October 04, 2004

Heinz-Kerry: No Blood for Oil!

I can see why those on John Kerry’s campaign staff cringe when his wife Teresa pops off in public. She is no Hillary Clinton. And I don't mean that as a compliment. (I like Hillary now more than I did before. She isn’t on my short list of top choices for president – that honor goes to John McCain, Harold Ford, Rudy Giuliani, and Barak Obama. But I would vote for her over either Kerry or Bush.)

Here are a few quotes from Teresa Heinz-Kerry today.
On 9/12 every single newspaper in the world said ‘We are all Americans.’ Today it is not the case.
She’s quoting Le Monde. The French daily said we are all Americans now. But Le Monde is not “every single newspaper in the world.”

I don’t have a copy or an image of a newspaper from Iraq on September 11, 2001. But I do have an image of one of Saddam’s newspapers commemorating the first anniversary of September 11, 2001.

The Arabic script does not say “We Are All Americans Now,” and it especially doesn’t say “We Are Still All Americans.”
The Taliban is back running Afghanistan
The Taliban does not run Afghanistan. I’m real sorry the Taliban aren’t yet discussed in the past tense, but today’s Afghan government - such as it is - is run by a guy named Hamid Karzai. An election is scheduled this coming Saturday.
No American boy or girl should lose their lives for oil.
Now that I can agree with. Good thing we aren’t fighting for oil.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at October 4, 2004 06:13 PM


Good thing we aren’t fighting for oil.

Do you really believe that we would have invaded Iraq if it did not have oil?

Posted by: Mork at October 4, 2004 06:26 PM

Of course not, because Saddam without oil would have constituted nothing like the same level of threat. This is not the same as "invading Iraq for oil."

Posted by: James Holland at October 4, 2004 06:46 PM

Oil is the lifesblood of our economies. Our very survival depends on it. You have a job because of oil. You own a house because of oil. You're able to pay your health insurance because of oil. You clothe your family because of oil. YOu plan for retirement thanks to oil. You're not a bum living under a bridge because of oil.

I'm all for blood for oil, because it's less costly in lives to preserve our oil supply than to lose that supply. If we're not able to fight for oil, I don't know what else we should fight for.

Posted by: David at October 4, 2004 06:48 PM

So the question here is, does Te-RAY-za Heinz Kerry see something in "Jenjis" John that the rest of us don't get to see?

Remember that this woman will be whispering in "Jenjis" John's ear every night.

Posted by: HA at October 4, 2004 06:56 PM

David, I know you can think of things other than oil worth fighting for.

Mork, grow up. Seriously.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 4, 2004 06:58 PM


of course I can; my point however was that oil is just as important a reason as any other I can think of.

Posted by: David at October 4, 2004 07:00 PM

Mork, where are you from if I may ask? I remember arguing with someone named "MORK" years ago (before Blogs) on yahoo chat (current events and Washington watch) that sounded alotttt like you. He was from Hawaii, atleast, thats where he said he was from. Same?

Posted by: Cathy at October 4, 2004 07:09 PM


I think we can discuss Kerry's wife without making fun of the way her name is pronounced. This is one of those fish-barrel-bang type of deals. And you aren't short on ammunition.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 4, 2004 07:13 PM

Mork, grow up. Seriously.

Huh? You don't think it's legitimate even to ask whether oil had something to do with the strategy in Iraq?

For chrissakes, dude, there are plenty of statements by people in the Administration that talk about the importance of oil to the Mid-East strategy, not to mention the more candid assessments of the serious neo-cons.

Maybe not you, Michael, whose motives were as pure as the driven snow (of which you no doubt will keep reminind yourself as the tragedy continues to unfold). But in the real world, people were most certainly and publicly thinking about oil.

Posted by: Mork at October 4, 2004 07:15 PM


quite right. If Saddam had ruled Madagascar instead of Iraq, he'd still be there in power. The problem is most people, Michael included, have bought into the Lib slogans about blood for oil. I think the slogans are stupid. Oil is most certainly worth our blood.

Posted by: David at October 4, 2004 07:19 PM


We aren't fighting in Iraq for oil and I think you know it. So why even bring this up in this way? You know what the "no blood for oil" people mean. They think the invasion of Iraq was a geopolitcal mugging, that we are there to steal resources.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 4, 2004 07:22 PM

I admit to a certain fascination with Teresa. If Kerry is elected the shear cringeworthiness of her public interactions with the little people, and visiting dignitaries, and various Beautiful People, would make better entertainment than we've had since Billy Carter.

Let's face it, Teresa may be the only thing that can save the Saturday Night Live franchise.

Posted by: Mark Poling at October 4, 2004 07:24 PM

Am I the only conservative who gets a kick out of Theresa? She seems like a tough old broad (that's a compliment by the way, both of my grandmothers took great pride in the title), says what she thinks and the hell with you if you disagree. I like that attitude. We could use more of it.

Theresa has FU money and she acts like it. Good for her.

Posted by: spc67 at October 4, 2004 07:26 PM


I think there were multiple reasons for invading Iraq, and each by itself more than justified ousting Saddam. Oil was one of them. If oil had been the only reason, it would have been enough. Without oil, we're dead in the water. A nuclear Saddam sitting on the world's second largest oil reservoir wasn't going to happen, period. He destabilized the entire oil region of the middle east, and that wasn't going to happen either. Don't be naive.

Posted by: David at October 4, 2004 07:29 PM

In the Middle East, and especially on the Arabian Peninsula, oil happens. It also happens to pay for the expensive toys that people who hate us (and more-or-less incidentally Israel) could use to make their dreams our nightmares.

Or, to be blunt, if the US wanted to steal someone's oil, Venezuela would have been the best victim available. Hell, Saudi Arabia would have been easier and cheaper in the long run than Iraq. And as so many people have pointed out, Saudis made up most of the 9/11 hijackers, so we could have ginned up some kind of rationale to annex Arabia. Your logic ain't logical.

By the way, Mork, weren't you one of the people who expected there would be an oil pipeline across Afghanistan by now? Correct me if I'm wrong.

Posted by: Mark Poling at October 4, 2004 07:37 PM

If oil had been the only reason, it would have been enough.

Wow, I usually can find a common ground to argue with you David, but you got me on that one.

I have no idea how your thought process came up with that at all. One would think that instead of killing tens of thousands of people, we could develop some other form of energy. I mean for chrissake, we can build hamster wheels and stick tens of thousands of people in them.

But, let me get this black BIC ink pen out of my right breast pocket and I'll take notes.

hehehehe (Sorry, I'm hardly ever snarky... please forgive me after I post)


Posted by: Ratatosk at October 4, 2004 07:39 PM


without oil, it's all over. You're dreams about alternative energies will remain just that, dreams; at least for another few decades at the earliest.

Those are the slogan-free facts. If you can't find common ground with simple reality, then you have a problem.

Posted by: David at October 4, 2004 07:45 PM

By the way, Mork, weren't you one of the people who expected there would be an oil pipeline across Afghanistan by now? Correct me if I'm wrong.

You're wrong.

Posted by: Mork at October 4, 2004 07:47 PM


Feel free to hold that opinion. I think that with proper funding, we'd have different sources for energy.

Even so, I still can't justify the tens of thousands of dead people versus oil.

Sorry, my brain just doesn't work that way.

Posted by: Ratatosk at October 4, 2004 07:59 PM


then don't think of it as "oil". Think of it as a massive depression where everybody loses their jobs and homes, and many stand in long lines at soup kitchens because a nuclear madman has blackmailed us and cut off our lifesblood. How's that.

Posted by: David at October 4, 2004 08:02 PM


Well, if we're that dependant on a deminishing resource, thats sitting smack in the middle of the most unstable political system in the world... then we'll eventually end up in that bleak picture you paint.

Myself? I'm building a compound I think.


Posted by: Ratatosk at October 4, 2004 08:12 PM


I agree that if the pattern doesn't change, we're in for problems like we can't even imagine.

Can you say massive die off?

But hopefully in the next 30-40 years our infrastructure has been sufficiently converted to hydrogen or whatever so that we can avoid that.

Posted by: David at October 4, 2004 08:15 PM

Y'know, I would probably weight a lot of the factors that David considers quite differently from him, and add some others that he may not think appropriate, and clearly we disagree on many of the important factual issues, but I don't think that the framework he's describing is by any means illegitimate.

If there were a genuine threat to oil supplies, then a responsible US Administration would need to weigh up the consequences of that threat coming to pass against the cost of intervening to remove the threat. And David is right to say that the consequences of a big part of the oil supply being cut off would be severe - both in the U.S. and around the world. A lot of people would suffer in very severe ways ... which you have to consider before you dismiss the idea of going to war for oil.

Posted by: Mork at October 4, 2004 08:15 PM

Thanks Mork, that was unexpected.

It isn't pretty, and you can't run for office with "blood for oil" as your platform, but it's reality. And avoiding the nightmare scenario will cost far less in lives than trying to solve it once it came to pass.

Posted by: David at October 4, 2004 08:20 PM

Mork, sorry to have mixed you up with someone else.

I'd say more, but I need to take that crow out of the oven....

Posted by: Mark Poling at October 4, 2004 08:28 PM

MT: What is it about Harold Ford Jr. that has so enamored you?

Posted by: Steve Smith at October 4, 2004 08:31 PM

Mrs. Kerry makes a somewhat weak candidate even weaker. This would be a good month for her to campaign against land mines or something. Letting loose with her blunt views on foreign affairs is not a great idea.

Posted by: Jack Bog at October 4, 2004 08:35 PM


About Harold Ford, in a nutshell - he's a likeable, intelligent, independent-minded liberal. He isn't a microwaved leftover from the 1960s. And he's the kind of person who isn't polarizing like Bush and Kerry are.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 4, 2004 09:13 PM

First of all, the reasons for being in Iraq are complex and have never been fully articulated by the Administration. (Perhaps because they may think that we are unable to fully comprehend the situation. It would be wrong if this was so.)

Oil is an important part of the calculus, but it is not the lead issue. Geopolitical issues precede it, including but not limited to, the state sponsored terrorist behavior of Iraq (no, I'm not making a direct link to 9-11), the prevention of the development and dissemination of WMD (don't forget the intel of entire world, including the French, and to which Mr. Kerry concurred - that is before he changed his mind after the fact), the cause of freedom in the Middle East, and the ability to project America's military might in the Middle East from what is hoped to be an American ally going forward.

The economies of West, not to mention the economies of China and India, would be crippled if a material disruption in the supply of oil occurred. The US and China, among others would not sit by and idlely let this happen.

Needless to say, a realistic energy policy in the US that was not driven by environmentalists nor unchecked corporate interests is necessary. This would include the development of alternative forms of energy. The recognition that in real terms (i.e. on an inflation adjusted basis) oil is no more expensive today as in 1980. (Can you say that of anything else that is integral to the economy?) That is not the prescription for expanded exploration and development.

Posted by: BDB at October 4, 2004 09:20 PM


By the way, your are not using your smarts if you you think Hillary Clinton would be better than George Bush. John Kerry, maybe. In any case, perish the thought.

Posted by: BDB at October 4, 2004 09:23 PM


Afghanistan is a mess, dude. Teresa is wrong for saying the Taliban are in control. They're not. But neither is Hamid Karzai, the "Mayor of Kabul".

Warlords are pretty much running the country, I'm afraid. Human rights haven't improved a tenth of what they should have by now, and would have by now, had we stuck around to finish the job. And the "10 and a half million people registered to vote" figure is wildly inaccurate. Look, the truth is Bush pledged a Marshall Plan to Afghanistan that he never delivered and, like most everything else coming out of his mouth these days in regards to the War on Terror, the picture he's painting of events on the ground is nothing short of a flat-out lie.

Please take the time to read the following Human Rights Watch report, released just last week. It's 40-some-odd pages but, for the sake of the truth you're not hearing from the Bush Administration, it's well worth it:


Posted by: Grant McEntire at October 4, 2004 11:53 PM

"In addition, her husband plans to provide every student in America with four years of college tuition in exchange for two years of community service, and to provide parents with a $4,000 tax credit for college tuition they pay, Heinz Kerry said."

Actually, i think you all miss the real story out of what she said...This quote above sounds suspiciously like language out of the controversial "draft" bill that is being pasted on the Republicans but was actually sponsored by the Democrats:

Rangel, Charles (D): Under his bill, the draft would apply to men and women ages 18 to 26; exemptions would be granted to allow people to graduate from high school, but college students would have to serve.

Anyone who didn't qualify for military service because of impairments would be asked to perform community service.

Summary of Bill: SUMMARY AS OF 1/7/2003: Declares that it is the obligation of every U.S. citizen, and every other person residing in the United States, between the ages of 18 and 26 to perform a two-year period of national service, unless exempted, either as a member of an active or reserve component of the armed forces or in a civilian capacity that promotes national defense. Requires induction into national service by the President. Sets forth provisions governing: (1) induction deferments, postponements, and exemptions, including exemption of a conscientious objector from military service that includes combatant training; and (2) discharge following national service

Maybe it's just me, but didn't she just say "Draft" in Mozambique?

Posted by: kat-Missouri at October 5, 2004 12:37 AM


And you aren't short on ammunition.

I'm a Jacksonian. I don't spare the ammunition, and I don't feel sorry for the fish.

Speaking of Jacksonians, James Webb had a good article in last week's Parade magazine based on his upcoming book "Born Fighting."


I can't wait to get my copy.

Posted by: HA at October 5, 2004 03:45 AM

Oil is good. Our civilization is built on it.

Our fertilizers ( cheap food), our plastics, our road, cars, heat, lights, the whole ball of wax. Fuel = civilization.

If oil gets expensive our economies go down the tubes. The more the $ the deeper down the tube.

And oil is not going away unless some alternate energy sources suddenly becomes available that's :

A. Cheap (50$ a barrel is cheap, considering the alternatives, which are basically nothing.)
B. Easily storable at low cost. (Hydrogen kiss off!)
C. Has step-wise integrateable infrastructure. (Slowly it has to replace oil and gas in a feasible fashion.)

The next big thing in fuel is LNG and technology to make liquid petroleum products from it. There's LOT's of gas around, it's just the technology to condense, refine and change formats is serious $$ and brain sweat. Expect to see the first full scale units real soon at 50$ barrel.

(Fuel cells may work but they'll run on the output of LNG conversion trains: ultra clean "gasolines" and what not.)

All the other alternates are too much $/unit energy, completely pie-in-the-sky, unstorable, too polluting, or would require complete revamping of our civilization.

A break through may well occur, but don;t bet your house on it quite yet.

Energy wars are here to stay. (Dressed up in whatever drag you want.)
(Stay tuned for the China vs. Russian Far East power play. China can't beat up the USN for control of the sea lanes to the middle east and SE Asia, but Russia is weak and incompetent.)


Posted by: Fred at October 5, 2004 07:26 AM


How would Hillary make a better president than both Kerry and Bush? I don't know much about her, but I thought I knew enough: socialized medicine, plus the sacrifice of any shred of a foreign policy of self-interest on the altars of altruism ("peace-keeping") and international consensus.


Posted by: Brad Williams at October 5, 2004 07:34 AM

If Iraq were to fall into the hands of a Taliban like government, oil could easily be used as a form of economic terrorism. Oil is not just gas that you put in your car. It is also plastics, tires and about 5000 other things you will find in your immediate vicinity. A major disruption in our oil supply during this generation could cause major upheaval. The war isn't about let's kill Iraqi's and take there oil. It's about trying to establish an honest broker on the world's second largest oil reserve. It's also a hedge should Saudi Arabia colapse in the next 20 or 30 years. If it was just a war for taking Oil as the peacenicks make it out to be, why not invade Norway, Venezueala, and Russia. If it's about pure Idealism, then I can think of many other countries we should invade too (i,e Sudan, North Korea are the obvious examples). It's a tactical war. It may take a few generations to determine if it was "worth it". We need stable brokers in the world's energy supply. What we have now is a global version of having to buy your groceries at a crackhouse.

Posted by: Tom at October 5, 2004 07:35 AM

Human Rights Watch is designed to perpetuate misery. Utopia on earth is a myth.

Posted by: syn at October 5, 2004 09:23 AM

Wow! The hypocrisy is peeling off!

We desperately need alternative fuels because the oil is getting burned a lot faster than it's getting replaced. We probably don't have 40 years to do it. It's very hard for governments to look ahead more than 5 years. It's moderatly hard for businesses to look ahead more than one quarter. Our predictions about alternative energy sources and when we can get them and how expensive they'll be are not very good. More than 5 years. That means all the other estimates are extremely imprecise.

LNG is not much of a substitute. It's running out too, we just haven't exploited it as well. And it's pretty explosive, much more than gasoline if you're trying to make a terrorist incident.

There's evidence that saudi oil production may be peaking. I have seen no reliable estimates how much oil is in iraq -- the published estimates come through Saddam and he had an incentive to lie. Everybody has an incentive to lie. I tend to trust oil reserve estimates for the continental US, the rest may be overestimates and lies.

It's no good fighting for the last bits of oil like rats in a trap fighting for the cheese. We have to get out of the trap. We don't have to get independent of oil quickly, we just need a better energy source. We can go on using petrochemicals etc for a long time if we don't need to burn up the oil.

A better energy source doesn't have to involve burning or oxidation. Better if it doesn't. There are various energy sources that mostly have ecological consequences. No one knows the result if we harness a significant part of the wind energy, and anyway that's seasonal. Similarly the lightning, which is sporadic and hard to contain. If we could only find a way to collect and distribute energy that would otherwise go to earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes.... A whole lot of energy there. Hurricanes are too sporadic though we might find ways to make them happen more regularly. If we could slide the san andreas fault slowly and evenly and bleed off the energy.... Definitely more than 5 years away.

We have to have an alternate energy source, and so far we don't. I believe we likely won't develop the political will to do it until we are in a serious war. Then we can ration civilian gasoline at 5 gallons/month/family and heating oil at enough to heat a well-insulated dwelling to 60%, and start big crash programs to do alternative energy "because there's a war on". Iraq doesn't count. We aren't sacrificing for it.

So the trick is to get into the big war without actually getting nuked. We need a big long war that cuts off our oil imports without getting anybody nuked. Ideally it should be a war elsewhere that we only do total-war contributions to, like WWI and WWII. I don't have any of the details of how to set it up or get it started. Getting bogged down in iraq doesn't help at all.

Posted by: J Thomas at October 5, 2004 09:32 AM

Brad Williams: foreign policy of self-interest on the altars of altruism ("peace-keeping") and international consensus.

Hillary is a hawk, much more so than John Kerry. So is her husband.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 5, 2004 09:47 AM

Reality check: forget the alternative energy sources. All of them.

All energy comes from the sun, ultimately, including petroleum. Wind comes from thermal gradients, and it, like solar power, is much too dilute (and too unreliable) to power much of anything. No technology can beat that fundamental thermodynamic limitation.

Hydroelectric (solar-driven evaporation/condensation) is a nice top-up, but we're already using that about as much as we can. Coal is also great, but highly polluting, sporadically distributed, and difficult to transport.

Hydrogen is a chimera, because somehow the hydrogen has to be generated. In fact, hydrogen is simply the working fluid for transporting electrons from high potential (H2) to low potential (H2O), but somehow you have to regenerate H2 from water, which requires ...say it with me...an energy source. So it's no solution. Assertions that we can rely on hydrogen are like saying, "We don't need oil - we'll use batteries!"

The only remotely feasible alternative to petroleum is nuclear power, unfortunately.

As David points out, petroleum is not only our source of energy, but also our source of critical raw materials. (Even our keyboards are made from petroleum!) It is our lifeblood, and the only thing between us and a pre-Industrial Revolution economy.

While cutting off our oil supply would be a valid casus belli, I don't think that oil directly motivated the war in Iraq. I think that Iraq was a logical place to begin draining the Islamofascist swamp, in the same way that North Africa was chosen as the place to begin draining the Eurofascist swamp (even though North Africa hadn't attacked Pearl Harbor).

Posted by: Occam's Beard at October 5, 2004 10:24 AM

Beard, over the next 5 years I agree, we don't have adequate alternative energy. Note that one of your objections to coal is that it is hard to transport, while your objection to hydrogen is that it is only a transport form. There could be a synergy there if we actually got hydrogen practical. But there isn't enough platinum etc to make it good for storage either -- with current technology.

If you look just at the next 5 years it makes sense to try to grab the oil. The more of the oil we control the more we control everybody else's economies. Cut off their oil and we cut off their ability to wage conventional war.

On the other hand, conventional wars use up lots and lots of oil. Can we hope to get more out of it than we lose? It's a beggar-my-neighbor strategy. It won't work for long.

At some point we have to either bite the bullet and build a lot of nuclear plants, or accept that we're poor now and cut back on fossil fuels without adequate replacement, or build something with some other alternative technology including things we mostly haven't exploited at all.

Any choice would involve a lot of hardship; it would take a lot of work while we were doing without resources that had to go into constructing the new stuff.

We will have to do it, and we will suffer, and so far we have only been willing to do that as part of a war.

Posted by: J Thomas at October 5, 2004 11:10 AM

Well we are not fighting for oil per se, but we are fighting for the free flow of oil at market prices. We were not there to “steal” the oil, we don’t have to, we are there to make sure it keeps flowing. Norway, Venezuela, and Russia does not have the spare reserves to even care about, but certainly not enough to meet the increase in demand over then next 5 to 10 years.

Oil has colored our dealings in the Middle East since WWII. Our support for Israel was, in some part, bolstered by the fact that we would have a western style democracy sitting next to all of the oil, strategically it was a no-brainer. There is nothing that we do in the ME that is not about oil on some level. Ask yourself, since there are terrorists and genocide going on right now in Africa, why are we not there?

I think that with proper funding, we'd have different sources for energy.

Sure in 80 years or so, this is just so wrong on so many levels it’s kind of scary.

LNG is not the answer it is running out in North America, the Eastern Hemisphere has more but getting it will be difficult and unloading LNG can cause spectacular explosions. Right now the only energy plan the president has is “Drain America First”, not wise at all from where I sit. Kerry’s is not much better.

Posted by: Rick DeMent at October 5, 2004 12:07 PM

David: A nuclear Saddam sitting on the world's second largest oil reservoir wasn't going to happen, period.

Correction -- the second largest conventional oil reservoir. Canada has the world's second largest oil deposits. Or rather, as this conversation thread indicates, Canada apparently sits above America's second largest oil deposit.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at October 5, 2004 12:27 PM

Well we are not fighting for oil per se, but we are fighting for the free flow of oil at market prices.


that is exactly correct. The only people we "stole" oil from is Saddam, and it wasn't even his oil -- it's the Iraqi people's; and we are paying world market prices for that oil. And one of ther reasons we fought this war, amongst others, is for the free flow of that oil at world market prices, and to remove any threat to that flow. We fight to ensure our ability to PURCHASE that oil, not steal it; and for the survival of our economy and society.

We fought for democracy in Iraq, yes; and to eliminate the destabilization created by Saddam, yes; and to create a newer better middle east, yes; but none of that would have happened if there had been no oil.

Bush cannot say this publicly, but I can.

Posted by: David at October 5, 2004 01:05 PM

Hey double,

how come you Canadias aren't pumping that oil and getting rich.

Posted by: David at October 5, 2004 01:08 PM

how come you Canadias aren't pumping that oil and getting rich.

Because the Athabasca oil sands won't pump. It's not conventionally extracted oil.

But Alberta, home of the oil sands, is definitely rich.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at October 5, 2004 01:22 PM

Problem is that, “No blood for the free flow of oil at market prices and to reduce the power of the Saudi’s to price world oil” doesn’t really fit on a T-Shirt or placard.

However, "Drain America First" does.

Posted by: Rick DeMent at October 5, 2004 01:31 PM

The only people we "stole" oil from is Saddam, and it wasn't even his oil -- it's the Iraqi people's; and we are paying world market prices for that oil.

David, do you know what price we are paying for iraqi oil?

See, there's the spot market where you buy oil today at whatever price they're selling, amd then there are a variety of long-term contract things at whatever prices the two parties happen to negotiate.

For awhile there Bremer was in charge of selling iraqi oil in trust for the iraqis. At one point he had well over ten billion dollars in iraqi money saved up for them. He was empowered to sign long-term contracts for them, and I don't know what he did. Then when Bremer turned over sovereignty to Allawi he didn't give Allawi authority to make new laws, but he did give him authority to sign oil contracts. And the twenty billion dollars in iraqi money? (Some of it was left over from Saddam's oil for food money, and some of it was money we impounded years ago, iraqi government money and iraqi private money in US banks that we froze in 1991 and now we decided to give it to the new government.) Well, we spent it. If Allawi wants money to run his government he has to beg for it from us, or maybe sign long-term contracts at our rates.... Allawi started out saying he wanted artillery and planes for his new army and we told him he couldn't. He had a sovereign government but we'd already spent all the money and there was none left for planes or artillery. It's plausible that every time the insurgents bomb the pipelines and interrupt supply, Allawi is liable for oil that he's already sold but that he can't supply, and he owes even more money.

We talk like Allawi can sell his oil at world prices, but do you know how it's working in detail? It wouldn't be at all surprising if that turns out not to be true.

Posted by: J Thomas at October 5, 2004 08:14 PM

Right now the only energy plan the president has is “Drain America First”, not wise at all from where I sit.

Rick, the way I heard that was "Burn America First".

More graphic but maybe easier to misunderstand.

Anyway, we desperately need an alternative. Insulating our buildings doesn't do it; we need airflow of outside air through, and that means we bring in cold air and push out warm air. (And the opposite in summer.) Sure, insulation is a good thing but it reaches a limit pretty quick.

We can't depend on keeping our reserves if the economy goes bad. If the time comes that we can't afford to import oil, our own oil will tend to turn into foreign exchange. Our oil companies will sell it at market price on the world market. When we can't afford foreign oil we can't afford our own oil either.

Posted by: J Thomas at October 5, 2004 08:26 PM

Rick wrote, Our support for Israel was, in some part, bolstered by the fact that we would have a western style democracy sitting next to all of the oil, strategically it was a no-brainer.

It was indeed a no-brainer.

"I think that with proper funding, we'd have different sources for energy."

Sure in 80 years or so, this is just so wrong on so many levels it’s kind of scary.

Hard to tell how many years it would take. We could probably get it fully established within 10 years of the time we start, if we're committed. So assuming it takes us 5 years to get a workable approach and 10 years to implement it, that's only 15 years. Maybe too late....

I don't see that we have another alternative that doesn't involve a population crash. We'd better make alternate energy of some kind work because otherwise we're facing a whole lot of people dying young.

Posted by: J Thomas at October 5, 2004 08:32 PM

I don't see that we have another alternative that doesn't involve a population crash.

J Thomas,

that isn't unrealistic at all.

Posted by: David at October 6, 2004 12:03 AM

Well, sadly, I see that a number of us realize the long-term (if not short-term) need for alternative energy sources. What will happen in 20, 30 or 40 years?

We don't have solid data to predict what changes may yet occur in the environment (perhaps the warming trend is a natural cycle.. we can't be sure). we don't have solid data on how much oil and time we have left. Oil is such a key component to almost all of our modern products, that any new advances in technology could impact our oil reserves.

We don't even have enough data to know when we will have reached 'Peak Oil Production' (T Boone Pickens, a well known oil man and businessman, says we're already there, but I doubt he has a crystal ball).

We would be well served to find alternative energy sources before the oil resources are beyond our reach. that doesn't mean we can ignore oil, or all be on solar by 2010. It does mean that unless we start seriously beating the alternative energy drum (as well as an alternative to petrolium for plastics etc), that we run the risk of not having the answers when the semester finals come. After all, you can't cram the night before Armageddon.


Posted by: Ratatosk at October 6, 2004 07:34 AM

Ratatosk, the way I understand it, OPEC members get higher status according to the reserves they claim. And there isn't much checking.

Why wouldn't any of them lie about that?

We're talking about a bunch of arabs who have a financial incentive to lie, and we're expecting them to tell the truth.

There's strong reason to think proven reserves are lower than we say.

Unknown reserves may possibly be larger than we think, though. Look at the new reserves found and they're slowing down more than you'd expect from the amount of drilling. But maybe there's some giant site that we haven't noticed at all yet, that might put off trouble for ten years all by itself. I can't say it's impossible.

So on the one hand there's strong reason to think our numbers are biased high and we're running out of oil faster than we think. And on the other hand we might luck out.

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