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Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Now the GOP is caught between a rock and a hard place
Posted by Jill | 4:42 AM
Grab the popcorn, kids, because the GOP, that party that professes to worship the military, has to decide whether its first loyalty is to the military or to the petroleum companies that are part-owners, along with Rupert Murdoch, or their party:

With insurgents increasingly attacking the American fuel supply convoys that lumber across the Khyber Pass into Afghanistan, the military is pushing aggressively to develop, test and deploy renewable energy to decrease its need to transport fossil fuels.

Last week, a Marine company from California arrived in the rugged outback of Helmand Province bearing novel equipment: portable solar panels that fold up into boxes; energy-conserving lights; solar tent shields that provide shade and electricity; solar chargers for computers and communications equipment.

The 150 Marines of Company I, Third Battalion, Fifth Marines, will be the first to take renewable technology into a battle zone, where the new equipment will replace diesel and kerosene-based fuels that would ordinarily generate power to run their encampment.

Even as Congress has struggled unsuccessfully to pass an energy bill and many states have put renewable energy on hold because of the recession, the military this year has pushed rapidly forward. After a decade of waging wars in remote corners of the globe where fuel is not readily available, senior commanders have come to see overdependence on fossil fuel as a big liability, and renewable technologies — which have become more reliable and less expensive over the past few years — as providing a potential answer. These new types of renewable energy now account for only a small percentage of the power used by the armed forces, but military leaders plan to rapidly expand their use over the next decade.

In Iraq and Afghanistan, the huge truck convoys that haul fuel to bases have been sitting ducks for enemy fighters — in the latest attack, oil tankers carrying fuel for NATO troops in Afghanistan were set on fire in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, early Monday. In Iraq and Afghanistan, one Army study found, for every 24 fuel convoys that set out, one soldier or civilian engaged in fuel transport was killed. In the past three months, six Marines have been wounded guarding fuel runs in Afghanistan.

“There are a lot of profound reasons for doing this, but for us at the core it’s practical,” said Ray Mabus, the Navy secretary and a former ambassador to Saudi Arabia, who has said he wants 50 percent of the power for the Navy and Marines to come from renewable energy sources by 2020. That figure includes energy for bases as well as fuel for cars and ships.

“Fossil fuel is the No. 1 thing we import to Afghanistan,” Mr. Mabus said, “and guarding that fuel is keeping the troops from doing what they were sent there to do, to fight or engage local people.”

He and other experts also said that greater reliance on renewable energy improved national security, because fossil fuels often came from unstable regions and scarce supplies were a potential source of international conflict.

Gee, ya think? For nearly a decade since the 9/11 attacks, Republicans have been touting the greedy consumption of fossil fuels as some kind of national virtue. Solar is for hippies. Hybrid cars are for wusses. Renewable energy is bunk, drill baby drill -- that's what we hear from Republicans, even after the BP oil spill's befouling of the Gulf of Mexico. The military is not calling for increased domestic drilling, it's calling for renewable energy so that it doesn't have to lose soldiers to IEDs while transporting gasoline and other petroleum-based fuels across dangerous areas. But military leaders also seem to recognize what Republicans refuse to -- that oil meand dependence on an increasingly hostile part of the world, and that anyone who doesn't advocate weaning ourselves off of oil is simply asking for more young American dead.

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Anonymous mandt said...
Ya would think Repubs would get it, after all elephants can produce their own weight in methane products.