The Purge of Battle

Some of the Persian Gulf is less fouled than it was before the war

The conventional wisdom during and after the Gulf War was that it was among the worst environmental disasters in history. After all, hundreds of millions of barrels of crude oil leaked into the sands of Kuwait and the waters of the Persian Gulf or burned off into acrid clouds of choking pollution. But a newly published study has reached a surprising conclusion: while some stretches of the Saudi coastline were indeed fouled with oil, the hydrocarbons had largely degraded just four months after the war was over. Even more startling: parts of the gulf were actually cleaner after the war than...

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