How Much Damage Was Done?
May 9, 2003
EAW Files Freedom of Information Act Request
On May 9, Environmentalists Against War filed a Freedom of Information Request seeking a comprehensive accounting of US weapons use in the Iraq invasion. EAW is seeking the both Pentagon's original and revised "target lists" — as well as the target lists for the 1991 and 1998 US attacks — in order to assess the comparative impact of the latest "precision-guided" war on the inhabitants and the environment of Iraq.
May 9, 2003
Rm 1400 Defense, Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1400
Dear FOI Officer:
Pursuant to the federal Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. s. 552, I request access to and copies of documents addressing the environmental impacts of coalition-forces military activities in Iraq. Specifically: Military targeting lists for Operation Desert Storm (1990-91) and analysis of targeting accuracy (how many rockets, missiles, bombs missed the intended targets; where did they land instead; what damage resulted from the "misses." Documentation for the kinds and numbers of planes, ships, weapons and vehicles used in the 1990-91 campaign. Documentation on the number of depleted uranium weapons used and the impact sites.
Military targeting lists for Operation Desert Fox (1998) and analysis of targeting accuracy (how many rockets, missiles, bombs missed the intended targets; where did they land instead; what damage resulted from the "misses." Documentation for the kinds and numbers of planes, ships, weapons and vehicles used in the 1998 campaign. Documentation on the number of depleted uranium weapons used and the impact sites.
Military targeting lists for Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003) and analysis of targeting accuracy (how many rockets, missiles, bombs missed the intended targets; where did they land instead; what damage resulted from the "misses." Previous versions of OIF targeting lists, showing the thousands of "sensitive" targets that were removed in order to reduce risks to civilian, cultural, natural, religious and archeological areas. Documentation for the kinds and numbers of planes, ships, weapons (smart bombs, missiles, rockets, artillery, cluster bombs, electromagnetic, thermobaric and other innovative and exotic weapons) and vehicles used in the 2003 campaign.
Documentation on the number of depleted uranium weapons used and the impact sites in these three military campaigns.
Estimates for the amount of petroleum (diesel, gasoline, kerosene, jet fuel, motor oil, lubricants, solvents, etc) consumed in these three military campaigns. Estimates, if available, of the amount of pollution (solid waste, liquid and gaseous) generated by coalition forces in these three military campaigns.
I agree to pay reasonable duplication fees for the processing of this request in an amount not to exceed $20. However, please notify me before your incurring any expenses in excess of that amount.
As a representative of the news media I am only required to pay for the direct cost of duplication after the first 100 pages.
Through this request, I am gathering information on the comparative environmental impacts of three military campaigns in the Middle East. This information is of current public interest because it should demonstrate how more-precise weapon targeting has reduced civilian casualties. Despite the decreased damage to civilian infrastructure, however, the use of large amounts of explosive ordnance will expose resident populations and US and UK troops to potentially dangerous contact with chemical and radiological hazards.
The public at large, and the families of US soldiers in particular, need to be reassured that every effort will be made to analyze the full environmental risks of this latest campaign as the first step to instituting comprehensive measures to monitor the health of the returning troops.
Given the potential for future wars in this region, it is imperative that the public fully understand the financial, social, political and environmental costs of the current campaign. This information is being sought for dissemination to the general public on behalf of Environmentalists Against War [and] The-Edge (Earth Island Institute), two internatioanl nonprofit organizations based in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Environmentalists Against War is an international coalition of more than 100 environmental groups in more than a dozen nations.
Please waive any applicable fees. Release of the information is in the public interest because it will contribute significantly to public understanding of government operations and activities.
If my request is denied in whole or part, I ask that you justify all deletions by reference to specific exemptions of the act. I will also expect you to release all segregable portions of otherwise exempt material. I, of course, reserve the right to appeal your decision to withhold any information or to deny a waiver of fees.
As I am making this request as a journalist and this information is of timely value, I would appreciate your communicating with me by telephone, rather than by mail, if you have questions regarding this request.
Please provide expedited review of this request which concerns a matter of urgency. As a journalist, I am primarily engaged in disseminating information.
The public has an urgent need for information about the environmental impacts of Operation Iraqi Freedom because the US government, based on the success of the occupation of Iraq, has threatened to attack other nations in the Middle East region (Iran, Syria) and elsewhere (North Korea). It is crucial to understand fully the immediate impacts and lasting ramifications of modern Superpower warfare.
I certify that my statements concerning the need for expedited review are true and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief.
I look forward to your reply within 20 business days, as the statute requires.
Thank you for your assistance.
Very truly yours,
Gar G. Smith
Environmentalists Against War