Imagine if, in the middle of World War II, the U.S. government and its people gave Hitler billions of dollars, to train troops and build new weapons. Sounds impossible, right? But that's more or less the situation we find ourselves in today, former CIA director Jim Woolsey recently told the Naval Postgraduate School.The U.S. is in the opening stages of a "Long War" with Islamic extremists. And these adversaries -- whether they're found in madrassas in Riyadh or the government in Tehran -- are funded, in so small part, by oil revenue. Petrodollars go, more or less directly, to training radicals. Petrodollars get funneled to those who make and plant bombs."Except for our own Civil War," Woolsey notes, "this is the only war that we have fought where we are paying for both sides. We pay Saudi Arabia $160 billion for its oil, and $3 or $4 billion of that goes to the Wahhabis, who teach children to hate. We are paying for these terrorists with our SUVs."And we are paying for them with our tanks, our Bradleys, and our fighter jets, observes Defense Technology International, which has a special issue out on "The Military and the End of Oil." In 2004, the U.S. military gobbled up 400,000 barrel of fuel a day, at cost of $6.7 billion. A year later, those costs had climbed to $8.8 billion. In 2006, the price tag is expect to total $10 billion."Meanwhile, advanced green technologies like hybrid drive vehicles [despite their limitations] offer both fuel economy and stealth benefits in combat, a significant plus in the urban warfare scenarios that appear to be such a big part of future wars," writes Joe Katzman, who's been all over this issue.
The truth is that the military can't live without fuel, but every gallon of it is both a logistics burden and a financial burden... Now add the fact that diversified "green infrastructure" lowers vulnerability to the kind of "system disruption" attacks one sees in Iraq, and the military/security benefits become compelling.It sure does. Throughout the military today, there are lots and lots of individual R&D efforts underway to find alternatives to funding our enemies. But a collection of engineering projects is not enough. If we're serious about fighting this Long War, breaking the military's addiction to oil has to become a top priority.