The Bush administration plans to ban certain landmines after 2010.
The new policy would allow use of "smart" landmines which have timing devices to automatically defuse the explosives within hours or days and pose little threat to civilians.
But the government says it will not sign an international treaty against the use of landmines and has abandoned a sweeping landmine ban as envisaged by former President, Bill Clinton.
Should landmines face a total ban? Send us your thoughts.
The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:
This debate is now closed. Read your comments below.
Yes. All landmines should be banned. What will stop the other countries from trying to develop the so-called "smart" landmines? The USA should be setting good examples for the smaller and poorer countries to follow, instead what comes out loud and clear is that "Might is Right."
Ofa Khonje, Canada
If you plant them you should be required by law to dig them up when your war is over. No Exceptions - period !
Eli Rouse, St. Albans, West Virginia, USA
You guys must be joking. If weapon is not to kill, what the weapon is for? Land mine is an efficient stuff to block enemy's move.
George, New Zealand
I notice that most of the people opposed to land mines seem to be from smug little democracies with no responsibility for defending the free world from aggression. They are not, for example, sitting on the DMZ in Korea, awaiting attack from a fanatical million-man North Korean army eager to do the bidding of the Dear Leader. I suspect that if they were part of the American trip-wire on the DMZ they would have a more appreciative view of land mines.
Yes, and hopefully the US will ban landmines when we vote Bush out of the White House in November.
Lynn Tordoff, Rhode Island, USA
The USA should ban land mines and push for a world ban. The problem with land mines is that armies never go back and dig them up, after the conflict is over. Land mines reduce land values. Land mines usually injure, rather than kill. Countries always forget where they left them.
Casey Keenan, USA
What exactly does "less of a threat to civilians" mean? A mine that can only blow one leg at a time off...or a mine that will kill fewer civilians... or perhaps a mine that will only kill a civilian prior to its expiry date? Methinks politicians should become less of a threat to their people.
Des Currie, Umdloti, South Africa
In the U.S., there is not a large problem with landmines. There has not for a long time been a war on their soil and Americans have not had to face the terror of landmines. In Cambodia, 1 in 236 people are amputees due to landmines, as opposed to the 1 in 22,000 in America. A landmine affects not only the enemy soldiers, but also innocent civilians in following years. The landmine is much worse a terrorist than any Iraqi, Afghani or North Korean. So tell me one thing, why is America fighting these groups of so-called terrorists, instead of ridding the world of worse terrorists?
Devin Dunseith, Mbabane, Swaziland
Yes, of course the US should ban landmines. By refusing to do so, it is directly responsible for the 15 to 20,000 new victims each year. In addition, using so-called 'smart mines' is going to cause even more new victims.
Tatiana Brabant, Brussels, Belgium
If the US is to be the true world leader it claims to be then it should take the initiative on issues like these that better the cause for humanity. The US should be at the forefront of this issue and not dragged along by other countries.
Josh F, Kansas City USA (Canadian)
How are landmines in other countries defending our lives and property? Landmines should be banned, period.
Pat Jones, Santa Cruz, USA
Landmines are a vital weapon to the defence of remote outposts. Why should we give up a tactical advantage? Maybe we should ban bombers because they bomb cities and kill people too? What a joke.
Kevin, London, USA
Landmines have to be banned as they cannot differentiate between a soldier and an innocent child. This fact has been proven thousands of times.
I think landmines are evil and cause loss of limb and life to innocent people, often years after a conflict has ended. However what other cheap arms are available to poor countries to defend them from wealthy and powerful aggressors ?
Before speaking about banning such weapons the US should consider curbing its own development of WMD.
Paul Gidvani, Naples, Italy
All landmines should be banned. It's time for us to try to reverse the wholesale arming of the world, and mines are one of the most prolific weapons available. Not to mention the huge toll they take on civilian populations...
Oli Brooke-White, Wellington, New Zealand
I believe that landmines should be totally banned. With the huge technological advances in modern warfare, I don't think there's any need for such primitive and indiscriminate methods of warfare. But I don't think the US will push for a total international ban on land mines, because it wouldn't be in their best interest.
Hamzah, Montreal, Canada
Yes, the US should ban all landmines as should the whole world.
David Millar, Whitehorse, Canada
It's absurd to attempt to regulate the manner in which conflicts are fought. They're inherently violent. What would you refrain from doing if forced to defend your lives and property?
Ashton Thorogood, Philadelphia, USA
In a perfect world all weapons would be banned and wars would be fought with foul language. The US should ban land mines but only if EVERY other country does the same.
Yes, The U.S. should ban ALL landmines. I don't believe in any "smart" landmines. Killing people (which is the purpose of landmines) could never ever be called smart.
Maybritt de Vries, Hong Kong
I think landmines are absolutely despicable, and need to be banned. Most land mines do not kill the enemy they are set there for, but instead kill and maim children long after the battle has been won.
Ben Waiberman, Tampa, USA
I don't mind if the US only uses land-mines inside the US. They can plant land-mines coast to coast across America. However, the US planting or selling land-mines outside the US is a different story, THAT should be banned!
Gary Chiles, Wellington, New Zealand
Of course they should be completely banned. Anyone who has seen a photo of a mutilated human being can understand this. The term "smart" land mine is simply an excuse to allow more suffering in the name of the "war against terrorism". We all remember what "collateral damage" meant in recent wars. The US should invest more of its efforts in peaceful initiatives rather than developing new types of weapons!
Mines are a horrible and inhumane weapon that more often than not inflict terrible injuries or death on innocent victims up to decades after they have been laid. They should be banned with no 'ifs or buts'.
Ben Anderson, Osaka, Japan (Australia)
Hmm.. Why? We have many other ways of killing civilians - like air bombing. What's wrong with this one?
Land-mines are land-mines. How can you have a mine that is safe to some people and not others? If someone steps on it, it doesn't know if it's a civilian or not. Ban them all is the best answer.
Although this is a welcome step it doesn't go far enough. Although the mines should disarm themselves there will always be one or two that don't defuse. Therefore the US should commit to the complete ban. It's another example of the unilateral thinking in the US.
Pete, Amsterdam NL
Limited banning by 2010? How about we stop producing them right now? What a sad day for humanity when a country which declares itself to be the centre of "enlightenment" of this world manufactures and sells such weapons. Land-mines are blind killers that should be immediately banned in all countries. Period.
Marc D., Quebec, Canada