Former U.S. Army Gen. Robert Scales took on claims by the Obama administration that global warming is America’s biggest national security threat and that rising temperatures will cause more violent conflict to break out around the world.
“The administration’s new-found passion to connect climate change to war is an example of faulty theories that rely for relevance on politically-correct imaginings rather than established historical precedent,” Scales told senators during a Wednesday hearing on environmental policy. “The point is that in today’s wars, politically-correct theories inserted into a battle plan might well extend war needlessly and get soldiers killed.”
Scales is a decorated Vietnam War veteran who served in the U.S. Army for 34 years before retiring in 2000. While in the military, he commanded artillery and was eventually tapped to head the Army Training and Doctrine Command. Scales became the commandant of the U.S. Army War College in the late 1990s, just before he retired.
Now, Scales is an author, historian and news commentator who’s been highly critical of President Barack Obama’s foreign policy, and appeared before Congress this week to debunk claims that global warming would cause more wars.
“The theories linking climate change to war come from a larger body of political thought that ascribes human conflict to what we call the ‘global trends’ school,” Scales said.
Acolytes “global trends” school argue environmental factors — like drought urbanization and disease — ultimately drive violent conflicts. Democrats and environmentalists, for example, have blamed global warming for causing the Syrian Civil War and rise of Islamic State.
Obama himself has argued global warming will give rise to “dangerous ideologies.”
“What we know is that — as human beings are placed under strain, then bad things happen,” Obama told CBS News in 2015. “And, you know, if you look at world history, whenever people are desperate, when people start lacking food, when people — are not able to make a living or take care of their families — that’s when ideologies arise that are dangerous.”
Earlier in 2015, Obama told the U.S. Coast Guard Academy the biggest threat America faces is global warming.
“You are part of the first generation of officers to begin your service in a world where the effects of climate change are so clearly upon us,” Obama told Coast Guard graduates in May 2015. “Climate change will shape how every one of our services plan, operate, train, equip, and protect their infrastructure, today and for the long-term.”
Scales disagrees and gave a lengthy rebuttal of the claim global warming would drive more people to desperation and warfare.
“Never in the written history of warfare — from Megiddo in 1,500 B.C. to the Syrian Civil War today — is there any evidence that wars are caused by warmer air,” Scales said.
“At best, climate change might over centuries contribute minutely to the course of warfare — the key word is ‘contributed,’” he said. “Climate change will never cause wars, thus it can never actually be a threat to national security.”
“Where does the administration get their facts about climate change and war? Well, first they contend that a warming planet causes draught, which leads to mass migration away from areas creeping desertification,” Scales continued.
“To be sure, rising temperatures combined with overgrazing in places such as Central Africa have caused displacement of peoples, but the misery of these peoples leads to, well, misery, not war,” he added. “Tribes striving to exert to exist in these often horrific environmental conditions have little energy left to declare war against their neighbor.”
“The nations of Central Africa are gripped in conflict started by Boko Haram in Nigeria Al Shabaab in Somalia, but these transnational terrorists are motivated to kill by the factors that have always caused nations or entities masquerading as nations to start wars,” Scales said, referring to things like hatreds based on ethnicity, culture and religion.
Scales also took aim at what he called the “hypocrisy” within the scientific community.
“It’s interesting to note the hypocrisy within the scientific communities that argue for a connection between climate change and national security,” he said. “Scientists generally agree on the long-term consequences of global warming. Radical environmentalists delight in excoriating in the so-called ‘junk science’ espoused by ‘climate change deniers,’ but they’re less than enthusiastic in questioning the ‘junk social science’ that environmentalists and their beltway fellow travelers use to connect climate change to war.”
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