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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Support the Troops: Pass Clean Energy-Climate Legislation Now

Which do you prefer, clean energy and climate legislation, or more dead soldiers?

I prefer the former... as does VoteVets.org. Badlands Blue features the veterans group's latest ad urging Congress to get off its butt and pass clean energy legislation:

Retired Brigadier General Steven Anderson was Chief Logistics Officer for General David Petraeus in Iraq. Logistics—that means he had to coordinate the movements of all those fuel trucks that keep our Hummers and generators and other war equipment running. Anderson understands better than anyone the tactical vulnerability created by dependence on fossil fuels. Order men and women to drive a few thousand gallons of explosive fuel through a war zone—yeah, that could sharpen one's appreciation for fuel efficiency.

Clean energy and climate legislation is not just for treehuggers. It's also for wives and husbands and kids and parents who want hug their soldiers again when they walk off the plane from Iraq.


  1. So, are you inferring my opposition to this bill means I am anti-troop?

  2. Energy policy that moves the US to self-sufficiency and cleans the environment is imperative. The argument is in the details and the vehicles of implementation but the general premise is a no brainer. It is time to put partisanship aside and work together on this. The days of cheap oil are behind us, or soon will be, as the economy heats up again oil prices will spike and send the economy reeling again. Our best option for the future is to replace as much petroleum with alternative energy to keep oil prices in check and if we are going to do that it might as well be replaced with clean sources. IMHO it would be wiser to start the process of change as soon as possible rather than wait for the free market to force the change on us . It will just be less painful.

  3. I wouldn't take it that way, Troy. But I submit, if it weren't for need of oil we wouldn't have fought a lot of wars. Much blood has been shed over it on both sides. And we continue to finance the enemy by purchase of it. I doubt you would argue to the contrary, would you?

  4. In last month's magazine of the Marine Corps League, the Commandant of the Marine Corps was quoted "it takes 22 gallons of diesel every day for every soldier in Afghanistan." Most of that goes to generators to cool and heat tents, power laptops, and provide food and water via trucks.

    This is a reflection of our misguided policy to rebuild that nation. Long ago our military was used to get in and get out, now its a social organiztion. Unless our leaders square with the American people and tell us we are in Afghanistan and Iraq forever, the cost and lives lost will continually rise.

    Bill - the last time American troops were used to secure natural resources was during the Indian wars in the west 1865-1890. The last time we fought to win was WW2.

  5. I infer and imply no such thing, Troy. General Anderson simply makes the point that passing legislation that long-term reduces our dependence on fossil fuels decreases the chances that we'll have to send soldiers into harm's way. I'm sure rational people like you can come up with alternative legislation that arguably could do as much or more to protect our national security and soldiers' lives via smart changes in our energy policy. But you might be hard-pressed to argue that we "support the troops" better by maintaining the status quo and passing no legislation on this issue.

  6. Corey,

    While the inference wasn't your intent, it is pretty clear others could reach that inference. Just read your first sentence.

    A couple of other points:

    1) We are not fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan or didn't fight in Kosovo or Vietnam or Korea or WWII or WWI (which represent probably 99% of the American troop deaths since the invention of the automobile) because of oil.

    The two wars were inititiated with bipartisan support and continue to be fought with bipartisan support for reasons that oil is such a minor component it is virtually irrelevant.

    2) With the exception of Korea and Vietnam (fought because of fear of communism), all the above wars were fought almost principally because of American's respect for individual dignity (Iraq, WWI), we were attacked or believed we were about to be attacked (WWII, Iraq, Afghanistan) or human rights violations (WWII, Iraq, Kosovo).

    Corey, let's just have some intellectual honesty.

    1) You believe the climate legislation is necessary for environmental reasons that transcend its negative economic effects.

    2) #1 above also influences your desire for lessening usage of fossil fuels.

    Quit trying to sell your policies by rewriting history or invoking "Apple pie" causes like our troops.

  7. What a minute: everybody else gets to invoke apple pie—why don't I?

    Besides, a big push on alternative energy research could produce better portable renewable energy units that would reduce the amount of fuel the convoys have to haul to the field, reducing the number of times insurgents get to take potshots at soldiers in tanker trucks.

    Or we can stick with a system where every gallon of fuel the military uses in Afghanistan requires seven gallons to ship.

  8. US government military propaganda stressed that Vietnam was part of the "SE Asian Resource Triangle" involving metals, rice, lumber, etc.

    Also, there was concern that Vietnam would allow China to gain control of oil offshore Vietnam.

    The way the wheels of government are greased, I don't think any of us on the outside can know for sure why any war of any is actually fought..won, lost, or tied.

  9. Part 1.
    Troy, let's strive for some intellectual honesty. Yes, most of these wars were and are about resources-getting resources or denying resources to others. Yes, opposing US liquid fuel self-reliance is anti-troop. If one doesn't like the energy proposal make a counter proposal-the status quo is unacceptable, unsustainable.

    The Great War was, in part, about oil. Read Catherwood's, "Churchill's Folly: How Winston Churchill Created Modern Iraq". Excerpt, p 35: "A new company, the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, was established, one in which the British government had a major controlling share. [The company is now known as BP, British Petroleum.] When British Indian troops were sent in 1915 to the neighboring Ottoman-ruled province (vilayet) of Basra, on the borders of Persia, it was as much to protect British oil interests as it was to conquer Arab territory from the Turks."

    The Pacific theater in WWII was all about Japan's quest for resources. First came the rape of China for coal and food, then the occupations of Southeast Asia for oil, rubber and other minerals. The first times the US bombed Hanoi and Hai Phong we were heroes to the local population as our bombs struck occupying Japanese forces in 1942-43, who were there for oil and rubber.

    Of course the US invaded and occupied Iraq for the oil. Campaign plans specified seizing and protecting the ministry of oil while ignoring antiquities (in contravention to laws of land warfare). "Bipartisan support" is irrelevant and meaningless. Separate-but-equal, prohibition, etc., had "bipartisan support"-that didn't make either right or had nothing to do with cause or morality, unless one believes in the virtue of mob-rule.

  10. Part 2.
    Read Kleveman's, "The New Great Game" for a foundation of the mineral-based struggle for the Afghan region. Also research the proposed Trans-Afghanistan pipeline to understand the reach and source of modern political lust for Afghanistan.

    "War is a racket", wrote MG Smedley Butler. To find the source of the war, invasion, or occupation - most of the time one only has to find out who will profit from it. As General Butler wrote it's high time the US stopped loaning out its Army and Marines for Wall Street pocket-lining. The US has rarely fought wars for altruism. Most of our wars are fought for the banksters.

  11. Larry—looks like a fascinating documentary! [By the way, it looks like Ike uses a teleprompter, too.]

  12. Wars have been fought over religon and even soccor matches but for the most part wars are all fought over obtaining or denying resources, be they living space, food,energy,people(slaves), or drugs.

    Wars were fought when the only energy availible was clean energy and will be fought after we once again have clean energy. It is the nature of mankind to survive as a being, as a race, and as a nation. When there are only two people left alive on this planet they will fight each other for the resources they need to survive.

    To promote clean energy as a way to end war is a simplistic way of denying the nature of mankind.

    Joseph G Thompson

  13. Joseph, you are such a pessimist... or is that a realist?

    Alas, we probably will keep finding things to fight about, imperfect as we are. Turn to wind turbines, and we may end up in wars over who has the best rare earth metals for the magents. And of course if water runs short, we'll have the biggest fracas ever on our hands.

    Alternative energy and efficiency won't end war. But even if some idiots will still think up reasons for us to shoot at each other, I want to take away the reasons in the status quo and make those idiots come up with new reasons.


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