'Should never be used': House Democrat says Biden 'crossing a line' providing cluster bombs to Ukraine

'Should never be used': House Democrat says Biden 'crossing a line' providing cluster bombs to Ukraine

United States Representative Barbara Lee (D-California) criticized President Joe Biden's decision to supply Ukraine with cluster bombs — which are banned by more than a hundred countries — during an appearance on Sunday's edition of CNN's State of the Union.

According to the Cluster Munition Coalition, a "cluster bomb is a weapon containing multiple explosive submunitions. Cluster munitions are dropped from aircraft or fired from the ground or sea, opening up in mid-air to release tens or hundreds of submunitions, which can saturate an area up to the size of several football fields. Anybody within the strike area of the cluster munition, be they military or civilian, is very likely to be killed or seriously injured."

The site highlights that Article II of the Convention on Cluster Munitions — which neither Russia, Ukraine, nor the US has signed — states that "a conventional munition that is designed to disperse or release explosive submunitions each weighing less than 20 kilograms, and includes those explosive submunitions." CMC adds that "therefore the ban on cluster munitions, and all relevant Convention obligations such as stockpile destruction, apply both to the container and the submunitions it contains."

READ MORE: Biden administration poised to supply Ukraine with banned cluster bombs

Because cluster munitions (but not their delivery mechanisms) are broadly illegal under international law due to their indiscriminately destructive capabilities, Lee explained to host Jake Tapper that enabling their use in Ukraine's fight against Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion would undermine the US' global standing and establish a perilous precedent.

"Cluster bombs should never be used. That's crossing a line. Once you see what takes place — we know what takes place in terms of cluster bombs — being very dangerous to civilians. They don't always immediately explode. Children can step on them. That's a line we should not cross," Lee said.

"I think the president's been doing a good job managing this war, this Putin-aggressive war against Ukraine," Lee continued. "But I think that this should not happen. He had to ask for a waiver under the Foreign Assistance Act just to do it because we have been preventing the use of cluster bombs since I believe 2010."

Tapper wondered if there are inconsistent standards.

READ MORE: Zelenskyy: Ukraine 'advancing' and West 'is not pressuring' for faster results

"So when Putin started using cluster bombs, the Biden White House said that that would potentially be a war crime. Do you think that therefore, the US government, the Biden administration, will potentially be engaging in war crimes if this goes forward?" Tapper asked.

"What I think is that we would risk losing our moral leadership because when you look at the fact that over 120 countries have signed the convention on cluster munitions saying they should never be used," Lee replied. "They should never be used, and in fact, many of us have urged the administration to sign on to this convention. And so I'm hoping that the administration would reconsider this because these are very dangerous bombs. They're dangerous weapons, and this is a line that I don't believe we should cross."

Watch below or at this link.

READ MORE: President Joe Biden says aiding Ukrainians with cluster munitions 'was not an easy decision': CNN

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