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« Your Environmental Security: Code Blue, Orange, and Red | Main | President Obama’s First Year Clean Energy Progress Report: 3 E’s and an A? »

November 14, 2009

Veterans Day 2009: Veterans, Persian Gulf Wars, and Energy Security

Ethanol: Fact vs. Myth

Learn the truth about ethanol...

Freedom is not free: The price may be energy security.

I first learned about energy security, using oil as a diplomacy weapon, and alternative fuels from my father.  My father was a prisoner of war in a Japanese prison camp for the last 3 1/2 years of World War II.  He rarely talked about his experience as a POW, but one day he did take a moment to answer my juvenile and naïve question “Did you have any fun in prison camp, was it like Hogan’s Heroes?”  His response changed my life.  “We siphoned the fuel out of the Japanese trucks and drank it.”

Dad-AngelIsland My father went on to explain how the U.S. threatened Japan with an oil embargo in an effort to get them to side with us in World War II.  At that time the U.S. was the world’s largest oil producer.  Their answer to our threat was to bomb Pearl Harbor – which was the first oil related attack on U.S. soil.  Because the Japanese no longer had oil supplies from the U.S., and their allies did not have any either, they had to convert their Saki industry to fuel their domestic military fleet. They had to save whatever oil they could buy to fuel their planes and other military equipment that could not be replaced with ethanol (Germany used methanol).

My high school class was the first not to face a mandatory draft for military service in a generation or two. The visions of the Vietnam War on TV were still fresh in my mind, the price of gasoline doubled the year I got my drivers license, and being from a military family I had a sinking feeling that the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973 was the prelude to the next military mission.  With a dreadful fear of boot camp, some family photos, and very selfsih desire to stay out of the next war, necessity drove me to search for the mother of all un-petroleum inventions. I started researching alternatives to oil with father’s conversation in mind.  In 1977 I presented my father with my future plan based on his POW story.  At first he did not share my optimism about alcohol fuels and my American [day] Dream. He said “The United States Congress does not have the optical will and private industry does not have a genuine interest in changing status quo. 99% of the people don’t care – because they don’t know – and there are few leaders with the courage or enough money to tell them different.”  I spent the next 30 years proving him right.

Dad-MugshotI sincerely believe we are in a longer term war over oil.  It is becoming increasing clear every day since we did not find weapons of mass destruction and Sadam Hussein’s trail ended that our involvement in the Middle East may be less complex than it appears on the surface.  Some may disagree with my view that that Persian Gulf Wars I, II and II, and the Global War on Terror have everything to do with oil, but most may agree oil accounts for at  least 50% of our mission and can be rated as one of the top two reasons.

But the next 30 years are going to be different!  Times are changing and political will is growing stronger.  We have a renewable fuel standard and there are more democratic and republican leaders everyday that have the courage to tell Americans they are addicted to oil and it’s time for intervention.  The internet and blogs, in combination with the growing number of countries that respect democracy, education, and the freedom of speech will help people find the truth about oil.  In the meantime, our military fights every hour of every day to selflessly protect democracy, capitalism, the world economy and the pursuit of liberty for all – even if one of the root causes is oil.  The next time you fill up with gasoline, even if it is only 10% ethanol, stand tall and know that Americans have been heard, the challenge is being met, and our true national leaders are rising to the occasion.

Dad-Flags The next time you feel like you need a good God Bless America find some E85 and put it in your FFV as your personal effort to acknowledge our energy security mission and hopefully bring the troops home one day -- and God bless you if one of them is yours.  The people who think “business isn’t personal” obviously don’t know anything about the energy  business and energy security.

On Veterans Day I went to Arlington Cemetery to place a flag on my father’s grave. I could not help but notice the rows in Section 60 were growing with Persian Gulf War veterans. As the rows move east the birthdates change from the 1920’s to the 1980’s.  World War II, Vietnam, and Korea are replaced with Operation Desert Storm (Second Persian Gulf War), Operation Iraq Freedom (Third Persian Gulf War) Operation Enduring Freedom (War in Afghanistan).  The memorial for Operation Ultimate Justice (Global War on Terror) is across the street at the Pentagon.

Section 60 Veterans Day 2009 lead me down a path that filled with three generations of conflicts over oil and back to that conversation that changed my life.  Take a moment to talk to a veteran about war and oil – it might just change your life too – and maybe even change your mind about the next type of car you buy.

God Bless America and our troops that protect her.


Some recommended reading to learn more about Energy Security. 

1. Winning the Oil Endgame, by Amory B. Lovins, published by the Rocky Mountain Institute in cooperation with the Department of Defense.
2. Freedom from Oil, David Sandalow, published by McGraw Hill.
3. Blood and Oil: The Dangers and Consequences of America’s Growing Dependence on Imported Petroleum, by Michael Klare, published by Henry Holt and Company (an Owl Book)
4. Energy Security Challenges for the 21st Century, by Gal Luft and Anne Korin, published by Praeger Security International.
5. Beyond Oil: The View from Hubbert's Peak, by Kenneth S. Deffeyes, published by Hill and Wang (a division of Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
6. Turning Oil Into Salt: Energy Independence Through Fuel Choice, Anne Korin, Gal Luft, published by BookSurge Publishing
7. Energy Victory, by Robert Zubrin, published by Prometheus Books
8. Over a Barrel: Breaking the Middle East Oil Cartel, by Raymond J. Learsy, published by Nelson Current
9. Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy by Matthew R. Simmons, published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
10. The End of Oil: On the Edge of a Perilous New World, by Paul Roberts, published by Houghton Mifflin Company (A Mariner Book).
11. The Empty Tank: Oil, Gas, Hot Air, and The Coming Global Financial Catastrophe, by Jeremy Leggett, published by Random House
12. The Plan: How To Rescue Society When The Oil Stops – Or The Day Before, by Edwin Black, published by Dialog Press
13. Crude World: The Violent Twilight of Oil, by Peter Maass, published by Alfred A. Knoff (Random House)


 

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