Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today issued the following statement in response to the Defense Department’s decision to reverse its policy that would have ended the use of cluster munitions with a failure rate greater than 1 percent:
“It’s unbelievable that the Trump administration is reversing course and allowing cluster munitions that are prone to failure to continue to be used on the battlefield.
“Cluster munitions are indiscriminate, and as such, they frequently kill civilians and damage infrastructure long after conflicts end. The aftermath of the use of cluster munition use in Laos is particularly painful, with estimates of as many as 300 people killed every year, even 40 years after the war’s end. The Red Cross says as many as 11,000 people have been killed or injured in Laos, a third of those children.
“Unexploded ordnance endanger the lives of innocent civilians, especially children. They see these small, round, unexploded bombs and think they’re toys, but when they pick them up, their arm is blown off. This is why we decided to severely limit their use in 2008.
“It’s a shame the United States will continue to be a global outlier in using these unreliable and dangerous weapons, and I call on the president to reverse course and reinstate the 2008 policy.”