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Democrat Representative Shreds Biden For Sending Cluster Munitions To Ukraine

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


It is a fair indication that President Joe Biden is having issues with his base when a top Democrat in the House is comfortable to go on national television to berate him.

That is what happened on Sunday after President Biden announced last week that he would send cluster munitions to Ukraine to assist in its conflict with Russia.

California Democrat Rep. Barbara Lee appeared on the CNN show “State of the Union” and spoke to anchor Jake Tapper about her opposition to the decision.

“So, here’s how the White House is trying to justify giving Ukraine cluster munitions, despite the risk that they pose to civilians. Take a listen,” the anchor said before playing a clip of National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan explaining the decision.

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“There is also a massive risk of civilian harm if Russian troops and tanks roll over Ukrainian positions and take more Ukrainian territory and subjugate more Ukrainian civilians because Ukraine does not have enough artillery,” he said in the video.

“That is intolerable to us. This is their country they’re defending. These are their citizens they’re protecting. And they are motivated to use any weapon system they have,” he said.

“What do you think? Do you buy that argument? What’s your response?” the anchor said.

“No, cluster bombs should never be used. That’s crossing a line. Once you see what takes place — we know what takes place, in terms of cluster bombs being very dangerous to civilians. They don’t always immediately explode. Children can step on them. That’s a line we should not cross,” the representative said.

“I think the president’s been doing a good job managing this war, this Putin aggressive war against Ukraine, but I think that this should not happen. He had to ask for a waiver under the Foreign Assistance Act just to do it, because we have been preventing the use of cluster bombs since, I believe, 2010,” the representative, who was the only member of Congress to vote against war with Afghanistan in 2001, said.

“So, when Putin started using cluster bombs, the Biden White House said that that would potentially be a war crime. Do you think that, therefore, the U.S. government, the Biden administration, will potentially be engaging in war crimes if this goes forward?” the anchor said.

“What I think is that we are — would risk losing our moral leadership, because, when you look at the fact that over 120 countries have signed the convention on cluster munitions, saying they should never be used, they should never be used,” the representative said.

“And, in fact, many of us have urged the administration to sign onto this convention. And so I’m hoping that the administration would reconsider this, because these are very dangerous bombs, they’re dangerous weapons, and this is a line that I don’t believe we should cross,” she said.

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CNN reported.

Cluster munitions, also called cluster bombs, are canisters that carry tens to hundreds of smaller bomblets, also known as submunitions. The canisters can be dropped from aircraft, launched from missiles or fired from artillery, naval guns or rocket launchers.

The canisters break open at a prescribed height, depending upon the area of the intended target, and the bomblets inside spread out over that area. They are fused by a timer to explode closer to or on the ground, spreading shrapnel that is designed to kill troops or take out armored vehicles such as tanks.

The US has a stockpile of cluster munitions known as DPICMs, or dual-purpose improved conventional munitions, that it no longer uses after phasing them out in 2016.

According to an article on the US Army’s eArmor website, the DPICMs Washington will give to Kyiv are fired from 155mm howitzers, with each canister carrying 88 bomblets. Each bomblet has a lethal range of about 10 square meters, so a single canister can cover an area up to 30,000 square meters (about 7.5 acres), depending upon the height it releases the bomblets.

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