Trump administration rolls back Obama land mine restrictions

The Trump administration will change an Obama-era policy that banned the military use of land mines outside the Korean peninsula and which was shared by over 100 countries, the White House stated on Friday.

“The President has canceled the Obama Administration’s policy to prohibit United States military forces from employing anti-personnel landmines outside of the Korean Peninsula,” the Office of the Press Secretary said in a statement.

The Defense Department “has determined that restrictions imposed on American forces by the Obama Administration’s policy could place them at a severe disadvantage during a conflict against our adversaries. The President is unwilling to accept this risk to our troops,” the statement continued.

Land mines are currently only used in South Korea near the border with North Korea to protect from threats there.

Not a free-for-all

The new policy is not a free-for-all; it doesn’t return to a pre-2014 pattern of using mines that could be harmful to civilians years later.

Instead, it authorizes military personnel “in exceptional circumstances, to employ advanced, non-persistent landmines specifically designed to reduce unintended harm to civilians and partner forces,” according to the White House statement.

The mines that would be used in these cases have a 30-day self-destruct mechanism or a deactivation feature that would make them less harmful to civilians while still providing protection when needed in combat situations.

Trump’s decision reportedly comes after a 2017 review by then-Defense Secretary James Mattis that recommended the short-term land mine use in rare circumstances.

Critics pile on

Of course, policy moves like this provide the perfect fodder for leftists to say that Trump wants to maim children and doesn’t care about victims of his policies.

For example, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) said, “The president’s decision to roll back the policy on anti-personnel landmines is as perplexing as it is disappointing, and reflexive, and unwise.”

How is it “unwise” to give ourselves every possible military option against huge powers like China and Russia, while making sure that our efforts won’t unintentionally hurt civilians years later?

The inability to give Trump any credit for making decisions that are undoubtedly in the best interests of our country and make perfect common sense is one of the things hurting Democrats most right now, I think. “Orange man bad” comes across as ignorant and short-sighted to just about everyone, even many Democrats.

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