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Who Cares About the Environment in a War Zone?

[ 12 ] August 16, 2011 |

Fantastic J. Malcolm Garcia piece at Guernica about the use of burn pits in Afghanistan. Essentially, the military burns everything they use in Afghanistan and Iraq. This includes everything from electronics to plastic bags to feces. Not surprisingly, this is making a lot of people sick.

While one might see the need for immediate disposal of waste in new operations, in bases we have operated for years, this should be entirely unacceptable.

Specifically, I call for legislation that forces U.S. bases abroad, including permanent or semi-permanent bases in Iraq and Afghanistan, to be subject to the Environmental Protection Agency and the environmental laws of the United States. I would call for similar legislation for labor law.

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Comments (12)

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  1. L.M. says:

    In the same vein, though the U.S. Antarctic Program is considered part of the U.S. for tax purposes, it’s not considered part of the U.S. with respect to labor or environmental laws. Funny, that.

  2. Good luck with this– present policy is more or less that the specific protections of the Constitution aren’t followed outside the US. Why would we go in for sissy stuff like environmental law?

  3. bph says:

    The whole point of an empire is so you can get away with crap like this. If the US is going to start treating other nations the same way it treats its own people and property, what is the point of occupying all of those countries?

  4. p j says:

    WTF, our troops are forced to clean up their own poop? Keyboard commandos weep.

  5. wengler says:

    There was a big case on this subject against the Air Force and their illegal dumping at Area 51.

    Predictably the case was dismissed under the premise that black holes remain black holes.

  6. [...] post made on Lawyers, Guns and Money raised a really interesting and important point.  Currently, all materials brought into a war [...]

  7. Stag Party Palin says:

    Not only are we fucked as an ‘empire’, but we deserve cornholing, bukkake and several Cleveland Steamers too. My only comfort here is that in 5 billion years it won’t matter.

  8. mpowell says:

    The Navy has been dumping everything off of ships scheduled to be de-commissioned just off the continental shelf off of San Diego for decades. The only difference is that in a war zone, they don’t bother hiding what they’re doing. There are so many negative impacts due to the size and structure of our military, it is really impossible to discover them all.

  9. [...] that the military uses burn pits to dispose of almost all its waste in war zones, Erik Loomis of Lawyers, Guns and Money calls for the legislation forcing the military to comply with Environmental Protection Agency standards and [...]

  10. Kim says:

    I recently inherited my grandparents’ missives during WWII. My grandfather wrote about leaving the Philippines and that the soldiers were forced to take everything from the barracks out to a pit and burn it. He and many others were dismayed at the wanton destruction, especially because so many of the Philipino people were living with so little and wanted the goods. He wrote to my grandmother that one line of soldiers took things from the barracks to the pit in order to cover for another group who were tossing things out back windows to young children who hurried them into the forests.

    The point is twofold- one, that this current practice obviously has historical precedent, and two, that this destruction is harmful to more than just the environment.

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