There are several wars raging right now and if history has any lessons to teach us it is that when occupying troops, or the “other side” leaves they will not be cleaning up the environmental mess they have effectively caused. Today’s wars use chemical weapons, uranium, damage infrastructures and leave behind water that is undrinkable. In fact the amount of damage they leave behind is often the equivalent to the devastation caused by the war.
Clay Risen writing in the Washington Monthly (Jan.-Feb. 2010) notes that “environmental negligence is a common by – product of conflict.” There is also little or no environmental law or enforcing body to sway the hands of governments. The issues usually boils down to money of course. Thus, with no legal requirement to “fix what they broke” US troops, when they pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan have no legal obligation to spend the billions necessary to address environmental and health issues caused by chemical weapons.
Just another example of how we treat our earth and how we treat those who we are there to “help”. Paying out for he damages cause by war is a precedent that bureaucrats do not want to set. Their attitude is that if they admit to damage and pay for clean up in Iraq, or Afghanistan, then doors are left open for claims against the the damage caused during the Vietnam War. Not many politicians care to take this issue on under their watch.
In the last 60 years since the splitting of the atom, the waste of war is deadlier than ever. There are millions of land mines in countries across the world. It is interesting to note of course that about 80% of those maimed by land mines are children. In addition it takes almost 30 times the cost of the weapon to clean it up. So does anyone really care?
There was also the testing of the atom bomb in the 1940′s and 50′s that has left parts of the planet uninhabitable and nuclear waste travels, it travels in water, air, and moves through the eco-system impairing plant life, animal life and of course human life. The result in areas where nuclear weapons have been used or tests is an increase in miscarriages, infant mortality rates, cancer, tumors, thyroid disorders and countless other threats to human and animal life.
For more information: http://www.ppu.org.uk/learn/infodocs/st_environment.html