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Letter to Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense on U.S. Landmine Policy

 

August 9, 2001

The Honorable Colin Powell
Secretary of State
2201 C Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20520

Dear Mr. Secretary:

I understand that the Departments of State and Defense, together with the National Security Council, are currently engaged in a comprehensive review of U.S. landmines policy.

As you are aware, the U.S. Catholic bishops have joined Pope John Paul II and Catholic bishops from around the world in calling for a ban on these indiscriminate and deadly weapons. To this end, we have consistently urged that the U.S. Government should sign the Ottawa Treaty.

It is our hope that the policy review you are undertaking will seriously consider the continuing toll of innocent civilian casualties that these weapons cause. We also note that there are defensive alternatives to landmines that have been adopted by our allies, and that the U.S. military has largely abandoned the use of Landmines. We understand that the U.S. is not responsible for the indiscriminate use of landmines around the world, but the terrible human cost of these insidious weapons provides a moral imperative to end their use.

The Ottawa Treaty offers the best opportunity to make progress in achieving a total ban of these weapons. That is why, like so many others, Pope John Paul II has called on all nations to adhere to it, so that "there be no delay in freeing huge numbers of men, women and children from these destructive instruments insidiously placed under their feet." The active participation of the U. S. in this critical effort is essential.

Please consider these sincere concerns when undertaking your policy review which I pray may have a just and humanitarian result.

Sincerely,

Bernard Cardinal Law
Chairman
International Policy Committee.


August 9, 2001

The Honorable Donald Rumsfeld
Secretary of Defense
Department of Defense
1000 Defense, The Pentagon
Washington, D.C. 20301

Dear Mr. Secretary:

I understand that the Departments of State and Defense, together with the National Security Council, are currently engaged in a comprehensive review of U.S. landmines policy.

As you are aware, the U.S. Catholic Bishops have joined Pope John Paul II and Catholic bishops from around the world in calling for a ban on these indiscriminate and deadly weapons. To this end, we have consistently urged that the U.S. Government should sign the Ottawa Treaty.

It is our hope that the policy review you are undertaking will seriously consider the continuing toll of innocent civilian casualties that these weapons cause. We also note that there are defensive alternatives to landmines that have been adopted by our allies. We understand that the U.S. is not responsible for the indiscriminate use of landmines around the world, but the terrible human cost of these insidious weapons provide a moral imperative to end their use.

The Ottawa Treaty offers the best opportunity to make progress in achieving a total ban of these weapons. That is why, like so many others, Pope John Paul II has called on all nations to adhere to it, so that "there be no delay in freeing huge numbers of men, women and children from these destructive instruments insidiously placed under their feet." The active participation of the U. S. in this critical effort is essential.

Please consider these sincere concerns when undertaking your policy review which I pray may have a just and humanitarian result.

Sincerely,

Bernard Cardinal Law
Chairman
International Policy Committee



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