Thursday, February 06, 2020

A Political Post That’s Not Really Political (Landmines Are Bad)

It’s been a big week in politics. (Probably not the best way to start a post based on the title.) Monday featured the Democratic Iowa caucus, where as the time of me writing this, there still hasn’t been a declared winner. I guess it’s possible that the people of Iowa read my campaign platform and voted for me!

Tuesday was the annual State of the Union which will be remembered more for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ripping up the speech at its conclusion than for anything else.

Some people have said that this is the worst thing to ever happen in Congress. Clearly, these people never heard about House Representative Preston Brooks of South Carolina beating Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts unconscious with a cane in the 1850. Or they didn’t see Ted Cruz read "Green Eggs and Ham" on the Senate floor.

Wednesday will be remembered for the time when a sitting president survived an impeachment vote in the Senate. Clearly, President Trump learned his lesson and will never seek foreign assistance or try to dig up dirt on political rivals ever again. 

With all of this going on, it’s easy to miss an action that occurred last weekend when President Trump “rescinded restrictions on the US military's ability to use landmines.” I’ll let this article explain.

"The President has canceled the Obama administration's policy to prohibit United States military forces from employing anti-personnel landmines outside of the Korean Peninsula," White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement.

"The Department of Defense has determined that restrictions imposed on American forces by the Obama Administration's policy could place them at a severe disadvantage during a conflict against our adversaries. The President is unwilling to accept this risk to our troops," she added. 

Look, in theory, I get the idea of having smaller government and fewer restrictions. But getting rid of the restrictions on landmines? Is there a landmine company out there that donated money to the re-election campaign because it needs to sell more landmines? Is there a significant group at the Pentagon who, in 2020, believes that our military really needs and is missing out on landmines? I thought we’re doing the Space Force thing now, so why go back to landmines? 

Landmines are bad and tend to hurt and kill civilians, often more than military members. Sure, the article says that the Department of Defense will only use landmines with a 30-day self-destruct or self-deactivation feature, but are you going to walk on a path where landmines might be buried on day 31? Or day 310? Or day 3100? Probably not. You still hear stories about landmines that have been found or detonated from World War 2. Again, landmines are bad, so there is no reason to get into the landmine business again. 

And since everything else is going on, no one is even mentioning this.

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