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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 36, Number 8. 19th April 1973

Existing Eco-systems Destroyed

Existing Eco-systems Destroyed

The major forms of devastation caused by military action, especially American airpower, are: the removal of the vegetation cover and the actual physical displacement and alteration of the land itself; pollution and poisoning; and the destruction of habitat and living communities. The combined effect has been to destroy the existing eco-systems in widespread and extensive areas of South Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. Even regions that may not have been touched directly— and there are relatively few since Cambodia was included as a target — will undoubtedly show effects.

For instance, the extensive erosion of watersheds combined with the pollution, mining and poisoning of rivers may lead to serious inter-related consequences in future water use or in the very stability of the watersheds themselves.

The most war devastation in Indochina has been caused by the Americans. While the N.F.L. and the North Vietnamese have progressively been fighting with more sophisticated weapons, such as tanks and artillery, the general scope and level of their fighting has been "close to the ground". The liberation forces have not used herbicides, nor have they engaged in carpet bombing. The Americans have not only used airpower to the fullest extent in heavy bombing; they have even dropped enormous 15,000lb bombs, euphemistically called the "Daisy Cutters", which obliterate everything within an area the size of a football field and kill most animal forms within a radius of three-fifths of a mile by the concussive shock wave.