In This Review

Clearing the Fields: Solutions to the Global Land Mines Crisis
Clearing the Fields: Solutions to the Global Land Mines Crisis
Edited by Kevin M. Cahill
Basic Books and the Council on Foreign Relations, 1995, 288 pp

There is a great deal of humanitarian passion in Cahill's introduction and conclusion, but the most useful essays in his volume are soberly analytical. Patrick Blagden and Thomas Evans handle technological issues with considerable authority; Richard Johnson provides a responsible professional military perspective; and Hays Parks is informative on the law of war. Most of the other essays range from the superficial to the fervent but often impractical, while Bryan Hehir's typically tightly reasoned but abstract essay on the morality of mine warfare is in a category of its own. Some of the authors would like to see land mines banned, but such a move, their colleagues counter, is unlikely to take place and could be downright immoral. There is some confusion -- duds from air- or artillery-delivered cluster bombs are not mines -- and some of the numbers thrown about seem questionable. Nonetheless, on balance this is a troubling and illuminating collection of articles about the growing problem of murderous post-combat debris.