|Teton Dam Failure, Wyoming ~ www.waterarchives.org|
The author highlights a few dramatic and horrifying acts of environmental warfare. Paul Mutter in his article Dam Warfare, calls Iraq's hydro infrastructure the country's soft underbelly. Water as a weapon has the potential to do great damage in Iraq, given the country's reliance on the Tigress and Euphrates. Mutter expands on the historic record showing that nearly every major modern conflict has targeted or considered dams as targets. Using water as soldiers is the mindset driving these actions.
What Mutter and Slate's Keating don't do is consider America's vulnerability to environmental warfare. Unfortunately, our exposure is huge. America has an extensive hydro power system that includes upwards of 75,000 dams. These run the gamut from small several acre facilities to world class facilities like Hoover and Grand Coulee Dams.
Security and maintenance at these facilities also varies. Some are very well maintained and extremely well secure. Others like Washington's Wanapum Dam are teetering on failure. Like Iraq, this hydro power infrastructure is also America's soft underbelly.
Environmental Warfare, or the modification and destruction of the environment as a weapon of war, is the central focus of Unleashing Colter's Hell. The story centers on a plot to ignite an atomic bomb in Yellowstone and trigger an eruption of the park's super volcano. A Yellowstone eruption would bury much of the eastern two thirds of America in tens of feet of ash. The eruption would destroy much of America's transportation, agriculture, water, power, and housing infrastructure. It would also likely cast the entire world into a new ice age. The devastation would kill millions and likely deal America a blow from which it could not recover.
Seems far fetched? Not so to defense experts and military officials. For example, the British Defense ministry predicts by 2045 that environmental warfare will become a major threat.
America's agriculture, forests, water supplies are also vulnerable to these types of unconventional attacks and much will have to be done to harden and fortify these assets. But in the end, all our efforts can't stop every committed terrorist.
We will have to be vigilant.
What are your thoughts? Is America vulnerable to environmental warfare?