Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Snakes on a plane

Austin Bay links to the charts used by General Petraeus to accompany his testimony before Congress. Three charts deserve a closer look. The first shows the dramatic increase in "Caches Found and Cleared". In insurgent warfare, an arms cache represents the potential combat power of its cells. The cache is the foundation upon which its armed struggle is founded. The state of an insurgency's arms cache is a good index of its fighting power and information security. The more caches it has, the greater its fighting power. The fewer caches found the better its information security and population control.



The spike in cache discoveries represent vast withdrawals from the insurgent's combat bank account. They are also an indication of the insurgency's inability to protect this most precious of assets. Interestingly, the steady rise in the number of caches found began before the Surge. But in any event, the chart clearly shows that something very bad is happening to the enemy infrastructure.

But caches can be replenished if supply lines to the sources of arms remain open. This second chart shows the effect of the campaign against the Sunni insurgency's line of communication. The obvious difference between the left panel of the chart, representing December 2006 and the right panel, representing March 2008 is the reduction of the Euphrates River insurgency ratline.



The Euphrates enemy line of communication, as I wrote before in the "River War", was based upon a series of towns along its banks, many of which are now familiar names to American audiences. The stepping stones went through Qaim, Ramadi and hooked around Baghdad through Fallujah to the southern belts. These have been reduced and garrisoned by reliable Iraqi Army units. The desert line going through Ar Rutbah and terminating at Ramadi has also been dismantled, so that generally speaking the Western ratlines have been taken apart.

The Sunni insurgency's line of communications along the Tigris is in better shape, although it is too appears to be in the process of fragmentation. Because forces used to hold the Euphrates line have to be maintained while the Tigris is cleared, the reduction of the Eastern side will have to await the generation of new Iraqi forces. The Iraqi Army is slated to add 16 battalions between March and December, 2008.

The last chart, evocatively labeled the "Anaconda" chart describes the mental command model Petraeus has used to fight al-Qaeda in Iraq. This chart is important for two reasons. First it shows the thinking which manifested itself in the squeeze against the caches and the squeeze against the enemy lines of communication. The Anaconda chart was the idea. The first two charts are examples of the execution. But second and maybe more significantly, the Anaconda chart represents a known example of an apparently successful strategy against al-Qaeda. To all those who say that al-Qaeda is invulnerable; or maintain that a distributed insurgency is unstoppable; or claim that no response against Islamic terrorism is possible there is the counterexample of the Anaconda Chart.



A few observations about this Chart are in order. First, it is a strategy designed against the AQI; to explicitly cut it off from Syria. It makes no claims about its effectiveness against the Shi'ite milita threat in the South whose wellsprings are in Iran. Secondly, it makes no claims to generality. What the chart illustrates is the way to take down the AQI in Iraq.

But imagine for a moment you were the national security adviser of Barack Obama asking yourself what the Anaconda chart implied about the global strategy against terrorism. We find that "engagement" or diplomacy has a place in Petraeus' strategy. (It is in the 12 o'clock position of the chart). So far so good. But what to do about "information operations", "kinetics", "intelligence" and "religious engagement"? In other words, where does one fit in activities like spying on the enemy, misleading them, debating them, killing them, building indigenous forces against them and criticizing -- where necessary -- their religion? How feasible is it to do this from Kuwait -- where all forces are to be withdrawn at the rate of one or two brigades per month? And how popular will such activities be with the Democratic base?

Those who believe arranging a Muslim summit with the new President or visiting hostile heads of state is the answer to winning the War on Terror will find from the Anaconda chart that engagement is part of the answer but only a part; and a small part. The rest unfortunately consists of activities that are politically incorrect, expensive or may lead to casualties.

That unpleasant circumstance means that whatever the operational experience in Iraq, whatever has been shown to work or not to work, the search must go on for the Magic Bullet. Because the war in Iraq must be ended Now and a solution to the war on terror must be found Now, "Anacondas" need not apply. The political and psychological requirement is for the anti-Anaconda: the quick fix.

Part of the implicit promise of Change is that that We Can Find a Better Way. Well maybe we can. And they're going to bet the farm on it.






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116 Comments:

Blogger Thrasymachus said...

Could Michael Ware please get his nose fixed? It's really distracting.

4/08/2008 08:34:00 PM  
Blogger TmjUtah said...

Anaconda.


What goes around, comes around.

4/08/2008 09:33:00 PM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

The biggest drivers of the Jihad will probably turn out to be the fall of the Soviet Union and the rise of the modern oil industry. By the mid-1990s, Russia, China and the new Central Asian Republics formed the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, an alliance against Islamic extremism whose main effort was to manage the al-Qaeda hotbed in Afghanistan, which had become the regional center for Jihadism all over Central Asia, including Xinxiang. The pre-September 11 fight against al-Qaeda, which was all but unreported in the West, will occupy a position analogous to the Spanish Civil War when the history of the war on terror is finally written.

Interestingly enough, the SCO includes Iran -- then worried about the Sunni threat in Afghanistan -- and India and Pakistan too, worried about much the same thing. But the other thing they had their eye on was oil.

A Great Game is being played to control the pipeline routes across Central Asia. China wishes to control a route that will leave relatively independent of Russia by land, and independent of sea routes -- hence the US to the south. Thus the linchpin of its foreign policy is to find some way to control a corridor by diplomacy and subversion going through Afghanistan and Iran to the Gulf and the Caspian Sea. The interests of the members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization are at odds in every respect save one: the need to manage the Jihad. On this have agreed. Everywhere else they will compete.

The two primary foci of the current world crisis are the Middle East and Central Asia. This is the heartland of Jihadi power. It is here where it will be won or lost. I think most analysts -- even among liberal think tanks -- would agree on that.

But the situation is such that no single power, not the United States, China or Russia, has the resources to manage this vast area all at once. Inevitably the Great Powers must find, build up and deploy local auxiliaries across the Middle Eastern-Central Asian arc to recreate, on a much grander scale, Petraeus' Anaconda. There is no other way to do it.

Thus, the value of Afghanistan is not as a place to "hunt down Osama Bin Laden", as if the War on Terror were some kind of FBI police operation, but as a potential ally in the decades long process of reproducing, on a vast scale, the reduction which Petraeus' campaign achieved along the Tigris, Euphrates and southern Baghdad. Similarly, the value of Iraq is an ally. The true prize in Iraq is the Iraqi people.

Somehow both Iraq and Afghanistan must be induced to 'change sides' on the board. Because Iraq and Afghanistan are going to be needed to induce the next piece on the board to switch sides. This is a radically different conception from "containment", an idea which consciously or not, underlies much of the liberal strategy in the War on Terror.

Thus, while both conservative and liberal strategists might agree that the Middle East and Central Asia constitute the core battlefields of the war, they will fundamentally disagree over how to engage the enemy in this arena.

The Chinese and the Russians are going to turn Central Asia to their purposes, driven by their need to buy, sell and control the flow of oil. For them it is unabashedly about oil. And in their quest to do so they will employ every method -- the Chinese have employed religious controls, bans on Turkic languages, ethnic cleansing, etc -- to make the dominoes fall their way.

The West has not yet decided on how to meet the challenge. The liberal part of the West believes, I think, that by containing the Middle East with naval and ground forces around the periphery, the Jihad will eventually burn itself out; or that the problem will otherwise solve itself. Another school of thought holds that the West must actively recruit adherents in the Islamic world, what is mockingly referred to as "sponsoring democracies" because only then can the Anaconda shuffle its coils.

Barack Obama's strategy represents one pole of this debate. If he is elected, the chances are he will be forced to modify his position by the force of circumstances. My guess is that he really isn't interested in the subject right now, but if he should get into office the War on Terror will inevitably seize his administration and consume it.

The Republicans are in a different position. While many conservatives have given the War on Terror more thought than liberals, their strategic thinking has been distorted by the need to support a President and a Republican establishment that can't quite emancipate themselves from doing business as usual with Saudi Arabia and Europe. Thus conservatives, for reasons entirely different from liberals, have their blinders too.

It's interesting to speculate on what a McCain administration grand strategy would consist of. My guess is that it too would be led on by events. Iran, not Iraq would probably become the focus of a McCain term. Pakistan, not Afghanistan, would be the analogous shift of focus in Central Asia. But the key advantage of the conservatives is that in their bones they are more receptive to the Anaconda idea than are the liberals. They will engage and learn from their mistakes. The liberals will dis-engage, re-engage and dis-engage in a kind of desperate cyclical search for a Magic Bullet.

In the end both the conservatives and liberals will probably converge on the same solution simply because whichever key you try, only the right one will open the door. However long it takes, both the Democrats and the Republicans will be forced to use the same key. The difference between them will be the degree of time, treasure and life it will take to hit upon it.

4/08/2008 10:01:00 PM  
Blogger TmjUtah said...

My busted link went to a civil war page about Winfield Scott's "Anaconda Plan" as the strategy that eventually did become the way the South was defeated...

And Wretchard, that's a heck of a post for a mere comment.

I hadn't thought of the current state of the conflict as analogous the the Spanish Civil war. I leaned toward the "Phony War" right up until now... but I may just change my opinion.

I must think on that.

However - I think that the Bush Doctrine, at its core, envisioned more than mere "auxiliaries" in the fight... and it is no accident that I put that in past tense.

We must beat Islam. But to end the fight we must change an entire culture. And that's going to be pricey.

I count any future interval where the American president is not a conservative as "holding/losing ground" time.

We aren't going to glaze the Arab arc. And Western Liberals don't have the intellectual/spiritual chops to fight a war like this to a successful conclusion; not without losing all control and just removing the opposition from the board.

The next four years are going to suck. No two ways about it.

4/08/2008 10:38:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Wretchard, I think the key difference is that Obama does not understand the tribal basis for the conflict between Islam and the West and Conservatives do.

Obama wants to replicate the Congress of Vienna, with a "Muslim Summit" with key concession and what-not, believing this will somehow magically solve everything. He'll look at that Anaconda chart and throw it away, radically downsize the military, fire Petraeus, and much else. He's already said so. [Of course Obama is a hard-core hate-America Leftist who loves Communism like his father, so what else is new. That btw characterizes sadly the Democratic Party and most of the Press and Liberals elsewhere.]

The problem with Obama's approach (paleocons ala Pat Buchanon support it also) is that tribal structure means that even if "Muslim Leaders" agree (ala your average Sorkin episode of the West Wing) ... other "lean and hungry men" will stir up a fight because they win power and prestige and wealth by doing so. Khalid Sheik Mohammed, Ramsey Yusef, Sheik Rahman, Ayman Al-Zawahari, and Osama bin Laden are not stupid men. They saw their path to power through attacks on America and took it. The tribal Muslim world will ALWAYS produce such men.

The advantage of Iraq is yes, the Iraqi people. Who will not be Swiss with a desert, but will be like the Navajo against the Apache and Geronimo. We could not catch Geronimo until we used Navajo trackers and scouts.

We can't retreat to Fortress America because modern technology through the internet, satellite TV, DVDs etc. puts tribal people like Pakistan, Iran, and Saudi Arabia right next to us, in a virtual world. Guaranteeing the usual tribal conflict ... constant raiding and warfare which characterize tribal life and provide advancement for men (the only path btw).

IF Obama won, he'd simply pretend real hard that the world can conform to his West Wing / Communist fantasies, with "change" and "hope" and simply wait. Until of course some Osama figure (him or someone like him) uses Pakistani or Iranian or Saudi or Turkish nukes to kill several US cities.

THEN Obama would be forced out, along with most Democrats, and the US would respond as it usually has to tribal attacks that are too costly (as losing NYC would be). The "problem" would be "solved" in the usual Western Way. "They made it a desert and called it peace." Certainly after that (nuking US cities) I would expect most Muslim peoples to be very, very dead. Particularly since Obama would preach "patience" and "why they hate us" and only encourage a tribal people to attack more the "weak horse." Causing another city to die.

McCain should he win, would likely use the indirect, proxy approach to deter Iran from nukes or overthrow the regime. Counter-terror, targeted strikes on Iran's infrastructure, nuclear facilities, gas refineries, and encouragement of Iraq to take Arab populated lands in South-West Iran. With Pakistan, more support for India and a first-strike on Pakistan policy announced if a US City was nuked. One "automatic" ... and one overwhelming. Designed to kill most Pakistanis.

That is the "strong tribe" approach ... using tribal disunity where you can, and signaling through action not words you are the strong tribe.

[Yes TMJUTAH, I saw Anaconda also as the Grant-Sherman plan reborn.]

4/08/2008 11:03:00 PM  
Blogger Habu said...

Wretchard,
A great assessment @ 4/08..10:01, however I believe there is a simoom approaching that is the answer to your question as to what the West (US) will do.

The answer you seek lies in the timing of the upcoming Presidential election. That is the reason for our patience and seemingly vacant offensive policy.

If W bombs Iran now (and it will be an air war)the entire election complexion is altered with the results totally unknown as to who would come out ahead, Dems or Reps.

However if he waits until after the election he's in a win-win situation.
Say McCain wins...McCain would bomb Iran in a heartbeat so W is saving Mac from being tarred with that act.
If Obama is elected, presuming Hillary doesn't take him on a picnic to Fort Marcy Park, then Obama is confronted with a foreign policy problem of huge dimensions that can't be talked away and will occupy his time like 9-11 did with W. It will also force Obama to keep troops in Iraq for his entire term because Americans aren't going to pay $10 a gallon for gas and our oil companies can begin pumping sooner rather than later.

Syrian will be taken out by the Israelis in a simultaneous strike.

Bet the kids college fund on this scenario. It's a win-win for Bush and the Iraqis and the free world.

Plus there's nothing that can stop him from ordering the strikes right up to inauguration day. It's gonna be fun to watch Iran being turned into rubble.

4/09/2008 12:04:00 AM  
Blogger Nuclear said...

@TmjUtah : And Wretchard, that's a heck of a post for a mere comment.

I learned long ago that the first comment by Wretchard to a Belmont Club post often contains a shockingly relevant tangential exploration. It's almost as if that's where he feels most comfortable moving sideways or "going meta" as the kids call it.

Loves it!

=darwin

4/09/2008 12:12:00 AM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Habu -- If GWB can't even keep the CIA from leaking all over the place and the NIE from tying his hands, how is he going to bomb Iran?

He won't. He's lazy. And let's be honest, gutless. He's AFRAID of Democrats. And the media. No one has paid political prices for undercutting him at every turn. He's jello under the hot sun.

Even if he did (which he won't) bomb Iran or respond in any way, President Obama if elected (he won't be) would simply apologize and grovel before Ahmadinejad and immediately halt it. Obama might even prosecute Military Men as War Criminals. Hell his father was a hard-core Mugabe-like Communist, and Obama is not far off the mark.

4/09/2008 12:13:00 AM  
Blogger Habu said...

Simoom

4/09/2008 12:20:00 AM  
Blogger Habu said...

Whiskey,
Your assessment of W shows you've been severely infected with BDS. There's not much point in arguing that.
Time will tell.
He has nothing to lose. The world knows Iran is going for the bomb and if we don't do the job Israel will. Iran is simply not going to get the bomb.
As far as the CIA goes Bush doesn't have to tell a living sole about this until he orders the strike.
And certainly not the CIA, but what if he told them a day before..who ya gonna call?
There are already B-1's and B-2's all over Diego Garcia, the Carrier Battle Groups are perhaps a days sail way when the time draws near, and how long do you think it takes a boomer to unload a swarm of SLBM's?....no time at all. Flying out of Kuwait to Iran..no time at all.
Yeah he's gonna do it for the same reason (your term) he's got no guts..baloney..he's hung in on Iraq when everyone else wanted to punt the ball. You've badly misunderestimated W.....NO ONE can stop him and say he starts two days after the election ...no one can counterman his order ..the next Prez won't be inaugurated for two months..that's plenty of time to get 'er done. He can't be trumped on this one and he knows it.

Additionally, aside from your BDS, why do you think he wouldn't do it?
As stated it would help McCain and hurt the Dems..not to mention saving the world from having the Israelis do it, which would really roil the ME.

4/09/2008 12:37:00 AM  
Blogger bobal said...

Being with you in wish, Habu, I think our wish is giving birth to the thought. The last simoom, around the last election, didn't show. I don't expect this one will either. But, as Obama says, there's hope!

4/09/2008 01:18:00 AM  
Blogger bobal said...

And a two month simoom might not be long enough of a blow. They could well ride that simoom out and pick up the pieces, talk things over with Obama, go on.

4/09/2008 01:43:00 AM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Habu, I'll note you cannot refute my points. W is weak and ineffective. Subject to cronyism ("Brownie") and unwilling to fight in the media or WITH the media.

Many lies and distortions pass unrefuted by the Administration, which just gave up fighting. In the words of that well known BDS man, Jonah Goldberg of NRO.

Bush has not laid out his grand strategy for confronting Jihad and Islamism. He has none. Bush has not rebutted his critics extensively and constantly. He is afraid.

We certainly have the MEANS to deal with Iran. But we lack the will. When the NYT publishes with impunity secret CIA counter-terror operations, when Bush won't even defend his Presidential Authority to the degree CLINTON did to eavesdrop on foreign terrorists, because he's afraid of the NYT and Dems and CIA leaks and so on, there is only one conclusion that can be made.

He is weak. Lazy. And politically, fearful. [I do not think him a bad man, or evil, or any of that. He did the best he could given his personality. But these obvious truths, available to anyone over the last 8 years, are undeniable. Bush has no taste whatsoever for political conflict, and runs away from it every opportunity.]

Quick, how quickly did Bush roll over and play dead for the State Dept. and CIA on the NIE about Iran's nukes?

DC made it clear to Bush ... play nicely or we will impeach you. He reacted to that by backing down. [If Bush had any balls at all he would have clapped Pelosi in irons for treason by visiting Syria and negotiating with Assad. Truman, Ike, and FDR would have.]

Bush is weak and not up to the task. This has always been true.

Iran will have it's nukes.

4/09/2008 01:58:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

Since WWII the USA has played the role of global maritime policeman and the sole guarantor of open access by all nations to the Gulf oil ports. This enormously expensive undertaking has heretofore been providently financed by foreign governments through the purchase of US debt. The Chinese, for example, get the benefit of the US Navy at a tiny fraction of the cost of the fleet, and the USA builds 100 billion dollar carrier groups for 6 of 7 cents on the dollar. The recent decline in the value of the greenback may indicate that something in this mutually beneficial dynamic is changing even if it's not yet clear what that is.

If we assume that Iran would retaliate across the region then war with Iran would shut off ME oil; perhaps for years, end globalization, and at an uncalculable cost in global misery. So long as there is any possibility that the mullahs, or their successors, can be expected to act rationally, nuclear or not, then war with Iran is always the worst choice.

Absent an umistakeable, apocalyptic provocation by the mullahs no POTUS is going to initiate a strategic bombing campaign against Iran that would, in the end, upset the global order.

4/09/2008 01:59:00 AM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

Absent an umistakeable, apocalyptic provocation by the mullahs no POTUS is going to initiate a strategic bombing campaign against Iran that would, in the end, upset the global order.

Iran is a huge potential asset for the US. It's gas resources, properly developed, would go a long way to offsetting the Russian stranglehold on European supplies. Its population is substantially pro-American. In fact, before Jimmy Carter lost Iran in a moment of absentmindedness, it was the linchpin of American power in the region. To invade and bomb it would be a huge irony and waste.

Iran, not Iraq is the natural alliance. But we are in this pretzler because of the events of 1979. The Carter bungle inflicted -- quite unforced -- a greater strategic loss to America than Vietnam. But that's water under the bridge. The question is what to do about Iran now?

Marc Ruel Gerecht believed that the way into Iran was through the rest of the Shi'ite world. For that reason he thought that the rise a Shi'ite democracy in Iraq, however flawed, would have incalculable consequences for the Ayatollahs in Iran. It would create a second power center in the Shi'ite world, one in possession moreover of Shi'ism's most holy places.

So in one sense the battle for Iran is already taking place in southern Iraq. Leftist commentators are always remarking how many links there are between southern Iraq and Iran. Indeed the traffic between them has increased. There are millions of people who cross over as pilgrims, up an order of magnitude from the Saddam days. But the important thing to remember is that, from one point of view, this linkage between the two Shi'ite areas is a feature not a bug. What happens in southern Iraq will resonate in Iran.

The British basically marked the time. Held the ring. But now the Americans and the Iraqi Army have come down from the north into the south. And now the forces are arrayed on both sides and the main event is about to begin. If America loses in southern Iraq, Iran will have strangled a nascent rival political power center on its border. But if America wins, then the Ayatollahs will be facing what amounts to a domestic challenge.

That's why I believed that the really big news in the Petraeus/Crocker testimony was their repeated emphasis on Iran. It's no accident. They want to focus the policy attention on Iran. Because the Iran/Southern Iraq phase will be the most important phase in the Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Iraq was always a two-front war, even from the days of the First Fallujah. In those days the US made a strategic decision to leave the south alone and deal with the Sunni insurgency first. Now that has been dealt with and the Syria/AQI front been substantially won. That's what the Petraeus charts are saying. On the clock of World War 2 History the defeat of the Sunni insurgency would correspond to the crossing of the Rhine. VE isn't there yet, but the enemy is in flight. Maybe there's still a Battle of the Bulge ahead for the Sunni insurgency/AQI, but they are essentially beaten, absent a blunder.

But on the Shi'ite front, which corresponds to the Pacific Campaign on the World War 2 analogy, the long road back has still to begin. And just like the Pacific Campaign, I think the approach must be indirect. Not head on, but flanking, always flanking. And the reason is that we want to capture the hearts of the Iranians intact, unembittered by savage warfare. And only then, after a decade of strife, will be right back before where Jimmy Carter got us in 1979.

But not quite. This time the relationship won't be one between a strongman like the Shah and the US State Department. It will be a different relationship, and hopefully a better one.

Yet having belabored the World War 2 already, this last comparison must be made. We need a Truman to go on. Somebody who understands the strategic picture and will sign off on it. Maybe Obama and Hillary are secretly the ones; publicly spouting the Code Pink stuff for political purposes, just as they talked up the NAFTA stuff while addressing workers in Ohio; but secretly reassuring the Canadians they were serious. Maybe.

But for whatever it's worth, I think the move on Iran has already begun. But it won't take the form of an invasion or an air campaign unless someone miscalculates drastically.

4/09/2008 02:55:00 AM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

That doesn't mean the B-2s, carrier groups and Special Forces won't have a role. All modern warfare is politico-military. It means that there will be politics and military activity mutually supporting each other in the campaign, if only in a deterrent or surgical role. There will be hardcore holdouts in the end. And they will fight hard, just as Hezbollah fights hard. But the killing blow will be political.

4/09/2008 03:18:00 AM  
Blogger hdgreene said...

If we really can pump 200 billion barrels of oil (at $20 to $40 a barrel) out of North Dakota then I suggest we do that. If we can bring oil prices down to $40 bl we'll drain a lot of the excess cash out of the Jihad system (and make the Russians tighten their belts as well).

My prediction: we'll make N. Dakota into a wildlife sanctuary.

4/09/2008 04:27:00 AM  
Blogger Habu said...

Whiskey,
I'm not sure how much verbiage one has to use to repudiate your "Bush is weak and a coward BDS junk"..
Excuse me but I believe that as I pointed out he was the steady hand when everyone else was bailing, including Colin Powell, who got sandbagged by Geo Tenent. Condi has bigger cajones than Colin.
You made so few initial points other than ad hominum on W that a long refutation was not warranted.

You repeat a chorus of weakness, being afraid of impeachment etc, but if the Democrats had a case they would have brought it..they didn't and Bush knew it.

Your later comment "If Bush had any balls at all he would have clapped Pelosi in irons for treason by visiting Syria and negotiating with Assad" is a bit over the top. Treason charges against the House Speaker of the opposition party?...that's risible, you pick your fights carefully and calculate them well, not on emotion and a losing hand.

All in all you didn't make much of anything other than to take inconsequential ad hominum attacks on the President.

4/09/2008 05:12:00 AM  
Blogger slimslowslider said...

Interesting chess match taking place. the pieces will be knocked all over the place once nuclear weapons are introduced into the game by a radical, state sponsered terrorist entity. any thoughts on what the game might look like then? things got pretty darn Hot during MAD, just short of combustion. what will be their game then? I think you can forget about just losing a city or 2. Production on a mass scale does not equate to just a few targets.

4/09/2008 05:26:00 AM  
Blogger Habu said...

Wretchard,

"Iran is a huge potential asset for the US." Well, The most common commodity in this world is unrealized potential. Iran now has the definite possibility of acquiring nuclear bombs sitting atop ICBM's and has sworn to destroy Israel with them. Tell me the stabilizing force that will have on the ME?
"Its population is substantially pro-American." Tell me, I was in Tehran when the Shah was on the throne and the revolution was coming, but we've attempted for almost ten years to develop an internal uprising and the mullahs always break it, and the clock continues to tick toward a nuclear Iran.
Iran was, was, our ally and linchpin 28 years ago, but no longer. Yes they still have resources but they are in another camp today, inimical to the US policy.

I am also feel you are grossly misreading the Crocker/Petraeus testimony. They aren't making a case for make nice with Iran they are preparing the battlefield, just as others have been doing for the past six months.

And perhaps most telling in your contribution is the lack of any mention of Israel. Do you seriously believe they will allow Iran to continue development of the bomb that could destroy them? That is a factor in the calculus you've unaccounted for and it is huge. They will not allow it to happen, so we will not invade ,but rather conduct and air campaign that will set them back and buy more time, put them on notice that there is no bomb in their future and keep Israel out of the center of the maelstrom.

And we haven't even touch on the already destabilizing force Iran is worldwide in funding terrorism. The target is too rich to pass up, the timing to perfect. Iran will be massively bombed, and for many good reasons. This time there is no bipolar world where John Scali can have lunch with an Aleksandr Fomin and resolve the impass/

4/09/2008 05:58:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

We're going about this problem in a very stupid and unimaginative way. Instead of changing the rules of the game, changing the game altogether, we blindly play the enemy's game with this stupid and exhausting competition of who gets to pay more for jihadi oil, and as a result who gets to enrich the jihadis even further. It's idiotic.

We need to be moving away from oil. Instead of subsiding Jihadis and Leftist "revolutionaries" with $500 billion/year in US oil imports, we should be redirecting that flow of money towards our own renewable energy industries and our own economy. There is no reason for us to not be replacing oil imports with equivalent energy from solar and offshore wind farms. The money needed to completely replace oil imports with solar and wind equivalents is about 1.5 trillion dollars. This is what the US spends on oil imports in 3 years.

4/09/2008 06:32:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

Our natural allies in the Eastern Med and beyond are the Orthodox countries, including, and especially Russia. That doesn't mean the absence of disagreement on substantive issues but I believe we would have gained more leverage on Iran by tossing Russia a bone with Kosovo than we did by siding with the Muslims.

The strategic center has shifted to the Caspian, the Black Sea, the Caucasuses, and the 'Stans. Russia's backyard. We're not in Afghanistan and Iraq only to hunt al Qaeda.

4/09/2008 06:44:00 AM  
Blogger PapaBear said...

Wretchard: Leftist commentators are always remarking how many links there are between southern Iraq and Iran. Indeed the traffic between them has increased. There are millions of people who cross over as pilgrims, up an order of magnitude from the Saddam days. But the important thing to remember is that, from one point of view, this linkage between the two Shi'ite areas is a feature not a bug. What happens in southern Iraq will resonate in Iran.

If we can get Iraq into being a stable, functioning, and prosperous society, the Iranian mulluhcracy's days are numbered. People seeing what a better life looks like in Iraq will want the same in Iran

And arms smuggling and the insurgency game works in both directions

4/09/2008 06:54:00 AM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Wretchard - My guess is that he really isn't interested in the subject right now, but if he should get into office the War on Terror will inevitably seize his administration and consume it.

There is no reason why Obama will be forced to obsess over the WOT to the detriment of all other problem-solving, as Bush became. As you write, China and Russia are in the fight as much as we are, but have not let the fear of terrorists distract them from pursuing vigorous, strengthening national agendas that have considerably enhanced their power and clout as America was losing it's own...
No, Bush became consumed...when he didn't need to be as obsessed and using that as an excuse to ignore the great menaces of trade imbalances, his massive debts, entitlement refirm, America's immigration, healthcare, and energy crisis, the gutting of American industry. And his "business as usual" approach to Saudi Arabia, Latin America, the Ruling Elites globalization agenda.
Worse, what small danger there was from terror and WMD as a non-existiential threat to America were poorly communicated by Bush and it all was somehow ensnared in Iraq and our "imperative" to serve the interests of the noble purple-fingered freedom lovers there over our own citizens long-term needs.

**************
matesula - There is no reason for us to not be replacing oil imports with equivalent energy from solar and offshore wind farms. The money needed to completely replace oil imports with solar and wind equivalents is about 1.5 trillion dollars. This is what the US spends on oil imports in 3 years.

Sorry, that is pie in the sky stupidity.

You don't replace oil with erratic, mostly unstorable electricity generation from solar and windpower. Economically, you don't magically convert all equipment to run on hydrogen or electricity in a few years. Economically, you don't replace 3.50 cent a gallon gas with solar electricity having the equivalent cost of 68 dollars a gallon, nor with hydrogen from electrolysis that takes that expensive electricity and loses 70% in losses in a process to make hydrogen that would have a gas equivalent cost of 120 bucks a gallon.
**************

Habu and the Israel Won't Stand For It!!, theory.

WE won't again commit lives and treasure because PNAC and the neocons believe it is good for Israel. As a lame duck, there is little prospect that Bush can command the authority to do a massive attack on Iran and "bomb" them out of nuclear power..The military he has abused will not follow him without doing everything in their power to sabotage a war with Iran. Nor will Congress give him an AUMF.
Nor will his successor believe "Israel Demands It!!" is a good enough reason.

As for the threat that unless America act as Israel's stooges then Israel itself will have to "take out the threat"....be my guest.

4/09/2008 07:09:00 AM  
Blogger Habu said...

Whiskey,

"McCain should he win, would likely use the indirect, proxy approach to deter Iran from nukes or overthrow the regime"

My brother in law went through flight training with McCain. I know one person who was in the Hanoi Hilton with John. They all say the same thing..he's as tough as they come. Right now he's fighting his notorious temper because he needs to for his presidential run. But I would never , ever bet that he will us indirect proxies(which have so far failed totally)or wait for the overthrow of a police state. He won't go for the capillaries, he'll go for the jugular and use our recently underused air power, sub power, and surface power to attack..
remember....l'audace, l'audace, toujours l'audace..

4/09/2008 07:11:00 AM  
Blogger Habu said...

cedarford,

So you think Israel will just sit back and take it huh ... interesting conjecture but totally incoherent. Hell, they've already done it once to Iran and recently proved over Syria that the newest Russian air defense systems are useless, which happen to be the exact ones Iran purchased. But this is American and you're entitled to be as ignorant as a you can be, which is executive level.

Also your statement:

As a lame duck, there is little prospect that Bush can command the authority to do a massive attack on Iran and "bomb" them out of nuclear power..The military he has abused will not follow him without doing everything in their power to sabotage a war with Iran. Nor will Congress give him an AUMF.

Sorry but lame duck doesn't have a thing to do with being commander in chief and not having the power to commit to a military action, none whatsoever. ..that ends with the inauguration of a new President....military abuse? It's all volunteer and so far the ranks enjoy kicking ass, so it's hardly abuse. Congress can not stop him in the intervening months of a bombing campaign and you can drop a good deal of directed HE and other items in between the election and inauguration...have a nice day.

4/09/2008 07:42:00 AM  
Blogger Habu said...

P.S. Cedar,


""Israel Demands It!!"

Israel won't demand it, they'll just do it, if we don't.

4/09/2008 07:45:00 AM  
Blogger slimslowslider said...

no doubt, the boiling point has been significantly raised which means the surrounding environmental pressure has to now raise significantly for anything to happen. why does c4 want the temperature to be raised so high? I guess were going to find out.

4/09/2008 07:51:00 AM  
Blogger mark said...

Wretchard wrote: "The Chinese and the Russians are going to turn Central Asia to their purposes, driven by their need to buy, sell and control the flow of oil. For them it is unabashedly about oil."

Indeed. As readers of "Dune" might note, "The spice must flow!" The galactic empire depends on it. Yet the Jihad is subtle and powerful.

Regarding the success or non-success of George Bush. What could be done in this phase of action of the "war on terror" than to probe and expose the Jihad? Mythology is powerful. But the heroes of the Jihad are just vicious human being, prone to the usual sins of violence, oppression, greed, lust, etc. The "war on terror" has exposed the Jihadis, at least to the satisfaction of folks in Anbar, so that the trend is with the American jihad, so to speak, which preaches freedom and reason. Benedict will further this jihad during his upcoming visit.

Many thanks to all posters. Truly remarkable discussion.

4/09/2008 07:55:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

"Sorry, that is pie in the sky stupidity.. You don't replace oil with erratic, mostly unstorable electricity generation from solar and windpower. Economically, you don't magically convert all equipment to run on hydrogen or electricity in a few years."


Why would you want to convert that energy to hydrogen? Why not just use electric vehicles in the first place? And why would you want to store that electric energy centrally when decentralizing storage of that solar and wind energy to millions of vehicles homes and business buildings lends itself as a much more natural solution?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hsrmsg0FwVc


From the link above, you can see that the Germans are about to convert 30% of their total energy consumption to solar and wind. They are already ahead of their scheduled target of 20 years to do so. If the germans can do this in 20 years, the US can certainly free itself from oil imports, and do it in less than 10 years.

4/09/2008 08:11:00 AM  
Blogger Soldier's Dad said...

Wretchard,

I'll happily concede the strategic objectives of the Jihadi's is control of oil flows. The primary threat to oil flows is "The Failed State". Hence the war in Iraq...we could either allow Saddam to turn on his oil spigots and rearm himself to the teeth..or continue with oil for food...which would eventually result in a failed state.

Neither choice was palatable...hence the Iraqi Liberation Act of 1998...which Bill Clinton...worlds greatest used car salesman that he was...couldn't sell.

After 9/11...the strategy of pushing Iraq into failed state status became even less palatable, so the choice became allow Saddam to rearm, build nukes or whatever else he wanted...or invade.

The choice of democratization as a vehicle is based on the fact that in the long run..democracies are driven by greed more than power. The average Joe/Omar/Mohammed doesn't really care all that much whether his glorious leader is a Communist or a Republican...he cares about how personally prosperous he is.

4/09/2008 10:05:00 AM  
Blogger RattlerGator said...

Well put, habu, very well put.

I suspect Wretchard knows there is an Israeli component -- why enter that briar patch and detour this particular discussion?

For all the doom and gloom espoused by the punk ass surrender monkeys, things are progressing quite nicely and being managed rather well. A slow and steady squeeze is being employed.

Mark, said another way: What could be done in this phase of action of the "war on terror" other than probe and expose the capabilities and tendencies of the Jihad?

Exactly. Now that both Sunni and Shia jihadi capabilities have been somewhat forced into the sunshine, and a somewhat federated Iraq is up and running, time for that eternally misunderestimated George W. Bush to deliver another decisive blow.

4/09/2008 10:16:00 AM  
Blogger Insufficiently Sensitive said...

we should be redirecting that flow of money towards our own renewable energy industries and our own economy.

O wise 'Methuselah', if you're so smart, please show us:

1. What's the quantity of petroleum consumption in this country;

2. What 'renewable' resources could replace it in anyone's current lifetime;

3. What are the cost and resources required to enable this glorious CHANGE of energy sources?

If you can't answer these questions clearly, you're no more than a kid in a candy store demanding the parents furnish one each of all the goodies.

4/09/2008 11:53:00 AM  
Blogger Habu said...

cedarford,
Of the many sentences you generate one has just caught my eye.

"There is no reason why Obama will be forced to obsess over the WOT to the detriment of all other problem solving, as Bush became."

Wanna bet?

Islam and the ME have been and will for some time remain the epicenter for major world conflict. A nuclear armed ME is in no ones interest. Why? The North Koreans have every intent on selling ICBMs capable of reaching NYC to the Iranians. That ONE item tends to focus the mind and make a player out of a barbarous country. Ain't gonna happen.
There's one reason he'll stay focused on the ME.Another is that he will begin to receive all of the intel he is now not privy to. Intel that will keep him up at night wondering if we can interdict the challenge before the event. That will focus him on the ME and Iran.

It's all very simple when simple is all you know and right now simple is what Obama knows. However the President and a few in the intelligence community are witting of the threats. A dirty bomb on WS perhaps, a blown Hoover dam? You think just because it's been years since the WTC came crashing down that AQ isn't still committed?

I've cited this stat before but it's worth revisiting. The Gallop Polling people recently concluded the largest polling they've ever done. It was all about Islamic attitudes. A full 7% felt attacking the USA and taking down the WTC was a great thing to do. Do the math, 6 billion Islams, 7%. That's 420 million Islams laying in the tall grass to get us. They only have to be right once with an atomic weapon to really get things cooking.

Thats why Obama will focus on the ME.
Plus he'll be trying to dampen the recent effects of how to remove the piles of rubble that was once Iranian facilities and cities.

Your statement was so simple when you wrote it, wasn't it?

4/09/2008 12:21:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

A 1.5 hour video panelist lecture on the world view of Ayatollah Khamenei. No comments. I haven't watched it yet.

4/09/2008 12:56:00 PM  
Blogger buck smith said...

One great thing about Wretchard is he knows Aermican cutlure better than most Americans. Can someone explain to me why this post is titled "Snakes on a plane?" I know it refers to s Samual Jackson movie but what is the connections?

4/09/2008 01:13:00 PM  
Blogger LarryD said...

The military aspect of taking down the mullahs is the Herman Option. I believe that the forces are already in place, and have been for some months. Spenglar has been expecting Bush to pull the trigger for months now, of course we don't know what it is that Bush knows that we don't.

The Iranian regime has been neglecting their oil industry since the beginning, as a result their productive capacity has been declining for years, and the rate of that decline has gotten into the double-digit levels. Restoring that capacity will be very expensive, and take a decade or more.

If the Iranian nuke program isn't dealt with, the Saudis will buy their own nukes, and probably use them. We aren't the only ones who view a nuclear armed Iran as intolerable.

And matesula, Even if the US somehow became energy independent, the thug states would still be able to sell their oil and fund terror. The ME problems would still have to be dealt with.

4/09/2008 01:35:00 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

Habu, the Bush admin is not harboring some secret plan to attack Iran after the election. If we were going to attack it would have been years ago after a steady drumbeat of public announcements about Iran aiding in the killing of our troops in Iraq.

Instead, what we have now is an administration ignoring the statements of its military about murderous Iranian activities while issuing an NIE that makes it all but impossible to swing the public behind an attack (at least on nuke development grounds). Not to be too conspiracy-minded, but the release of the NIE and the very deliberate and obvious downplaying by the administration of Iran's involvement of the killing of our soldiers, looks to me like evidence of our end of some sort of accommodation with Iran. I don't know what we got in return. Probably not much given the utter weakness and disarray of the administration. But, one thing is clear - war with Iran is irrevocably off the table for this admin, absent an "unmistakable, apocalyptic provocation by the mullahs".

Israel also will not attack Iran because (absent a nuclear strike) it cannot possibly succeed. The distances are far too great for their short range (only) bombing capability, the targets are too hardened and dispersed, and the campaign would have to be too long for Israel to sustain. If someone can prove otherwise, I would love to see it.

On the other hand, I also strongly disagree with Wretchard's 4/09/2008 02:55:00 AM post. This is all about the nukes and the long range missile capability. Wretchard's hope for non-violently turning Iran into our asset is attractive, except that it will not have the time to unfold. Iran will have nuke tipped missiles before it can be turned (if it ever can). Phenomenal oil revenues (coupled with liberally applied ruthlessness) will easily enable the mullahs to hold on to power long enough to achieve their goals. Then they will be essentially unassailable.

I expect no attack on Iran by this admin. or the next admin. I expect Iran to obtain its nukes and delivery system because the political leadership here and in the rest of the world do not have the courage to do what it will take to stop it.

Believe it or not - when this administration appears to be floundering - past performance shows that it is simply floundering, rather than some intricate disinformation scheme designed to mask a brilliant master stroke.

4/09/2008 01:40:00 PM  
Blogger hdgreene said...

Methuselah's prescription would burden the US economy with ultra high cost energy, high capital costs, and high capital replacement costs. The rigid regulatory regime required to adapt the "alternatives" would tank the economy all by itself. And these are the intended consequences.

The German plan is massively subsidized. Their economy is anemic in boom times, downright comatose the rest of the time.

However, his plan may well succeed in lowering energy cost for every other country in the world. As the US economy imploded -- and we used less oil as a result -- the price would fall to $25 a barrel. Good thing we won't be tempted to use the awful stuff at bargain prices.

We've go plenty of oil in the USA. Let's go get it and refine it. The added supply will bring the world price down. That will help everyone. Even German socialists.

4/09/2008 01:46:00 PM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

I have no doubt there'll be a military component to confronting Iran but I think its shape will be far more directed towards political ends than a classic seizure and occupation of territory.

One of the key things to remember is that there is a large reservoir of resentment against the Ayatollahs. They are also hemmed in with enemies, many of them Sunni, many of them powerful. Plus they have had a long history of suspicion towards Russia.

This a powerful source of energy that can be tapped by a skillful strategist. Right now the places to strike Iran are in Lebanon and Southern Iraq.

Afghanistan, would you believe it, is the more problematic part of the equation. This is because Afghanistan's commercial access to the sea is over the Iranian land border. That plus, Afghanistan's suspicions of Pakistan mean that we actually need Iran to let Afghanistan's economy grow. If the Iranians close the border things will go hard on Kabul. Which is why Obama's idea to build up Afghanistan carries some unexamined dangers, especially with regards supply.

Iran is like one of those pieces of furniture you have lift from all four corners at once. Right now the game is to shape the battlefield. Politically, militarily and intelligence-wise.

4/09/2008 01:59:00 PM  
Blogger Tarnsman said...

Consider this from the Next Energy News

"America is sitting on top of a super massive 200 billion barrel Oil Field that could potentially make America Energy Independent and until now has largely gone unnoticed. Thanks to new technology the Bakken Formation in North Dakota could boost America’s Oil reserves by an incredible 10 times, giving western economies the trump card against OPEC’s short squeeze on oil supply and making Iranian and Venezuelan threats of disrupted supply irrelevant.

In the next 30 days the USGS (U.S. Geological Survey) will release a new report giving an accurate resource assessment of the Bakken Oil Formation that covers North Dakota and portions of South Dakota and Montana. With new horizontal drilling technology it is believed that from 175 to 500 billion barrels of recoverable oil are held in this 200,000 square mile reserve that was initially discovered in 1951. The USGS did an initial study back in 1999 that estimated 400 billion recoverable barrels were present but with prices bottoming out at $10 a barrel back then the report was dismissed because of the higher cost of horizontal drilling techniques that would be needed, estimated at $20-$40 a barrel."

Then there is the oil shale deposits buried under Colorado and Wyoming. America's oil shale reserves are enormous, totaling at least 1.5 trillion barrels of oil. That's five times the reserves of Saudi Arabia! And yet, no one is producing commercial quantities of oil from these vast deposits. Obviously, there are some very real obstacles to oil production from shale. But with the price of oil above $100 a barrel many companies are looking into way to extract the oil. Shell Oil is developing a promising technology that eliminates the need to mine the shale and allow the oil to be extracted in the "normal" fashion.

Of course with many in the US drinking the Al Gore kool-aid developement of these resources will be fought tooth and nail.

4/09/2008 02:09:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

The Iran link I referenced earlier is well worth the time. Heard some stuff and insights on Iranian leadership not available elsewhere.

4/09/2008 02:20:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

I see a lot of wishful thinking here.

Habu seems to think that like magic, Bush will throw off the domestic constraints and chains he allowed Democrats and the Media to put on him, and bomb or attack Iran. It will never happen. GWB's bargain with Moveon and Code Pink and ANSWER and Pelosi and the NYT is to serve out his term, meekly and mildly, not answer attacks, and he won't be impeached.

It is the mark of a weak and politically cowardly man. A man too lazy to answer political attacks on him. [Reagan, Ike, Truman, etc. would have answered those attacks in devastating form and made Dems, the Media and liberals pay a heavy political price for them -- Bush is too removed and lazy like his father.]

[McCain desires the approval of the Press like a puppy, so picks fights with his base. The NYT holds a veto power over McCain because McCain above all else CRAVES their approval. His weakness is the desire to appear "Maverick" etc in their eyes. He is unlikely to do much more than the indirect approach.]

Israel will do nothing but Samson retaliation because they are like Americans -- suburban, rich, fat, happy, and unwilling to pay the price for survival. They elected Olmert, a man completely incapable of conducting military operations, and got defeated decisively by Hezbollah. Israel's military is decayed, not very capable, and all they have now is nukes which they dare not use. Israel will bargain until the last possible second because the Israelis are Western and therefore unwilling to fight when it's manageable and disaster preventable.

But here, the biggest wishful thinking goes to Wretchard. Sorry Wretchard. It is true that Iranian students and the middle class are pro-American. But the great mass of Iranian people are not. They are deeply tribal, poor, mostly illiterate, deeply Islamic, and would happily blow us to hell at the cost of their own lives.

Ahmadinejad's power base is entirely resting on this demographic. Rural, poor, Islamic. It and the guns of the Mullahs and their various organizations keep any regime change a mere fantasy. A few students and middle class people will be Tiananmen Martyrs and nothing else.

Carter's bungle has led to Iran being our enemy, along with let's be honest, nearly all of the Iranian people, for generations. They now have 6,000 new centrifuges, and are very close no doubt to nuclear weapons if they don't already have them.

A sensible policy would be a massive, automatic retaliation announced in advance that would be aimed at killing all Iranian and Pakistanis, in the event of a nuclear device exploding in America. Automatic. Devastating. Showing the backside of the two-edged sword. The only way off the list would be to give up nuclear weapons, verifiable upon demand by America.

Politically, this is quite possible. No engagement, no diplomacy that never works in divided tribal societies, no payments, bribes, groveling. Unilateral action, no casualties, and maximum US freedom.

It makes perfect sense, therefore we will never do it.

To sum up: my main disagreement with Wretchard is that he ignores the seismic difference that Carter and Khomeni had on Iran. Iran is and always will be our enemy. The failures of US policy 1979-2008 stem from the fantasy that this hard reality can be reversed if we are "nice" to the Mullahs (Carter, Reagan, Bush 1, Clinton) or somehow "pressure" the regime (Bush 2). They are a (soon to be nuclear enemy) that will have to be lived with. Among that wiping out all Iranians if we are nuked.

4/09/2008 04:19:00 PM  
Blogger slimslowslider said...

I really don't see us being nuked but deterred to a point that we act as cowards. think a nuclear Auschwitz protected by an Iranian Uranium Umbrella. yep, enough nukes to act as a viable deterent to accomplish stated goals.

4/09/2008 05:31:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

I think Habu is right. That is the timing and the scenario I have been predicting for the last year or two also. I don't see Bush as having given up, but do see him as biding his time.

Whiskey frequently makes lucid points, but I've also noticed that he's consistently pessimistic to the point of suicide ... and I just don't believe the situation is *that* bad.

If I was Dubya and I had come this far and accomplished what he has, I would nuke Iran before I left office. After the election sounds like an excellent time to do it. I mean, what are Pelosi, Clinton and Obama gonna do to him if he *does* push the red button? Impeach him?

I also think he'd be a damned fool to put boots on the ground following up, but should just make the initial strike hard and deep enough to cover all bases. There is absolutely no reason for us to go in and rebuild a devastated Iran -- let them stay devastated and think about their sins that got them that way ... going back to a certain embassy take-over some decades ago.

BTW, change of topic -- I thought Russia had its own oil, so why would it be in the government over-throwing business trying to control Middle East oil?

4/09/2008 06:26:00 PM  
Blogger Habu said...

whiskey 199,

Your 4:19 post sealed for me the fact that you're simply a troll. There is no basis in fact for your diatribe and your logic is right out of the Alzheimer's care unit.
I don't have the time to disprove every fantasy you can conjure so I'm simply going to ignore you.
Best of luck talking your smack.

And no one is going to buy your next statement that Habu couldn't answer your blah,blah, yadda,yadda..they know better.

4/09/2008 06:31:00 PM  
Blogger Habu said...

NahnCee,
Great minds thing go'in on here. He is doing exactly what you said, biding his time.
Those acute enough to recognize the slow drip of war on Iran began to see it a bit prior to the NIE that was more a political document than an intelligence estimate. It didn't take too long for it to be refuted either.

Unfortunately the CIA for several reasons (I still have friends inside) has terned sour due to the realignment of the entire intelligence community. They were , when I was in ALWAYS the lead dog. Now they're just part of the pack and there's a good deal of animosity displaying itself in anti Bush ways.

But we're right, he bombs after the election there isn't anything anyone can do..they can't impeach him, they can't stop him, and he's been very calm about things, knowing whats coming ..he will be Iran's rider on the pale horse ...death

4/09/2008 06:45:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Right Habu. GWB will suddenly act decisively after 8 years of acting passively. Like the Iranian people will rise up get rid of the mullahs. That's been predicted every year since 1979. Nearly thirty years of failure.

Unlike you Habu I judge people by their actions. GWB has shown political cowardice at every turn in confronting his domestic enemies and so has become President Buchanon. The record is not encouraging.

Nanhcee -- I would view myself as optimistic. The record of suburban nations (this includes Israel) is that they are profoundly pacifistic and foolish. Prone to emotionalism (look at the fuss over China in Tibet, ignoring Darfur and Burma). And short-sighted.

The political leadership is disastrous. It is focused on ignoring the obvious.

Let's review: Iran has more than 6,000 new centrifuges online and neither Obama nor Hillary nor McCain will dare speak of it. McCain at least ought to be offering a "bomb Iran" policy to deal with the centrifuges. It's his natural strength. That he does not suggests that Suburban America is profoundly pacifistic and he fears the media disapproval. Which is McCain's big weakness -- he'd rather die than have the NYT think bad of him.

I will make a prediction: Habu will be shown to be the master of wishful thinking when GWB leaves office and nothing happens to Iran. I predict nothing will. No bombing. Nothing.

Because fundamentally no one has the political will to stop them.

[By historical standards, the casualties in Iraq are "light." While 4,000+ is regrettable and terrible, we had 12,000 dead in Okinawa. During D-Day we had that many dead in the first few hours. What changed? What is politically acceptable (around 200-400 casualties, that's it).]

This is reality folks. Accept it or not.

4/09/2008 06:57:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Insufficiently Sensitive,

I've already answered your questions on a previous thread, so let me refer you to that thread.

http://fallbackbelmont.blogspot.com/2008/03/mccain-speech.html
@ 3/27/2008 06:42:00 AM

It's a very rough calculation I made, but I think the premise and conclusion are both correct.


hdgreene,

"Methuselah's prescription would burden the US economy with ultra high cost energy, high capital costs, and high capital replacement costs."

Nonsense. In fact, the very opposite is true. Once capital costs are recouped, solar and wind energy are essentially free. Not only have you invested 1.5 trillion dollars in the local economy, but after 3 years of being free of oil imports, you will incur a savings of 0.5 trillion dollars every year. Think about that, 0.5 trillion dollars per year, that the US economy is not hemorrhaging out in the form of negative balance of trade. Can you even image the economic consequences of that? To say that this will put the US at a competitive advantage will be the understatement of the year.

4/09/2008 07:03:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Let me add, WHY has the political acceptance of casualties among ALL Westernized nations (I would include China, Israel, etc. in this group) changed so much?

Because of wealth and suburbanization. People are isolated from realities of life. Death, violence, threats. Lives so sheltered that their existence seems immutable and immortal. No real threat can engage them. Events like 9/11 explained away by nutty conspiracy theories or the memory hole. The enemy is held in contempt, disparaged as primitive (true) and unimaginative and therefore dangerous (false).

Steyn is right, much/most of the West consists of old men who are risk averse. Or the society acts like that. Perhaps middle aged women. Feminists have been active in their opposition to the war, explicitly stating it sidelines the role of women in society.

I take the Tragic (rather than pessimistic) view of what is happening: deeply aggressive, tribal, fractured societies inevitably finding unity and prestige for would-be chiefs in attacking the West. Which is deluded in thinking itself super-powerful and secure. Constantly temporizing because War costs so much (total mobilization, crushing of the enemy, unleashing of dangerous tendencies we fear in ourselves). The unleashing of course marginalizes so many they'd rather the West suffer grievous wounds than see power slip from their grasp.

China and Russia have less division in their elites, and so act more aggressively. It is not Democracy/Tyranny but rather these deep divisions in the West since 1968. Principally responsible for our paralysis.

4/09/2008 07:07:00 PM  
Blogger Habu said...

Brian,

I'll skip your opening paragraph and go to the joke, OK?

"Instead, what we have now is an administration ignoring the statements of its military about murderous Iranian activities while issuing an NIE that makes it all but impossible to swing the public behind an attack (at least on nuke development grounds).

Now Brian, what's wrong with that statement?
•Why would Bush spend a minute attempting to swing public opinion?
•W’s not running again
•W’s popularity is in the 20% range
•W doesn’t care where his popularity or the public is on this issue
•W knows Iran is buying ICBM’s and working on a warhead.
•W knows Iran is THE major funder of worldwide terrorism.

Those are just a few of the many..
Now this one:
“Israel also will not attack Iran because (absent a nuclear strike) it cannot possibly succeed.” Well Brian there’s an old saying that thecant’s never could. But throughout its history Israel has proved it can…and furthermore it does the deeds. Let me tell you two ways, both tested and proven. The Israelis have already practiced going the long route and while it is dangerous it is doable and preferable to allowing a nation sworn to your destruction from acquiring the means to do so. I fail to understand why so many of you refuse to believe that the Islamic nations want Israel and all Jews dead. They only say it daily and teach it to their children from birth.
The second and preferred method is straight across Iraq. Yes, Iraq is now a sovereign nation and permission should be sought but it won’t be. Why? The US controls the Iraqi airspace and can mask any over flight and deny all later. Regardless of the apology certain to come from any Democrat that might make it to the WH the deed will have been done. The Israelis simply need the IFF code and bingo, it’s a done deal. It will get done but as I’ve said we don’t want the Israeli’s to be forced to do it and Bush, contrary to your prediction is aching to take out Iran, the nexus of current world terrorism.

Finally, don’t you want Iran taken out of the nuclear game? Since they aren’t going to do it voluntarily they’ll need some help. That’s all we’re going to provide, in massive retrograde fashion.

4/09/2008 07:32:00 PM  
Blogger Habu said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4/09/2008 07:54:00 PM  
Blogger Habu said...

Since Belmont people deserve accurate numbers here's a correction from a previous post by an incorrect poster.
D-Day
The breakdown of US casualties was 1465 dead, 3184 wounded, 1928 missing and 26 captured. Of the total US figure, 2499 casualties were from the US airborne troops (238 of them being deaths). The casualties at Utah Beach were relatively light: 197, including 60 missing. However, the US 1st and 29th Divisions together suffered around 2000 casualties at Omaha Beach.

The incorrect poster made this statement:

[By historical standards, the casualties in Iraq are "light." While 4,000+ is regrettable and terrible, we had 12,000 dead in Okinawa. During D-Day we had that many dead in the first few hours. What changed? What is politically acceptable (around 200-400 casualties, that's it).]

The D Day figures appear to totally contradict the grossly incorrect statements or propaganda served up by the poster. They do not seem to add up to greater casualties or deaths than on Okinawa unless he's using some algorithm or simply can't add.

http://www.ddaymuseum.co.uk/faq.htm

4/09/2008 08:00:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

New York Times Trashes Chertoff, Sheriff Joe

4/09/2008 08:29:00 PM  
Blogger hdgreene said...

Mətušélaḥ,

I'm not saying don't invest in alternative energy, I'm saying don't subsidize it. If it is as good as you say, it won't need subsidies or government favoritism. If there is money to be made, make it and with my blessing.

We've got the oil. Let's go get it. I have no objection to doing the other stuff too. I object to those who want to do the other stuff stopping oil development and gas development. Most of these environmentalist huckster would make a con artist blush from the overblown claims they make. "Give me 1.5 trillion today and live free tomorrow. Oh, might need another three trillion the day after that. It's a government program, ya'know."

When the "alternatives" have to hobble the competition, I have no faith in their ability to compete. When they call on the heavy hand of government to "help" figure on getting ripped off continuously.

4/09/2008 08:54:00 PM  
Blogger eggplant said...

Hdgreene said:

"We've got plenty of oil in the USA. Let's go get it and refine it. The added supply will bring the world price down."

It's important to understand the main concept behind "Peak Oil". It costs energy to pump petroleum out of the ground and refine it. If the intrinsic energy content of the refined gasoline, kerosene or heating oil is less than the energy required to pump it out of the ground and refine it then the petroleum will stay in the ground. I have been told that there is more petroleum in ground of the continential United States than the total amount extracted. However almost all of that oil is worthless because the energy cost of extraction and refinement is too high.

4/09/2008 09:00:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Alleged Al Qaeda chief dead

4/09/2008 09:21:00 PM  
Blogger Tarnsman said...

Since we’ve gone off on this tangent about energy….. This is one of Steven den Beste’s rants back in 2002 about the subject:

“There isn't any good answer.
But here's my best shot at one. Individual vehicles use hydrogen in fuel cells to create electricity which powers motors on the wheels. The hydrogen is shipped around in bulk, and you refuel your car with hydrogen at service stations, just as you buy gasoline now. The hydrogen is produced by large solar plants built in the desert, which use mirrors to focus the sun's rays on a central generation plant which disassociates water into hydrogen and oxygen. The oxygen is captured and sold (it's commercially valuable) and the hydrogen becomes the basis for the new fuel industry.
So what's wrong with all that? A lot of things. There are a lot of unsolved problems involved in it. One of the biggest seems prosaic: storing hydrogen in the car itself. It's difficult to get enough hydrogen into a plausible tank to operate the car for long periods; no-one is going to accept a vehicle which has to be refueled once per hour. (A discussion of why would be lengthy, but it's a real issue.)
Instead, let's focus on the process of creating and operating these solar plants. If all that was required was moderately-efficient fixed mirrors, creating a big Fresnel lens focusing on a central point, it wouldn't be too bad. Aluminum sheets would work fine. But it's not that simple, because the sun moves in the sky.
The mirrors have to move constantly. They all have to be mounted on swivels and moved by motors. And they not only have to swivel East-West but also North-South, because the sun follows a different track through the sky in summer than it does in winter. That means that you'll have to purchase thousands of mirrors controlled by motors, which can track the sun no matter where it is in the sky and focus its light on a central point to achieve a sufficient concentration of power to actually do something useful. (Other approaches might also be possible but they all share the same flaws.)
We just shifted the problem again. All those things have to be manufactured somewhere, and it's going to consume a lot of fuel to mine the ore, transport it, refine it, and manufacture the finished mirrors. Guess how all that energy will be created? (Note: most of it by burning coal and oil.)
Did I say "thousands"? How about millions? Because that's the final problem here: the quantities involved. Those advocating this kind of thing don't realize the size of the problem.
In 1998, the State of California consumed 13.496 billion gallons of gasoline. A gallon of gasoline yields about 130 million joules. So when you do all the math, you end up with about 1.755 * 10 to the 18th power joules, which is an impressively large number.
One anti-solar-power advocacy site gives the "yearly average" solar power density in Albuquerque as 240 watts per m2. (That appears to be a 24-hour average; another site says that it's 700 watts in daylight.) Then presuming that southern California is similar, each square meter of mirrors would be struck by 7.573 billion joules per year.
So if you assume 100% conversion, you'd need 231.7 million square meters of collection mirrors to make this work. 231 square kilometers.
But it isn't going to be 100% efficient. That's impossible, and it isn't going to be remotely close to that. The mirrors won't reflect perfectly and some of the sunlight will heat the metal instead of reflecting. The conversion process into hydrogen will be extremely inefficient. If you get 10%, you'll be doing really well.
So we're talking about paving 2300 square kilometers of California desert with mirrors. That's a strip 13 kilometers wide stretching from San Diego to Los Angeles. It's an area twice the size of San Francisco.
That's a hell of a lot of metal! It ain't gonna be cheap. The capital expense involved would be mammoth. Just clearing an area that large would cost a fortune; paving it with manufactured goods will cost a fortune. And something that big would take decades to build.
Figure each mirror at 10 square meters, and you're talking about 23 million motor mounts. If you figure an average 5 year lifespan, then you're going to replace more than 4 million of them per year.
That assumes conversion of the entire fleet. What about running it in parallel, to offset gasoline usage? There you run into other kinds of economic issues having to do with distribution. There needs to be a substantial level of usage of this in order for it to be commercially viable to create the distribution infrastructure. You've got tens of thousands of service stations which would have to install new facilities to refuel hydrogen cars in addition to gasoline and diesel. They won't make that investment unless there are a lot of cars out there.
Conservatively, you have to assume at least 10% of the fleet converting over to make this work at all and be anything other than a really expensive toy for environmentalists. 230 square kilometers.
There are a lot of reasons to object to this, but the easiest is this: there's no way this is going to happen by 2009. You're talking about an engineering effort which might well take 30 years to even get going.
By the way, forget about photo-voltaics. They are also about 10% efficient, and they're made of silicon. The idea of paving 2300 square kilometers of desert with solar cells is even more ludicrous; there isn't any way that industry could approach that kind of volumes anytime soon. (If they're producing a million square meters, one square kilometer, per year now I'd be very surprised. I bet they aren't even producing ten thousand square meters.)
And what of the tortoises? Just wait for the lawsuits to start.
The idea of writing an environmental impact statement for this boggles the mind. Making what amounts to a substantial lowering of the albedo of an area that large would have weather effects. It would change wind and rainfall patterns for the entire south-west US and large parts of Mexico. Remember, the whole point of this is to capture and move a substantial amount of the sun's heat which now strikes those areas is released there. They'll get colder as a result. How much? What other effects would it have? We can't possibly know; we don't have the ability to analyze it.
The real problem here is that the numbers are just too big. The people who suggest these kinds of alternatives don't realize just how much energy we consume, and don't have any idea about the problems of scaling in engineering.”

4/09/2008 09:27:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Yes you are quite right Habu. We had about 3,000 casualties on D-Day. Not 4,000. Victor Davis Hanson in Carnage and Culture estimates the total death toll from the Okinawan campaign at 22,000, and for the Normandy campaign as a whole, including Operation Cobra (allied forces) at around 50,000 (covering June-July through the Hedgerows). Stephen Ambrose in his various books makes that estimate as well. It was brutal, ugly fighting in both cases, against a dug in enemy.

Nevertheless, my point still stands (I was off by 1,000 on D-Day). America politically has a much lower tolerance for casualties. Israel also. Even on Okinawa, the fallout (as described by both Ambrose in his UNO lectures and Hanson) was for Truman to use the bomb rather than the Army's preferred course, invasion. Political pressures were too intense.

And here is my point. Any reasonable, measured, thoughtful, and useful means to dissuade deeply tribal peoples and fractured, faction ridden regimes not to stage attacks on America is doomed to Clintonian impotence. We will end up doing nothing until we nuke whole peoples out of existence in desperation for survival.

It's easy to blame Clinton. God knows I've done it. Enough. But looking back, John McCain was threatening to ... cut off funds unless Clinton withdrew forces in Somalia. Whenever he threw a few useless missile strikes around it was "Wag the Dog" accusation time, usually from Republicans (but not always, the Press also joined in).

I think Osama was at least partly right in assessing the great weakness of Western societies -- they dislike violence, dislike killing people, and dislike their own killed even more. There's little tolerance for it and a totally irrational, fantasy-based idea of how the world works.

Revulsion at killing and being killed is so large that the butcher's bill just mounts and mounts and mounts. Osama got that right if he missed everything else.

Built into the US and other Western Nations is the idea that walking around and talking very fast and "smart" will get us out of trouble with people like Osama or Ahmadinejad (who made his bones shooting people for Khomeni). Olmert likely believes it. He's a labor lawyer. Bush understood at Ground Zero this was false but lacked the ability or will to fight battles internally to make this argument.

Western society has two modes: Total War, and Clintonian missile strikes. This has been the dominant feature of Western society since 1918. The Cold War may have made this cultural feature worse. Along with suburban conflict sublimation, narcissism and so on. But there it is.

There is zilch political will at this point for even Clintonian missile strikes. Otherwise McCain would be highlighting not hiding that substantial difference with himself and the two Democratic Candidates.

4/09/2008 09:43:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Habu, the only thing I can see that would keep Dubya from pulling the plug on Iran is if Pentagon staff did the same thing to him as Haig did to Nixon when he was walking around drunk at 3:00 in the morning talking to portraits of dead Presidents. Chaney would not tell the Pentagon to ignore such an order, but what if some peacenik general like Colin Powell took it upon himself to either countermand or ignore a direct order from the Commander in Chief ... ? Doesn't it require two or three people in sequence turning the right keys or something to get it done?

4/09/2008 09:54:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

habu:

There is one problem with your analysis. If George W. Bush plans to do what you think he plans to do, one can predict the timing of his counterattack against Iran with a reasonable level of accuracy. If your analysis is true, it may be wiser to let the Iranian ayatollahs think the Democrats have emasculated President Bush’s ability to act.

4/09/2008 10:06:00 PM  
Blogger eggplant said...

Whiskey_199 said:

"Quick, how quickly did Bush roll over and play dead for the State Dept. and CIA on the NIE about Iran's nukes?"

Whiskey_199 is right about the NIE. After that thing came out, President Bush knew the CIA and the State Department would no longer back him. The NIE was political checkmate. From that point on, the President was a true lame duck.

4/09/2008 11:04:00 PM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

The only useful descriptor I can shovel up lately for Democrats and Leftists is "Contrary."

Look at Jay Rockefeller spitting and snarling about McCain's war service. He throws together a couple of accusations so conspicuously wrong that even the Liberal Press were correcting him.

But wait! What he accused McCain of doing --- and the things he meant as damning evidence of McCain's fundamental brutality --- were PRECISELY the air war tactics that William Jefferson Clinton DEMANDED U.S. and Nato forces employ against Serb targets in the U.S.-lead expedition into Yugoslavia in the 1990's.

That is, laser-guided bombs dropped from 35,000 feet.

Of course, this has never been a decision left to the individual pilot, but one which comes down the chain of command from the Political Leaders back home.

The result of that policy in Bosnia-Herzegovinia and other parts of the disintegrating Yugoslavia was a number of well-documented instances of U.S. and Nato air attacks inadvertantly killing "friendly" civilians and troops whom we were supposed to be helping.

Remember the accidental bombing of the Chinese Embassy?

These things resulted DIRECTLY from Clinton's insistence that our planes fly high enough to be above the reach of ground-based anti-aircraft fire, because he knew the U.S. Public would not tolerate substantial U.S. casualties, especially in an adventure in which Clinton had decided to align the U.S. with the Islamic populations, who seemed to have plenty of terrorists roaming around killing Christians at the same time the Serbs were murdering Muslims.

In other words, not only was Jay Rockefeller wrong. He was wrongly condemning McCain for the policies that HIS OWN precious leader had used.

The irony is acute.

If those policies were so brutal, how's cum we never heard a PEEP out of Brave Mr. Rockefeller when President I-Can't-Control-My-Own-Willie ordered them?

4/09/2008 11:31:00 PM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

Incidentally, the issue there is NOT simply that bombs were released from so high... Because Clinton was so reluctant to put troops on the ground (preferring to conduct combat mostly from the air) we weren't able to get highly detailed intelligence about enemy positions versus friendly ones.

It is doubly vicious of Rockefeller to accuse the soldier (or pilot) at the front lines of making policy decisions that are actually way above that paygrade. The pilots and grunts have historically been far more concerned about causing collateral casualties than have any of the Politicians been.

4/09/2008 11:39:00 PM  
Blogger Habu said...

Charity begins at Home


(I was off by 1,000 on D-Day

You're being charitable to yourself beyond belief. Go back and re read your statement, no here:

we had 12,000 dead in Okinawa. During D-Day we had that many dead in the first few hours

More than 12,000 on D -Day in the first few hours ..stated as fact, totally incorrect, which you are now compounding with a puling defense. Do the math again.

No excuses.

4/10/2008 12:03:00 AM  
Blogger Habu said...

Eggplant.

You swerved into the unalloyed truth on the infamous NIE and had you read my previous post wouldn't have had to restate the obvious.
You said: The NIE was political checkmate.
This is their charge:

"The Office of the Director of National Intelligence is charged with:
• Integrating the domestic and foreign dimensions of US intelligence so that there are
no gaps in our understanding of threats to our national security;
• Bringing more depth and accuracy to intelligence analysis; and
• Ensuring that US intelligence resources generate future capabilities as well as present
results.


Bush immediately recognized that the NIE entitled "Iran: Nuclear Intentions and Capabilities" was a (attempted checkmate) totally political piece written precisely to put him in a box. He ignored it, as he should have because of it's obvious agenda.
The President is also not bound to follow any of the advice in the NIE, particularly when it is contra to other sources which he has.It is simply one of many sources.

4/10/2008 12:21:00 AM  
Blogger Habu said...

Mad fiddler,

Yes it was both surreal and Kafkaesque for Rockefeller to lecture John McCain on air battle. Since he is an Obama acolyte he simple used free airtime to score political points and apologize later...a well known and cheap political trick.

No doubt in the future Senator J Rock will instruct us all in which is the clean end of the turd to pick up.

4/10/2008 12:29:00 AM  
Blogger probus said...

great stuff habu-- GW is biding his time and i like the scenario of Israel hitting Syria at the same time-- i've been wondering why the Izzies are doing all the Nat'l defense drills lately-- they've got Syria so nervous that they are now doing population defense drills too-- what i don't get is why guys like whiskey and cedar think GW has been neutered-- i mean, he's afraid of being impeached!?-- WTF!?-- the Dems had landslide victories when they took the Senate and House and they still couldn't get anything passed and lie down meekly for anything that GW says he'll veto-- they have completely caved in to anything the President asks for, but now, all of a sudden because he's told that the Iranians are not as close to having nukes as we thought George just says: 'ok, let's call the whole thing off'?-- sounds like someone's on Oliver Stone's writing staff-- heh,heh-- remember, this stuff is coming from a guy who a few posts back doesn't "get" the allure of a woman like Carla Bruni-- anyone that clueless in affairs of the heart has no street cred when it comes to knowing what makes the world go 'round and what men will do to make sure it keeps spinning the right way-- Regards, probus

4/10/2008 02:14:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

hdgreene,

"I'm not saying don't invest in alternative energy, I'm saying don't subsidize it."


Right.

What do you call the Iraq wars? What do you call the massive military bases and US military presence in the ME to secure that oil? That's not a subsidy? What do call the billions that are given to oil companies so that they go out and drill for new oil, that's not a subsidy?

4/10/2008 02:22:00 AM  
Blogger Aenea said...

Habu: The President is also not bound to follow any of the advice in the NIE, particularly when it is contra to other sources which he has.It is simply one of many sources.

The NIE is the distillation of many sources. If you say the President can cherry-pick the intel to get us into another war, I say you're right, that's what he did in 2002-2003. He might be able to order air strikes on Iran, but the follow-through isn't going to get a dime from Congress.

4/10/2008 06:18:00 AM  
Blogger Insufficiently Sensitive said...

O wise Methuselah,

What do you call the Iraq wars?

Those wars are a subsidy for civilization. Even the posturing Willie Clinton understood that Saddam Hussein was a threat to it and needed to go. If we buy at US expense a decade or so of arrested development of the next Hitler, we've done the world a favor and saved far more lives than Iraq has taken since 2003.

They're certainly not a subsidy for oil - you might notice that Iraq has its own uses for it, and that the evil US still hasn't run a sucker-hose there to loot their resources.

And Steven den Beste's 2002 analysis cited by Tarnsman today is considerably better thought through than the one you cited on 3/27.

'Impracticable' is a good description of massive conversion to solar power. However, the geologically-located carbon energy we do rely on IS solar energy which has just been stored for a few million years already.

4/10/2008 06:51:00 AM  
Blogger hdgreene said...

Mətušélaḥ, the oil I'm talking about is in North Dakota and Alaska. It is the environmentalist that make us (and Europe) dependent on Middle East Oil by preventing us from getting our own oil. If we produce an extra 10 million bl a day that would replace oil we get from Mexico and Canada that will be available for Europe and Asia.

What I love is that the environmentalist then blame everyone else for what naturally follows from making us dependent. They want to drive up the price of Gasoline. They succeed. They then blame the greedy oil companies instead of taking credit -- act like cheap political demagogues.

They want to reward "Big Tyrant Oil" rather than the stockholders of American Oil Companies. They succeed. Why are they not proud of that accomplishment? If they will not be upfront about what they are doing, why shower them with money and power? They cause the problem and then say, hey, for a couple trillion we'll fix it.

When alternatives cost the equivalent of 35 dollars a barrel, then the economy will switch over on its own. When they cost the equivalent of 35 dollars a barrel, I'm all for helping. Meanwhile, remember the Left's guiding philosophy "Promise them paradise and give them purgatory -- call it paradise and have show trials for the wreckers and saboteurs." Don't we want better for our children?

That $500 billion you talk about? If we go for our own oil, within a few years that will be $125 billion (and that will go to Canada and Mexico). The dollar will go up on the exchange markets. Our economy will take off.

I'm not involved in oil in anyway other than having to put it in my tank. I don't even own stock in them. But I do know history: Beware of idealists on a power grab.

4/10/2008 06:56:00 AM  
Blogger Habu said...

Aenea,
Many thanks for identifying for me what an NIE is, especially since I spent over a decade in the CIA and was privy to many WH NSC briefings.

Always good to get the word out. Your choice of "cherry pick" has the aura of the uninformed about it and the odor of someone who believes he manufactured the war single handed. So allow me to help you out with an over view of what you've probably forgotten:

The Left’s Iraq war lie

It is now a given that when one reads an article in the MSM on the Iraq war, even given it's recent success, that the fait accompli is that it was a bogus war from the beginning.

Let’s review the now never argued lie with some observations and quotes.

The main “lie” that George W. Bush is accused of telling us is that Saddam Hussein possessed an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction, or WMDs, followed by the subsidiary “lie” that Iraq under Saddam’s regime posed a two-edged mortal threat. On the one hand, we were informed, there was a distinct or “imminent” possibility that Saddam himself would use these weapons against us and/or our allies. There was the still more dangerous possibility that he would supply them to terrorists.

The "lie" by W, defeated. Re: Iraq possession of WMD’s was the raison d’être of the war.

•George Tenet, his own CIA director, assured him that the case was “a slam dunk.” Tenet had the backing of all fifteen agencies involved in gathering intelligence for the United States. In the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) of 2002, where their collective views were summarized, one of the conclusions offered with “high confidence” was that Iraq “is continuing, and in some areas expanding its chemical, biological, nuclear, and missile programs contrary to UN resolutions.”

•The intelligence agencies of Britain, Germany, Russia, China, Israel, and—yes—France all agreed with this judgment.

•The NIE of 2002 reached with “high confidence” was that Iraq could make a nuclear weapon in months to a year once it acquires sufficient weapons-grade fissile material.

Clinton’s Contributions

•The consensus on which Bush relied was not born in his own administration. In fact, it was first fully formed in the Clinton administration.

• Here is Clinton himself, speaking in 1998: "If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq’s weapons-of-mass-destruction program."

•Secretary of State Madeline Albright, also speaking in 1998: "Iraq is a long way from [the USA], but what happens there matters a great deal here. For the risk that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face."

•Sandy Berger, Clinton’s National Security Adviser, made this flat-out assertion about Saddam: "He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten times since 1983"

•Clinton’s Secretary of Defense, William Cohen, stated he was “absolutely convinced” that WMD’s existed even after our failure to find them in the wake of the invasion in March 2003.

•Nancy Pelosi, then a member of the House Intelligence Committee: "Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons-of-mass-destruction technology, which is a threat to countries in the region, and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process."

•In a letter to the newly elected President, George Bush, a number of Senators led by Bob Graham declared: "There is no doubt that . . . Saddam Hussein has invigorated his weapons programs. Reports indicate that biological, chemical, and nuclear programs continue apace and may be back to pre-Gulf war status. In addition, Saddam continues to redefine delivery systems and is doubtless using the cover of an licit missile program to develop longer-range missiles that will threaten the United States and our allies."

•Senator Carl Levin also reaffirmed for Bush’s benefit what he had told Clinton some years earlier: "Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and a threat to the peace and stability of the region. He has ignored the mandate of the United Nations, and is building weapons of mass destruction and the means of delivering them."

•Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, speaking in October 2002: "In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical- and biological-weapons stock, his missile-delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al-Qaeda members."

•Senator Jay Rockefeller, vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee: "There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years. . . . We also should remember we have always underestimated the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction"

•Al Gore in September 2002: "We know that [Saddam] has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country." "Iraq’s search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter, and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power."

•John Kerry, in 2002: "I will be voting to give the President of the United States the authority to use force—if necessary—to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security."

Most ghastly of all, given the rhetoric that they would later employ against Bush after the invasion of Iraq, are statements made by Senators Ted Kennedy and Robert Byrd, also in 2002:

•Kennedy: "We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction."

•Byrd: "The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October of 1998. We are confident that Saddam Hussein retains some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical- and biological-warfare capabilities. Intelligence reports indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons."


Going forward I have no idea how much the war will be debated, at least it’s genesis. But do not allow yourself to be hoodwinked by the MSM or the Democratic Socialists that President Bush launched a war without cause, cooperation, or permission.

Iran is hopefully next on the menu.

Sourced from NYT, WaPo, Time, Washington Times, National Review, Norman Poderentz, and others.

4/10/2008 07:02:00 AM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

Thank you, all for a bunch of fantastic comments. I got more stretch-marks on my brain from reading 'em.

Thanks for the Reminder, Habu, of the Democrats saying throughout the 90's what they now claim was a lie for Bush to say.

It seems worth reminding folks that Clinton sent U.S. and Coalition forces deep into Iraq for massive raids and attacks against Saddam on at least six distinct occasions.

That's bombing, strafing, etc. --- presumably the full spectrum of weapons available to Coalition air forces --- all without asking the United Nations Security Council for any special permission.

He didn't need to, let's remember, because the military assaults and territorial penetrations he ordered were clearly authorized by the terms of the armistice which Saddam was busy violating on HUNDREDS of occasions.

An armistice --- as opposed to a Peace Treaty --- is merely a halt in hostilities, subject to both parties faithfully abiding by the terms of that agreement. Saddam's Generals met with U.S. (and Coalition) representatives when they were getting their asses kicked, after being emphatically ejected from Kuwait, which they had only months previously invaded.

So Clinton was merely continuing to enforce the terms of the armistice. The invasion Bush ordered can be seen as an attempt to finally force Saddam Hussein and his Ba'athist regime to stop its continuous and conspicuous violations of the terms of the armistice; a continuation to resolution of the original Gulf War of 1991.

Of course, the Left are determined to pretend Bush was the one violating all standards of civilization.

4/10/2008 08:28:00 AM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

Hey, Tarnsman!

Thanks for the detailed examination of the solar power question.

You may have run across Isaac Asimov's ideas on the subject. (I heard him deliver this address on two different occasions.)

Asimov proposed thin-film mirrors in geosynchronous orbit, capturing the sun's light in space, and directing it to ground capture fields. That seems to hold some hope of solving the mirror manufacturing problem. But it still doesn't account for the dramatic increase in the amount of sunlight energy this would add to the Earth's normal budget.

You could probably calculate that figure based on assumptions like yours, but there's no doubt it would be a significant problem that would have to be dealt with.

Fusion.

Is anyone offering stock in a fusion-research group? Or is that sort of research only going forward under Government sponsorship?

I propose taking those glasses of water they were using in the "Cold Fusion" tests, put'em in sunlight with a hood to collect the evaporating water, let it condense into buckets, let the weight of the condensate-filled buckets operate gears to do useful work, then when the buckets reach the bottom of their travel, refill the glasses to evaporate again and keep my limitless energy engine running.

Hey, Presto! I've just transcended the laws of Thermodynamics, and I didn't even have to poison anyone with ionizing radiation.

Well, except for the UV rays from the sun...

What?

The Sun is... ?

Never mind...

4/10/2008 08:39:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Insufficiently Sensitive,

"Those wars are a subsidy for civilization. Even the posturing Willie Clinton understood that Saddam Hussein was a threat to it and needed to go."

We made the Islamers the global threat that they are with the billions and trillions we give them in petro dollars. We provide them with free security and allow them the use of their oil weapon as a political and economic and psychological weapon against on. And then we also sell them conventional weapons and WoMD.


hdgreene,

"When alternatives cost the equivalent of 35 dollars a barrel, then the economy will switch over on its own."

Solar and wind energy is being produced at a cost of ¢12/kWh and ¢8/kWh respectively. This is competitive with Coal (and Nuclear). But if you think that the oil lobby behind the scenes isn't pulling strings to keep us mired in an oil economy and away from renewables, then you live in another world.

Anyway, I'm not here for a pissing contest. I said what I had to say, you boys do with that what you will.

4/10/2008 08:48:00 AM  
Blogger Aenea said...

Habu: Many thanks for identifying for me what an NIE is, especially since I spent over a decade in the CIA and was privy to many WH NSC briefings.

Why would a low level CIA flunky be allowed to see WH briefings from No Such Agency? Habu, you remind me of John Kerry mixing up scenes from Apocalypse Now with his own tour of duty.

4/10/2008 08:57:00 AM  
Blogger Aenea said...

Mad Fiddler: But it still doesn't account for the dramatic increase in the amount of sunlight energy this would add to the Earth's normal budget.

Dramatic? There's 1200 watts of sunlight per square meter at noon, and the Earth has an albedo of 0.39. Any power plant you can imagine matched to human demand would add but a tiny sliver to this budget. Any power planet that would dent the budget would be overproducing power...the grid would not be able to draw all of it, forcing the plant to angle the mirrors to reflect the remainder back into space.

4/10/2008 09:02:00 AM  
Blogger eggplant said...

NahnCee said:

"BTW, change of topic -- I thought Russia had its own oil, so why would it be in the government over-throwing business trying to control Middle East oil?"

Russia shares the same golden dilemma with the Saudis, Iranians and other oil producers, i.e. they're doing just fine right now with their oil revenue stream but what happens after the oil runs out? One could argue that the Saudis are pursuing their religious objectives as "Plan-B" for after their oil wealth is depleted. Likewise the Iranians are pursuing nukes to establish hegemony in the Persian Gulf after their oil runs out. After the Soviet Union timed out, the Russian economy went into free fall. Then the Siberian oil came back on line and now the Russians are smiling. However that earlier frightening period of free fall gave the Russians a taste of things to come. No doubt, somebody in the Kremlin is preparing Russia's Plan-B for when their oil runs out.

4/10/2008 09:10:00 AM  
Blogger Habu said...

Aenea,

What you know about my CIA career is zip.

Chances are great you weren't even alive when I worked for them.

But why no mention of the 95% of my post refreshingly reminding you of the Democrats role in the war and Saddams WMD's....all the Dem players talk'n smack, threatening war if he didn't do right..and now do'in what they do best..moonwalk'n backwards and avoiding the heavy sniper fire ,just like Hillary.

So tell me about that and them tell me about my CIA career since you unequiocally stated my "low level" status would bar me from seeing NIE's etc .... go ahead. The crowd is forming to hear what you know, actually know ....BTW what year were you born? Did you live any of this or are you just a "student" onlooker?

I suspect you will have no answer, simply hollow accusations followed by a blow off of what all the Clinton people said about the WMD threat.

But talk to us....

4/10/2008 09:42:00 AM  
Blogger Habu said...

Aenea

BTW, why no bio?

and

what SPF number should I use if I'm out on my 35 foot sport fisherman going for marlin?

I mean with the Earth's albedo of 0.39 I'm a bit concerned about whether SPF 15 is not enough , is SPF 30 too much....it was a big topic just the other day at the Nerd Conference but golly, I missed the entire thing.

But do the bio thing..ok .. GED? PhD? WyoTech?

4/10/2008 09:58:00 AM  
Blogger Habu said...

Aenea,

And don't forget some feedback on all those warmongering Democrats..or was that mouthmongering for votes..it's so hard to tell with them ....

Immersed in the albedo..wow.

4/10/2008 10:02:00 AM  
Blogger Habu said...

NahnCee

Sorry about not getting back to you earlier. Your question ended with:
"but what if some peacenik general like Colin Powell took it upon himself to either countermand or ignore a direct order from the Commander in Chief ... ? Doesn't it require two or three people in sequence turning the right keys or something to get it done?

If the President as Commander in Chief gives an order to the military they MUST carry it out. Yes, a General could resign on the spot in opposition but that is extremely rare. If a "peacenik" General balked , the President would simply fire him and replace him with someone who would carry out the order. If the "peacenik" didn't carry out the order and remained in the service he would be court martialed, with a reduction in rank and a fine or imprisonment or both.

You don't buck a direct order from POTUS.

4/10/2008 10:41:00 AM  
Blogger Insufficiently Sensitive said...

We made the Islamers the global threat that they are with the billions and trillions we give them in petro dollars. We provide them with free security and allow them the use of their oil weapon as a political and economic and psychological weapon against on. And then we also sell them conventional weapons and WoMD.


Sorry, o wise Methuselah, "we" means every user of petroleum products on earth, and that "we" dwarfs the population of the USA. You are welcome to all the liberal guilt you can muster, but the spectacle is neither useful nor pretty.

4/10/2008 10:49:00 AM  
Blogger Aenea said...

Habu: Aenea

BTW, why no bio?


The first rule of Fed Club is you don't talk about Fed Club.

The second rule of Fed Club is you don't talk about Fed Club to someone who says he worked in the "Company" but sounds more like he could be Hillary Clinton's ghostwriter, working on her autobiography, "In the Line of Fire: Adventures with My Daughter in Sniper Alley."

4/10/2008 11:05:00 AM  
Blogger RattlerGator said...

Sorry, Aenea, but that's not going to fly.

And that absurd reference to Hillary Clinton's ghostwriter? Come on, now. When faking the funk, surely you can do better than that.

4/10/2008 11:34:00 AM  
Blogger Aenea said...

eggplant: No doubt, somebody in the Kremlin is preparing Russia's Plan-B for when their oil runs out.

Oil never runs out, it just becomes more and more expensive to pump. When the oil in a well is more expensive to pump than oil commands on the market, that well is capped. When oil commands more on a market, the well is uncapped and pumps again. That's why the state of North Dakota is approaching a billion dollars in revenue surplus during a recession when most other states are in the hole. If peak oil takes place, prices will only go up, and this will make it profitable to squeeze oil out of every nook and cranny it is found.

4/10/2008 11:43:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Insufficiently Sensitive,

"You are welcome to all the liberal guilt you can muster,.."


1/ Get a clue.
2/ Grow up.

4/10/2008 11:48:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

"..and allow them the use of their oil weapon as a political and economic and psychological weapon against us."

4/10/2008 11:52:00 AM  
Blogger Aenea said...

Habu: I mean with the Earth's albedo of 0.39 I'm a bit concerned about whether SPF 15 is not enough , is SPF 30 too much....it was a big topic just the other day at the Nerd Conference but golly, I missed the entire thing.

Then I will explain it to you. I said the Earth receives 1200 watts of power from the sun per square meter at noon. My figure for albedo means that 39% of this energy is immediately reflected into space. That means 61% is in play. Some of this energy is used to drive the weather, and some is used to drive the biosphere. Almost all of it makes its way back into space at night as infrared (the remainder is retained by the greenhouse effect to keep our planet from being an ice ball). The shift from high-energy light photons to low-energy heat photons provides the entropy which powers the planet. My point was that this flow is so enormous, any attempt by man to alter it with a few hundred power plants on the megawatt scale will make hardly a micro-dent in the overall transfer.

4/10/2008 12:00:00 PM  
Blogger Habu said...

Aenea, Why those were just the best answers anyone could ever hope to get from you. I know we are all proud of your efforts.

Have you ever considered the nunnery?

You assiduously clogged your way around almost every question. SPF 15 or 30?

Then you went lame on us, no doubt from the clogging-tinitus, but lame nonetheless. You mumbo jumboed ( could be an insensitive racial remark) about a bio and your age.
I'm guessing you were born in 1980, and tried out for the high school mascot intern program. Rejected you went off the deep end into the sleep inducing world of albedo. But you persevered and are now a registered hypnotist working for a dentist who specializes in inplants.

4/10/2008 12:56:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

methuselah:

To defeat the oil barons, "energy independence" is not sufficient. "Energy independence" still leaves Gulf tyrants with the whip hand over the world economy. Instead, it is necessary to shift the vast majority of the world economy to renewable energy. This can be done, yet this endeavor requires sufficient technological investment to drive down the cost of renewable energy to where it can undercut fossil fuels. This technological leap requires leadership from someone with a killer instinct who desires to put the oil tyrants out of business.

Hopefully, the West can regain its killer instinct before it is too late.

4/10/2008 01:02:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

I say there is a better chance of Black Christian Africa migrating North to herd the Arabs back into the Arabian Peninsula than there is of getting off oil in the next 100 years.

Both would be the optimum.

4/10/2008 01:39:00 PM  
Blogger Aenea said...

Habu: I'm guessing you were born in 1980, and tried out for the high school mascot intern program. Rejected you went off the deep end into the sleep inducing world of albedo. But you persevered and are now a registered hypnotist working for a dentist who specializes in inplants.

You're a natural, Habu. No wonder the same CIA that screwed the pooch at the Bay of Pigs, thought the Soviet Union was the second largest economy in the world all through the Cold War, missed 9-11 and said Saddam's nukes were 45 minutes away from the Eastern Seaboard (don't want that smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud, Condi said) hired you to be an analyst.

4/10/2008 02:18:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Alexis,

My thinking is that if we can get the US to be free of oil imports, that will leave Israel with a free hand to take care of Iran, Saudia, etc. The US is the only consideration standing in the way of that jihadi controlled oil being blown up to kingdom come.

4/10/2008 02:56:00 PM  
Blogger Habu said...

Aenea ,
Well your 2:18 response put to bed the question as to whether you know anything about my CIA career. It wasn't even a decent bet. One could probably take a look at my bio and easily extrapolate ops I might have been involved in but you couldn't connect the dots.
Why would a US Marine leave all that fun to become an analyst for anybody?

Then you show no originality in listing the few blown operations by the Company. The Bay of Pigs was a JFK failure of nerve and support..but he paid the price in Dallas.

It's always easy to list the failures but the nature of the business doesn't allow for too many high fives out in public on successes...and there were many of those....but see you don't know that cause you weren't inside..in fact I doubt you were even alive..you sound like a kid who learned at the knee of leftest professors and parents.

And as I pointed out and you've avoided like Swine flu is the Saddam threat ..that tocsin was ratcheted up and up by the Democrats. And I'm not condemning that because if we ever once misunderestimate, just once, we'll be eating a nuke ..a la cart.

4/10/2008 03:53:00 PM  
Blogger eggplant said...

Aenea said...

"Oil never runs out, it just becomes more and more expensive to pump. When the oil in a well is more expensive to pump than oil commands on the market, that well is capped."

Please read my 4/09/2008 09:00:00 PM post listed above. The cost in dollars for pumping oil is only one parameter. An arguably more important parameter is the cost in energy. If it costs more in energy (not dollars) to pump the oil and refine it than the finished product contains then the oil will remain in the ground. Ultimately the dollar value of oil in the ground is irrelevant if the energy cost of extraction and refinement is too high. That's the root argument behind "Peak Oil".

4/10/2008 05:48:00 PM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

But, Eggplant, isn't it also true that the specific logistical details of a given oil extraction arrangement determine the energy efficiency? That would mean that while some methods would be losers, others might be net gains...

Okay, stick with me a second...

Imagine a situation where geothermal heat can be diverted from a geological formation in one location and piped to a formation of oil-bearing shale. Once the transport pipeline is in place, a large portion of the energy is essentially free. Of course, I'm just making this scenario up.

I can't disagree with your premise, except that it seems to assume that petroleum is something we can do without. I haven't examined the economics of it, but I know there are many "luxuries" that are very expensive to produce, but they provide something that the inexpensive items don't.

That sounds like a childish analysis, I know. But there are lots of examples of chemical/manufacturing processes that were costly to develop, but which became increasingly efficient and even profitable with economies of scale.

Okay, here's a small list that might clarify what I'm getting at:

Antibiotics
radio-isotopes
plutonium
Geosynchronous satellites
ball point pen
heavier-than-air flight

It takes an extravagant amount of effort floundering around testing experimenting to chance upon even the encouraging near-misses. Then another hemorrhage of labor trying to quantify, standardize, determine critical factors, derive a theory, and come up with a working prototype.

The ball-point pen is a great example. Making a single pen with a tiny roller-ball tip for a viscous ink could take many thousands of hours of hideously painstaking machine work, and experimentation with different materials for the ball, the ink, the barrel, a cap, etc.

Once the design and manufacturing process has been worked out, though. they become so cheap they sell for two dozen per dollar.

We need to turn flesh eating bacteria into a critter that eats dirty underwear and poops petrochemicals.

Then be very careful of any abandoned skivvies.

4/10/2008 06:48:00 PM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

note to Possumtater,

could you splain your crest sometime without revealing too much personal stuff?

To Wretchard, I know you never meant to be a matchmaker, but I wonder if there's a way for people to take a discussion offline?

4/10/2008 06:54:00 PM  
Blogger eggplant said...

Mad Fiddler said:

"I can't disagree with your premise, except that it seems to assume that petroleum is something we can do without."

The energy cost analysis assumes that petroleum is only good for producing energy. Obviously petroleum is very important for making plastics, lubricants, solvents, etc. This brings up one of my pet hates, i.e. burning petroleum based products in car engines when petroleum is so useful for other things. We're still going to need plastics and lubricants 10,000 years from now but by then all of the cheaply accessible petroleum will be long gone (a plastic bottle will be much more expensive than a glass one).

I have read that the process used for making synthetic petroleum from the Athabasca tar sands in Alberta is very energy intensive. Supposably it is only slightly better than breakeven in terms of energy invested versus energy extracted for market (I have been told that synthetic petroleum from shale is a hopeless process in terms of energy economics). It has been suggested to use nuclear energy for the tar sand extraction process. This represents converting one form of energy into another. The naive economics is crazy but it does make a little bit sense in that one can not use nuclear energy to directly power an automobile but gasoline derived from tar sands can be used. An obvious better approach would be an electic car that received its energy directly from the nuclear source (leave the tar sands in the ground).

4/10/2008 08:49:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

habu:

The Bay of Pigs was a JFK failure of nerve and support..but he paid the price in Dallas.

Now I'm curious. Who arranged JFK's murder? Was it Castro, the Mafia, Lyndon Johnson, or was it John F. Kennedy himself (as suggested on an episode on Red Dwarf) who came from a future alternate universe to kill himself in order to rehabilitate his image and save the United States from J. Edgar Hoover?

4/10/2008 08:54:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

methuselah:

My thinking is that if we can get the US to be free of oil imports, that will leave Israel with a free hand to take care of Iran, Saudia, etc. The US is the only consideration standing in the way of that jihadi controlled oil being blown up to kingdom come.

I agree with adopting electric cars, but I disagree with your strategic theory that gets you to that point. Even if Israel could destroy every oil platform in the Persian Gulf, the existence of the petroleum itself gives the Gulf a strategic significance that threatens Israel. And even if the United States were completely immune from an oil shock, I think the US would still try to restrain Israel because of European, Chinese, Japanese, and Indian dependence upon Middle Eastern petroleum. Some "heroic" environmentalist organization that seeks to stop the oil industry by blowing up tankers in the Persian Gulf may be a great comic book fantasy, but I doubt it will happen.

However, if the world economy could be shifted from internal combustion to electric cars, the very strategic significance of oil producing countries would shrivel. That, in and of itself, would be a good thing.

The stone age didn't end because of a shortage of rocks, and the petroleum age won't end because of a shortage of oil. It will end when civilized nations decide to make the technological leap from fossil fuels to electric transportation and renewable energy.

4/10/2008 09:12:00 PM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

Alexis, now that all the main players have passed on to stand naked before their God(esses) the story can be told.

It was Jackie Killed him.

4/10/2008 11:39:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Alexis,

"And even if the United States were completely immune from an oil shock, I think the US would still try to restrain Israel because of European, Chinese, Japanese, and Indian dependence upon Middle Eastern petroleum."

True. But I doubt Israel wound be persuaded. The oil would be targeted and destroyed. Once targeted and destroyed, the rest of the world will simply have to accept the new reality, and move away from oil, it being a highly unreliable and expensive energy supply.

4/11/2008 05:11:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

"..I doubt Israel would be persuaded.."

4/11/2008 05:13:00 AM  
Blogger Wadeusaf said...

Energy must follow certain law.
To echo (sort of) the first law of realty,

Application, Application, application.

4/11/2008 07:30:00 AM  
Blogger Aenea said...

Methuselah: True. But I doubt Israel wound be persuaded. The oil would be targeted and destroyed. Once targeted and destroyed, the rest of the world will simply have to accept the new reality, and move away from oil, it being a highly unreliable and expensive energy supply.

Saddam targetted and destroyed the Kuwaiti oil infrastructure at the end of Gulf One, took us about five minutes to get it back on line.

4/11/2008 08:52:00 AM  
Blogger Aenea said...

Alexis: Now I'm curious. Who arranged JFK's murder? Was it Castro, the Mafia, Lyndon Johnson, or was it John F. Kennedy himself (as suggested on an episode on Red Dwarf) who came from a future alternate universe to kill himself in order to rehabilitate his image and save the United States from J. Edgar Hoover?

LBJ. One vote from Oswald in the School book building, one vote from the Umbrella Man, one vote from the grassy hill commando.

4/11/2008 08:54:00 AM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

anime girl,

What Saddam did is create a lot of smoke. There's a lot more to "oil infrastructure" than busted wellheads.

4/11/2008 09:12:00 AM  
Blogger Martin said...

Not that we would ever do it, but given the decades-long bleeding we are facing in any case, why shouldn't we just go in and seize the Saudi and UAE oilfields and carve them out as a protectorate --leave the Saudis in charge of the Muslim holy places (if they behave themselves; i.e., stop exporting Salafism), and run the oilfields ourselves, without favoring US-based firms, as an economic enterprise for the global good? Even set up a corporation (son of Aramco) with ownership interests from the various world oil distributors (Exxon/Mobil, Chevron, Total, Fina, BP, etc)

Sure we would catch hell for a while, but it would take the Euros and Japanese about 10 minutes to figure out how good this is for them, and even the Chinese might come around if they see they have access to Gulf oil on non-discriminatory terms. Even Muslim nations without oil might come around. Let the Iranians, Russians, Venezuelans, Mexicans, Nigerians and Indonesians deal with a situation where we (US, acting on behalf of the consumer nations) have recovered at least some pricing power.

Yes, it's radical and risky, but the alternative is slowly bleeding all over the ME and Central Asia for another generation or 2.

4/11/2008 09:46:00 AM  
Blogger eggplant said...

Aenea said:

"Saddam targetted and destroyed the Kuwaiti oil infrastructure at the end of Gulf One, took us about five minutes to get it back on line."

It took longer than five minutes.

The Israelis would not simply blowup well heads with dynamite if they invoked the "Samson Option". A more probable scenario would be a single 5 megaton nuke with a colbalt jacket detonated over the Ghawar oil field. That would sterilize a large part of the Persian Gulf for at least the half life of Colbalt-60 (5.27 years) and end the Persian Gulf's role as a prime petroleum provider.

4/11/2008 10:14:00 AM  
Blogger Aenea said...

eggplant:A more probable scenario would be a single 5 megaton nuke with a colbalt jacket detonated over the Ghawar oil field.

Works great on paper, in practice, you have to transport your 5 megaton nuke with a cobalt jacket to the target area. They're a hell of a lot more massive than a 100 kiloton job that a fighter-bomber or missile can carry. The US uses B-2 bombers. Israel has nothing like that.

4/11/2008 01:07:00 PM  
Blogger eggplant said...

Eggplant said:

"A more probable scenario would be a single 5 megaton nuke with a colbalt jacket detonated over the Ghawar oil field."

Aenea replied:

"Works great on paper, in practice, you have to transport your 5 megaton nuke with a cobalt jacket to the target area. They're a hell of a lot more massive than a 100 kiloton job that a fighter-bomber or missile can carry."

A US B53 bomb weighs 4,015 kg and has a yield of 9 megatons. A C-130H transport aircraft can carry a useful load of 33,000 kg and drop a payload out a back hatch while in flight. BLU-82B "daisy cutters" have been delivered this way. The Israeli Air Force has six C-130H aircraft.

4/11/2008 07:45:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

From Ausra solar's website:

"All of America's needs for electric power – the entire US grid, night and day – can be generated with Ausra's current technology using a square parcel of land 92 miles on a side. For comparison, this is less than 1% of America's deserts, less land than currently in use in the U.S. for coal mines."

4/11/2008 09:11:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Congress to renew alternative energy tax credit: $6 billion over 6 years. Oil companies get $80 billion annually in tax credits and subsidies. Meanwhile, the Iraq war costs $6 billion per every two weeks period.

4/11/2008 09:28:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Abu Dhabi: The capital of green energy?

The irony is too rich to leave unsaid: A leading oil producer invests billions in carbon-free energy while a leading consumer of fossil fuels - the United States - continues to subsidize Big Oil while while offering only tepid support for green technology.

http://blogs.business2.com/greenwombat

4/11/2008 09:59:00 PM  

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