REASON FOR THIS ALERT: The Department of Defense is working to develop landmine alternatives, but is poised to develop and produce new systems that have a switch that allows victim-detonation. The Senate version of the Department of Defense Appropriations Bill (H.R.2863) includes language in Report 109-141 regarding “landmine alternatives.” The language in the Senate Report expresses support for programs “to develop technologies to replace anti-personnel landmines that cannot distinguish between an innocent civilian and an enemy combatant” and expresses concern about systems that have a feature that would bypass “a man-in-the-loop, discriminating capability.” Most importantly, the Senate language requires “a review of the potential indiscriminate effects” of such weapons “prior to any full rate productions decision for these systems.”
TAKE ACTION NOW! If your Representative is a member of the Conference Committee (See list below.), please contact him/her as soon as possible to urge support of the Senate’s “landmine alternatives” language in the Defense Appropriations Bill (H.R. 2863). The language in Report 109-141 requires “a review of the potential indiscriminate effects” of such weapons “prior to any full rate productions decision for these systems.”
HOUSE MEMBERS OF CONFERENCE COMMITTEE: Young (R-FL), Hobson (R-OH), Bonilla (R-TX), Cunningham (R-CA), Frelinghuysen (R-NJ), Tiahrt (R-KS), Wicker (R-MS), Kingston (R-GA), Granger (R-TX), Murtha (D-PA), Dicks (D-WA), Sabo (D-MN), Viscolsky (D-IN), Moran (D-VA), Kaptur (D-OH)
To call, contact the Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121 or visit this website to get your Representative’s telephone number: http://www.house.gov/. To write via the web, visit: http://www.house.gov/writerep/, but personal calls and faxes make more impact.
USCCB POSITION: For many years the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has joined the Holy See and Catholic bishops from around the world in calling for a ban on landmines as indiscriminate and deadly weapons. Catholic moral teaching on just war requires that noncombatant immunity be respected and that the use of force be discriminate. USCCB strongly supports efforts to secure a U. S. commitment to sign the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, which would eliminate the scourge of these morally unacceptable weapons that do not distinguish between soldiers and civilians or between times of war and times of peace.