I am Gladys Junne C. Nogaliza from University of the Philippines, Manila, 3rd year B.A. Development Studies student. In relation to the decision of the U.S. government with regards to its declaration of war against Iraq, I would like to make a stand and it really matters well if you would bother to listen.
I AM CERTAINLY AGAINST ANY WAR declarations (and the wars themselves) against any country that is, including Iraq. I know that her government has been very defensive not allowing UN to do an immense inspection in search for any chemical and biological weapons, the most destructive and deadly weapons to date, which may have been present in that country. The “reaction” must have led you to come up with a decision that she’s guilty of possessing such arms. I’m not into the discussion of privacy, which any country is entitled of just like the one you’ve been experiencing for countless years because I know that this rule has its limitations. Instead, I’d be speaking about the effects of your (possible) war that you are very much aware of but just need constant reminding and bringing out your deepest concerns for the other nations. And to make no difference, I’d be speaking of its environmental destruction. This doesn’t mean however, that I am overlooking at its effects to the human population (which is at larger costs) because these two are very much interrelated as MAN HAS CONSTANTLY BEEN AND WILL FOREVER BE PART OF NATURE.
In our pursuit of sustainable development, we should first of all protect our environment that is, global environment. For our development to be sustainable we must take into considerations all the resources that we utilize. We should consider the future generations and ourselves so that our aims for development wouldn’t be disregarded. Let us not cause further obliteration to our environment in the forms of collateral damage or deliberate destruction. Wars have become increasingly technologically advanced so its impacts on the environment have become more severe and longer lasting.
Our country, Philippines, is just one of those who had experienced the consequences of preparing for, the immediate effects and the aftermaths of a war. We had difficulty in dealing with the environmental repercussions of war including indirect impacts made through the diversion of resources from ecological protection to military spending, and through the pollution caused by arms production and the direct impacts through weapons testing and military training. The construction of military bases require large areas of land – much of it ecologically valuable and often lead to the destruction of any fauna perceived as hindering such activity (such as birds congregating on runways). Weapons testing severely degrade the natural ecosystems and tend to be treated as exceptions to any regulatory measures to protect the environment. Toxic wastes left by the former US bases here weren’t cleaned up until 1991. It’s just tactical for you to use any country as your military base whenever you declare war or whenever there is war so, the environmental destruction becomes inevitable. I don’t want to be rude to conclude that you care less of other nations like ours. You wouldn’t like it either. But the point is, a war (and in this case your war against Iraq) would threaten any attempt for sustainable development, which we (I would respect if you want to be excluded) must attain. Imagine your country being scarce with any resources for the coming years. You could have deprived my-children-to-be or your great, great grand children of things you enjoy currently.
It is necessary to put emphasis on YOUR war since it is very timely. I’ve ignored for the moment the possibilities of Iraq or any other countries’ declaration of their own war. Iraq has been experiencing the Depleted Uranium (DU) contamination long-term effects especially on its southern part. DU was used for the first time in history in the open environment of that country. Internal exposure to DU could result from ingestion of radionuclides that contaminated the environment either that they reach the plants through root uptake or from contaminated meat or other animal products that became contaminated through ingestion of contaminated pasture or forage. The aquatic system might also become contaminated through floods or water-runoff. The exposure to radionuclides causes radiation doses to the population. The extent of these doses depends on the degree of contamination of different environmental sectors and on the habits of the individuals in the population. If a war would follow on this country, more DU contamination would occur, which is more destructive to the environment to the point of affecting nearby countries. Causing another problem to already a big problem is not an ideal solution. The British government and the US should compensate the victims of the DU contamination and lift their sanctions against Iraq. Furthermore, they should take the responsibility to clean up the contaminated area not only in Iraq, but also in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. You should put an end to the use of environmental destruction as a war winning strategy and as a punishment for defeated country.
Gladys Junne Nogaliza
The date posted here is due to our website rebuild, it does not reflect the original date this article was posted. This article was originally posted in Yonip in 2002