When he gave Saddam Hussein 48 hours to get out of Iraq, President Bush warned Iraqi soldiers and civilians that they could be tried as war criminals if they destroy oil wells. That a nation's destruction of its own oil wells could qualify as a war crime might surprise those who recall that "scorched earth" tactics are as old as war itself. But some international law experts say it has legal merit.
'Scorched Earth' as a Wartime Tactic
The National Law Journal
March 25, 2003