Land Mines—A Global Menace
THOUSANDS of innocent men, women, and children in more than 60 countries are maimed, and some killed, every month by land mines. It is estimated that antipersonnel mines have killed or injured more people than chemical, biological, and nuclear warfare. According to the research organization Human Rights Watch, some 30,000 people have been maimed by mines in Cambodia alone.
These small explosives have been planted in the ground in various conflicts, and most of them have never been removed. It is estimated that some 100 million of them remain buried in more than 60 countries. They can be set off by a mere footstep and are popular in warfare because they are inexpensive and effective. One version costs only $3 (U.S.). Another, which propels 700 steel balls and kills at 50 yards [40 m], costs only $27. The demand is so great, The New York Times reports, that 48 nations now make and sell 340 different types of them. And more are planted each day than are deactivated by mine-clearing operations.
Clearing mines is difficult and expensive, since many armies do not map their minefields; and mines are increasingly made of wood, plastic, and other materials that evade metal detectors. U.S. senator Patrick Leahy, who called for a ban on export of these weapons, stated: “In the Netherlands, people are still being killed by German mines from World War II. Think how much worse it is in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Angola, Bosnia and all the other countries that have been heavily mined.”
Only God’s incoming new world will solve such problems. His Word promises: “[God] is making wars to cease to the extremity of the earth. The bow he breaks apart and does cut the spear in pieces; the [war] wagons he burns in the fire.”—Psalm 46:9.