Is there no limit to the outrages of which Iraq is capable?

Not content with being at violent odds with most of the civilized world, Baghdad has now declared war on nature, too.It has done so by following up the burning of oil wells in Kuwait with the release of an oil slick in the Persian Gulf so massive it could soon become the biggest ever.

Like Saddam Hussein's earlier outrages of bombing Israeli civilians, brutalizing war prisoners, and threatening international terrorism, the latest sick tactics are of little military value.

But it would be a mistake to overlook their psychological and political impact as well as their environmental consequences. The impact of the oil spill could be magnified because the Persian Gulf is a narrow body of water that will hold the oil in, rather than letting it spread out and dissipate across a broad ocean.

And it would be wrong to forget about them when the time comes for a final settling of accounts with Saddam. The spill and the oil well burnings should be added to the list of charges to be brought against him at any war crimes trial following the conflict.

Likewise, the cost of cleaning up the environment should be added to the reparations that ought to be exacted from Iraq. The world is going to keep feeling the effects of the oil spill for many years after the war in the Persian Gulf is over. That's how long Iraq should keep paying.