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This Article examines the legal regime governing the environment during armed conflict. Operating from a perspective that views law as both contextual and directional, the study traces the development of the environmental law of armed conflict, paying particular attention to two watershed events, the Vietnam and Gulf Wars. Among the trends that emerge from such a study, the most significant is a gradual shift from a purely anthropocentric assessment of the environment to a view that recognizes its intrinsic value. This shift is most apparent in the controversial environmental provisions of the 1977 Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions Relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (still unratified by the United States). After placing the Protocol in the context of peacetime legal norms, the customary law of war, and other environmental treaty provisions, the Article concludes there is some danger in the intrinsic valuation of the environment. Although the unsettled nature of current law has prompted calls for a new international convention, the Article finds more immediate promise in the development of new war manuals by the armed forces of the United States and other countries.

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