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The Vietnam War’s Most Devastating Brand: Cluster Bombs
By: Emory Brown
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There is a saying that goes “all’s fair in love and war,” but that’s the biggest lie ever told. All isn’t fair in war. The mighty in most cases come to destroy the weak. The unrighteous agendas of unseen forces have conquered and democratized nations with undemocratic means. These means are the weapons of war. Military genius is branded into weapons of destruction whose very names strike fear into generations of people’s hearts. Yes, I said generations, and in certain areas in Vietnam, the American “cluster bomb” is still killing people 41 years later.

War has always had a brand attached to it. Each tribe has their colors, shields, swords, banners, and logos— whatever is needed to make sure the enemy knows who they’re “messin’” with. Armies brand their ferocity. Our country’s brightest military minds have made branded devastation a signature of what will happen when you mess with the U.S. Remember Pearl Harbor? Remember the atomic bomb being dropped on Hiroshima and Nagaski?

That was death branded in a cloud of unforgettable destruction. Yet the worst was still to come. See, innovation begs to be outdone. One big bomb was good, but you only need to bring that out when the enemy has completely lost its mind and gone “kamikaze.” I guess some engineers sitting around in a room said, “You know, the A-bomb was a little much. Let’s make something smaller, with a fierce impact, but that doesn’t make us look like total monsters. You know, I got a wife and kids at home.” Then came the birth of the “cluster bomb.”

Cluster bombs were designed as anti-personnel, anti-armor weapons that had a failure rate of up to 30% in Laos during the Vietnam War. So to translate the percentages, if you drop 100 cluster bombs, 30 of them would not explode on impact. Which means they continue to pose a risk of detonation at any time. Approximately 80 million of the cluster bombs dropped failed to detonate in Laos. Who drops 80 million little bombs on one area? One million wasn’t enough to strike fear into the hearts of the enemy?

As a result, more than 98% of known cluster bomb victims are civilians and 40% are children who have accidently activated their destructive force because they thought they were toys. The epidemic is so bad that special task forces come and detonate the bombs when spotted and children aid these teams in locating and finding the bombs. Generations of children have to learn how to spot bombs so they won’t die when playing hide and seek.

Are weapons of this caliber the reason people hate the U.S. so much? Are weapons like these the reason why a woman in Korea openly told an American reporter that “she would kill Obama if he were standing right in front of her now and had a gun present”?
 
Have we as a military force created a brand that is respected by the world or hated by the world? I don’t know. I can’t really say, so I guess I’ll rewrite the saying: “All isn’t fair in love and war.” Sometimes you can create something to protect your loved ones that can destroy the innocent non-participants of war for years to come.


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About the Author
Emory Brown is an award-winning creative director/writer whose mission is to spread the gospel of what great marketers can do when they put their heads together and work together for the greater good and not the bottom line. Working with many esteemed clients, his portfolio of work ranges in genre from conservative to ultra-modern including American Family Insurance, United Airlines, Mazda 6 and RX-8, Illinois Lottery, Tyson, Miller Genuine Draft, Nike Air Force 1, and Mercedes Benz, to name a few.  
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