Ron Ridenour

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War as the Major Destroyer of Mother Earth
[March 28, 2010]

Proposal for "People's World Conference on Climate Change and Mother Earth's Rights": End War and militarization!

1. The major single contributor to spreading CO2 and other toxic and radioactive materials is the Pentagon, the United States Military, in complicity with the transnational fossil fuels, weapons and cement industries.
2. Besides the daily murder, maiming and torturing of the invaded peoples of Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, the U.S. government-military is contaminating the entire environment and the globe with its weapons of aggressive and “preventative” war.
3. We, united in Bolivia at the People's World Conference on Climate Change and Mother Earth’s Rights, declare that wars, especially those instigated and perpetuated by the United States of America, the self-styled policeman of the world, is the single major cause of pollution, the major cause of destroying Mother Earth. We hereby pledge to act in multifarious ways to end these wars. The anti-war movement must be revived and linked internationally. Anti-war activities must take number one priority for all of us who wish to preserve human life and the planet.

Supportive Evidence

1. Co-director of International Action Center, Sara Flounders, recently wrote, “Pentagon’s Role in Global Catastrophe”. Key points: a) The Pentagon is the number one contributor to pollution and the planet’s destruction, in addition to being the major murderer of human beings; b) And it is most odd that almost no one, not scientists, no well known actor in politics, no major institution, not even anti-war organizations speak of this. It was not an issue at COP15, although many demonstrators outside carried signs and shouted against the wars. The Pentagon, as Flounders wrote, “is the largest institutional user of petroleum products and energy in general. Yet the Pentagon has a blanket exemption in all international climate agreements.”

“The Pentagon wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; its secret operations in Pakistan; its equipment on more than 1,000 U.S. bases around the world; its 6,000 facilities in the U.S.; all NATO operations; its aircraft carriers, jet aircraft, weapons testing, training and sales will not be counted against U.S. greenhouse gas limits or included in any count.”

How is that possible?

During Kyoto Accord negotiations, the Pentagon demanded that “all of its military operations worldwide and all operations it participates in with the U.N. and/or NATO be completely exempted from measurements and reductions.” It secured this concession and then had the audacity to refuse to sign the accords. Yet to this day, the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change ignores all US military emissions of CO2 and all other lethal toxics and radiation.

This means it is probably impossible to measure how much the Pentagon actually pollutes but in 2006 the CIA Factbook stated that only 35 countries, out of 210, consume more oil per day than does the Pentagon. Officially, that is 320,000 barrels a day but that does not include fuel consumed by contractors or consumed in leased and privatized facilities, nor the fuel energy used to produce and maintain their “death-dealing equipment or the bombs, grenades or missiles they fire.” , January 9, 2010

2. Steve Kretzmann, director of Oil Change International, is a co-author of the March 19, 2008 study entitled, “A Climate of War” www.priceofoil.or/2008/03/19/iraq-25-million-new-cars-and-counting/ . It was published on the fifth anniversary of the Iraq war. Some key findings:
a. “In 2006, the US spent more on the war in Iraq than the whole world spent on investment in renewable energy.”
b. In the first five years, the war caused the release of 141 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, the equivalent to emissions from 25 million cars in one year. If this war, just in those first five years, were a country in terms of annual emissions, “it would emit more CO2 each year than 139 of the world’s nations do”.

3. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), petroleum accounts for 40% of global carbon dioxide emissions, “Key World Energy Statistics”, 2007, p.44. While the Pentagon is the single greatest user of oil, causing incalculable CO2 damage, it is also a great user of cement, which is another major cause of CO2 emissions. In the first five years of war against Iraq, the Pentagon used as much cement as did Peru in 2005, according to “A Climate of War” study.

4. Other U.S. weapons, those with depleted uranium, “have spread tens of thousands of pounds of micro-particles of radioactive and highly toxic waste throughout the Middle East, Central Asia and the Balkans”, Sara Flounders.

5. “The U.S. sells land mines and cluster bombs that are a major cause of delayed explosives, maiming and disabling especially peasant farmers and rural peoples of Africa, Asia and Latin America. For example, Israel dropped more than 1 million U.S.-provided cluster bombs on Lebanon during its 2006 invasion,” Sara Flounders.

“The U.S. war in Vietnam left large areas so contaminated with the Agent Orange herbicide that today…dioxin contamination is 300 to 400 times higher than `safe´ levels,” causing high rates of cancer and birth defects. Sara Flounders.

Environmentalists Against War activist, Gar Smith, wrote, November 5, 2003 ( ) that the U.S. dropped 25 million bombs and 72 million liters of chemical weapons on Vietnam between 1960 and 1975. Additional millions of bombs and liters of chemicals were also dropped on Cambodia and Laos. Fourteen percent of Vietnam’s forests were ruined forever; 15,000 square kilometers of land destroyed ( ).

6. In the first U.S. war against Iraq, the 1991 Gulf War, 80,000 tons of climate-warming gases were dropped by the Pentagon in just a few weeks. 700 oil wells exploded in flames lasting weeks and months. In 2003, the U.S. hit Iraq in the first few weeks with 28,000 rockets, bombs and missiles, many using toxic depleted uranium. The Pentagon wars in Iraq and elsewhere include the use of lead, nitrates, nitrites, hydrocarbons, phosphorous, radioactive debris, corrosive and toxic heavy metals. Gar Smith.

7. Former head of US Federal Reserves Alan Greenspan: “I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil,” Age of Turbulence.

8. Besides the filth the US government-military spreads around the world, it is also indifferent to destroying its home bases. The Defense Department ignores the U.S. government’s Environmental Protection Agency orders to clean up contaminated U.S. bases. Much of this contamination seeps into drinking water and soil. (See: Washington Post, June 30, 2008, as cited by Sara Flounders.)

The Pentagon uses trichloroethylene, the most widespread water contaminant in the country, also perchlorate. They are ruining the water and soil in thousands of military facilities and the surrounding lands. Its’ testing of nuclear weapons contaminates millions of hectares of land and water with radiation in the Southwest where many indigenous people live on reservations.

In this age of permanent war, we need to conduct much more research on how much the militarization of so many countries and the numerous wars are causing the destruction of our Mother Earth and the human race directly and indirectly.

“The best way to dramatically clean up the environment is to shut down the Pentagon. What is needed to combat climate change is a thoroughgoing system change,” Sara Flounders.

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