There is a pond in Westford Massachusetts where I live called Nabnasset Lake. There is an association of people who own property around the lake and they take care of it. One if the most dramatic actions they take is to draw the lake down in the fall of some years, I believe they do it by opening a dam. The purpose of this is to kill some ‘weeds.’ The weeds are invasive (I think weed and invasive flora have become synonymous). Apparently the draw down works and the lake water is clean and clear and not clogged with too much foliage.
But the knock effect of this is that many small hibernating creatures that live under the water die along with the weeds.
It seems that even in our war on weeds we can’t avoid collateral damage. I wonder what would happen in Nabnasset if there was no draw down. I guess there would be more weeds — unless another way of dealing with them was sought and found. If we wanted to avoid killing creatures that do no harm, that in fact do good in their role in ecology, we would try to find another way to deal with the weeds. I don’t know what that would be but if we valued the creatures we are inadvertantly killing we would not draw down the lake.
Maybe we should have spent a little more time thinking this through. Maybe that’s what Obama is doing now. I hope so because the 40,000 troops he is thinking of sending in will no doubt create ‘collateral damage.’ In other words in killing enemies they will — inadvertently — kill innocent men, women and children. The same ones that they will be trying to protect.
Ironic, to say the least. A meaure of how imperfect our measures so often are when we set out to kill.