Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Oh, lovely....

Oh, lovely. Israeli military are firing Dual-purpose ICM artillery shells at civilian villages in southern Lebanon.

ICM ("Improved Conventional Munitions") are commonly called cluster bombs. Back in the stone age of 1970-71 when the Mandarin was an artillery officer, we called ICM "popcorn" because of the popping sound of the little bomblets going off in a cloud over the target area. Each 155mm DPICM artillery shell releases 80 or so little bomblets that are supposed to bounce up a couple of feet after hitting the ground and explode at a pre-determined hight most effective against both people and military equipment (hence "Dual-Purpose").

Unfortunately, 10-20% of the bomblets usually fail to explode, and are sometimes picked up later and detonate themselves in the hands of curious children thinking they are some kind of little toy. For that reason, use of them against civilian areas is prohibited by normal military doctrine, and is considered by some to be a war crime. We even stopped selling them to Israel twenty years ago or after they fired them into,... you guessed it, Lebanon. Israel now makes DPICM itself.

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