Responses to the Obama Administration’s landmine policy announcement

On June 27th, the Obama Administration, via its Ambassador to Mozambique, pledged to end the purchase and stockpiling of anti-personnel landmines and put the United States on a path to joining the Mine Ban Treaty (Reuters).  Since that announcement, many statements have come out for and against the new policy.  Or rather, many statements are cautiously for the policy, but also call on the administration to do more and those against are firmly against, citing the risk of war on the Korean Peninsula.  Here is a round-up.

Cautiously For:

Sen. Patrick Leahy, “Reaction Of Senator Patrick Leahy To The White House Announcement Of Changes To U.S. Landmine Policy,” June 27, 2014 and “Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy On A Step Toward A Landmine Ban,” delivered on the Senate Floor, July 8, 2014

The New York Times, “Still Further to Go on Land Mines,” July 4, 2014

Pittsburgh Post Gazette, “Heavy toll: Land mines meant to deter troops still kill civilians,” July 14, 2014

Matthew Bolton, “Obama’s New Landmine Policy: Change I Can Believe In, Tentatively,” July 9, 2014

LTG Robert G. Gard, Jr. (Ret), “Disappointing U.S. Statement on Anti-Personnel Landmines,” Huffington Post, July 9, 2014

Rachel Stohl and Shannon Dick, “Good News, Bad News Story From US Landmines Announcement,” Stimson Center, July 07, 2014

Daryl G. Kimball, “U.S. Pledge Not to Produce Landmines Positive, But Falls Short: It Is Time to Accede to Mine Ban Treaty,” Arms Control Association, 27, 2014

MAG America, “U.S. Declares That It Will No Longer Produce Anti-Personnel Landmines – Good First Step,” June 27, 2014

Handicap International, “Handicap International Welcomes Tentative, U.S. Steps Towards Mine Ban Treaty Accession.” June 27, 2014

Human Rights Watch, “United States: Back on Path to Landmine Ban? A Pledge Not to Produce or Acquire More Stocks,” June 27, 2014

US Campaign to Ban Landmines, “Positive Changes in U.S. Landmine Policy Stop Short of Immediate Ban: Commitment to No Longer Produce Antipersonnel Mines,” June 27, 2014

National Catholic Reporter, “Editorial: Why won’t the US sign a land mine treaty?” July 16, 2014

Lloyd Axworthy, “Another chance to bury the scourge of land mines,” The Globe and Mail, July 18, 2014

Nora Sheets, “Land mines are a scourge that we must eliminate,” Pittsburgh Post Gazette, July 21, 2014

Joe Cirincione, “A Good Step Towards Ending Landmines,” Defense One, June 27, 2014.

 

Solidly Against:

Wall Street Journal (subscription required), “Obama Hedges on Land Mines: In the name of arms control, the U.S. heightens the risks of war in Korea,” June 29, 2014

Lamont Colucci, “Obama is Playing Politics with Landmines: Landmines, believe it or not, save lives.” U.S. News and World Report, July 18, 2014.

Rep. Buck McKeon, “McKeon Statement on President Obama’s Land Mine Announcement,” June 27, 2014

Carl J. Asszony, “Opinion: U.S. shouldn’t join land-mine treaty,” The Daily Record, July 5, 2014  (added 7/24/14)

Special recognition goes to Tim Lockette of the Anniston Star covering Anniston, Alabama (population 22,666) for his article covering the landmine policy announcement and the ongoing, already-planned, destruction of the landmine stockpile at the Anniston Army Depot.  If you read only one article about the new landmine policy, this is the article to read. Lockette corresponded with Navy Commander Amy Derrick-Frost who confirmed the US landmine stockpile of 3 million “smart” mines but Derrick-Frost also confirmed the existence of “dumb” mines – exactly those banned by the Mine Ban Treaty – but noted that those mines were scheduled to be “demilitarized.” An official at the Anniston Army Depot reported that over 125,000 anti-personnel landmines were at the Depot, but “by some definitions, the number of anti-personnel mines in stock could be higher.”  Anniston Army Depot has a history of storing weapons “the U.S. is reluctant to acknowledge” including chemical weapons and landmines which released nerve gas which were incinerated between 2003 and 2011 (Anniston Star)

Michael P. Moore

July 22, 2014 (updated July 24, 2014, August 8, 2014)

moe (at) landminesinafrica (dot) org

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One Comment on “Responses to the Obama Administration’s landmine policy announcement”

  1. aeonpidotcom says:

    Greetings.

    Thank you for doing this work. The land mines in Africa have been on mind all year.. and I believe my partners and I have a solution. Would you have a moment to let us share?


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