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Environmental Warfare and Ecocide — Facts, Appraisal, and Proposals

Security Dialogue , Volume 4 (1): 80 – Jan 1, 1973


Sage Publications
Copyright © 1973 by SAGE Publications
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Environmental Warfare and Ecocide — Facts, Appraisal, and Proposals


Articles - SuggestionsEnvironmental Warfare and Ecocide — Facts, Appraisal, and Proposals SAGE Publications, Inc.1973DOI: 10.1177/096701067300400105 Richard A.Falk Princeton University I In Indochina during the past decade we have the first modern instance in which the environment has been selected as a 'military' target appropriate for comprehensive and systematic destruction. Such an occurrence does not merely reflect the depravity of the high-technology sensibilities of the war-planners. It carries out the demonic logic of counterinsurgency warfare, especially when the insurgent threat is both formidable and set in a tropical locale. Recourse to deliberate forms of environmental warfare is part of the wider military conviction that the only way to defeat the insurgent is to deny him the cover, the food, and the life-support of the countryside. Under such conditions, bombers and artillery seek to disrupt all activity, and insurgent forces find it more difficult to mass for effective attack. Such policies have led in Indochina to the destruction of vast tracts of forest land and to so-called 'crop-denial programs'. The US Government has altered tactics in recent years, shifting from chemical herbicides to Rome Plows as the principal means to strip away the protective cover of the natural landscape, but
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