Democrats Walk Away From Joe Biden Over Cluster Munitions

( – President Joe Biden, whose popularity among his fellow Democrats is already low, has sparked a new round of opposition. Last week, the White House announced that the latest military aid package to Ukraine will include cluster munitions. Many liberals are unhappy with this decision.

On July 7, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan announced a new round of military support for Ukraine’s military, which would include cluster munitions. These weapons are controversial; they work by scattering small submunitions, similar to hand grenades or small anti-tank warheads, over an area. The problem is sometimes, the submunitions don’t detonate and can endanger civilians for years after the weapon is used.

So far, 123 countries have signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions, a voluntary agreement not to manufacture or use them — but, despite what many claim, they’re not actually banned under the laws of armed conflict. It’s not clear what sort of weapons the US will send to Ukraine, but it’s likely to be air-dropped Cluster Bomb Units, Dual Purpose Improved Conventional Munition artillery shells, or submunition rockets for the HIMARS rocket artillery we’ve already supplied.

There are many good reasons for giving Ukraine these weapons. Russia still has a lot of tanks and other armored vehicles, and cluster munitions with anti-tank bomblets are very effective at killing tanks and breaking up armored attacks. They’re also good for destroying field defenses like the ones Russia has built in the territory it’s invaded. Russia has been using cluster munitions on Ukrainian soil since it started the war — like the US and Ukraine, it never signed the voluntary agreement.

That isn’t good enough for some Democrats, though. Representative Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) claimed “cluster munitions are indiscriminate” and said they’re against American values. Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) also slammed the decision, calling it “unnecessary and a terrible mistake,” while referencing the Convention on Cluster Munitions (even though the US hasn’t signed it). Several other liberal lawmakers joined the condemnation, and two — Reps Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Sara Jacobs (D-CA), said they plan to introduce legislation banning the US from selling them. For now, though, Ukraine will get the weapons it says it needs.

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