Environment: A War Against the Earth

Torching oil wells and disgorging crude into the gulf, Saddam makes the planet his latest victim

The military lexicon needs a new term: "eco-war." What better way to describe the acts of environmental carnage committed last week in the Persian Gulf, where the air is thick with the smoke from burning oil wells and a wide swath of crude petroleum is fouling the water and devastating wildlife? If these disasters brought to mind the Exxon Valdez, the news of air attacks on nuclear- and chemical-weapons facilities raised the specter of Chernobyl and Bhopal. The environment itself has become both a weapon and a victim.

A first taste of possible nightmares to come arrived early last week, when...

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