We Don't Pay Enough For Gas . .

. . or the lives lost in our quest for more.

The opening of this post was written yesterday morning, then banished to the save as draft list, because I
know how rediculously difficult it is to even consider such massive changes of attitude in the West's view of our Civilization and Rights vis-a-vie commerce, business and industrial development.

Another Op-Ed
came out this morning which has reinvigorated my desire to post because it supports my contentions and comes from a source which is comprised of exactly the kind of powerful group whom I have said need to be the ones to lead the change.

As a very brief caveat; I don't discuss the non-Oil reasons for supporting Israel, but I believe they are many. I just don't see anything which makes
US involvement in the Middle East an acceptable phenomenon at our current level of dependence.
A Price of Fighting Terrorism
By David Bernstein
Thursday, August 10, 2006; Page A23

When much of the world initially supported Israel's right to defend itself against the Hezbollah attacks, I wondered how long the international backing would last. Would Israel be given enough time to push Hezbollah out of southern Lebanon and cripple the terrorist organization before the world lost patience?

Alas, the international support lasted a mere two weeks. With the unfortunate but inevitable loss of life, calls for a cease-fire have reached a fevered pitch, threatening to end the operation before Israel's basic military objectives have been met and before an adequate international force can be mobilized and placed on the ground.
It's hard to not agree with Bernstein's take in its essentials. Innocents will inevitably pay with their lives whenever two groups decide that murderous violence is their best, or only, alternative. Despite his disingenous comparison the Nazi phenomenon of World War II (neither Israel nor Hezbollah are trying to controll the entirety of the Industrial world,) it is true that the powerful nations can't merely look away and condemn those are shedding blood. We have too much indirect culpability in the bloodletting.

The problem is, once again, a matter of intelligence. Hezbollah is funded and backed by Iran and Syria and neither of those nations is accepting responsibility for reigning it in. Israel simply
can no longer fight a winning war against the fingers (Hezbollah, Hamas, al Qaeda) of the body (Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia) of Islamic terrorism throughout the world.

These are the 3 most powerful Islamic States, and the first two openly support the destruction of Israel, whilst the last, Saudi Arabia, violently supports religious extremism via it's endorsement of the inequality of peoples based upon both their sex and their religion. Without, at this point, going into the West's own culpability by virtue of its dependence on Middle East oil, these are the three states MOST responsible for the violence in Lebanon.

If we ignore our "need" for their oil and started paying - we as citizens of the West - the resultant cost of our fuel and products as they should be, we would NEED TO adjust our
way of life to be more respectful of others Right to Exist.

If "property" so damned important as the movers and shakers of the West make it out to be (and, quite frankly, I'm in agreement that it is) and Democracy is the ultimate expression of a Society's will, then we should ignore the unelected leaders of Saudi Arabia and the UA Emirates, and pay heed to the fundamentalist fanatics who revile our intrusions upon their civilizations. We should trade them their independence from our influence for Israel's Undeniable Right to Exist.

comfort is not worth the thousands upon thousands of lost lives. Our pride in our accomplishments as an industrial and commercial civilization is in NO WAY worth the human lives lost by those who don't see how progressive and advantageous is technological development.

Because they have far more direct experience in the region, as well as vastly more credibility on the issues of Free Enterprise and the West's Oil Addiction, I'm going to post a majority of their piece without comment.

From the Washington Post online

Are We Ready for the Next Oil Shock?

By Frederick W. Smith and P.X. Kelley
Friday, August 11, 2006; Page A19

Could a mere 4 percent shortfall in daily oil supply propel the price of a barrel to more than $120 in a matter of days? That's what some oil market experts are saying, and if they're correct, we face the very real possibility of an oil shock wave that could send our economy reeling. Such a rapid rise in fuel costs would have profound effects that could severely threaten the foundation of America's economic prosperity.
My recent move is in no small part a matter of dealing with the fact of higher gas prices. With the other things pulling at my paycheck - some of which I could certainly do without, others I find necessary for my own happiness and (what little) peace of mind I have - I decided I could no longer afford to buy a tank of gas every single week. The move will essentially halve my gas requirements, saving me, at current prices, about $70 each monthl; about the cost of the new "Coach" I so seriously need.

The authors give a helpful refresher on the economics of world oil production and consumption, and how the costs of our military efforts to ensure access to that oil are not only skyrocketing, they are actually driving the prices higher by making oil producing regions even more dangerous places, requiring even more efforts
of some kind to prevent losing access to the resource entirely.

Here are their main Calls to Action. They are aimed at Government and Business Leaders but, in Democratic Societies, such leaders are only motivated by the greatest number of people - because together, the masses of the middle class and poor have more power to change who the Political are than do the few though phenomenally wealthy Business Leaders.

We've got to understand and support our most affluent in A LOT of ways. They lead us forward and have worked hard and efficaciously towards
our having more comfortable and interesting lives in an evolving world of technology and culture. We simply can't let them lead us all to everyone's demise by virtue of their right to take as much remuneration for their efforts as they decide their efforts are worth.
[Link] Considering the potentially devastating impact of an oil crisis, the time has come for new voices, especially those of business leaders and retired national security officials, to join the call for meaningful government action to reduce projected U.S. oil consumption. Our respective personal experiences -- running a global transportation and logistics company and spearheading the establishment of an independent U.S. Central Command in the Middle East -- convince us that America's extreme dependence on oil is an unacceptable threat to national security and prosperity.

During the coming months, we will be co-chairing the Energy Security Leadership Council, a new and intensive effort by business executives and retired military officers to advance a national energy strategy for reducing U.S. oil dependence. Although drawn from very different backgrounds, the members of the council are united in the belief that a fundamental shift in energy policy can prevent an unprecedented economic and national security calamity.

As President Bush and members of Congress construct a strategy for energy security, several central principles should guide them:

The most substantial, rapid and cost-effective gains are almost certain to be achieved by making our transportation system more fuel-efficient. To be sure, the search for increased oil, natural gas and alternative energy supplies merits support, as do strategies for controlling industrial demand. But the transportation sector relies on oil for 97 percent of its energy needs and accounts for 68 percent of total U.S. oil consumption. With the right incentives, America's engineers and businesses could soon provide better vehicle technologies, a more efficient movement of goods and many other smart solutions. Substantially reducing demand in the transportation sector would help ensure availability of affordable supplies for critical industrial, commercial and consumer needs.

Pure market economics will never solve this problem. Markets do not account for the hidden and indirect costs of oil dependence. Businesses focused on the highest return on investment are not always in a position to implement new solutions, many of which depend on technologies and fuels that cannot currently compete with the marginal cost of producing a barrel of oil. Most important of all, the marketplace alone will not act preemptively to mitigate the enormous damage that would be inflicted by a sudden, serious and sustained price increase.

Government leadership is absolutely necessary. Many of the most promising solutions on both the demand and supply sides will require decades to mature. Government proposals should align the interests of businesses and individuals with society's goals; for example, tax credits and similar incentives must allow businesses to recover investments and engage in essential long-range planning, and they must account for the high implicit discount rates that consumers apply to future savings. While recent legislation has pointed us in the right direction, bolder action must be taken.

Whatever the eventual shape of a credible energy security plan, significant public and private resources will be required to put policy into practice. The government needs to do more than just provide funds, though; it must sustain a strategic energy policy even if oil prices drop in the medium term. This is only fitting given the size and nature of the threat. Indeed, if it means condemning the country to another decade of energy dependence, the possible return of $50 oil should be no less frightening than the prospect of an oil shock wave.

Frederick W. Smith is chairman, president and chief executive of FedEx Corp. P. X. Kelley, a retired general, was commandant of the Marine Corps and a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President Ronald Reagan. They are co-chairmen of the Energy Security Leadership Council, a project of Securing America's Future Energy.


I forgot to change the post date from yesterday, when I started it, to today. Done, now.


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