Militarism’s Role in the Sixth and Possibly Last ‘Great’ Extinction

U.S. Military World’s Largest Polluter – Hundreds Of Bases Gravely Contaminated
Producing more hazardous waste than the five largest U.S. chemical companies combined, the U.S. Department of Defense has left its toxic legacy throughout the world in the form of depleted uranium, oil, jet fuel, pesticides, defoliants like Agent Orange and lead, among other pollutants.”

“One of the most recent testaments to the U.S. military’s horrendous environmental record is Iraq.”
“U.S. military action there has resulted in the desertification of 90 percent of Iraqi territory, crippling the country’s agricultural industry and forcing it to import more than 80 percent of its food. The U.S.’ use of depleted uranium in Iraq during the Gulf War also caused a massive environmental burden for Iraqis. In addition, the U.S. military’s policy of using open-air burn pits to dispose of waste from the 2003 invasion has caused a surge in cancer among U.S. servicemen and Iraqi civilians alike.”

“The 20,000 tons of “stressors” mentioned in the EIS do not account for the additional 4.7 to 14 tons of “metals with potential toxicity” that the Navy plans to release annually, from now on, into inland waters along the Puget Sound in Washington state.”

“In response to concerns about these plans, a Navy spokeswoman said that heavy metals and even depleted uranium are no more dangerous than any other metal, a statement that represents a clear rejection of scientific fact. It seems that the very U.S. military operations meant to “keep Americans safe” come at a higher cost than most people realize – a cost that will be felt for generations to come both within the United States and abroad.” This story is continued at U.S. Military Worlds Largest Polluter

“Internal documents obtained by the Japan Times offer evidence that the contamination of local drinking water sources near a massive U.S. airbase in Japan is the result of years of repeated mishaps and “lax safety standards” by U.S. military forces.”

“The reports, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, “expose a spate of accidents at the [Kadena Air Base in Okinawa] during the past 15 years that have involved at least 21,000 liters of fire extinguishing agents—some of them toxic.”

“The reporting cites several such instances, including a three-day period in 2001 when 17,000 liters of fire extinguishing agents were released and “attributed by base officials to mechanical and electronic malfunctions.”

“It also cites an incident in 2015 when “a drunk U.S. Marine activated a firefighting system. It filled a hangar with more than 1,500 liters of JET-X 2.75 percent—a foam classified by the U.S. government as hazardous. It contains chemicals known to cause cancer, and neurological and reproductive disorders.” That foam made its way to local waterways, but the base did not notify Japanese authorities.”

“The U.S. Pacific Air Forces issued a statement in January that—despite the detection of toxic substance in the drinking water sources— the water was safe because it is adequately treated before consumer use.”   New Docs Link Polluted Drinking Water Supply to Massive US Military Base

“Official Iraqi government statistics show that, prior to the outbreak of the First Gulf War in 1991, the rate of cancer cases in Iraq was 40 out of 100,000 people. By 1995, it had increased to 800 out of 100,000 people, and, by 2005, it had doubled to at least 1,600 out of 100,000 people. Current estimates show the increasing trend continuing.”
A forty fold increase in just 14 years in just the human species. This ecological and genetic destruction will also be cascading through the non-human species as well.

Two US-led wars in Iraq have left behind hundreds of tonnes of depleted uranium munitions and other toxic wastes. by

A constant disconnect I have witnessed in 40 years of activism is the failure to link ecological activism and anti-war activism. Every war is a war on the biosphere and all it’s inhabitants. It’s not particularly complex, it’s the Military Industrial Complex;
Military Industrial Complex

WAIHOPAI SPYBASE PROTEST    Aotearoa New Zealand                                  

    January 25-27, 2019

“In light of the disastrous Trump Presidency – why is New Zealand still an active and willing part of the US Empire? The US intelligence and nuclear war machine controls the NZ Government Communications Security Bureau. The GCSB is now legally allowed to systematically spy on New Zealanders; as well as routinely spying on any number of other countries, on behalf of the US National Security Agency (NSA). And the NSA spies on everyone. More pressure must be put on the Government to end the anti-democratic and destructive activities of this NZ spy agency.” Anti-Bases Campaign

On the December 2018 episode of Nature Bats Last, myself and Professor Guy McPherson will interview Roger Hallam from the Extinction Rebellion movement where I intend to address this disconnect. The show will be uploaded to the archive with the previous 121 shows which are embedded at the following link; Nature Bats Last on The Progressive Radio Network.

“The WFP has warned that Yemen is on the brink of a full-blown famine, with 18 million of its 29 million population food insecure, 8.4 million severely so.”
The war on Yemen is being conducted by the monsters in the House of Saud who  recently murdered and dismembered Jamal Kassahoggi, a former journalist with the Washington Post.”A campaign to remove Saudi Arabia from the UN Human Rights Council has been launched by a group of British lawyers, who argue the desert kingdom’s membership of the body is “contradictory and ironic”.Saudi Arabia should be dropped from UN Human Rights Council, say British lawyers

Soon the living will envy the dead, the time we have left is infinitely less than most realise or are prepared to accept.
“At the edge of extinction, only love remains”.

I’ll leave the last word to the late great Bob Marley who I had the honour of seeing play in Aotearoa N.Z. in 1979. Almost no one listened to the message Bob, sorry.

Activist, sailor, passionate about the earth and all it's inhabitants without favour . Brace for imminent impact as we bare witness to the non-linear unraveling of the biosphere and habitability disappearing for most if not all complex life on the only habitable planet we know of. To quote President Niinistö in North Russia: ‘If We Lose the Arctic, We Lose the World’. Folks we have lost the Arctic.

Posted in Abrupt Climate Change, Activism, Dahr Jamail, Extinction Rebellion, Military
7 comments on “Militarism’s Role in the Sixth and Possibly Last ‘Great’ Extinction
  1. Paul Judge says:

    A great post Kevin, and very timely to say the least. You may be aware of French philosopher and social theorist Paul Virilio, whose book ‘Popular Defense and Ecological Struggles’, published in 1978, was possibly the first major critique of US militarism from an ecological perspective. In it he writes, “More than ever before, the experimental sciences are trying to justify an art of warfare which is becoming all the more autonomous as the political State dies out. Removed from the historical conceptualiser and from national and other ideologies, it becomes once more a pure operation, a phenomenon without true intelligence. And the haphazardness of great ecological catastrophes perfectly foreshadows what could result – on the social, economic, industrial or biological level – from a nuclear post-war which the technicians themselves qualify as unthinkable, but which they nonetheless refer to more and more frequently. This was no doubt the most frightening aspect of the American involvement in Vietnam, in which destruction stopped being simply urban or logistical, as it had been prior to this, but instead spread over the entire territory, Beyond the defoliation and relentless destruction of the agricultural environment, didn’t one American general even recommend covering the entire world with cement, paving it over, to have done with popular resistance once and for all?”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Gypsy Gail says:

    Several years ago I attended the funeral of a young veteran who had been an interrogator in Iraq. He became a contentious objector so they put him to work at a huge burn pit. He later died of cancer. Members of Veterans For Peace(a great organization to be involved with) attended his funeral. It was a very sad day and to know our military contributed to his death is just sickening!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Kevin Hester says:

    Via my friend Julien Baril on Facadebook;
    Martha Wainwright “Pretty Good Day” (1999 Loudon Wainwright III) 😉

    I slept through the night, I got through to the dawn
    I flipped a switch & the light went on
    I got out of bed, I put some clothes on
    It was a pretty good day so far
    I turned the tap, there was cold, there was hot
    I put on my coat to go to the shop
    I stepped outside & I didn’t get shot
    It’s a pretty good day so far
    I didn’t hear sirens or explosions
    No murders coming in from those heavy guns
    No UN tanks, I didn’t see one
    It’s a pretty good day so far
    No snipers in windows, taking a peak
    No people panic, running scared through the streets
    I didn’t see any bodies without arms, legs, or feet
    It’s a pretty good day so far
    There was plasma & bandages & electricity
    Food, wood & water & the air was smoke-free
    No camera crews from my TV
    Pretty good day so far
    It was all such a strange sight to behold
    Nobody was frightened, wounded, hungry, or cold
    The children seemed normal, they didn’t look old
    Pretty good day so far
    I walked through a park & you would not believe it
    There in the park, there were a few trees left
    And on some branches, there were a few leaves
    It’s a pretty good day so far
    I slept through the night, I got through to the dawn
    I flipped the switch & the light came on
    I wrote down my dream & I made it this song
    It’s a pretty good day so far


  4. seal says:

    The nationalist propaganda that fuels the military in this country is incredibly powerful, Kevin, and it is insidiously all-encompassing at this point. Every where you go, everything you see, everything you hear has a blatant pro-US military hero worship slant. It’s freaking disgusting. You know all this having gone against the nuclear war machine.

    With the ‘economic draft’ imposed by the corporate wealthy there is a never-ending stream of Imperial cannon fodder lining up for any kind of job. Last statistic I read said nearly 36% of people between 18 and 34 are living with their parents, and that is mainly because they don’t get paid enough to survive in this predatory economy.

    The illusions are powerful, An interesting statistic that the corporate MSM in this country are not screaming about is that about 35% of the mass murderers are military. Imagine if 35% of them were black lesbian single moms. Think that wouldn’t get screamed in big letters across the headlines? There’s be Congressional committees being set up to investigate…

    When the draft ended in ’73 I remember the military eating it in terms of ‘decent’ volunteers. Even with Nixon’s ‘Stag-flation’ economy of no jobs the poor were not lining up to join. Vietnam taught a hell of a lesson but that only lasted until Reagan started paying corporate costs to ship the manufacturing factory jobs to Mexico along with actively destroying Labor Unions. Gutted the lower middle class (which isn’t, they’re working class but it’s a good way to divide and conquer workers). Been downhill ever since no matter which side of the political coin is in power because it is all funded by the same tiny percentage of the population, and they profit handsomely from the new status quo. Which is an awful lot like the old status quo.

    The politicians from both sides feed the program and it has now reached a pinnacle of perfection in terms of near-subliminal messaging. With the benefit of today’s technology, I see unprecedented power in the hands of the wealthy. That has resulted in visions of ostentatious grandeur.

    Since the unPATRIOT Act was put into place by Pres. ‘Shotgun’ Dick Cheney and his little Wanker bush sockpuppet, an entirely new generation of ‘adults’ turned 18 this year who have NEVER lived without this propaganda infesting every nook and cranny of their lives since the day they were born. They know no other form of thinking having never been exposed to anything else. Those who own and operate this Empire have to be ecstatic as to how well the PNAC has turned out.

    And as for B.Marley, I’ve been listening to him since the late 70s when a couple surfers I knew handed me a couple of records they had picked up on a month long island-hopping surf trip in a 42 foot Morgan. Speaking truth to power usually gets you disappeared. Or jailed.

    On another tack, I’m taking ‘Farewell to Ice’ in small gulps of a chapter or two at a time. I’m halfway through 10’s Strange Weather. Tonight (it’s 3am PST) I went to Arcticblogspot and surprise surprise the last couple of chapters about methane that are bouncing around in my brain just fit ever-so-nicely with the latest two postings on the Methane Monster. Both the El Nino on the 16th and today’s 26th article are all about methane, and a vid of Wadham’s and Borlace are on todays (that my slow dial-up doesn’t download).

    Ya know something? I’m not sleeping that well lately. I’ve got vampire bar musician hours from too many years playing music in bars so 3am is normal, but I’m not sleeping much more than 4 hours at a time anymore. I even grabbed my rock board and went snowboarding today after cutting firewood all morning. Just to wear myself out even more and here I am at 3:58am….

    Big sigh.


    Liked by 1 person

  5. Paul Judge says:

    Here’s a great reworking of the classic Bob Dylan song Masters of War, with a powerful video,

    Liked by 1 person

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Kevin Hester

Kevin Hester is currently living on Rakino Island, a small island in the Hauraki Gulf near Auckland, New Zealand, monitoring the unravelling of the biosphere and volunteering at the Rakino Island Nursery is currently developing a proposal to create a marine reserve near by. The Island has no grid tied electricity or reticulated water.  I catch my own water from the roof and generate my electricity from the ample solar radiation on the island.

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