War is Becoming Ever More Destructive

(This is section 6 of the World Beyond War white paper A Global Security System: An Alternative to War. Continue to preceding | following section.)

The 2003 US invasion of Iraq began with a bombardment calculated to terrify the inhabitants of Baghdad into submission. The US government referred to the tactic as “Shock and Awe.” (Image: CNN screen grab)

Ten million died in World War I, 50 to 100 million in World War II. Weapons of mass destruction could, if used, end civilization on the planet. In modern wars it is not only soldiers that die on the battlefield. The concept of “total war” carried the destruction to non-combatants as well so that today many more civilians— women, children, old men–die in battles than do soldiers. It has become a common practice of modern armies to indiscriminately rain high explosives on cities where large concentrations of civilians try to survive the carnage.

As long as war is looked upon as wicked, it will always have its fascination. When it is looked upon as vulgar, it will cease to be popular.

Oscar Wilde (Writer and Poet)

War degrades and destroys the ecosystems upon which civilization rests. Preparation for war creates and releases tons of toxic chemicals. Most Superfund sites in the U.S. are on military bases. Nuclear weapons factories like Fernald in Ohio and Hanford in Washington State have contaminated ground and water with radioactive waste that will be poisonous for thousands of years. War fighting leaves thousands of square miles of land useless and dangerous because of landmines, depleted uranium weapons, and bomb craters that fill with water and become malaria infested. Chemical weapons destroy rainforest and mangrove swamps. The military forces use vast amounts of oil and emit tons of greenhouse gases.

(Continue to preceding | following section.)

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