Letters to the Editor: The American war machine is exporting cluster bombs. What could go wrong?

President Biden sits in a chair across from Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky with flags behind them.
President Biden meets with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, on July 12.
(Susan Walsh / Associated Press)

To the editor: How are neoconservatives like Jonah Goldberg still recommending war policy for this country after all the failed American wars? (“Yes, cluster munitions are awful. No, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t give them to Ukraine,” Opinion, July 11)

Goldberg reminds us of some “famous” rejoinder of William F. Buckley’s, suggesting that Russia is the country pushing an old woman in front of an oncoming bus, while the U.S. is the one pushing her to get her out of the way of the bus.

No, the U.S. doesn’t push old ladies in front of cars. The U.S. incinerates civilian women, men and children with atomic bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, burns them at My Lai and kills by strafing all that moves with napalm in Vietnam and by bombing wedding parties in Afghanistan. It declares “mission accomplished” after bombing Iraq into rubble.


So, what could go wrong with introducing American peace-making cluster bombs into Ukraine?

The truth is the U.S. has an out-of-control war machine, and policy makers still give no thought as to how nuclear-armed Russia will respond. It will respond with nukes, as it has indicated.

We are all on this bridge to nowhere, with only death and destruction on the other side.

Andrew Liberman, Santa Monica


To the editor: Goldberg makes a compelling case about why giving Ukraine cluster munitions is morally defensible. However, there is a much more practical reason why using U.S. made cluster munitions with low “dud” rates should be acceptable.

The Russians have built hundreds of miles of layered defenses and laid even more mines over these thousands of square miles than is usually contemplated by Russian military doctrine.

When the war is over, the Ukrainians and its partners will have to spend years clearing these areas of Russian mines in this swath of no-man’s land. What’s the difference if they have to clear a few duds along with hundreds of thousands of Russian mines?


What is more dangerous? A million Russian mines or a few hundred cluster munition duds?

Mark Henderson, Sacramento


To the editor: Goldberg can cite all the statistical comparisons he wants in championing his claim of U.S. cluster bombs being preferable to those of Russia due to the respective failure rates when deployed.

But, when compared to the vast majority of the rest of the world, it is this country’s continued manufacturing and use of cluster munitions that is the total morality “dud.” No matter how properly they work.

Ted Rosenblatt, Pacific Palisades