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The petroleum bomb

George P. Shultz and R. James Woolsey, Mechanical Engineering Magazine
Our nation’s dependence on imported oil leaves it dangerously vulnerable to attack.
Four years ago, on the eve of Sept. 11, 2001, the need to reduce radically our reliance on oil was not clear to many and, in any case, the path of doing so seemed a long and difficult one. Today, both assumptions are being undermined by the risks of the post-9/11 world and by technological progress in fuel efficiency and alternative fuels.

A single well-designed attack on the petroleum infrastructure in the Middle East could send oil to well over $100 per barrel and devastate the world’s economy. That reality, among other risks, and the fact that our current transportation infrastructure is locked in to oil, should be sufficient to convince any objective observer that oil dependence today creates serious and pressing dangers for the United States and other oil-importing nations.

Dependence on petroleum and its products for the lion’s share of the world’s transportation fuel creates special dangers in our time….

George P. Shultz is a former Secretary of State and is currently Distinguished Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. R. James Woolsey is a former director of the Central Intelligence Agency and is currently vice president of Booz Allen Hamilton Inc., a management consulting firm based in McLean, Va. This article is adapted from a position paper the authors wrote in their capacity as co-chairmen of the Committee on the Present Danger.
(October 2005 issue)
Peak oil is mentioned in the article. The complete article from which this text version is drawn is: Oil and Security (801-KB PDF). More is available on the website for Committee on the Present Danger. Jerome a Paris at the liberal Daily Kos comments on this paper in the following entry.

Let’s hurry on energy policy or the Right will get there first

Jerome a Paris, Daily Kos
Since we presented our second draft of a proposed energy policy (Reenergize America – A Democratic Blueprint (Second Draft)), there’s been a lull on the topic. We are currently thinking about the next steps, and will come back to the community for more discussion, but the topic should not disappear from your minds in the meantime.

I know that with the Libby indictment and the Alito nomination there’s a lot to follow these days, but energy is an issue that is not going to disappear, and which needs to be tackled as soon as possible, and kept in the headlines as much as possible, as it is one of the most glaring failures (and there are many) of the Bush administration.

But the smart conservatives are also thinking about the issue, and are making serious efforts to come up with workable policies. I comment below on one of the more recent efforts, from the Committee on the Present Danger, which makes a compelling argument.

Despite the token presence of Lieberman among them, the CPD is the meeting place for a surprisingly high number of prominent conservatives, neocons, and reaganites, and the policy paper I will now discuss is signed by George Schultz (Reagan’s long serving Secretary of State) and James Woosley (former director of the CIA).
(1 November 2005)
The article on which Jerome comments is the previous entry in the headlines – the one by Schultz and Woolsey. The latest version of the energy platform from Jerome and others at Daily Kos is posted as: Energize America — A Democratic Blueprint (3rd Draft)

U.S. not serious about oil independence and pays price

Charles Krauthammer, The Day (CT)
Thank God for $3.50 gasoline. True, we had it for only a brief shining moment, and there is not much good to be said about the catastrophic hurricanes that caused it. But the price was already inexorably climbing as a result of 2.3 billion Chinese and Indians industrializing. Their increased demand is what brought us to the energy knife’s edge and makes us so acutely vulnerable to supply disruptions.

…Yet for three decades we have done criminally little about it. Conservatives argued for more production, liberals argued for more conservation, and each side blocked the other’s remedies — when even a child can see that we need both:
(11 November 2005)
Krauthammer is a syndicated conservative columnist.

Republicans drop effort to end ban on offshore drilling

Kerry Benefield, Santa Rosa Press Democrat
A congressional effort to lift a decades-old ban on offshore oil and natural gas drilling appears dead for the year, but powerful lawmakers are continuing their fight to open Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to exploration.

House Republicans on Wednesday pulled language from the $54 billion federal spending package that would have allowed states to open their coasts to oil and gas drilling. The move came after more than 20 Republicans said they would not support the sweeping spending plan if drilling was included.
(11 November 2005)
Commentary by David Roberts of Gristmill: Congressional Disarray.

So Iraq was about the oil

Robert Parry, Consortium News
When Colin Powell’s former chief of staff Lawrence Wilkerson publicly decried the Bush administration’s bungling of U.S. foreign policy, the focus of the press coverage was on Wilkerson’s depiction of a “cabal” headed by Vice President Dick Cheney that had hijacked the decision-making process.

Largely overlooked were Wilkerson’s frank admissions about the importance of oil in justifying a long-term U.S. military intervention in Iraq. “The other thing that no one ever likes to talk about is SUVs and oil and consumption,” the retired Army colonel said in a speech on Oct. 19.

While bemoaning the administration’s incompetence in implementing the war strategy, Wilkerson said the U.S. government now had no choice but to succeed in Iraq or face the necessity of conquering the Middle East within the next 10 years to ensure access to the region’s oil supplies.

“We had a discussion in (the State Department’s Office of) Policy Planning about actually mounting an operation to take the oilfields of the Middle East, internationalize them, put them under some sort of U.N. trusteeship and administer the revenues and the oil accordingly,” Wilkerson said. “That’s how serious we thought about it.”
(10 November 2005)