We can be forgiven for thinking, at least occasionally if not more, of the profound wisdom revealed in the Old Testament. One such profundity can be found in Deuteronomy 20:19:

If you besiege a town for a long time, making war against it in order to take it, you must not destroy its trees by wielding an ax against them. Although you may take food from them, you must not cut them down. Are trees in the field human beings that they should come under siege from you?

Think about the wisdom of this, and then think about the utter environmental terrorism (her words) of how we have treated war zones. We are looking at a short chapter in the wonderful book by Sandra Richter, Stewards of Eden.

The words of that scripture emerge from a worldview about divine creation, humans as stewards of creation, and our requirement to protect the earth’s sustainability.

The olive tree produces in several years but then only every other year so the adage is that they are for one’s grandchildren. The female date palm, which is behind the word “syrup” or “honey” in the First (Old) Testament, takes about twenty years to produce.

The Neo-Assyrians destroyed trees in war. Pictures show this kind of siege warfare. Such actions crippled a people for a decade or more.

What have we done?

What did we do in Vietnam, eastern Laos, and Cambodia? Richter looks at Operation Ranch Hand. We poured out “20 million gallons of chemical herbicides and defoliants mixed with jet fuel over one-quarter of South Vietnam and the bordering areas of Laos and Cambodia.”

Why? To deprive guerrillas of cover. And to destroy vegetation and farms to force people to move into cities.

Image: Cover Photo

25 million acres destroyed. This was Neo-Assyrian. We used chemicals 100x less safe than recommended for safety.

Children were born with defects. 4.8 million Vietnamese were exposed to Agent Orange and 400K died from related diseases. One million are currently disabled from this.

The militia involved? Parkinson’s, heart disease, lung cancer and other cancers… all from our desire to destroy. 2.2 billion has been paid out to America soldiers.

South Vietnam was financially crippled.

Monsanto paid out a paltry 180 million. In 2009 43 million was committed by the USA to help with the cleanup in Vietnam.

Abuse of the land was prohibited in ancient Israel. Profoundly prescient.