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Military Goes Green For An Edge On The Battlefield

J Chesnut | Posted in General Questions on

If you didn’t catch Friday Dec. 3rds ‘Talk of the Nation’ radio program on NPR there was an interesting discussion by military officials on energy efficiency and alternative energy sources. Economies of scale, striking empirical evidence, and Go Navy!

the segment was called – Military Goes Green For An Edge On The Battlefield

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  1. Riversong | | #1

    The US wages never-ending war in order to protect the "American Way of Life" (AWOL), which requires a reliable and endless supply of petroleum.

    The Pentagon is the worlds' largest consumer of petroleum, so the control of the world's oil is necessary in order to control the world's oil to protect AWOL. Catch 22.

    Half of the Pentagon's oil is consumed by the Air Force, and 85% of that used to move personnel, equipment and fuel around the world in order to control the oil to fuel the military to protect AWOL. Catch 22.

    Which means that the defense of AWOL is the leading cause of the global warming and ecological devastation which is undermining and destroying AWOL. Catch 22.

    The US Navy is the world's largest consumer of diesel fuel, and now the largest user of biodiesel from GM soybeans which we can't sell to the EU and which are displacing heirloom food crops and contributing to food shortages.

    Which means that the defense of AWOL is a major cause of global hunger and strife which is a threat to, and hence requires the defense of, AWOL. Catch 22.

    We must continue to send troops to die in ___________ (Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Iran…) to honor the troops who've died in ______________(Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Iran…). Catch 22.

    The good news, though, is that the US military has decided to become a smoke-free institution by 2013 in order to keep the troops healthier so that they can die in foreign lands at the hands of "insurgents" and "terrorists" who (like the Vietnamese National Liberation Front fighters) simply want to protect their way of life and their homeland and their right to self-determination.

    The other good news is that, though we may have lost (like the French, Japanese, British and Chinese) the long war of attrition against those Vietnamese peasants (who wanted to model their liberation struggle after the American revolution and copied our Declaration of Independence when they wrote their own), the IMF has completed the final victory over those damned communists.

    According to renowned journalist and documentarian, John Pilger, who witnessed RFK's assassination and was a war correspondent in Vietnam:

    Bill Clinton "normalized relations" with Vietnam. That meant Vietnam was allowed to join the World Trade Organization and qualify for World Bank loans provided it embraced the "free market," destroyed its free public services and paid off the bad debts of the defunct Saigon regime: money which had helped bankroll the American war. The reparations agreed by President Richard Nixon in the 1973 Paris Peace Accords were ignored. Normalization also meant that foreign investors were offered tax-free "economic processing zones" with "competitively priced" (cheap) labor.

    The Vietnamese were finally being granted membership of the "international community" as long as they created a society based on inequity and exploited labor, and abandoned the health service that was the envy of the developing world, with its pioneering work in pediatrics and primary care, along with a free education system that produced one of the world’s highest literacy rates.

    Whereas farmers in difficulty could once depend on rural credit from the state (interest was unknown), they must now go to private lenders, the usurers who once plagued the peasantry. And the government has welcomed back the Monsanto company and its genetically-modified seeds. Monsanto was one of the manufacturers of Agent Orange, which gave Vietnam its chemical Hiroshima. Last year, the US Supreme Court rejected an appeal by lawyers acting for more than three million Vietnamese deformed by Agent Orange. One of the justices, Clarence Thomas, worked as a corporate lawyer for Monsanto.

    To quote the late great humanist author and social critic, Kurt Vonnegut: So it goes.

  2. Riversong | | #2


  3. Riversong | | #3

    If "going green" means creating a more efficient killing machine, then it's no wonder that so many "green" builders are doing little more than killing the planet a bit more efficiently.

    The only way to peace is to lay down our arms, and the only way to a green planet is to relinquish the technologies which have destroyed it. But how few people have the moral courage and intellectual vision to even contemplate such a pradigmatic change?

  4. Thomas Jefferson | | #4

    Wait, isn't green technology going to save us from technology? And smart growth will allow growth to continue indefinitely.

    No, suddenly the thesis of the VHEMT makes perfect sense: Live Well And Die Out. It's foolish to expect any resolution to the challenge of restructuring civilization for a truly Sustainable future, in the literal sense of the word. Instead we should embrace life and plan on being the final generation, after which the remainder of the planet's life forms will continue without us.

    Two things to get started: (1) Shatter the taboo of suggesting not procreating as the most humane and sensible choice; (2) Educate people about the arithmetic involved in any amount of continuous growth. The word Growth should become a red flag suggesting someone does not understand arithmetic. It's not a difficult concept: A is a subset of B and B is finite, therefore A cannot be infinite. Tell a friend.

    Here's a video everyone should watch if in doubt about growth and arithmetic:

  5. Riversong | | #5

    VHEMT, for those who don't know, is the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement.

    Q: What is the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement?

    VHEMT (pronounced vehement) is a movement not an organization. It’s a movement advanced by people who care about life on planet Earth. We’re not just a bunch of misanthropes and anti-social, Malthusian misfits, taking morbid delight whenever disaster strikes humans. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Voluntary human extinction is the humanitarian alternative to human disasters.

    We don’t carry on about how the human race has shown itself to be a greedy, amoral parasite on the once-healthy face of this planet. That type of negativity offers no solution to the inexorable horrors which human activity is causing.

    Rather, The Movement presents an encouraging alternative to the callous exploitation and wholesale destruction of Earth’s ecology.

    As VHEMT Volunteers know, the hopeful alternative to the extinction of millions of species of plants and animals is the voluntary extinction of one species: Homo sapiens... us.

    Each time another one of us decides to not add another one of us to the burgeoning billions already squatting on this ravaged planet, another ray of hope shines through the gloom.

    When every human chooses to stop breeding, Earth’s biosphere will be allowed to return to its former glory, and all remaining creatures will be free to live, die, evolve (if they believe in evolution), and will perhaps pass away, as so many of Nature’s “experiments” have done throughout the eons.

    It’s going to take all of us going.

    “There’s nothing more powerful as an idea whose time has come.”

  6. Riversong | | #6

    For those of you who would like to "try it on for size", watch the History Channel 2-part documentary (Netflix streaming Video or on DVD) called "Life After People" to get a picture of what would "evolve" once the human population returns to zero.

  7. Allan Edwards | | #7

    Robert, I've seen the show you refer to, actually watched it twice. Very interesting and a bit sad to imagine this planet without humans. But that day will probably come, I suspect a comet or meteor will collide with the earth and the planet will going into a thousand year winter. Or possibly a super volcano that will blanket the earth with several feet of ash, I actually believe Yellowstone sits atop of one. I believe humans have occupied the earth only 1/20 of 1% of the 4 billion years the earth has been around, in terms of the entire history of this planet we are pretty insignificant.

  8. Thomas Jefferson | | #8

    The radio segment from the original post gives some astounding figures about the energy consumed in war operations and the cost, including 1,000 lives of soldiers delivering fuel. While attempting to explain how much improvement is possible they reveal how wasteful these projects are--air conditioned tents in a hot desert climate using fuel imported from the US at an estimated cost of $300-$400/gallon. Coating the tents with spray foam reduces their A/C loads, so there's a breakthrough.

    The strange thing is how it's just dumb luck that those of us contemplating these issues happened to be alive during this unique period in human history, when eons of stored energy went up in smoke, squandered in myriad ways. At least some of us appreciate how exceptional the situation is, rather than assuming that life as we know it (the AWOL) is normal or reasonable or justifiable. And we know better than to plan on accelerating consumption into the future.

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