Damn the treaty, full mines ahead!

The Pentagon’s latest alternative to conventional land mines is, um, conventional land mines. HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH says the new antipersonnel devices include a feature to make them “victim activated” which makes them little different from the notorious civilian killers they’re replacing. “The Pentagon’s alternative to landmines is no alternative at all,” says a Human Rights Watch spokesperson.

The mines’ prototypes have already been tested, and the Pentagon is about to award an engineering contract. Over 500,000 mines may be produced by 2005.

One hundred and thirty seven nations, including every NATO member but Turkey, have signed the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty. Clinton has said the US would ratify it in 2006 as long as a land mine alternative was developed. Unfortunately, Human Rights Watch notes, the alternatives already developed, like the latest mine-with-an-off-switch version, are themselves banned under the treaty. Alternatives suggested by Human Rights Watch include not using land mines.


We recently wrapped up the crowdfunding campaign for our ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project, and it was a smashing success. About 10,364 readers pitched in with donations averaging $45, and together they contributed about $467,374 toward our $500,000 goal.

That's amazing. We still have donations from letters we sent in the mail coming back to us, so we're on pace to hit—if not exceed—that goal. Thank you so much. We'll keep you posted here as the project ramps up, and you can join the hundreds of readers who have alerted us to corruption to dig into.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.


Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.