By Howard Zinn • The Progressive • September 2005
As I write this, the frightening violence in Iraq continues, England and the United States are in a state of fear about suicide bombs, and the Senate is about to confirm a new, conservative Supreme Court justice. So it may seem peculiar to bring up a subject that is either at the far edge of all our attention, or over the edge and invisible. But here I go.

On August 3, Human Rights Watch announced that the Bush Administration “appears poised to resume the production of anti-personnel mines” for the first time since 1997. It noted that “the Pentagon has requested a total of $1.3 billion” for a new type of land mine.

This registered with me because I had just read Dr. Gino Strada’s Green Parrots: A War Surgeon’s Diary. The book tells of his fifteen years performing surgery in Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia, Somalia, Eritrea, Cambodia, and other places, on victims of land mines and other products of our technological expertise. The “green parrots” are land mines with tiny wings, which look like toys to children, who then pick them up—with horrible consequences.

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