Saturday, May 23, 2009

oil and the military monster

Culture Change | America's energy consumption patterns are deeply insecure, and in a new report by Center for Naval Analyses (CNA), Powering America's Defense, authored by several military officials, perspectives from the vested interests of the military are revealed. The paradigm remains the rigidly the same, that the military is 'necessity', and access to the world's resources will remain their priority and so-called 'right', largely for their benefit.

Consider the mentality of consumers of the large vehicles produced by the automobile companies in the last few decades -- basically ego-satisfying toys. Huge pickup trucks with no load in the back, fa├žades of 'power' and 'status', and big family cars for big families who in their superiority-complex personalities have forgotten to consider the fate of their brothers and sisters around the world struggling to simply survive.

Steve LeVine, from BusinessWeek, points out the wastefulness in the military's actions:

In a long report, these former officers detail how long, vulnerable fuel supply lines have hobbled troops in Iraq and Afghanistan; how each soldier in Afghanistan is weighed down by 26 pounds of batteries; and how just 10% of the fuel used in Iraq goes for actual fighting vehicles — the rest just gets the fuel to the battlefield and protects it.

It appears that the U.S. military is following the rest of the world's lead on many of these issues, and seem to have had its head in the sand of their desertified paradigm.

LeVine also reveals the enormous subsidy to oil prices, arriving at a truer cost than the nominal price:

Reliance on oil, however, is the report's focus. It estimates that refueling military jets in flight raises the cost of each gallon of fuel to $42; on the ground the cost ranges from $15 a gallon to as much as hundreds of dollars a gallon depending on how much security and logistics are required to get the fuel to where it needs to be.
In Iraq, just 10% of fuel used for ground forces went to heavy vehicles such as tanks and amphibious vehicles delivering lethal force; the other 90% was consumed by Humvees and other vehicles delivering and protecting the fuel and forces. "This is the antithesis of efficiency," the report says.

Bryan Bender, writing for the Boston Globe, summarizes:

In World War II, the United States consumed about a gallon of fuel per soldier per day, according to the report. In the 1990-91 Persian Gulf War, about 4 gallons of fuel per soldier was consumed per day. In 2006, the US operations in Iraq and Afghanistan burned about 16 gallons of fuel per soldier on average per day, almost twice as much as the year before.