On Friday, the Biden administration said it would send cluster munitions—weapons that scatter unexploded bomblets across a wide area, killing and maiming civilians for decades—to Ukraine.
Facing the failure of Kiev’s military offensive, the United States is desperately seeking to use the provision of ever more destructive and indiscriminate weapons to reverse its setbacks on the battlefield.
Critically, the announcement precedes next week’s NATO summit in Vilnius, at which the United States and NATO are planning to massively expand their involvement in the war. Driven into a corner by its miscalculations, the Biden administration is compelled to take ever more drastic measures.
The aim of the decision to use cluster bombs—regardless of its long-term impact on civilians—is to kill as many Russian soldiers as possible. The reasoning that led in the past to the use of Agent Orange and Napalm—and which will be used to sanction the use of tactical nuclear weapons—is presently at work.
The US, on the eve of Vilnius, is clearly sending a message to Russian president Vladimir Putin. NATO will stop at nothing.
In a briefing Friday announcing the move, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan justified the decision to send cluster munitions to Ukraine as a means of staving off military disaster.
“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.”
Sullivan made this statement a little over one month after Ukraine launched its spring offensive, which the American press had touted as an “Endgame for Ukraine,” leading, in the words of retired Gen. David Patraeus, to “significant breakthroughs.”
Instead, the offensive has produced a bloody debacle. Far from inflicting a crushing defeat on Russia, the Biden administration has been driven from one escalatory move after another in an effort to shore up the Ukrainian military.
“We recognize the cluster munitions creating risk of civilian harm from unexploded ordnance,” Sullivan said. “But we had to balance that against the risk” that Ukraine might “not have sufficient artillery ammunition.”
In other words, the Biden administration weighed the cost of killing and maiming generations of Ukrainian civilians against the benefits of killing more Russian troops. It decided that the deaths of Ukrainian children from unexploded ordnance was a sacrifice America’s oligarchy was willing to make.
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