Target: Susan Rice, National Security Adviser to the United States
Goal: Call on the U.S. to commit to permanently ending its use of anti-personnel landmines
Landmines are cruel and indiscriminatory weapons. Their deadly legacy continues long after wars officially end, since only rarely do armies work to clear the minefields they create. Tremendous progress has been made in recent years to bring about a worldwide ban on the use of anti-personnel landmines (APLs). More than 160 nations have signed a mine ban treaty, and yet the United States still refuses to join their ranks.
Marking a small but vital step forward, spokesperson for the U.S. National Security Council Caitlin Hayden announced that the nation “will not produce or otherwise acquire any anti-personnel landmines in the future, including to replace existing stockpiles as they expire.” Hayden claims the U.S. is “diligently pursuing solutions” that would allow it to comply with the mine ban, in affect since 1997. There has been no known use of APLs by American armed forces since before the international treaty was created. If the U.S. truly believes in the principles of the treaty, why won’t officials commit to never using landmines again?
The Guardian reports that “Landmines and cluster munitions have been described as ‘weapons of social cataclysm,’ which perpetuate poverty and prevent development. They leave a legacy of indiscriminate civilian injuries and deaths, burden struggling healthcare systems and render vast tracts of land uninhabitable and unproductive.”
These weapons are a terrible scourge against humanity. Demand that the United States join the vast majority of nations in abiding by the terms of the Ottawa Convention and end its use of landmines.
Dear Ms. Rice,
While a delegation from the United States did attend a recent meeting on ending global use of landmines, the U.S. is still reluctant to commit to a total ban on the weapons. This refusal is deeply disrespectful to international citizens still haunted by landmines hidden in their fields and cities, waiting for an unsuspecting farmer or child to accidentally trigger them. Landmines cause undo harm to civilians–in fact this is often why they are used, as weapons of indiscriminate terror.
There is no valid reason for the U.S. to hoard millions of APLs, even if it will no longer replace those that expire. I urge you to work with your colleagues in the National Security Council to bring the U.S. into swift compliance with the Ottawa Convention. Commit to destroying the nation’s landmine stockpiles, and to never using them again whether domestically or abroad.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit:via United States Army