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Archive for Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Bad ideas

July 25, 2012

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To the editor:

Trudy Rubin is a generally competent reporter on the Middle East. What she does not seem to understand is that the United States has no business overthrowing foreign governments. Syria, like Iraq, Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, Jordan and Lebanon, are lines on a map drawn up after World War I to divide up the Ottoman Empire, as well as reward the friends of T.E. Lawrence.

Syria is an authoritarian state controlled by the Baath Party. To an extent, like Iraq under Saddam Hussein, it has fairly secular policies. The “rebels” who are mostly Sunni and, to a great extent, foreign would install a “democracy” under their terms. Those terms sound like the terms in Libya, which now flies the al-Qaida flag. This is bad news for Christian, Shia, Alawite and Druse residents. We’re talking Sunni theocracy.

The “rebels” have rejected proposals that would include Assad in negotiations. They want recognition without question.  And we are currently arming through Qatar.

Bad ideas are bad ideas are bad ideas.

Comments

Fred Mertz 2 years, 4 months ago

War, what's it good for? It is only good as a last resort when your country is under immediate threat. The US needs to stop sending our men and women into harms way under the guise of protecting our freedoms when in reality we are just meddling in foreign affairs that don't threaten us.

We should ask us if we are prepared to annihilate the country and it's people? If the answer is no then the threat is not great enough to engage in war.

And no more wars at the discretion of the President. Let's go back to requiring Congress to declare warrant before we send our men and women to their deaths.

Abdu Omar 2 years, 4 months ago

Where were you when GW Bush did that? Supporting him 100% I am sure. We should never meddle in foreign affairs unless they directly threaten us, but then where is our morality? Where is American sense of justice? We don't meddle in Israeli affairs even though they kill innocent Palestinians for fear the elected officials won't be re-elected. We meddled in Iraq's affairs for a reason yet to be explained but understood by many as a protection of Israel. America should not meddle with anyone in the Middle East.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 4 months ago

We didn't meddle when Iraq and Iran fought a protracted war that resulted in a million dead. We didn't meddle when Saddam gassed the Kurds. It seems that meddling results in many, many deaths while not meddling results in many, many deaths. But I wonder, wounded, is there a number you might have in mind when meddling becomes justifiable? Is five million dead too low? Or can one people be wiped out entirely as long as the number stays below a certain threshold?

Fred Mertz 2 years, 4 months ago

What do you mean we don't meddle in Isreal's affairs? We are always sticking out nose in their business and we should stop it and stop backing them. They need to stand on their own.

Here is the bright line. If we feel strongly enough about a country killing its citizens then Congress should declare war on that country the president should not unilaterally commit our troops. In this way we the people have a voice.

Liberty275 2 years, 4 months ago

"War, what's it good for? It is only good as a last resort when your country is under immediate threat."

If a country is exterminating part of it's populace over political differences, is it right to sit back and watch them do it?

Getaroom 2 years, 4 months ago

America will not send in "boots", it is too complicated and a sure way to lose lives by the hundreds and had this been an option it would have already happened. Syria is whole different ball game. It is has a small footprint, which means places to hide while fighting, is at a premium. The rebels have yet to take over and hold a village, or town because they are not well armed - yet.

The real question is, which of the opposition fighters do we arm so that we can overthrow them later as we always do, being who "we" are.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 4 months ago

Our options are bad and very bad. And we don't know which is which. Yet we expect our leaders to make decisions that lead to good outcomes. Good luck with that.

dncinnanc 2 years, 4 months ago

Follow the money. How large is the Department of Defense's budget? How much of that is contracted out, and to which companies? Who would NOT profit if we were not engaging in conflict/war?

jhawkinsf 2 years, 4 months ago

Imagine the flow of oil stopping today worldwide. What would happen?

I would see tractors stopping in the middle of fields. Farmers unable to harvest their crops. Food prices soaring here. A depression the likes of which we may never have experienced, not even during the Great Depression.

I see worldwide famine with millions dead as farmers around the world experience what we would experience, yet with less ability to deal with the consequences. I see instability around the world with many more millions dead as a result.

I see places like China trying to avoid that instability by seizing the oil they need in any way they need to get it. Military adventurism will exceed anything we have now. And I don't see them taking what they want using polite words. I see great violence and genocide.

It seems foolish that we've allowed ourselves to become so dependent upon one resource that these things become possible. Yet here we are, dealing with that reality. And even if we decide to change our path and become less dependent, or even independent, unless others do likewise, the threat remains.

So, as I said above, our options are bad and very bad, without a clue as to which path will lead to which result. Good luck.

asixbury 2 years, 4 months ago

Relax regulations to what cost? The environment and animals that will be destroyed? Sorry, too much negative affects will result from relaxing those restrictions.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 4 months ago

I'd rather the U.S. invest now in sustainable, clean energies. I'd rather sell those technologies to China than buy from them in a few years.

Abdu Omar 2 years, 4 months ago

As has been stated a million times on this board, the political parties of this country have little to do with the price of oil. The oil is a commodity traded on a global basis and the Congress, the President and the Judicial have nothing to do with the price of oil. The refusal to open certain areas of alternative resouces is due to the environment and that alone can kill us faster than any war. Get used to being safe from natural events.

asixbury 2 years, 4 months ago

The Keystone would only produce temporary jobs at the great determent of the environment it runs through. Canada's business will be the only one seeing any profit from it. Drilling restrictions are there for a reason. How soon do you forget about the BP spill? Oil is the past, not the future of energy. Although disastors may be rare, when they happen, it is too great of a risk to the environment to take lightly.

Michael Pinegar 2 years, 4 months ago

We could go after OUR owwn abundance of oil,and do more "drill baby drill"! If we. Had done this sooner. It might have made a difference..

tbaker 2 years, 4 months ago

The US needs to stay out of this. We should send humanitarian assistance and nothing else. The last 10+ years of foriegn wars have done nothing for us other than a lot of military funerals and a lot of spending borrowed money on people and cultures who continue to hate us. The Middle East is determined to live in the 12th century. I say we let them. If they get out of line and export trouble to the US or screw around with the world's oil supply we do a quick, punative raid and give them something to think about - but we don't stay.

tbaker 2 years, 4 months ago

You're right. It isn't. It's our job to protect what is in our national interest, and at the moment the oil in the Middle East is in our national interest. "Alternative" fuels should replace crude oil-based fuels, starting with CNG which is ready to be a bridge fuel right now. It will be decades until the other stuff is viable.

There is no good reason to continuing using gasoline for transportation fuel. CNG is twice as clean as gasoline and about 40% of the cost, and we don't need to import it.

tbaker 2 years, 4 months ago

My Grandpa was running his pickup off CNG in the 60's. Seen any Algae fuel filling stations around? How about hydrogen? Can you top off a tank of that in Lawrence? What about biomass Methanol? Pump any of that lately? Find a battery car that will run 80 down the interstate for 400 miles yet? CNG is ready NOW and has been for decades. Ever stop and figure out the total net carbon footprint of a gallon of gasoline equivalent of corn ethanol? You should. Refining crude oil into gasoline is better for the environment by comparison, not to mention the huge subsidies paid on corn and how much it drives up the price of everything that depends on corn. CNG is way cheaper and an order of magnitude cleaner that crude oil based fuels. If you really care about the environment, not to mention all the money it will save people, then you should be howling for this stuff. Instead you spew the same tired liberal dogma and vitriol in a clumsy attempt to pass it off as rational argument. Fail indeed. Wise up.

BTW, if we burned domestic CNG as a replaement for gasoline applications, we would no longer need to import oil from the middle east, hence it would no longer be in our national interest to care about that part of the world, so yes, India and China can go play with those corrupt savages all they want at that point. That would be a happy day in my book.

Crazy_Larry 2 years, 4 months ago

Electric Car Breaks 500 Mile Barrier -- http://www.forbes.com/sites/karstenstrauss/2012/07/13/electric-car-breaks-500-mile-barrier/

T. Boone Pickens has a plan whereby a substantial portion of vehicles in America will be ran on compressed natural gas. http://www.pickensplan.com/

asixbury 2 years, 4 months ago

We don't want to risk the horrific effects the Keystone pipeline could (and probably would) have on the environment, especially the aquifer. That is not silly. That supply wasn't coming to us, anyway; it is being shipped off to another country. Why risk our environment to help someone become rich(er)?

tbaker 2 years, 4 months ago

The oil companies care more about the environment than the government does. The EPA lets industry pollute, so long as it stays below some arbitrary standard. If a pipeline leaks, or an oil tanker hits a shoal, or a drilling rig explodes and sinks in the gulf, the oil company gets hammered with billions in fines, not to mention lost production.

jafs 2 years, 4 months ago

And, yet they continue to use practices that result in huge environmental damage.

Apparently the fines are just a "cost of doing business" and don't do much to change their behavior.

jhawkinsf 2 years, 4 months ago

Maybe there is just a certain inherent level of risk that no amount of behavioral change will eliminate the risk.

I suspect that the pipelines being installed today are of a better quality with less risk of failure than those being installed twenty years ago. And those were better than the ones installed forty years ago. Yet pipeline failures of the newest pipes will still happen. They did change their behavior, changing the pipes.

Those who didn't change their behavior was we the consumer. We drive our SUVs that get less MPGs than Toyotas of a generation ago, of two generations ago. We demand more and more. Every day I see some guy driving an F-350 Super Heavy pickup truck that never will see anything put in the bed, other than groceries. Yes, he's a "real" man. And when the pipeline breaks, we blame the oil companies.

jafs 2 years, 4 months ago

Maybe.

But, I wonder if there were more substantial penalties, or different kinds, what would happen. The BP spill wasn't a huge surprise to the folks that predicted problems with the rig.

I don't drive an SUV, and never have, and almost certainly never will.

It's true that an aspect of this that doesn't get discussed enough is conservation, and how we can easily and voluntarily lower our consumption of a number of valuable and scarce resource - I'm wholeheartedly in favor of that, and practice what I preach.

tbaker 2 years, 4 months ago

Saying an pipeline would "probably" leak is baseless speculation.

Saying a pipeline probably wouldn't leak is a statement that could be supported by decades of empirical data that demonstrates that leaks in oil pipelines are very rare.

They are rare because leaks in oil pipelines cost HUGE amounts of money starting with lost production. Don't forget - hundreds of millions of dollars in capitol investment are sunk into these things before they produce a penny of revenue (let alone profit)

BTW, the shale new oil fields in North Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, etc would ship oil to refineries on the gulf coast with this pipeline, so yes, the supply really was coming to us.

Consider the environmental impact of NOT building the pipeline. What will have to be done to get that oil to market without a pipeline is a far worse net impact. Even Bill Clinton thinks Keystone is a good idea.

jafs 2 years, 4 months ago

From things that have been posted before, the company wanting to build the pipeline has a history of understating the leaks and problems with their products.

Bill Clinton also thought DOMA and NAFTA were good ideas.

tbaker 2 years, 4 months ago

Then we sick the EPA on them and fine the crap out of them. We insist on EXTRA precautions be taken, etc. We put men on the moon. We can figure out how to make a safe pipeline.

We need domestic energy so we can stop buying it from people who hate us.

We need the jobs this will produce.

The environmental impacy of getting this oil to the refinary without the pipeline is as bad or worse than the pipeline itself.

Not doing this project is our country going backwards. The sooner we can get gasoline applications running on CNG, the better. There is no reason to burn crude-oil based fuels for most light transportation.

jafs 2 years, 4 months ago

The same folks that are gung-ho about this pipeline generally oppose stringent EPA regulations, etc.

We could also cut down voluntarily on our consumption, which would also help with that problem.

The jobs will be small in number and temporary.

Not sure that's true - source?

What does this have to do with CNG? It's not a CNG pipeline, is it?

Fred Mertz 2 years, 4 months ago

It isn't about oil in Syria it is about getting reflected. Obama won't engage in another war before the next election.

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