Monday, April 22, 2019

Pentagon’s Endless War Brings Endless Pollution

By Judi Yang - April 22, 2019 at 06:55PM

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Many of us do our part to help the environment. We recycle, we bike to work, and we buy less plastic. Yet tap water everywhere is still so filthy; the air, coastlines, parks, and lands are more and more polluted; and cancer continues to take the lives of millions of workers, young and old.

Who’s to blame? Bottling companies? Chemicals corporations? These companies are very serious polluters, and should be held accountable. But most of all, blame the US Department of Defense.

Pentagon is the biggest destroyer of all living things

The Pentagon is by far the world’s largest polluter, producing more hazardous waste than any country, and more environmental poisons than the five largest US chemical companies combined. And they get away with it. They’re accountable to no one. Misnamed the Department of Defense, it really is the “the offender of all.”

For three generations now, the US military has left its destructive legacy throughout the world not only through death and destruction but also through befouling the earth with depleted uranium, oil, jet fuel, pesticides, defoliants that cause birth defects such as Agent Orange used in Vietnam, and lead, among other poisons.

The Pentagon does this with impunity. It putrefies with toxic materials where it makes nuclear and other bombs. It leaves nuclear and chemical waste behind, wherever it drop bombs, and wherever it makes them and tests them. It does this with no regard to the health of people abroad or in the US, and doesn’t even mind poisoning its own soldiers and their families.

Seventy-five percent of Superfund sites were fouled by the Pentagon

In 2014, the Department of Defense actually admitted it had contaminated 39,000 areas spreading across 19 million acres in the US alone. US military bases, at home and abroad, are among the most polluted places in the world.

One might argue that all imperialist bases ooze toxins. But even if this is true, the US military’s environmental defilement still exceeds that of every other power. The Pentagon operates 800 military bases in more than 70 countries and territories abroad. Britain, France and Russia combined have only 30 foreign bases.

Seventy-five percent of the US Environmental Protection Agency’s list of Superfund sites, the most contaminated of all the sites, which qualify for clean-up grants from the government, were polluted by the Pentagon. Nine hundred of the 1,200 or so Superfund sites in the US are abandoned military facilities, or sites that otherwise support military needs, often left littered with rusty barrels of contaminates.

Almost every military site in the US is seriously contaminated.

In Hawai’i, the Pohakuloa military training camp is the US’s largest live-ammunition training base in the Pacific. Here soldiers engage in everything from sniper practice to throwing grenades and firing vehicle-borne armaments, torpedoes, mortars, artillery and other munitions. The people on the island have tirelessly demanded an end to military contamination and the destruction of their formerly pristine lands and drinking water.

Military poisons its own soldiers

Numerous military bases have also poisoned local drinking water. Military Times reported in April that the Pentagon had for the first time released a full study on military installations where it has found higher-than-recommended levels of cancer-causing perflourinated compounds―perfluorooctane sulfonate or perfluorooctanoic acid―in either the base water drinking systems or groundwater.

Now, through an online registry, thousands of US soldiers and veterans, are reporting cancer among soldiers and their spouses, birth defects, and developmental disabilities among children raised on or near military bases.

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