This just in:
Landmines are Okay!!!!!!!
For some reason unknown to the sane, the United States is now unilaterally pursuing an aggressive landmine campaign (See DoD.mil). The United States is now firmly standing against Vietnam Vets, the United Nations and other liberal organizations, and is pursuing the development of safer landmines. These new mines will be easier to detect...decreasing the number of MILITARY casualties, and will have deactivation devices that will cause them to self destruct after a preset time.
I suspect that in Rumsfeld mind, anyone opposing the proliferation of landmines is un-American.
I have no doubt that the landmines created by defense contractors will be technological wonders. A good contractor will have an answer on paper for every criticism leveled at the use of mines.
This is bad news because the world had a very workable landmine ban on the table.
By actively thwarting the ban, the US has just given defacto persmission for every rogue state to follow the United State's example and start an aggressive campaign of building and stockpiling *cough* *cough* "smart" landmines.
The really odd thing is that the current landmine ban gave the US an decided edge in military campaigns. Landmines are a low tech device that rogue nations can mass produce. It is the one weapon that poor nations can use against the United States. Saddam Hussein had destroyed a good portion of his stockpiles. If he had not, then he could have planted his stock piled mines in Sh'ite and Kurdish areas in the final days of the battle.
The landmine ban gave the US a decided military edge. This absurd game where the Bush Administration automatically rejects all work by the international community is insane.
It is sad, all of the effort that people have invested in removing landmines is now lost and worthless. Without the landmine ban, then landmine removal is just a circular game where armies plant mines and charities run themselves ragged removing the mines. Landmine removal is now a round robbin game. The economics are simple. It costs a country $3.00 per mine to mine villiage. The international community will sink $300.00 per mine in the country to remove it. Planting mines means big business.