THE United States, Russia, China, Israel, India and Pakistan. The list of countries that refused to sign a treaty against cluster bombs in Dublin, Ireland. Citing the military utility of these travesties, these countries have refused to sign an agreement against the use of a weapon forty percent of whose victims are estimated to be children. Why is such a large proportion of the victims children? Because cluster bombs leave a lot of "duds", bombs that have failed to explode, that may stay around undetonated for long periods of time. Just like landmines. Incidentally, none of the above-mentioned countries signed the 1997 accord against the use of landmines, another device with a distaste for kids, at least those with all limbs intact. Almost as bad as not signing the treaty was the fact that these countries did not debate the issue and present their points of view at the conference. Instead, they simply refused to show up. A possible reason for this would be that this would have meant providing a united front and some of these countries are holding on to the weapons for possible use against each other; India and Pakistan. against each other, ditto for Russia and China. Israel is holding on to use them against Syria and Lebanon, the latter having received a senseless, baby-killing dose in 2006. And last but not the least, the US is holding on to them because there is no arms race in which the US wants to be left behind. The Dublin treaty was only against current designs that leave unexploded sub-munitions. If all of these exploded upon use, it would drastically reduce the number of non-combatant casualties. One wonders how this would affect the much trumpeted "military utility" of these abominations. All of the non-signatory countries should follow the example of the 111 countries, which signed the treaty. Specially Pakistan. It is not becoming of an Islamic republic to possess such weapons.