Reclaiming the Wasteland: Thinking about Land Mines and Their Eradication

Reclaiming the Wasteland: Thinking about Land Mines and Their Eradication

Antipersonnel land mines epitomize the vulnerability and risk experienced by many inhabitants of the late modern world. The product of extraordinary scientific ingenuity and scrupulousness, conceived as an inexpensive and efficient means of controlling territory and constricting the movement of military forces, these agents of destruction are deeply embedded in the geopolitical terrain. And this embdeddedness is only partly metaphorical; for land mines are literally implanted in the soil throughout the planet. Afghanistan, Angola, Bosnia, Cambodia, El Salvador, Somalia. . . as Philip C. Winslow makes clear in his superb Sowing the Dragon’s Teeth: Land Mines and the Global Legacy of War, land mines pervade our world, turning large parts of the globe into heaps of broken images, and engendering a fear in a handful of dust that Eliot could not have dreamed of.

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Lima