Half a century after the end of the Vietnam War, American cluster bombs are still killing and maiming Vietnamese and Laotian children.

Victim of American cluster bombs

By supplying these atrocious weapons to Ukraine, its children will be Washington’s next innocent victims.

A young Laotian’s life is rendered completely meaningless by cluster bombs, as are the lives of countless others.

USA Today reported that “Phongsavath Souliyalat, 24, (pictured above) lost both hands and his eyesight to an unexploded cluster bomb dropped on Laos decades earlier by the United States.” 

For Souliyalat, his simple encounter with one of those cluster bombs turned his life upside down.

After my accident, everything changed,” he told USA Today. “I lost my school. I can’t go to work. I can’t meet people. I can’t go where I want to go. I can’t get a girlfriend.”

When U.S. president Barack Obama visited Laos in 2016 he admitted that “Eighty-million cluster munitions did not explode. They were spread across farmlands, jungles, villages, rivers. So for the last four decades, Laotians have continued to live under the shadow of war.

There will be a long-lasting shadow from yet another unjustified war using unjustified weapons

Washington decided to deliver the unconventional cluster bombs to Kiev after supplying Ukraine with so many weapons that the huge U.S. conventional arsenal was exhausted. The delivery of all these lethal weapons, worth billions of dollars, would not have been necessary at all if the war in Ukraine had been prevented by a simple agreement between Washington and Moscow, as demanded by the latter, keeping Ukraine out of NATO and guaranteeing the protection of the threatened Russian-speaking minority in the Donbass, as envisaged in the Minsk talks.

Air attack on pro-Russian separatists in Luhansk kills 8, stuns residents
No sooner in power in 2014, the new regime in Kiev began bombing Ukrainian citizens in the Donbass.

The Kiev regime, which came to power in a U.S.-initiated coup in 2014 and deposed a democratically elected government, is hostile to Russia and Russian-speaking Ukrainians in the Donbass and has waged a brutal, NATO-armed civil war there since seizing power. In the process, it has indiscriminately used military aircraft, tanks, and cluster bombs. Instead of making peace, the all-powerful U.S. military-industrial complex and the politicians it sponsors in Washington preferred to continue supplying weapons and waging a proxy war against Russia on Ukrainian soil without even putting their own boots on the front. 

A cluster bomb scatters “bomblets” over an area three times the size of a soccer field. Interest in the use of these largely banned weapons is not limited to the giant U.S. war industry: The largest U.S. investment funds are also war profiteers, managing the retirement and other savings of tens of millions of Americans and investing in such atrocious weapons.

Ukraine: Widespread use of cluster munitions
Since 2014, Ukrainian government forces made “Widespread Use of Cluster Munitions” in populated areas such as the city of Donetsk (Donbass), as reported by Human Rights Watch (HRW). HRW added thatthe use of cluster munitions in populated areas violates the laws of war due to the indiscriminate nature of the weapon and may amount to war crimes.

The ruthless complicity of the Kiev regime

The American delivery of cluster bombs was welcomed by the regime in Kiev because it does not mind if Ukrainians, especially those in the east, have to live “under the shadow of war” for decades to come. Its disregard for human life was also conspicuous when it threw wave after wave of soldiers into the Russian meat grinder in Bakhmut and elsewhere in the east. Or when it conducted risky experiments in biological laboratories in cooperation with its American military patrons, the existence of which was long denied as a Russian conspiracy theory and finally admitted, or when it offered its country to Western powers for weapons testing and experimentation, without regard to the human cost. And with opposition parties banned and critical media shut down, the regime has no dissenting voice to fear.

A disaster for the environment, people and animals in Ukraine

But even without cluster bombs, the preventable war has had a severe impact on the environment and is extremely dangerous to the health of civilians. As a leading food exporter, it also poses a threat to consumers of its products around the world.

Western media like the BBC blame Russia for the toxic legacy of the Ukraine war, even though the West far outspends Russia in supplying weapons to Ukraine.

The toxic legacy of the Ukraine war
(Screenshot BBC headline)

Moreover, the BBC and other Western media are hiding the fact that the UK is supplying Ukraine with weapons that contain depleted uranium, which poisons the environment and is likely to continue killing ordinary Ukrainians for a long time to come.

UK to send depleted uranium shells to Ukraine despite health concerns
(Screenshot of a Euronews report on the health risks of depleted uranium)

That the UK (along with its American allies) is also supplying cluster bombs to foreign invading forces in Yemen who are waging an illegal war of aggression with Western support is not really newsworthy to the BBC and like-minded Western media.

Reporting on this would also challenge the narrative that in Ukraine, locals deserve maximum support from the West in their fight against a foreign invader, while in Yemen, foreign invaders receive maximum support from the West in their fight against locals.

Even after hostilities have died down, the lives and livelihoods of civilians, including young children, continue to be on the line in Yemen as they return to de facto minefields
(Screenshot of an Amnesty International report on Yemen’s transformation into a deadly minefield with cluster munitions supplied mainly by the U.S. and the U.K.)

Never-ending wars against the civilian population

What is also not in the news in the Western mainstream media is the Agent Orange that the U.S. Air Force sprayed over Vietnam and Laos during the Vietnam War. The American war, as the Vietnamese call it, had never really stopped, except in the media: America’s highly toxic dioxin still causes stillbirths and miscarriages, cancer, immune deficiencies, nervous disorders, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease.

Agent Orange Victims Nguyen Xuan Minh (L), and Nguyen Thi Thuy Giang, of Hanoi are seen at the Peace Village in Ho Chi Minh city on Sept. 15, 2006.
Vietnamese children are still born victims of the chemical war waged by the United States decades ago (Photo: Nguyen Huy Kham / Reuters)

During the Vietnam War, not only Vietnamese but also some U.S. soldiers were sprayed with the poison dioxin by the U.S. Air Force. In a settlement, nearly $200 million in compensation was paid to some 52,000 U.S. veterans or their survivors beginning in 1984.

Vietnamese victims, on the other hand, received nothing! A related class action lawsuit in the U.S. was dismissed in 2005. And to add insult to injury, victorious North Vietnam was forced to assume South Vietnam’s debts in order to obtain international loans and end the U.S. trade embargo.The immeasurable crimes committed by Western powers do not justify Russia’s war crimes in Ukraine, such as the use of cluster bombs. But the call for war crimes tribunals in the context of Ukraine compared to U.S. crimes in North Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, which remain unpunished to this day, illustrate the hypocrisy, double standards, one-sidedness and selective memory of history.