Tuesday, March 13, 2007


How long should the War in Iraq last?

Here is my policy:

As long as the jihadis want Iraq I say we keep them from it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I say the occupation of Iraq should continue for as long as the US is 100% dependent on foreign oil to project military power AND there is economically extractable oil to be had in the Middle East.

If the US releases Iraq before an alternate power source is available for the military, the US risks losing its capacity to project power around the world if developing China makes a power grab. That would result in two disasters: first, a collapse of the US economy, which is completely dependent on the ability to consume 25% of the world's natural resources with impunity; and second, the breach of our borders and toppling of our government by foreign invasion once the military is preoccupied with martial law.

We have not discussed Afghanistan, however. The economic engine behind the US economy is also grossly dependent on imported natural gas for the generation of clean domestic electricity. We need to maintain a presence in Afghanistan as well in order to keep the Caspian pipeline flowing.

Ultimately, nuclear power is no solution, since the waste is non-recyclable and non-disposable. The military can use portable nuclear generators in the short term, but in the long term there is too much risk of pollution and proliferation to go nuclear for domestic energy or for long-term military energy either.

Likewise, coal is not viable. Too much mercury to burn it, too much CO2 to gassify it.

Biofuels require more fossil fuel to grow them than they return in calories.

Only solar and wind energy with electrolysis of water into hydrogen, and fuel cells for recombination of the hydrogen, have what it takes for the long haul. No other practical alternatives yet exist, but since solar and wind are diffuse sources, capitalizing on them with monopolistic generation plants is difficult.

Ultimately, the solution to this problem will involve a strong degree of decentralization, which will of necessity lead to socialization of the political structure. Paradoxically, although it will also lead to empowerment of the indivudual, it simultaneously will disempower nations in general as the means of control over resources will become increasingly problematic. By that time most of the fossil fuels will be gone, and control of what remains will be dedicated to the production of novel materials i.e. plastics rather than energy production.

The trick will be keeping access to what remains of the petroleum after having decentralized the power structure, or inventing new ways to utilize compsite materials i.e. 'organic technology'.

The other route, of course, is to just keep breeding indefinitely while ignoring the constraints on growth. The result will be catastrophic population reduction around the globe.

If I were a gambling person, I would bet the farm on door #2.