‘The Trump administration announced Friday that it was officially rolling back restrictions on the U.S. military’s ability to use landmines.
“In case you didn’t know, because they’re from one of the most draconian chapters of 20th century, the victims of landmines are mostly innocent civilians and especially children,” said immigration attorney Curtis Morrison.
The decision, which Common Dreams reported about on Thursday, reverses a 2014 order by former President Barack Obama that constrained the weapons’ use to the Korean Peninsula and committed the U.S. to no further production of the mines. The Obama-era order put the U.S. further in line with the over 160 nations that have ratified the Mine Ban Treaty.
A Pentagon policy, a statement from the White House says, “will authorize combatant commanders, in exceptional circumstances, to employ advanced, non-persistent landmines specifically designed to reduce unintended harm to civilians and partner forces.”
“This action,” the statement added, “is yet another in a series of actions taken by the Trump administration to give our military the flexibility and capability it needs to win.”
A Pentagon memo issued Friday says that the military “will take feasible precautions to protect civilians from the use of landmines.” It also suggests the weapons can be used anywhere the U.S. military chooses.
“Under this policy, the Department’s ability to employ non-persistent landmines will not have any expressed geographic limitations. Appropriate geographic limitations will be formulated based on specific operational contexts and will be reflected in relevant rules of engagement, consistent with existing DoD policy and practice,” the Pentagon memo states.
The Friday announcement drew fierce outrage from human rights advocates and anti-landmine campaigners.’