactures smart mines, and since 1976 the USA has tested 32,000 mines with a successful self-destruction rate of 99.996 per cent. The ban also fails to distinguish between responsible and irresponsible users. Under American deployment, only smart mines are used, and they are used responsibly, being set and removed in a methodical manner.

No because...

Faith in these so called ‘smart’ mines is hugely misplaced. Conditions under testing will always vary from those in the field, where all is confusion and areas of deployment are often not properly recorded or marked. Even if they work as claimed, there is no guarantee that regimes that use them will wish to deactivate them upon ceasefire, if left in the territory of a neighbour or enemy with whom a dispute still smoulders. The equipment required for deactivation may be lost or destroyed. The best way to ensure that these weapons aren’t left in the soil is never to put them there in the first place. That some users might be responsible is not good enough, since if anyone has landmines everyone will.

Should the USA discontinue the production of landmines?
Yes because...

These mines, used in peacekeeping initiatives, protect US troops and present little danger to civili...

These mines, used in peacekeeping initiatives, protect US troops and present little danger to civilians. Stopping their use would endanger the lives of peacekeepers and make the USA less likely to enter into such operations – part of the reason the USA refused to sign the Ottawa treaty in 1997, and has declined to do so since.

No because...

It is absurd to suggest that landmines are the prime protector of US forces, or even an important one. It is well known that the principal benefit the USA’s troops (as opposed to those of other nations) have in peacekeeping is the threat of the deployment of overwhelming force if they are defied. Landmines are nothing to do with it. US troops have not been pinned down in the way the proposition suggests since World War Two, except in Iraq: and there, as elsewhere, the damage done to relations with the civilian community would far outweigh any narrow military benefit garnered from landmine deployment.

Should the USA discontinue the production of landmines?
Yes because...

Nations will have to develop larger armies if they can't deploy landmines. Once the army is up and ...

Nations will have to develop larger armies if they can't deploy landmines. Once the army is up and running, the nation concerned has a large and ongoing expense - so it gets an idea: why not use it? The

No because...

The proposition is presenting a false dichotomy: nations that use landmines don’t just use them – they also buy into all the other aspects of military equipment on top of landmine use.

Should the USA discontinue the production of landmines?
Yes because...

The defence of South Korea from Communist aggression depends upon the thick belt of landmines that l...

The defence of South Korea from Communist aggression depends upon the thick belt of landmines that lines the demilitarized zone. Without it, North Korea’s million man army could easily cross into South Korea and take Seoul before defences could be organised. South Korea is a key ally of the USA and to join in the ban on landmines would be to betray that ally. The failure of the Ottawa Convention to grant an exception for the Korean peninsula was the key reason for USA non-participation.

No because...

North Korea has an extensive tunnel network under the DMZ that will facilitate the circumvention of the largest minefield on Earth, if the North Koreans were ever stupid enough to attempt invasion (and there is nothing to suggest that they are going to). This fact demonstrates the uselessness of landmines – the world’s biggest minefield is militarily redundant, a danger only to those that will live in this area in future years. The USA knows this – the defence of South Korea is a hollow, false excuse offered in defence of landmines – the real reason is the unwillingness on the part of the military machine to relinquish the capability of any weapon, no matter how horrible. Of course, there is a healthy profit to be made in their distribution, too.



Should the USA discontinue the production of landmines?

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2 Comments on "Should the USA discontinue the production of landmines?"

Cryss

This washington post article says the US paid 2.3 billion aid to support programs to ban and to destroy landmines worldwide. In the same time since 1993, how much turnover was generated from the production and export of landmines? Anyone knows how to find out?

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