US National Cluster Munitions Call-In Day

National Call-In Day

Cluster munitions campaigners in the US are urging Americans to call their senators on 30 March 2009 and ask them to support the Cluster Munitions Civilian Protection Act, S. 416.

This legislation would prohibit the US from using cluster munitions that have more than a 1% failure rate or in civilian areas.  This would help prevent the deadly contamination of conflict zones with dangerous unexploded ‘dud’ bomblets that act like de facto landmines.

If cluster bombs were still used, the law would require the President to submit a clearance plan, to organize cleaning up any duds left behind. 

The bill stops short of requiring the US to accede to the Cluster Munitions Convention, signed in December by some 100 countries, including many NATO allies.  However, it would be an important step forward for the US, whose cluster munitions have been used in Iraq, Kosovo, Lebanon (by Israel) and Southeast Asia.

The following information from the Friends Committee on National Legislation (click on the picture to see their site) gives directions on how to call your senator as well as a suggested script:

Who Should You Call?

  • Are you from California, Maine, Maryland, Oregon, Washington, or Vermont? Both of your senators are already on board! That’s great! You can still write your representative and urge her or him to cosponsor the companion bill in the House, H.R. 981.
  • Are you from Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Dakota, West Virginia, or Wisconsin? One of your senators is already co-sponsoring, so call the other one! These senators still need calls: Chuck Grassley (IA), John Kerry (MA), Carl Levin (MI), Frank Lautenberg (NJ), Tom Udall (NM), Arlen Specter (PA), George Voinovich (OH), Jack Reed (RI), John Thune (SD), John Rockefeller (WV), and Herb Kohl (WI).
  • Do you live in any other state? You should call both of your senators and ask them to cosponsor the bill!

How to Make Your Calls

Call the Senate switchboard using this toll free number: 1-800-590-6313. Ask for your senators by name. Find out who your senators are.

  • Once you are directed to the office, identify yourself as a constituent, and ask to speak to the legislative assistant who deals with foreign or military policy issues.
  • Follow the script below (if you like).
  • After you call one senator’s office, call the switchboard again and ask for your other senator.
  • Note: if the receptionist tells you that the person is not available, you can either give the below information to the receptionist, or ask for the legislative aide’s answering machine and leave your message there.

Script for your Call

Please feel free to improvise and add additional information.

  • My name is [NAME], and I live in [CITY, STATE]. Thanks for taking my call. 
  • I’m calling to encourage Senator [SENATOR’S NAME] to cosponsor S. 416, the Cluster Munitions Civilian Protection Act. 
  • Senator [NAME]’s co-sponsorship of this bill will help align U.S. policy with that of our closest NATO allies and ensure that we no longer use weapons that we know have a record of killing more civilians than soldiers.
  • Will co-sponsorship of this bill be possible? (Give or leave your phone number if you would like a call back.)
  • Thank you.

(Extract used with permission,  from: http://www.fcnl.org/weapons/mar30_call.htm)

For more on the global campaign to ban cluster munitions, click here.

Click here to read my article in the Guardian calling on Obama to join the cluster bomb ban

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~ by Matthew Bolton on 19 March 2009.

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