I am appalled at the fact that the Tsarnaev brothers created a bomb designed to inflict maximum harm to innocent civilians standing and cheering at the Boston Marathon.

Their bomb was a kind of cluster bomb, made of an explosive charge surrounded by metal pieces intended as shrapnel. Nothing, however, has been said about the existence of the U.S. arsenal of cluster bombs and the fact that we as a nation use them in war and are responsible for killing and maiming many thousands of civilians.

USA Today reported that “U.S. forces fired nearly 10,800 cluster bombs during the Iraq war. Each weapon releases dozens to hundreds of individual bomblets … which pose a grave threat to civilians. For that reason, military officials say cluster bombs are their weapon of last resort.”

Many of us are ignorant about what horrible weapons cluster bombs are. According to Wikipedia, “Cluster bombs release many small bomblets over a wide area. They pose risks to civilians both during attacks and afterwards. During attacks, the weapons are prone to indiscriminate effects, especially in populated areas. Unexploded bomblets can kill or maim civilians and/or unintended targets long after a conflict has ended, and are costly to locate and remove.”

Most of us also are ignorant of the fact that the U.S. is not one of the 111 states that signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions, adopted in Ireland in 2008. The convention bans the manufacture and use of cluster bombs.

Really? And my taxes helped pay for 10,800 cluster bombs during the Iraq war? This kind of warfare is exactly what creates revenge-seeking monsters like the Tsarneavs. We’re the United States of America. Surely we can do better.

Peter Garrett, Winslow

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