A Liberal Marines Progressive Perspective

Marines are defenders of the republic and the Constitution. That is our oath, that is our purpose, that is our calling. Many are Democrats. This is the journal of one such Marine. This leatherneck's progressive perspective is as follows...

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Location: Southwest, United States

U.S. Marine,0300 MOS,eight years in,honorably discharged,college-educated. To all the damned trolls, you better believe there are liberal Marines. Read "War Is A Racket" by 2-time Medal of Honor recipient Maj.Gen.S.D.Butler, plus Lewis B. Puller, Jr.'s "Fortunate Son" and maybe then you'll understand. Semper Fi!

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Monday, March 14, 2005

As the Ghawar Oil Field Goes, So Goes the World: Welcome to the 21st Century a/k/a "the Age of the Energy Wars" Posted by Hello
Good morning to all, once again. I finished reading David K. Shipler's book titled "The Working Poor" (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0375408908/) almost two weeks ago. The book is a fine expose into the world of American poverty, why it exists and (most important) how we as a collective nation can solve this shameful problem of working people that are unable to "catch a break" due (in large part) to a system that seems to take a perverse pleasure in watching them struggle to make ends meet. Shipler's book is one of the truly great books of our time that isn't just a book, it's an experience. Over the weekend, and after almost two weeks of going "book-less", I picked up Paul Roberts' book "The End of Oil" (book cover photo above) and I have to say the book is riveting and mesmerizing in its take on how we, as an industrial world, have spun ourselves into one heck of a tholian web. Before actually opening Roberts' book, I was already concerned about energy and the environment (both being questions/subjects of national security as far as I'm concerned), but was totally unaware of how problematic the situation actually is nor how foreboding. To comprehend the magnitude of the problem, one must first understand and appreciate that the world's energy consumption of fossil fuels has not stayed constant, but has (in fact) increased (http://www.zpenergy.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=1205). Indeed, global fossil fuel consumption has increased to 73% as of 2002, at a rate of 2% every year with no sign of letting up (http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=10000103&sid=ax7b4U5u6ojg&refer=us). To put it crudely (no pun intended), oil is to the industrialized world (especially the United States) what crack cocaine is to the crack addict; in other words, we can't get enough of this stuff, we can't live without this stuff, we will do anything to get this stuff...are you tracking? Do you dig what I'm saying? Now, with that established, one must then understand the signficance of the Ghawar oil field, which is located in the world's pre-eminent oil state, Saudi Arabia. Ghawar (which is in an area of the kingdom called the "Empty Quarter") is considered by all as the motherlode of the petroleum world (http://www.energybulletin.net/1269.html). In short, the Ghawar oil field is (without question) not only the world's largest conventional oil field, but it is also the largest oil field EVER discovered. To put it in more understandable terms, the Ghawar once reached a peak production performance of SIX MILLION barrels a day in 1981. Today, with roughly 70 billion barrels of oil in it's basin, the Ghawar produces roughly 5.7 MILLION barrels of crude oil a day (or, as author Paul Roberts puts it, 1 out of every 12 barrels of oil consumed on the face of the earth). With this kind of "juice", it is not hard to see how the Ghawar accounts for more than half of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s cumulative oil production. To give some background, the Ghawar field was actually discovered over half a century ago in 1948; production began in 1951 and has been going strong (day after day) ever since. The Ghawar holds the title and record as the producer of the highest sustained oil production rate ever achieved by any single oil field in world history. So, one can also see why oil empires and petro-governments around the world refer to the Ghawar field simply as "The Big One" or (again), as Paul Roberts describes the Ghawar:

"...In the iconography of oil, Ghawar is the eternal mother, the mythical giant that makes most other fields look puny and mortal".

But, just as Marc Antony regrets the course he has taken in 'Julius Caesar' (Act III, Scene I/Shakespeare) and shouts out "oh, cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war", the rub in terms of our own oil imbroglio is this: the Ghawar, drop by drop, is drying up (as it should since petroleum, like all fossil fuels, is a VERY FINITE source of energy, especially at the current rate the industrialized world is "gobbling it up" hand over fist). Which means, once the Ghawar is gone (which will come SOONER than later, regardless of whatever the oil-mongering "pollyannas" say ) the reverberations throughout the global economy will be significant. It's looking more and more like "the Great Game of the 21st Century" won't be the great clash of colonial powers, like it was in the late 19th and early 20th centuries (http://www.britishempire.co.uk/library/greatgame.htm). Instead, the new "Great Game" will be the hoarding of conventional energy sources, as well as, the quest for new energy sources; a quest that will certainly lead to geopolitical destabilization and the eruption of oil/energy wars that could (possibly) spark a global conflict on the scale of a world war (read Alan Simpson's 'Prelude to World War III' at http://www.intelbriefing.com/edit/pi040927.htm). My point is this: NOW is the time to begin a SERIOUS dialogue about alternative energies and their viability, with REAL leadership directing that dialogue. Right now, tragically, we have "oil men and women" running the United States government (http://www.nrdc.org/air/energy/aplayers.asp). These people get a charge out of punching holes in the ground looking for more and more oil (Dr. Freud could probably help explain the psychic process that facilitates oil people's desire, even lust, to punch holes in the ground in search of "black gold" or "Texas tea"...but that is neither here nor there). In their foolhardy quest to find more and more oil, "Big Oil" and it's allies are simply trying to avoid the inevitable, which is that oil (like ALL fossil fuels) is a FINITE source of energy; thus, we find ourselves at the original question concerning the need and viability of alternative fuels. Simply put, there's just no way of getting around the question. The United States SHOULD BE taking this opportunity to lead the world in this great endeavour because (and, in my opinion, this is no hyperbole) the fate of the world swings in the balance. As Mr. Roberts puts it in his book:

"...The United States is the only country with the economic muscle, the technological expertise and the international standing truly to mold the next energy system".

Our national leadership should be excited by this challenge and be "chomping at the bit" wanting to get into this game and apply our world-famous "American ingenuity" in a way that would solve this potentially catastrophic, global energy problem before it is too late
. This could be our next "Apollo Program" or our next "Manhattan Project"...a massive cooperative effort of scientific-business-government operations that would pull together our greatest minds and solution-makers; an enormous intellectual endeavour subsidized by the federal government (and with the full backing of the Executive branch) that would have the expressed purpose of devising an alternative fuel source that would ease and facilitate the inevitable shift from an economy totally supported and driven by fossil fuels(i.e., oil) to an economy supported and driven by whatever alternative fuel they come up with, i.e., hydrogen fuel cells, "biofuels", synthetic gasoline, etc. This could be our greatest moment in that WE, the United States, would lead the world off of the "double-edged sword" that is fossil fuel dependency into a world with abundant (and perhaps even, infinte) sources of energy. Can you imagine? But, unfortunately, we don't have masterminds running the government right now, heck we don't even have leaders with vision (leaders like an Al Gore, who has been desperately trying to inject this very topic into the national dialogue for going on two decades, without much success). No, unfortunately, we have "oil folks" running the show; they choose to utilize the "tried-and-true" coping mechanism of denial, or, behaving as the proverbial ostrich with their collective heads in the sand believing (to turn a 'Field of Dreams' phrase) if they DO NOT build it, the end WILL NOT come. Until this nation has great minds at the helm again, we will continue to plod along, in our SUV's and our other gas guzzlers, dreaming of NASCAR and deluding ourselves into a coma-like state with fantasies of an infinite oil supply. Only two good things come from our present myopic and delusional energy policy: 1) our nonsensical obsession with SUV's, pick-up trucks and NASCAR will hasten the end of the oil age (http://www.politicalstrategy.org/policy/energy_policy.htm) which can only be a good thing...thus forcing us to actually use our brains to come up with alternative fuel remedies, and 2) the Democratic Party has a great opportunity to take advantage of a situation that is deperately calling for leadership. Concisely, Democrats can pick up this "dusty ball sitting in the corner" (so to speak) and run with it, since the GOP is either too stupid, too oblivious, too afraid (or a "trifecta" of all three) to do anything about it. Folks, we will all be left behind if we don't get ahead of what is, without question, a major problem looming on the horizon. Read Paul Roberts book 'The End of Oil'; we should be SERIOUSLY talking about alternative fuel sources before it's too late. This really is a national security issue. Semper Fidelis


Blogger Peter (the other) said...

Now wait just a minute there. We have some REALLY important things to do first, like... going to Mars (maybe there is oil there?)! I sat next to a fellow on a plane that had a company developing solar collectors in space, that beamed the energy back down.

Some conspiracists claim the alternatives have been discovered and squelched by the "greasers". But when gas gets to $5 a gallon in the US, well, neccesity is a mother.

6:03 PM  
Blogger CmdrSue said...

You had me at "tholian web".

8:46 PM  

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