Argument: Cluster bombs have a substantial military value in wars
"U.S. Cluster Munitions Policy". Briefing by Stephen D. Mull, Acting Assistant Secretary for Political-Military Affairs. 21 May 2008 - "We think that it is going to be impossible to ban cluster munitions, as many in the Oslo process would like to do, because these are weapons that have a certain military utility and are of use. The United States relies on them as an important part of our own defense strategy. Many of our allies rely on them as well."
"U.S. Cluster Munitions Policy". Briefing by Stephen D. Mull, Acting Assistant Secretary for Political-Military Affairs. 21 May 2008 - QUESTION: Just kind of to take off onto Elise's question a little bit, can you go through with us a little bit where you see the use for these munitions? You talk about to stop the advance of an oncoming enemy, I suppose. But the nature of conflict these days is that it takes place -- you know, in the case of Hezbollah, for example, among a civilian population, these munitions would be posing a threat to the civilians. Can you explain to us where the utility of these munitions are in modern warfare?
AMBASSADOR MULL: Well, you're certainly right that the nature of war has changed a lot in the past few years. The United States hasn't used them in the conflicts we're involved in since 2003, during the intervention in Iraq. Since then, when you're fighting a counterinsurgency, which is what's happening in both Afghanistan and Iraq, I think our military planners would agree with you completely that they're not appropriate and wouldn't be very useful.
However, if you're facing a more traditional kind of war, with a country invading your country and threatening to take away your territory, they would be very effective in terms of stopping the rapid advance of an army onto your territory or against your position. Now, you know, it's a fair question: How many wars like that is the United States going to be in, in the foreseeable future. My personal guess is probably not a lot. I don't think we have that kind of threat from Canada or Mexico, by the way, for example.
But the issue is, is that the United States is a global power. We have global responsibilities and global alliance relationships. And I don't think we could rule out that other conflicts that our allies might be involved with in the future, which we would be required to respond to. For example, let's say an invasion of South Korea or some other - let's say a war that breaks out and - or let's say Syria invades Lebanon, God forbid, that that happens, I mean, it's not entirely impossible that there could be a conflict like that in which we would be responsible for helping for the defense of our ally in which the weapons would be needed.
State Department spokesman Tom Casey said on Wednesday. - "While the United States shares the humanitarian concerns of those in Dublin, cluster munitions have demonstrated military utility."
Lawrence Freedman, professor of war studies at King’s College London and author of “A Choice of Enemies: America Confronts the Middle East.” said, "We’ve used them recently in battle, certainly in Iraq, and for the British military, if you’re facing hostile land forces, then obviously a means of dealing with them is important. With cluster bombs, they can take out a lot of your enemy at once. And they can deny and make it hard for enemy ground forces to operate."