Environmentalists Against War
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April 4, 2003
March 31, 2003
March 26, 2003


EAW's Quick Links 3-31-03

“In Defense of the Environment: Putting Poverty to the Sword.”
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Klaus Toepfer
writes: “One can easily clean up the language of war — “collateral damage, friendly fire, smart bombs” — but cleaning up the environmental consequences is a far tougher task.” Toepfer notes that, while “it is the loss of human life, the suffering of those made homeless and hungry that must be our primary, first, concern,…
all too often the impact on the Earth’s life support systems is ignored… at our peril.”
Read the entire speech on the EAW website or go to:

UNEP to Begin Study of the War’s Impact on the Environment in Iraq
NAIROBI/GENEVA (March 21, 2003) — The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) today announced that its Post Conflict Assessment Unit (PCAU) has initiated a desk study of the environment in Iraq. The study, financially supported by the Government of Switzerland, is aimed at providing a timely overview of key environmental issues stemming from the current conflict.

Air Pollution from Baghdad Fires Threatens Health and the Environment
AMMAN (March 30, 2003) – Toxic smoke from burning oil wells in southern Iraq and from oil-filled trenches and bomb-ignited fires in Baghdad are the clearest evidence so far that the current conflict may further damage Iraq’s already highly stressed environment, according to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

British Soldiers Refuse to Kill Civilians
Two UK soldiers were sent home from the Gulf for refusing to fight in a war involving the deaths of civilians, according to a March 31 report on the Annanova news service. The soldiers, members of the 16 Air Assault Brigade face expulsion from the Army or a court martial. A Ministry of Defense official denied that any troops had been “sent back for refusing to fight.”

Protecting Iraq's Ancient Treasures
Pentagon claims 'no strike list' to safeguard archaeological sites

(March 31, 2003) —
Answering the pleas of archaeologists and scholars worldwide, the Pentagon has ordered ground troops and aircraft to spare Iraq's treasured archaeological sites wherever possible. Iraq lies in the "cradle of civilization" where the first agrarian societies invented writing, the wheel, the first laws, and literature and mathematics more than 6,000 years ago. Fighting has raged around such fabled sites as Ur, the birthplace of Abraham, and bombs have struck near Nineveh, where God ordered the prophet Jonah to preach repentance. The American Institute of Archaeology has provided the Pentagon with a list of more than 4,000 crucial sites throughout the country -- museums, monuments and precious archaeological digs -- urging military commanders to spare them.

Watering Eden: Restoring Iraq’s Southern Marshes
For millenniums, thousands of square miles of lush marshes have anchored the eastern end of the Fertile Crescent that arcs along the eastern Mediterranean coast, across northern Syria, and down along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers to the Persian Gulf. The marshes nurture young fish, shrimp and several species of plants and birds unique to the region. Now, several groups are looking beyond the US-led war in Iraq for ways to restore some of these marshes, weakened by decades of dam-building and draining. The Christian Science Monitor reports.

UK Political and Military Leaders Call for Halt to War
(March 31, 2003) — British Prime Minister Tony Blair came under fire when a former minister warned that the conflict could turn into another Vietnam. Former Armed Forced Minister Doug Henderson called for a ceasefire., warning that Britain risked getting “bogged down in the way that the Americans got bogged down in Vietnam.” That conflict, Henderson noted, caused “55,000 American deaths [and] probably about two million deaths of Vietnamese. Now, do we want to get into the kind of situation that could lead to that?" Meanwhile, Robin Cook, who resigned as Leader of the Commons two weeks ago, called for British forces to be brought home.

Attacks on Water, Power Inflame Basra Residents
(March 31, 2003} — Anger is growing against the British forces surrounding Basra. "People see this as an occupation. If the government gives us weapons we will fight the Americans and the British," one local man told the Independent. Contrary to US and UK expectations, many of the 1.5 million population are directing their anger at the invading forces, rather than the regime of Saddam Hussein. "They bombed innocent families," one man said. "The Americans and British fired their weapons at our electricity pylons. They cut off fresh water supplies from near the airport," another man said. "The government brought back the electricity two days ago."


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