He asked why women, after centuries of walking behind, now walked ahead of the men and was told it was because there were so many landmines left after the war.


It is with no lack of charity – although such would certainly be justified by the circumstances – that we suggest that the difference between the contemporary and the post WWII clearing effort was due to the fact that after WWII there was an actual peace in place and that the operations were carried out under allied military supervision using former enemy combatants to do the actual work. Today there is no peace. There are truces, cease fires and negotiated settlements – all of which are more honored in the breach than the observance – and the organizing factors of mine clearance are NGO’s who may receive celebrity endorsements but who are under trained, under staffed and under funded. Like almost every other humanitarian endeavor in the world today there is a disconnect between the goal and the reality and the only efficient part of the operation is the fund raising apparatus which may consume more than it distributes in its fight for institutional self preservation.

Landmines in war and peace Barnsley : Pen & Sword Military, 2008 Mike Croll Land mines  History Hardcover. Updated ed.. Previous ed.: published as The history of landmines. 1999.  x, 214 p., [16] p. of plates : ill. ; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

Landmines and their antecedents have been used on the battlefield from ancient times, through the world wars, to the modern conflicts in the developing world. Their use in the developing world caused tens of thousands of civilian casualties, and the resulting international outrage transformed rapidly into a highly effective global movement to ban landmines and a multi million dollar mine action business.

This book describes how technology and military tactics defined landmine development and deployment, why they are such an effective weapon of war, and how an unlikely alliance succeeded in banning the use of anti-personnel mines.

The elusive search for the easy way to clear mines is described. Despite experiments with machines, airships, rats and explosive clearance methods, mine clearance remains a hazardous, labour intensive task undertaken by teams of deminers using metal detectors and needle-like probes.

Comparisons are made between the post WWII clearance of around 100 million landmines in Europe and contemporary efforts to clear a similar number in the developing world. By 1947 Europe was largely mine free, yet after nearly 20 years and expenditure of $4 billion the landmine crisis in the developing world continues.

 

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