I was checking the different news sites today to see what was happening and I stumbled upon this “story” on Yahoo News.
The story is really the results of an opinion poll conducted by Yahoo under the banner of their Ask America campaign. They couple the poll to small stories about the military’s efforts (led by politicians like the former US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, not soldiers) to incorporate green energy into the military.
[As a side note, I am working on a piece about the people behind Yahoo News and exactly where they come from and whom they support.]
The poll question is:
With energy legislation in a congressional logjam, can the U.S. military lead the way to a green revolution?
The results show overwhelming support for the “Yes” position. I am not going to dispute the results of the poll or tell you that this is not a true barometer of what the nation really thinks. I have no factual basis to dispute the numbers or back them up. What I do have is a factual basis for is WHY the answer must be NO.
I am not a believer in human caused climate change. I am a believer in human caused pollution, garbage, and general ickiness. What this means is that while I don’t believe we are melting the icebergs any more than God is (imagine the arrogance if I believed that), I do think we should be keeping the planet clean. My argument against the military leading the way to a green revolution is the other green: money.
As it stands today, green energy sources are too expensive. It is a fact that the reason that they have not taken off in the private sector is their expense. The mainstream application of wind and solar power has only come through government mandates across the globe. A big part of this high cost is due to the inefficiencies of the processes themselves. These inefficiencies mean that larger amounts of real estate are required for wind turbines and solar panels to produce the same energy that coal or oil need to produce the same amount of energy. Biofuels are not much better. Along with their higher costs to produce energy, there is the added effect that they drive up food prices and create shortages as plants are reallocated to energy production. Based on these cost and efficiency problems, a green revolution would vastly increase the costs and budget of the military.
That would bring us to a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation. If the military just takes on this expense, the defense budget will bloat and add to the deficit. However, in today’s political climate, that is not likely to be the effect for long. Either the budget will be cut proactively, reducing deployment of much-needed resources to fight terror, or the budget will be cut later, still reducing the deployment of much-needed resources.
The green revolution proposed would add to the deficit and weaken the military. It’s a lose-lose. Mind you, the argument to go green is not related to environmental arguments in this article. The impetus is from the desire to remove our dependency on foreign oil. This is a noble objective, and should be pursued, but a green revolution is only one way to get there. We should be borrowing from Malcolm X and have a “by any means necessary” approach to energy. This will give us lower costs now, and fuel (pardon the pun) the initiatives to improve the efficiencies and lower the costs of green energy. These improvements will translate to the private sector and commercial world. I have said this before, but quotas of power sources only create consortiums of special interest and lobbying groups. They decrease innovation and any interest in creating cost savings.
What is also bothersome about this call by Yahoo and its users for a green revolution to begin with the military, is that these advocates are behaving completely ignorant of the purpose of the military. The purpose is to defend our people and our boarders, nothing more. The military is not meant to be part of any social or economic experiments. It is meant to defend the American way of life, not shape it.