Michelle Rosenthal

social worker, Dr Susan Smith McKinney Nursing and Rehabilitation Center

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Should USA and the remaining 39 countries sign the Land Mine Ban Treaty and join with 157 states that already signed it? Why don't we sign?

I was very inspired after seeing the TED Talk by Jody Williams. The Nobel Peace Prize 1997 was awarded jointly to International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) and Jody Williams "for their work for the banning and clearing of anti-personnel mines " See Ted Talk:
According to ICBL 157 states did already sign the Land Mine Ban Treaty and 39 have not. USA and many other powerful states have not yet signed. including:
Armenia Azerbaijan Bahrain Burma China Cuba Egypt Finland Georgia India
Iran Israel Kazakhstan Korea, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Republic of Kyrgyzstan Lao PDR Lebanon Libya Marshall Islands Micronesia Mongolia
Morocco Nepal Oman Pakistan Poland Russian Federation Saudi Arabia Singapore Somalia South Sudan Sri Lanka Syria Tonga United Arab Emirates
United States Uzbekistan Vietnam. To see a list of the 157 states that have signed the Ban go to http://www.icbl.org/

There are still many problems for the countries that have signed the ban to fulfill many of the aspects of the ban such as clearing the landmines.

How can we join together a clear the Earth of Landmines and prevent new ones from being placed. It is dangerous to clear the landmines since they sometimes explode when they are moved but it is dangerous to leave them. Innocent people get hurt/ killed if they come across them accidentally. This is a huge problem for humanity.

Should all countries sign to make the Land Mine Ban Universal and begin to employ the most advanced technology and even some simple but effective solutions to clear all landmines. Please see The Ted Talk: http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/bart_weetjens_how_i_taught_rats_to_sniff_out_land_mines.html and
If USA signs the Land Mines Ban other nations will follow suit.
We can tackle this problem if we set our minds to it. Why shouldn't all states sign this ban? Please help!

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    Nov 2 2011: I think USA should probably sign it since they have relatively little land border to any potential attacker. They also have enough manpower to defend it without landmines.

    However, in Finland we have long border shared with Russia who also haven't signed the treaty. I'm not saying that Russia is a potential enemy anymore, but it is the only neigbouring country that could ever be imagined to dare attack us. I'd rather see Russia sign the treaty as well, before we do, together.

    You also have to remember that the Finnish army marks every single mine on map, and have done so for more than 60 years, succesfully. There has been no civilian casualties and we don't keep mines in the ground during the time of peace. If our practices could be adopted to every other country I would have nothing against mines. But since they obviously cannot, it's best just to ban them.

    However effective it may be to agree on good and bad methods of murdering people... I'm somewhat cynical about these treaties.
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      Nov 14 2011: Thank you for the information on Finland. I hope we come to a time where responsible armies will not just mark them on a map, however, but also mark the map that they have been removed.
  • Nov 14 2011: Michelle, you ask the wrong question.
    Why would you want to make wars more humane by crippling the warring factions?
    A better question might be whether all countries should sign an agreement to simply not make war.
    And once you've done that, you must explain how, exactly, you will enforce that agreement - at gunpoint?

    This, of course, is as insane as the American ban on guns in schools. They have immediately created thousands of safe zones for mass murderers where they can wreak havoc and misery on the children in those schools. Israeli school teachers, instead, may carry automatic rifles in order to protect the children in their charge.
    Would you also ban those?

    No, your efforts would be better spent in getting to the heart of what really is the problem. And the problem really is the heart - of man. The government has attempted to raise up a generation to believe that there is no God, no life after death, no higher authority to answer to for your actions in this life. As Mr. Gore put it, "no controlling legal authority" to put a damper on your fun. And then this hedonistic generation whines and wrings its hands when the miscreants of this world behave as though there is no controlling legal authority.

    Change comes from within. The power to change comes from above. Anything else is just bugs on the windshield.
  • Nov 5 2011: Land mines are cheap and incredibly effective. They just don't reliably expire after their usefulness ends. Area denial weapons are limited by the definition of area. Mines can be a transit denial weapon with the area defined by what they encircle.

    They are just too good, too cheap, and too easily used for a ban to work. IED is just a fancy name for a mine. They do and will always exist. Banning them is like banning water because people drown in floods. It's more stupid and futile than prohibition. The only way to realistically reduce them is to develop a society in which they are irrelevant.

    Until then, the "winner" of a war is directly related to the quantity and strategic location of mines. Bans are just paper streamers in a forest fire, locating those most likely to be burnt.
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      Nov 5 2011: Dear William, Thanks for responding to me. The question then is how do we develop a society in which land,ines will be irrelevant and what can we all begin doing to get there? Michelle
      • Nov 6 2011: I can't seem to posit a feasible response. I wish I could. All I do know is that the impetus to create such an overwhelming consensus in which such a society could be formed would be the immediate and tangible threat of total extinction. I can't seem to postulate a way around that, without a worse outcome than extinction.

        Land mines are a symptom of a problem exponentially bigger. I am just incapable of realistically offering anything useful. Dreaming like a kid in a candy shop doesn't help. Ignoring or denying reality isn't genuine hope.

        God, we could use a little help here. Please be merciful.
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      Nov 14 2011: William, while we are waiting for God to be merciful why shouldn't we be merciful? The Treaty that you call useless is called the Ottawa Treaty and with 157 countries and with all the people in those countries absolutely willing to put down these weapons why aren't you?Between 1999 and 2008 Afghanistan had the highest number of landmine casualties (12,069) in the world, according to the Landmine Monitor Report 2009. OVER HALF OF THOSE ARE CHILDREN.Read more: http://www.rawa.org/temp/runews/2010/01/28/afghanistan-landmine-deaths-injuries-torment-villagers.html#ixzz1dduc6qWZ
      • Nov 15 2011: Mercy isn't an overriding tenet. It is a case by case evaluation. It is the most easily corruptible aspect of our existence because of our emotional and demonstrational desire to appear (for others and ourselves) as merciful. And to exact revenge under the same guise. Policy that calls itself inherently merciful is a marketing manipulation that draws upon our natural desire for lack of violence.

        Violence is just an aspect of existence. Minimizing violence is contradictive to minimizing it's emotional impact. The way we feel and the way we are has major conflicts. Maslow was on the right track, but only the first step of a 100 floor building. I don't know how it develops, I only know that what we are protecting is a luxury of our emotional state. And genuine victims are caught up in the flow of political correctness and social stigma that validates the victim status; but doesn't really change anything.

        Swapping name tags doesn't change what they are attached to.
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          Nov 15 2011: Well, William I sense that we are destined to come to a place where we agree to disagree. Our objection to violence as human beings is FAR more rational than emotional. What is emotional is the patriotic call to arms just because some politician says it is necessary. I have begun to believe that those whose battle cry is " My country right or wrong" do not care very much if their country is wrong. So many who say that won't even look at the evidence but it appears that they have to take that stand to keep their cognitive dissonance in check- the very informaton and evidence that might save hundreds of thousands of lives. I am not convinced that killing hundreds of thousands to 'save' fifty thousand even is good math either.

          I think true patriotism is working to ensure that your country is doing what is right. There are things I would die for but I would want to be pretty darned sure that I was not committing the acts that are on that list that I am against.
  • Nov 3 2011: No America should not. But America, and every other nation that uses land mines should have detailed maps of where the mines are. It is possible today, using GPS, to have a map and remove the mines after they are not needed. The places where the worse human suffering is occurring from land mines is also the places where those that use them have little regard for human suffering. It is unfortunate that the "good" must use the same tools as the "bad" in warfare. But that is the case. To ignore that basic truth is foolhardy.
  • Nov 2 2011: Yes, definitely the USA should join the Mine Ban Treaty as soon as possible! a landmine survivor from Afghanistan, i feel proud that Afghanistan is a state party to this life-saving treaty!

    Hope USA participate in the 11th Meeting of States Parties to the Mine Ban Treaty which will take place from 28 Nov to 2 Dec in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and announce a date of accession to the Mine Ban Convention!
    Thanks Michelle!
  • Nov 15 2011: I'm not saying we shouldn't sign, I'm saying it's meaningless. It is an impotent attempt, poorly conceived and designed, to start to solve a problem that it only distracts from. It's a waste.
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    Nov 5 2011: If it were not profitable to make and sell land mines to third parties I suspect we would have signed long ago. They are not a strategic necessity to the U.S. I think unless Mr. Cain decides they would be more humane than electrifying our border with Mexico.
    The Dalai Lama asked at a speech in Seattle in 1991 why it was that most nations have laws to try to stop trafficking in drugs which are thought to be dangerous to human function and life but at the same time so many nations are eager to sell weapons whose sole function is to kill human life? (too often indiscriminately)

    (btw nice photo Michelle do you think we are related or are you also not a graphics whiz?)
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      Nov 5 2011: Hi Chad, Thanks for writing back to me. I liked your comments and I too am not a graphics whiz but we may be identical twins separated at birth!
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    Oct 29 2011: As a Canadian I am pleased we were involved with this treaty, and have been assisting in removal of land mines. When Obama bacame president I had hoped USA would sign. Perhaps the US military wants to keep this option, and has enough influence to prevent USA from signing. If treaties require congrssional approval before signature that may be the hold up. This might be an issue where public pressure could help.
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      Oct 30 2011: To Paul Mackenzie, I agree, Thanks for responding. Michelle