We just passed the 3,600 US military personel killed in Iraq mark. I can’t help but think of the children and other family members of those who have died in this war.
Today president Bush said this (quoted from the New York Times):
â€œI fully understand that when you watch the violence on TV every night, people are saying, â€˜Is it worth it, can we accomplish an objective?â€™ Well, first I want to tell you, yes, we can accomplish this fight and win in Iraq. And secondly, I want to tell you, we must, for the sake of our children and grandchildren.â€?
For the sake of our children and grandchildren? Oh really? Right.
My response to his post was this:
One version of reality is this: the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve currently holds about 570 million barrels of oil. Given that the U.S. imports about half of its oil, the Strategic Petroleum Reserve would run out in about 60 days if all our imports were suddenly cut off.
Iraq currently has 112 billion barrels of oil in it reserves – the world’s second largest proven reserve. Perhaps President Bush is thinking about more than the short-term. Imagine what would happen if our imports were cut-off? Can we afford to leave the nation exposed to that kind of risk?
War sucks! But as Clausewitz said, war is politcs by other means. We only have to read the history books to see that the reality of Iraq is not a new story. Nation-states act out of their own self-interest no matter how much they try to dress up the trimmings.
I’ve been a soldier and it’s bloody hard work and a deadly serious business. But we volunteered knowing the hazards of our chosen profession. General Macarthur once remarked that it is the soldiers who prays for peace the most for he is the one who must bare the burdens of war.
There are so many variables to consider. Choosing the right course of action is tough. What is the cost of peace? What is the cost of maintaining the way of life we take so much for granted?
Crude oil is used to produce fuel for cars, trucks, airplanes, boats and trains. It is also used for a wide variety of other products including asphalt for roads, lubricants for all kinds of machines, plastics for toys, bottles, food wrap and computers.
How many of us consider what it means to turn the key in our ignitions or hop on a bus or train to go to work or fly somewhere on holiday? We want access to these things, but do we know the true cost of having them? Would we be prepared to give these things up?
Perhaps we are just victims of our own cleverness. I don’t know. I also don’t know what the answer is.