Democratic presidential candidate Robert Kennedy Jr. has publicly criticized President Biden’s decision to send cluster munitions to Ukraine, calling on him to “stop the ceaseless escalation” between the United States and Russia. Cluster munitions are highly controversial weapons that have been banned by over 100 countries due to their impact on civilians. In this article, we delve into the details of this issue, exploring the arguments on both sides and highlighting the concerns raised by experts and lawmakers.
1. The Announcement Sparks Outrage:
Kennedy’s criticism stems from his earlier assertions that Biden, in the past, opposed the sale of cluster bombs to Israel and condemned their use as a “war crime.” Now, his decision to send these weapons to Ukraine has raised eyebrows and sparked outrage among many, including top Democrats like Rep. Betty McCollum and Rep. Barbara Lee.
2. Understanding the Nature of Cluster Munitions:
A cluster munition is a bomb that disperses smaller explosives across a wide area when detonated. These munitions have a high risk of killing or maiming civilians, as dud submunitions can remain on the ground and unexpectedly detonate, even years after they were dropped. More than 100 countries have banned their use due to their severe humanitarian impact.
3. The Flip-Flopping History:
The Washington Post highlights President Biden’s “complicated history” when it comes to cluster munitions, particularly in relation to Israel’s use of these weapons. The report underscores how Biden’s stance has changed over time, leading to questions about consistency and conscience.
4. Concerns and Opposition:
Critics argue that the decision to send cluster bombs to Ukraine is unnecessary and a “terrible mistake.” Rep. McCollum, the top Democrat on the House Appropriations defense subcommittee, emphasizes the misery and long-lasting consequences associated with these weapons. Rep. Lee expresses alarm and urges against stooping to Putin’s level.
5. The Defense and Rationalization:
White House national security advisor Jake Sullivan acknowledges that cluster munitions pose risks to civilians. However, he contends that the danger to civilian lives would be higher if Ukraine did not have enough weapons to defend against Russia’s aggression. The Pentagon also cites a low “dud rate” for the munitions being sent.
President Biden’s decision to send cluster munitions to Ukraine has ignited controversy and concern, with critics pointing to his previous opposition to such weapons and the humanitarian risks associated with their use. As the situation between Russia and Ukraine continues to unfold, the debate surrounding this decision will likely intensify. Meanwhile, Robert Kennedy Jr. is using this opportunity to emphasize the need for de-escalation and peace.