Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. just delivered a searing critique of the Biden administration’s decision to supply Ukraine with controversial cluster munitions.
The Department of Defense revealed on Friday its plans to primarily send M864 155-millimeter artillery shells, known as Dual-Purpose Improved Conventional Munitions (DPICM).
These munitions are controversial because of to their long-standing threat to civilians, resulting from “dud” submunitions which can remain lethal long after a conflict has ended.
Kennedy, who is taking on President Joe Biden in the race for the 2024 Democratic Party’s nomination for president, firmly voiced his objections to the plan on Twitter.
He pointed to the significant international condemnation of these weapons, stating, “Cluster bombs are munitions so horrific for civilians that more than a hundred nations have signed an international treaty banning them. Now the Biden administration is preparing to send them to Ukraine.”
The potentially devastating effects of these munitions are well-documented. “These munitions scatter bomblets across the landscape,” Kennedy elaborated in a subsequent post. “Many fail to explode — until children pick them up later. They have caused thousands of injuries and deaths to civilians.”
These concerns arise amid a backdrop of increasing conflict in Ukraine, following Russia’s invasive attack launched on February 24, 2022.
The United States has already committed more than $100 billion in aid to Ukraine, including the provision of 31 M1 Abrams main battle tanks in January, and a battery of MIM-104 Patriot surface-to-air missiles announced in December.
Journalist Glenn Greenwald weighed in on the situation, implying that there is a lack of substantial opposition to the Biden administration’s approach within the U.S. Congress.
He tweeted, “Fortunately for Biden, there’s no anti-war left in the US Congress to bother him about this. There are a few left-ish commentators, otherwise loyal to Democrats, who are making some noise about it, but by and large this will go forward without protest.”
This decision by the Biden administration illuminates a deeply troubling shift in U.S. policy, as the planned deployment of cluster munitions, widely viewed as war crimes due to their indiscriminate impact on civilians, undermines the principles of proportionality and distinction in conflict.
As the crisis in Ukraine continues to unfold, the world will be closely monitoring the far-reaching implications of this administration’s actions, a move many see as a breach of fundamental humanitarian norms.
Here is a letter from Diane Feinstein, Patrick Leahy and James McGovern saying the use of cluster bombs is a war crime and the number one cause of death among American troops in Iraq: