Presentation on theme: "War and the Environment. Passive Use of Environment Collateral Effects Use of Environment as a Weapon Environmental Modification to Aid Own Operations."— Presentation transcript:
Passive Use of Environment Collateral Effects Use of Environment as a Weapon Environmental Modification to Aid Own Operations or Impede Enemy Eco-Terrorism Military actions may include some or all of these components to varying degrees.
Collateral Damage No Military Intent to Cause Damage Rutting by Vehicles Cratering (Bombturbation) Fire Injury to Plants and Animals –Threat to mountain gorillas from civil war in Africa –May actually be less damaging to flora and fauna than normal commerce, development and agriculture. Chemical Contamination Nuclear Accidents –Accidental release of chemicals or radiation, as opposed to chemical or nuclear warfare. Vandalism
Environmental Modification to Aid Own Operations or Impede Enemy Small-Scale: Virtually all Military Construction Large-Scale: –Aid Own Operations Deprive Enemy of Cover Improve Own Mobility –Impede Enemy Operations Impair Enemy Mobility Deprive of Supplies
Environmental Modification to Aid Own Operations Deprive Enemy of Cover or Sanctuary –South Vietnam - Defoliation Improve Own Mobility –Tactical: River modification - Civil War –Strategic: German Autobahns U.S. Interstate System Suez and Panama Canals
World War I and Highways Railroads insufficient for Army’s needs Army turned to truck convoys Civilians found convoy routes featured such revolutionary innovations as: –Route Markings –Regular Maintenance –Snow Removal
Suez Canal Connections between Nile and Red Sea dug in ancient times Modern canal by Ferdinand de Lesseps 1858-1869 Easy terrain Principal winner: Britain enabled to extend military reach Red Sea organisms invading Mediterranean
The Suez-Panama Connection De Lesseps took on the job of building a canal across Panama Nobody else could have kept the project going as long as it did 22,000 died before project abandoned in 1893 French actually excavated about 1/3 of canal Built railroad across Panama
Environmental Modification to Impede Enemy Impair Enemy Mobility China 1938 - Breach Huang He Dikes Chemical Warfare Deprive of Supplies River Diversion in Sieges Scorched Earth Campaigns Shenandoah Valley - Civil War Sherman's March - Civil War Extermination of Buffalo - Indian Wars It is usually easier to mess things up instead of improve them, especially in war, so it is no surprise that environmental modification to impede the enemy is so prominent in military history.
Military Effects of the Breach Minor losses of Japanese troops and materiel Few troops caught on the wrong side escaped Chinese gain time for withdrawal and relocation of capital Flood also protects Japanese flank Little additional fighting in Central China Japanese capture of Wuhan (Hankow) delayed by only a couple of months No central authority in much of Central China Communists gain support
Flood Fatality Estimation Flood SeverityWarning TimeFatality Rate HighNone30 – 100 % (75%) > 1 hourX Number still at risk MediumNone3 – 35% (15%) > 1 hour<1 – 6% (3%) LowNone0 – 2 % (1%) > 1 hour<<1 % Graham, W.J., 1999, DSO-99-06, A Procedure for Estimating Loss of Life Caused by Dam Failure Assuming poor understanding of risk downstream Fatality rate in parentheses is recommended prediction value
Casualty Model Applied to 1938 Population of Henan, Anhui and Jiangsu flooded counties = 13.2 million (Lary, 2001) Medium severity, no warning (15%) 2 million fatalities Medium severity, > 1 hour warning (3%) 400,000 fatalities 844,000 fatalities = 6.4%
Use of Environment as a Weapon Deliberate Triggering of Environmental Effect to Cause Direct Damage to Enemy Forces Passive use of the environment as a combat multiplier is an ancient military tactic: waiting for suitable weather or moon phase, channeling the enemy into unfavorable terrain, and so on. That's not the sense implied here.
Use of Environment as a Weapon Comparatively Rare Lack of Knowledge Lack of Capability Lack of Opportunity Inefficiency
Use of Environment as a Weapon Deliberate Spread of Natural Plagues World War I - Italian Alps World War II - Allied "Dam Busting"
Eco-Terrorism Mongols in Iraq - 1259 Hitler's Scorched Earth Order - 1945 Sea Island Oil Spill - 1991 Kuwait Oil Wells – 1991 –Pure Eco-Terrorism –Most Other Examples had Other Military Functions Chemical Warfare Hypothetical Doomsday Devices
Eco-Terrorism Reasons For Use: –Deterrence –Intimidation –Lower Quality of Life for Enemy –Deprive Victor of Fruits of Victory (Scorched Earth)
Eco-Terrorism Comparatively Modern Recent Technological Capability Recent Rise of Environmental Concern