2002 CPEO Military List Archive

From: themissinglink@eznetinc.com
Date: 31 Jan 2002 18:13:53 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: Re: [CPEO-MEF] DU Munitions
Susan Gawarecki states that being a scientist is the defining criteria 
for determining acceptable cleanup standards.

This is such an egocentric view of the world.  While no one is 
suggesting that we ignore science, the making of public policy is best 
left to the stakeholders at large and not a small elite group of experts 
in one particular aspect.  There are very few environmental activists 
who are scientists as a percentage of all activists.  It is an issue of 
seeing the forest from the trees.  Scientists generally put a microscope 
to the issue placed in front of them while the activist/philosopher is 
the one presenting the problem to the scientist.  Neither one can solve 
the entire issue without the other.

How this relates to DU in particular is that there are measurable risks 
associated with DU, your conclusion is just that these risks are in the 
"acceptable range".  That is not for you to decide as a scientist, it is 
just your job to provide the measurable results.  The stakeholders are 
the ones to decide what is acceptable.

Further, there is a political issue in that even if you are correct that 
the risk should be accepted by the stakeholders, what is the perception 
of the enemy on the use of DU?  We think it is barbaric that our enemy 
might consider using anthrax, smallpox, nuclear, etc weapons against us 
and the Geneva Convention was produced to place limits on how far 
someone can go even in times of war.  But what if the enemy feels that 
our use of DU and the bombing of chemical plants then justifies their 
ignoring these conventions against us?  The arrogance of the DOD in 
saying that the the only criteria to be used in determining warfighting 
methodology is the safety of the soldier ignores this exceedingly 
important issue.  Al Qaida appearantly does not feel restrained in the 
use of environmental weapons against us and while they may be beyond the 
reason of our diplomats they might have been contained by countries like 
Iraq who would fear our
escalation of methods.

This is a political and not a military consideration.

United States civilians do have a say in the moral issues surrounding 
the warfighting methods of our military because it also affects the 
standards used by our enemy.  You just can't use everything in your 
arsenal anymore because the enemy is quickly gaining the same weapons.

Steven Pollack

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