Formerly a Leader on Landmine Ban, Obama Now Balks
by Bryan Bender
June 22, 2014
WASHINGTON — In 2005, then-Senator Barack Obama wrote to a constituent that he would use his influence to help advance an international treaty banning land mines, decrying what he called the “horrific injuries and loss of life” among civilians long after wars end.
But in his five-plus years as president, Obama has not asked the US Senate to ratify the pact signed by 161 other nations, showing an unwillingness to take on military officials who assert that the devices, which the Pentagon last used in battle in 1991, are still needed. Instead, his administration has repeatedly delayed a review of the issue initiated early in his first term.
Senator Patrick Leahy, the Vermont Democrat who has spent more than two decades directing federal funding to clear minefields and provide victims with wheelchairs, prosthetics, and job training, is so frustrated at Obama’s lack of action that he is complaining bitterly and publicly about it.
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