These photos where taken far away from the United States in Kosovo and Albania. This is one in a series that I'm calling America Abroad. On my travels I often witness the results of American policy and when there is a direct connection I'm going to include those stories in these postings.
Yesterday (3 December 2008), 93 nations agreed to ban cluster bombs at a conference in Oslo, Norway. Notably absent, was the United States along with Russia and China.
Cluster bombs maim and kill indiscriminately--their victims are usually civilians and most notably amongst them the young. Last January I saw the results of these bombs firsthand in Albania and Kosovo. In 1999 during NATO's war with Serbia all players in the region deployed land mines and dropped cluster bombs on the Albanian border. While those affected by mines in Kosovo received a high concentration of attention from the press, NATO and NGOs those affected in Albania, who are much poorer and in greater need of aid than their neighbors across the border, have gone largely unnoticed. During the past 9 years 272 people have been injured by mines and they have received only the most basic of care.