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Oil Spills as War Tactics in the Gulf War

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  • Are you sure you want to delete this post?
    While today's oil spill seems tremondous, it is not the is not even the second biggest! In 1991, in the Gulf War the Iraqi forces dumped an estimated 6-8 million barrels of oil from tankers into the Persian Gulf ON PURPOSE to set it on fire and keep the US forces out! Some say even more.

    Would you ever approve of an oil spill on purpose to stop and attacks and save lives?
  • Are you sure you want to delete this post?
    Deliberately creating an oil spill and attempting to burn it along with lighting the Kuwait oil wells on fire are forms of scorched earth practices.  I don't think "saving lives" of his troops entered into Saddam Hussein's thinking.  It was a vindictive irrational move to create economic hardship on the Kuwaitis.

    Scorched earth practices "involves destroying anything that might be useful to the enemy while advancing through or withdrawing from an area" and have been a part of history for over 2,000 years.  The United States is one of the few countries that have signed the Article 54 of Protocol I of the 1977 Geneva Conventions as follows:

    It is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove, or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as foodstuffs, agricultural areas for the production of foodstuffs, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and supplies, and irrigation works, for the specific purpose of denying them for their sustenance value to the civilian population or to the adverse Party, whatever the motive, whether in order to starve out civilians, to cause them to move away, or for any other motive.

    The practice is not only morally wrong, but also legally wrong for the United States. Furthermore, it would be a political disaster for Americans to engage in the practice, although one might question what we did to Fallujah during Operation Phanton Fury was a borderline scorched earth practice. "Of the roughly 50,000 buildings in Fallujah, between 7,000 and 10,000 were estimated to have been destroyed in the offensive and from half to two-thirds of the remaining buildings had notable damage." Furthermore, some 200,000 residents have been internally displaced from their homes.