According to officials, the Pentagon’s planned ban on older types of cluster bombs, scheduled to go into effect at the start of 2019, has been delayed indefinitely, with the leadership arguing that they haven’t found a replacement yet.
While most of the planet banned cluster bombs years ago because of their tendency to kill large numbers of civilian bystanders and litter areas with bomblets that might remain a threat for years to come, the US is one of a handful of countries that still uses them.
The 2019 ban wasn’t intended to eliminate the bombs from the US arsenal, but to replace them with a new type they assumed they’d discover by then where the bomblets would almost all explode instead of just being scattered on the ground.
The discovery never came, and the Pentagon memo is arguing that not using the old style of weapons could risk “mission failure” in some of America’s various wars. The memo argued it was unacceptable to risk soldiers’ lives by not using arms that endanger civilians.