Biden once opposed the use of cluster bombs in war – now he is sending them to Ukraine
The White House confirmed on Friday, July 7, that President Joe Biden will be sending cluster bombs to Ukraine despite his long history of opposing their use. In particular, then-Delaware Sen. Biden opposed the use of cluster bombs by Israel during the 1982 Lebanon War.
Biden gave then-Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin some serious criticisms. At the time, Israel was fighting Palestinian revolutionaries in Lebanon, who had been targeting Israeli communities in northern Israel, forcing the country to invade southern Lebanon.
Amidst reports that Israel had employed cluster bombs in its invasion of Lebanon, several Democrats made it all the way to push for cutting off aid to Israel. Biden at the time noted that if the reports about the country’s use of cluster munitions are true, then the U.S. should respond by “cutting off the ability to get access to that kind of weaponry in the future.”
When Israel was again accused of employing cluster bombs against Hezbollah fighters during the Second Lebanon War in 2006, Biden rejected a bill that would have prohibited the use of cluster munitions in populated regions, suggesting that his stance changed about cluster bombs.
Now, it seems Biden is backtracking on the issue of cluster munitions, which are bigger bombs that carry dozens of smaller bomblets, many of which are known as “duds” because they don’t explode upon impact with the ground and end up threatening the local civilian population.
Last year, Biden’s ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, delivered a speech in which she announced that cluster bombs have “no place on the battlefield.” The Biden administration had to retract that statement now.
Biden defends “difficult decision” to send Ukraine cluster bombs
Meanwhile, Biden defended what he called his “very difficult decision” to supply cluster munitions to Ukraine in an interview last Sunday, July 9, stating the war-torn nation “needed” the controversial weapons to drive back Russian troops. (Related: Biden set to approve CLUSTER BOMBS for Ukraine, even though they are BANNED in 120 countries.)
“It took me a while to be convinced to do it. But the main thing is, they either have the weapons to stop the Russians now from their — keep them from stopping the Ukrainian offensive through these areas — or they don’t. And I think they needed them,” Biden said in the interview.
The administration’s announcement that it would be delivering cluster munitions to Ukraine in a new military aid package was met with opposition even from some of Biden’s fellow Democrats, who pointed out how these bombs pose an increased danger to civilians and that these weapons have already been banned in more than 100 countries.
The White House has already implied last year that Russia’s supposed use of cluster bombs in Ukraine was a possible war crime.
Biden said the move was needed now because the Ukrainian military is low on ammunition, stressing that it was a temporary measure.
“The Ukrainians are running out of ammunition, the ammunition that they used to call them 155-millimeter weapons. This is a war relating to munitions, and they’re running out of those. And so, what I finally did, took the recommendation of the Defense Department, to not permanently, but to allow for [their use] in this transition period,” Biden said.
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Watch the video below showing a demonstration of just how devastating cluster bombs are.
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