October 14, 2002
President George W. Bush
Office of the US President
The White House
Dear Mr. President:
I, Roselyn S. Luzande, a junior college student of the University of the Philippines Manila (Manila, Philippines), presently am taking up Development Studies 127(Natural and Physical Resources and Development) under Sir Roland Simbulan. In connection with this, our professor asked us about our stand regarding United States of America’s war against Iraq as your continuation fight against terrorism, and the environmental impact if this war will happen.
We all know how the war brings destructive and intensive effects on us. It comprises not only human conflict and struggle but also creates environmental destruction. It endures long and complex processes; from the preparation to the aftermath, where we could see hazardous environmental impacts. Preparing for war encompasses war games and military training which leads to obliteration of flora and fauna living within military bases and the surrounding area. The construction of these military bases alone destroys the environment, what more on storing Biological and Chemical Warfare (BCW) and Weapon Mass Destruction (WMD) products that are extremely toxic. Ample amounts of toxic pollution left from the production, storage and testing of chemical, biological, nuclear and conventional weapons contaminate the area. Human deaths and destruction of the military targets are not the only abrupt outcome of war but destroys nature as well. Military weapons and equipment rely on toxic chemicals for much of their explosive force and propulsion. Thus, they cause negative impacts on the environment through their own composition and their destructive power. For instance, when a heavy bomb goes off, it does not only eradicates flora and fauna but also destroy the lower layers of soil, which can take anywhere from 1,500-7,400 years just to regenerate. Munitions such as Depleted Uranium (DU) shells have long term-effects on everything that comes into contact with them. It releases uranium oxide, which is more dangerous when inhaled into the body for it will release radiation during the life of the person who inhaled it. There is evidence that DU residue left in South Iraq is responsible for a large increase in stillbirths, children born with defects, childhood leukemia and other cancers in the area where most of these shells were fired. Destruction created by toxic munitions, unexploded weapons, physical and biological effects of damage to soil and landscape, and psychological impacts on human sufferings-all of these bring ecological disaster that arduously mortifies the environment.
For all these disastrous consequences of war, I personally oppose on your plan of waging war against Iraq, Mr. President. Please try to figure out further the pros and cons of your actions especially on the Iraqi people who were directly affected on this. Were economic sanctions imposed by your country and the bombings not enough? They bring a lot of sufferings; Iraqis were starving, all the bombs going off, high mortality rate and great destruction of their environment have traumatized children. Will you allow another catastrophe to occur again? Past wars like Vietnam War and Gulf war that created enormous impacts on human health and on the environment, some were severe and long lasting. Are you not having pity on Iraqi people especially on the children who were psychologically and emotionally affected by the US’ actions? Please try to think more about issues like this.
Thanks for your time reading this letter. May you find kindness in your heart upon making your decisions. I am hoping for your kind consideration.
Roselyn S. Luzande
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