News Release

What is a Cluster Bomb?

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon has acknowledged using cluster bombs in the air war against Yugoslavia. Some researchers are condemning the use of this weapon. Among those available for interviews are:

KEVIN KAVANAUGH
A research scientist specializing in defense affairs at the Federation of American Scientists, Kavanaugh said: “Cluster bomb units — CBU-87/B, combined effects munitions, are 1,000-pound deadly munitions that break into 202 bomblets, and each bomblet fractures into 300 fragments of steel. It covers a football field, it can turn an apple orchard into apple sauce — or people into hamburger. It’s used against ‘soft targets,’ meaning troops and [other] people, though it can go through light armor to a certain point… Unexploded munitions are also a concern, the bomblets are yellow, with a little white umbrella, they’re very attractive to children. That’s one more reason to oppose their use.”
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MICHAEL KLARE
Professor of Peace and World Security Studies at Hampshire College in Massachusetts and author of Rogue States and Nuclear Outlaws, Klare said: “Demonstrating the poverty of the NATO strategy in the Balkans is the use of Vietnam-era cluster bomb weapons which are sure to produce high levels of civilian casualties because of their inherent nature — that is, as anti-personnel weapons. So much for a surgical air war.”

STEVE GOOSE
Program director of the arms division of Human Rights Watch, Goose said: “The submunitions inside cluster bombs have a high failure rate and can leave unexploded ordnance across wide areas, ready to detonate on contact, in effect becoming landmines and killing civilians even years after the conflict has ended. Because of the submunitions’ appearance– some are orange-yellow soda-can sized objects — children are particularly drawn to the volatile live remnants. On April 24, five children playing with colorful unexploded submunitions were reported killed, and two injured, near Doganovic in southern Kosovo. We condemn their use. NATO should stop using them immediately.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy: Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167