Last year President Clinton softened Washington's odd-man-out refusal to sign the international treaty banning land mines. He pledged increased aid for landmine victims. He set up a "Demining 2010" program to deflect criticism.
But the US has since done little to aid any of the 300,000 mine explosion survivors in 65 nations. Tens of millions of mines still left from past wars continue to cause some 26,000 casualties a year - 80 percent civilians, many of them children at play.
Now 133 nations have signed, and 49 have ratified, the treaty. It becomes international law on March 1. Gen. Norman Schwartzkopf reportedly calls antipersonnel mines inhumane and obsolete. The Diana, Princess of Wales, Memorial Fund has just made a major grant to the Landmine Survivors Network to help the injured rebuild their lives.
All this action leaves US promises sounding hollow. It's time for Washington to keep its pledge to help survivors eager to resume useful lives.