Wednesday, July 05, 2006

War for Oil

This is why I've hated the whole effort to talk about "energy security"" Because in the current environment, security matters are not addressed rationally. Latest example: A report written by a US Army Colonel who advocates pre-emptive war to lock up supplies of oil for American use. (link via XOVER @ Dailykos)

Before I get in to that, I'd like to ask if anyone thinks that this report - published by the US Army, let's remember - will get as much press for advocating wars of conquest for oil as say, when a Chinese officer noted the basic facts that in a war over Taiwan, China might resort to its nuclear deterrent. (Hint: It's called a "deterrent" for a reason.)

Put more simply: If a Chinese Colonel proposed that Beijing engage in wars to secure oil supplies, exactly how long do you think it would be until the Washington Times published front-page stories about what a monstrous regime Beijing was?

The report itself (PDF) is about as bad as you think it is. It describes China and India as threats to American wealth because they selfishly want oil, too. There's some mention of the need for a real plan for oil independence, but whole point of the report is to say that, conservation notwithstanding, if America needs oil, it should be ready to kill large numbers of brown-skinned people for it.

The problems with this strategy should be obvious today, if they weren't before the Iraq War: Oil infrastructure is fragile, and the means to disrupt it easily attainable. One drunk with a rifle shut down the trans-Alaska pipeline system, for God's sake. Exactly how many (figurative) drunks with rifles would we create if the US invaded Iran, or Venezuela, or (please God no) Saudi Arabia?

Then there's the second point. In our war to lock up oil supplies, we would expend money. Lots of money. Money that could, political will being available, solve the energy problem so we wouldn't have to use oil, and thus solve the problem at the source and at a substantial discount.

If both of these points haven't become abundantly clear to even the densest observer - and they apparently haven't - then we're screwed.

1 comment:

odograph said...

I find this paper very disturbing as well, this despite my own best efforts to put a good face on it.

For what it's worth though, I think Lieutenant Colonel Tewksbury is not actually "advocating" war. I think he's actually trying to put a gun to our own government's head .. "fix this so we don't have to become this other thing" ... a nation at war for resources.

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