Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Prize Ultimately Lies

A fact a day… for the past few they’ve been feeling more like lessons than facts. Today I learned a fact from an NPR broadcast just a few weeks old:

The American military is the single-largest purchaser and consumer of oil in the world,
guzzling about 340,000 barrels of oil a day.

Now I remember that $100 marker.
Now I remember the doubling of oil prices.
Now I remember that yesterday I was wondering if I should give up driving out to the organic farm in Concord.

“If the Defense Department were a country it would rank about 38’th in the world for oil consumption, right behind the Philippines.” (Morning Edition, November 14, 2007)

One plane they talked about runs on 3 gallons per mile. No, I didn’t type that wrong. 3 gallons per mile. The military is not concerned about having their budget cut – obviously, we are in the middle of a war, and it needs to be continued...

The bigger challenge for the military, O'Hanlon (a former Defense Department budget analyst who is now with the Brookings Institution) said, is what the price hikes represent — a narrowing of the gap between supply and demand that could cause problems for the military down the road. What happens when such an oil hungry institution can't get oil?

This seems like an amazing little knot we have ourselves in in the middle east, then, no? I am pulling both the quote above and below from larger articles, and isolating them to make my point, but I am taking neither out of context... I have been reading and rereading an article from The Independent from last January entitled, “The Spoils of War.” The article has lots of information about the future of Iraqi oil I'm trying to get my mind around, but in terms of our history there:

Vice-President Dick Cheney, who said in 1999, while he was still chief executive of the oil services company Halliburton, that the world would need an additional 50 million barrels of oil a day by 2010. "So where is the oil going to come from?... The Middle East, with two-thirds of the world's oil and the lowest cost, is still where the prize ultimately lies," he said.

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