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Thursday, June 26, 2008


War as an environmental disaster

An article in USA Today today reports that the military is facing a $100 billion bill for repairs; no doubt that money has not been included in what we've been told is the "cost" of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But buried in the story is this nugget:
Humvees, for example, travel as much as 100,000 miles a year in Iraq, five times the peacetime rate.
Now there is an "as much as" in that sentence, and I don't know how many Humvees are in Iraq, but we also know that Humvees are not exactly high-mileage or low-emission vehicles, and just one Humvee driven for 100,000 miles is generating one heck of a lot of emissions and burning one heck of a lot of gasoline. I don't know if anyone has recently computed the amount of pollution being generated by American vehicles (including planes, of course, as well as Humvees, tanks, and everything else on the ground) in Iraq, nor the amount of non-renewable fossil fuels that have been burned up by that war (as well as in Afghanistan), but I think it's safe to say it's one heck of a large number.

Some hard data in an earlier post to emphasize the magnitude of this problem.

War is many things. One of them is an environmental disaster.

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