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This incisive article was written on April 30, 2003, by historian and political scientist Jacques Pauwels.
Wars are a terrible waste of lives and resources, and for that reason most people are in principle opposed to wars. The American President, on the other hand, seems to love war. Why? Many commentators have sought the answer in psychological factors. Some opined that George W. Bush considered it his duty to finish the job started, but for some obscure reason not completed, by his father at the time of the Gulf War; others believe that Bush Junior expected a short and triumphant war which would guarantee him a second term in the White House.
I believe that we must look elsewhere for an explanation for the attitude of the American President.
The fact that Bush is keen on war has little or nothing to do with his psyche, but a great deal with the American economic system. This system – America’s brand of capitalism – functions first and foremost to make extremely rich Americans like the Bush “money dynasty” even richer. Without warm or cold wars, however, this system can no longer produce the expected result in the form of the ever-higher profits the moneyed and powerful of America consider as their birthright.
The great strength of American capitalism is also its great weakness, namely, its extremely high productivity. In the historical development of the international economic system that we call capitalism, a number of factors have produced enormous increases in productivity, for example, the mechanization of the production process that got under way in England as early as the 18th century. In the early 20th century, then, American industrialists made a crucial contribution in the form of the automatization of work by means of new techniques such as the assembly line. The latter was an innovation introduced by Henry Ford, and those techniques have therefore become collectively known as “Fordism.” The productivity of the great American enterprises rose spectacularly.
For example, already in the 1920s, countless vehicles rolled off the assembly lines of the automobile factories of Michigan every single day. But who was supposed to buy all those cars? Most Americans at the time did not have sufficiently robust pocket books for such a purchase. Other industrial products similarly flooded the market, and the result was the emergence of a chronic disharmony between the ever-increasing economic supply and the lagging demand. Thus arose the economic crisis generally known as the Great Depression. It was essentially a crisis of overproduction. Warehouses were bursting with unsold commodities, factories laid off workers, unemployment exploded, and so the purchasing power of the American people shrunk even more, making the crisis even worse.
It cannot be denied that in America the Great Depression only ended during, and because of, the Second World War. (Even the greatest admirers of President Roosevelt admit that his much-publicized New Deal policies brought little or no relief.) Economic demand rose spectacularly when the war which had started in Europe, and in which the USA itself was not an active participant before 1942, allowed American industry to produce unlimited amounts of war equipment. Between 1940 and 1945, the American state would spend no less than 185 billion dollar on such equipment, and the military expenditures’ share of the GNP thus rose between 1939 and 1945 from an insignificant 1,5 per cent to approximately 40 per cent. In addition, American industry also supplied gargantuan amounts of equipment to the British and even the Soviets via Lend-Lease. (In Germany, meanwhile, the subsidiaries of American corporations such as Ford, GM, and ITT produced all sorts of planes and tanks and other martial toys for the Nazi’s, also after Pearl Harbor, but that is a different story.) The key problem of the Great Depression – the disequilibrium between supply and demand – was thus resolved because the state “primed the pump” of economic demand by means of huge orders of a military nature.
As far as ordinary Americans were concerned, Washington’s military spending orgy brought not only virtually full employment but also much higher wages than ever before; it was during the Second World War that the widespread misery associated with the Great Depression came to an end and that a majority of the American people achieved an unprecedented degree of prosperity. However, the greatest beneficiaries by far of the wartime economic boom were the country’s businesspeople and corporations, who realized extraordinary profits. Between 1942 and 1945, writes the historian Stuart D. Brandes, the net profits of America’s 2,000 biggest firms were more than 40 per cent higher than during the period 1936-1939. Such a “profit boom” was possible, he explains, because the state ordered billions of dollars of military equipment, failed to institute price controls, and taxed profits little if at all. This largesse benefited the American business world in general, but in particular that relatively restricted elite of big corporations known as “big business” or “corporate America.” During the war, a total of less than 60 firms obtained 75 per cent of all lucrative military and other state orders. The big corporations – Ford, IBM, etc. – revealed themselves to be the “war hogs,” writes Brandes, that gormandized at the plentiful trough of the state’s military expenditures. IBM, for example, increased its annual sales between 1940 and 1945 from 46 to 140 million dollar thanks to war-related orders, and its profits skyrocketed accordingly.
America’s big corporations exploited their Fordist expertise to the fullest in order to boost production, but even that was not sufficient to meet the wartime needs of the American state. Much more equipment was needed, and in order to produce it, America needed new factories and even more efficient technology. These new assets were duly stamped out of the ground, and on account of this the total value of all productive facilities of the nation increased between 1939 and 1945 from 40 to 66 billion dollar. However, it was not the private sector that undertook all these new investments; on account of its disagreeable experiences with overproduction during the thirties, America’s businesspeople found this task too risky. So the state did the job by investing 17 billion dollar in more than 2,000 defense-related projects. In return for a nominal fee, privately owned corporations were permitted to rent these brand-new factories in order to produce…and to make money by selling the output back to the state. Moreover, when the war was over and Washington decided to divest itself of these investments, the nation’s big corporations purchased them for half, and in many cases only one third, of the real value.
How did America finance the war, how did Washington pay the lofty bills presented by GM, ITT, and the other corporate suppliers of war equipment? The answer is: partly by means of taxation – about 45 per cent -, but much more through loans – approximately 55 per cent. On account of this, the public debt increased dramatically, namely, from 3 billion dollar in 1939 to no less than 45 billion dollar in 1945. In theory, this debt should have been reduced, or wiped out altogether, by levying taxes on the huge profits pocketed during the war by America’s big corporations, but the reality was different. As already noted, the American state failed to meaningfully tax corporate America’s windfall profits, allowed the public debt to mushroom, and paid its bills, and the interest on its loans, with its general revenues, that is, by means of the income generated by direct and indirect taxes. Particularly on account of the regressive Revenue Act introduced in October 1942, these taxes were paid increasingly by workers and other low-income Americans, rather than by the super-rich and the corporations of which the latter were the owners, major shareholders, and/or top managers. “The burden of financing the war,” observes the American historian Sean Dennis Cashman, “[was] sloughed firmly upon the shoulders of the poorer members of society.”
However, the American public, preoccupied by the war and blinded by the bright sun of full employment and high wages, failed to notice this. Affluent Americans, on the other hand, were keenly aware of the wonderful way in which the war generated money for themselves and for their corporations. Incidentally, it was also from the rich businesspeople, bankers, insurers and other big investors that Washington borrowed the money needed to finance the war; corporate America thus also profited from the war by pocketing the lion’s share of the interests generated by the purchase of the famous war bonds. In theory, at least, the rich and powerful of America are the great champions of so-called free enterprise, and they oppose any form of state intervention in the economy. During the war, however, they never raised any objections to the way in which the American state managed and financed the economy, because without this large-scale dirigist violation of the rules of free enterprise, their collective wealth could never have proliferated as it did during those years.
During the Second World War, the wealthy owners and top managers of the big corporations learned a very important lesson: during a war there is money to be made, lots of money. In other words, the arduous task of maximizing profits – the key activity within the capitalist American economy – can be absolved much more efficiently through war than through peace; however, the benevolent cooperation of the state is required. Ever since the Second World War, the rich and powerful of America have remained keenly conscious of this. So is their man in the White House today [2003, i.e. George W. Bush], the scion of a “money dynasty” who was parachuted into the White House in order to promote the interests of his wealthy family members, friends, and associates in corporate America, the interests of money, privilege, and power.
In the spring of 1945 it was obvious that the war, fountainhead of fabulous profits, would soon be over. What would happen then? Among the economists, many Cassandras conjured up scenarios that loomed extremely unpleasant for America’s political and industrial leaders. During the war, Washington’s purchases of military equipment, and nothing else, had restored the economic demand and thus made possible not only full employment but also unprecedented profits. With the return of peace, the ghost of disharmony between supply and demand threatened to return to haunt America again, and the resulting crisis might well be even more acute than the Great Depression of the “dirty thirties,” because during the war years the productive capacity of the nation had increased considerably, as we have seen. Workers would have to be laid off precisely at the moment when millions of war veterans would come home looking for a civilian job, and the resulting unemployment and decline in purchasing power would aggravate the demand deficit. Seen from the perspective of America’s rich and powerful, the coming unemployment was not a problem; what did matter was that the golden age of gargantuan profits would come to an end. Such a catastrophe had to be prevented, but how?
Military state expenditures were the source of high profits. In order to keep the profits gushing forth generously, new enemies and new war threats were urgently needed now that Germany and Japan were defeated. How fortunate that the Soviet Union existed, a country which during the war had been a particularly useful partner who had pulled the chestnuts out of the fire for the Allies in Stalingrad and elsewhere, but also a partner whose communist ideas and practices allowed it to be easily transformed into the new bogeyman of the United States. Most American historians now admit that in 1945 the Soviet Union, a country that had suffered enormously during the war, did not constitute a threat at all to the economically and militarily far superior USA, and that Washington itself did not perceive the Soviets as a threat. These historians also acknowledge that Moscow was very keen to work closely together with Washington in the postwar era.
Indeed, Moscow had nothing to gain, and everything to lose, from a conflict with superpower America, which was brimming with confidence thanks to its monopoly of the atom bomb. However, America – corporate America, the America of the super-rich – urgently needed a new enemy in order to justify the titanic expenditures for “defense” which were needed to keep the wheels of the nation’s economy spinning at full speed also after the end of the war, thus keeping profit margins at the required – or rather, desired – high levels, or even to increase them. It is for this reason that the Cold War was unleashed in 1945, not by the Soviets but by the American “military-industrial” complex, as President Eisenhower would call that elite of wealthy individuals and corporations that knew how to profit from the “warfare economy.”
In this respect, the Cold War exceeded their fondest expectations. More and more martial equipment had to be cranked out, because the allies within the so-called “free world”, which actually included plenty of nasty dictatorships, had to be armed to the teeth with US equipment. In addition, America’s own armed forces never ceased demanding bigger, better, and more sophisticated tanks, planes, rockets, and, yes, chemical and bacteriological weapons and other weapons of mass destruction. For these goods, the Pentagon was always ready to pay huge sums without asking difficult questions. As had been the case during the Second World War, it was again primarily the large corporations who were allowed to fill the orders. The Cold War generated unprecedented profits, and they flowed into the coffers of those extremely wealthy individuals who happened to be the owners, top managers, and/or major shareholders of these corporations. (Does it come as a surprise that in the United States newly retired Pentagon generals are routinely offered jobs as consultants by large corporations involved in military production, and that businessmen linked with those corporations are regularly appointed as high-ranking officials of the Department of Defense, as advisors of the President, etc.?)
During the Cold War too, the American state financed its skyrocketing military expenditures by means of loans, and this caused the public debt to rise to dizzying heights. In 1945 the public debt stood at “only” 258 billion dollar, but in 1990 – when the Cold War ground to an end – it amounted to no less than 3.2 trillion dollar! This was a stupendous increase, also when one takes the inflation rate into account, and it caused the American state to become the world’s greatest debtor. (Incidentally, in July 2002 the American public debt had reached 6.1 trillion dollar.) Washington could and should have covered the cost of the Cold War by taxing the huge profits achieved by the corporations involved in the armament orgy, but there was never any question of such a thing. In 1945, when the Second World War come to an end and the Cold War picked up the slack, corporations still paid 50 per cent of all taxes, but during the course of the Cold War this share shrunk consistently, and today it only amounts to approximately 1 per cent.
This was possible because the nation’s big corporations largely determine what the government in Washington may or may not do, also in the field of fiscal policy. In addition, lowering the tax burden of corporations was made easier because after the Second World War these corporations transformed themselves into multinationals, “at home everywhere and nowhere,” as an American author has written in connection with ITT, and therefore find it easy to avoid paying meaningful taxes anywhere. Stateside, where they pocket the biggest profits, 37 per cent of all American multinationals – and more than 70 per cent of all foreign multinationals – paid not a single dollar of taxes in 1991, while the remaining multinationals remitted less than 1 per cent of their profits in taxes.
The sky-high costs of the Cold War were thus not borne by those who profited from it and who, incidentally, also continued to pocket the lion’s share of the dividends paid on government bonds, but by the American workers and the American middle class. These low- and middle-income Americans did not receive a penny from the profits yielded so profusely by the Cold War, but they did receive their share of the enormous public debt for which that conflict was largely responsible. It is they, therefore, who were really saddled with the costs of the Cold War, and it is they who continue to pay with their taxes for a disproportionate share of the burden of the public debt.
In other words, while the profits generated by the Cold War were privatized to the advantage of an extremely wealthy elite, its costs were ruthlessly socialized to the great detriment of all other Americans. During the Cold War, the American economy degenerated into a gigantic swindle, into a perverse redistribution of the nation’s wealth to the advantage of the rich and to the disadvantage not only of the poor and of the working class but also of the middle class, whose members tend to subscribe to the myth that the American capitalist system serves their interests. Indeed, while the wealthy and powerful of America accumulated ever-greater riches, the prosperity achieved by many other Americans during the Second World War was gradually eroded, and the general standard of living declined slowly but steadily.
During the Second World War America had witnessed a modest redistribution of the collective wealth of the nation to the advantage of the less privileged members of society. During the Cold War, however, the rich Americans became richer while the non-wealthy – and certainly not only the poor – became poorer. In 1989, the year the Cold War petered out, more than 13 per cent of all Americans – approximately 31 million individuals – were poor according to the official criteria of poverty, which definitely understate the problem. Conversely, today 1 per cent of all Americans own no less than 34 per cent of the nation’s aggregate wealth. In no major “Western” country is the wealth distributed more unevenly.
The minuscule percentage of super-rich Americans found this development extremely satisfactory. They loved the idea of accumulating more and more wealth, of aggrandizing their already huge assets, at the expense of the less privileged. They wanted to keep things that way or, if at all possible, make this sublime scheme even more efficient. However, all good things must come to an end, and in 1989/90 the bountiful Cold War elapsed. That presented a serious problem. Ordinary Americans, who knew that they had borne the costs of this war, expected a “peace dividend.”
They thought that the money the state had spent on military expenditures might now be used to produce benefits for themselves, for example in the form of a national health insurance and other social benefits which Americans in contrast to most Europeans have never enjoyed. In 1992, Bill Clinton would actually win the presidential election by dangling out the prospect of a national health plan, which of course never materialized. A “peace dividend” was of no interest whatsoever to the nation’s wealthy elite, because the provision of social services by the state does not yield profits for entrepreneurs and corporations, and certainly not the lofty kind of profits generated by military state expenditures. Something had to be done, and had to be done fast, to prevent the threatening implosion of the state’s military spending.
America, or rather, corporate America, was orphaned of its useful Soviet enemy, and urgently needed to conjure up new enemies and new threats in order to justify a high level of military spending. It is in this context that in 1990 Saddam Hussein appeared on the scene like a kind ofdeus ex machina. This tin-pot dictator had previously been perceived and treated by the Americans as a good friend, and he had been armed to the teeth so that he could wage a nasty war against Iran; it was the USA – and allies such as Germany – who originally supplied him with all sorts of weapons. However, Washington was desperately in need of a new enemy, and suddenly fingered him as a terribly dangerous “new Hitler,” against whom war needed to be waged urgently, even though it was clear that a negotiated settlement of the issue of Iraq’s occupation of Kuwait was not out of the question.
George Bush Senior was the casting agent who discovered this useful new nemesis of America, and who unleashed the Gulf War, during which Baghdad was showered with bombs and Saddam’s hapless recruits were slaughtered in the desert. The road to the Iraqi capital lay wide-open, but the Marines’ triumphant entry into Baghdad was suddenly scrapped. Saddam Hussein was left in power so that the threat he was supposed to form might be invoked again in order to justify keeping America in arms. After all, the sudden collapse of the Soviet Union had shown how inconvenient it can be when one loses a useful foe.
And so Mars could remain the patron saint of the American economy or, more accurately, the godfather of the corporate Mafia that manipulates this war-driven economy and reaps its huge profits without bearing its costs. The despised project of a peace dividend could be unceremoniously buried, and military expenditures could remain the dynamo of the economy and the wellspring of sufficiently high profits. Those expenditures increased relentlessly during the 1990s. In 1996, for example, they amounted to no less than 265 billion dollars, but when one adds the unofficial and/or indirect military expenditures, such as the interests paid on loans used to finance past wars, the 1996 total came to approximately 494 billion dollar, amounting to an outlay of 1.3 billion dollar per day! However, with only a considerably chastened Saddam as bogeyman, Washington found it expedient also to look elsewhere for new enemies and threats. Somalia temporarily looked promising, but in due course another “new Hitler” was identified in the Balkan Peninsula in the person of the Serbian leader, Milosevic. During much of the nineties, then, conflicts in the former Yugoslavia provided the required pretexts for military interventions, large-scale bombing operations, and the purchase of more and newer weapons.
The “warfare economy” could thus continue to run on all cylinders also after the Gulf War. However, in view of occasional public pressure such as the demand for a peace dividend, it is not easy to keep this system going. (The media present no problem, as newspapers, magazines, TV stations, etc. are either owned by big corporations or rely on them for advertising revenue.) As mentioned earlier, the state has to cooperate, so in Washington one needs men and women one can count upon, preferably individuals from the very own corporate ranks, individuals totally committed to use the instrument of military expenditures in order to provide the high profits that are needed to make the very rich of America even richer. In this respect, Bill Clinton had fallen short of expectations, and corporate America could never forgive his original sin, namely, that he had managed to have himself elected by promising the American people a “peace dividend” in the form of a system of health insurance.
On account of this, in 2000 it was arranged that not the Clinton-clone Al Gore moved into the White House but a team of militarist hardliners, virtually without exception representatives of wealthy, corporate America, such as Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Rice, and of course George W. Bush himself, son of the man who had shown with his Gulf War how it could be done; the Pentagon, too, was directly represented in the Bush Cabinet in the person of the allegedly peace-loving Powell, in reality yet another angel of death. Rambo moved into the White House, and it did not take long for the results to show.
After Bush Junior had been catapulted into the presidency, it looked for some time as if he was going to proclaim China as the new nemesis of America. However, a conflict with that giant loomed somewhat risky; furthermore, all too many big corporations make good money by trading with the People’s Republic. Another threat, preferably less dangerous and more credible, was required to keep the military expenditures at a sufficiently high level. For this purpose, Bush and Rumsfeld and company could have wished for nothing more convenient than the events of September 11, 2001; it is extremely likely that they were aware of the preparations for these monstrous attacks, but that they did nothing to prevent them because they knew that they would be able to benefit from them. In any event, they did take full advantage of this opportunity in order to militarize America more than ever before, to shower bombs on people who had nothing to do with 9/11, to wage war to their hearts’ content, and thus for corporations that do business with the Pentagon to ring up unprecedented sales. Bush declared war not on a country but on terrorism, an abstract concept against which one cannot really wage war and against which a definitive victory can never be achieved. However, in practice the slogan “war against terrorism” meant that Washington now reserves the right to wage war worldwide and permanently against whomever the White House defines as a terrorist.
And so the problem of the end of the Cold War was definitively resolved, as there was henceforth a justification for ever-increasing military expenditures. The statistics speak for themselves. The 1996 total of 265 billion dollar in military expenditures had already been astronomical, but thanks to Bush Junior the Pentagon was allowed to spend 350 billion in 2002, and for 2003 the President has promised approximately 390 billion; however, it is now virtually certain that the cape of 400 billion dollar will be rounded this year. (In order to finance this military spending orgy, money has to be saved elsewhere, for example by cancelling free lunches for poor children; every little bit helps.) No wonder that George W. struts around beaming with happiness and pride, for he – essentially a spoiled rich kid of very limited talent and intellect – has surpassed the boldest expectations not only of his wealthy family and friends but of corporate America as a whole, to which he owes his job.
9/11 provided Bush with carte blanche to wage war wherever and against whomever he chose, and as this essay has purported to make clear, it does not matter all that much who happens to be fingered as enemy du jour. Last year, Bush showered bombs on Afghanistan, presumably because the leaders of that country sheltered Bin Laden, but recently the latter went out of fashion and it was once again Saddam Hussein who allegedly threatened America. We cannot deal here in detail with the specific reasons why Bush’s America absolutely wanted war with the Iraq of Saddam Hussein and not with, say, North Korea. A major reason for fighting this particular war was that Iraq’s large reserves of oil are lusted after by the US oil trusts with whom the Bushes themselves – and Bushites such as Cheney and Rice, after whom an oil tanker happens to be named – are so intimately linked. The war in Iraq is also useful as a lesson to other Third World countries who fail to dance to Washington’s tune, and as an instrument for emasculating domestic opposition and ramming the extreme right-wing program of an unelected president down the throats of Americans themselves.
The America of wealth and privilege is hooked on war, without regular and ever-stronger doses of war it can no longer function properly, that is, yield the desired profits. Right now, this addiction, this craving is being satisfied by means of a conflict against Iraq, which also happens to be dear to the hearts of the oil barons. However, does anybody believe that the warmongering will stop once Saddam’ scalp will join the Taliban turbans in the trophy display case of George W. Bush? The President has already pointed his finger at those whose turn will soon come, namely, the “axis of evil” countries: Iran, Syria, Lybia, Somalia, North Korea, and of course that old thorn in the side of America, Cuba. Welcome to the 21st century, welcome to George W. Bush’s brave new era of permanent war!
Jacques R. Pauwels is historian and political scientist, author of ‘The Myth of the Good War: America in the Second World War’ (James Lorimer, Toronto, 2002). His book is published in different languages: in English, Dutch, German, Spanish, Italian and French. Together with personalities like Ramsey Clark, Michael Parenti, William Blum, Robert Weil, Michel Collon, Peter Franssen and many others… he signed “The International Appeal against US-War”.
From the International Press on Saturday, March 22, 2003:
The cost to the United States of the war in Iraq and its aftermath could easily exceed $100 billion…Peace-keeping in Iraq and rebuilding the country’s infrastructure could add much more…The Bush administration has stayed tightlipped about the cost of the war and reconstruction…Both the White House and the Pentagon refused to offer any definite figures.
(The International Herald Tribune, 22/03/03)
It is estimated that the war against Iraq will cost approximately 100 billion dollar. In contrast to the Gulf War of 1991, whose cost of 80 million was shared by the Allies, the United States is expected to pay the entire cost of the present war…For the American private sector, i.e. the big corporations, the coming reconstruction of Iraq’s infrastructure will represent a business of 900 million dollar; the first contracts were awarded yesterday (March 21) by the American government to two corporations. (Guido Leboni, “Un coste de 100.000 millones de dolares,” El Mundo, Madrid, 22/03/03)
“The greatest crime since World War II has been U.S. foreign policy.” (Former US Attorney General, Ramsey Clark, b 1927.)
As outlined by Felicity Arbuthnot in this incisive historical review, the US is now providing weapons to the Maliki government to fight Al Qaeda in Iraq and the Levant (AQIL). In a bitter irony, they are also supplying AQIL with weapons to fight the US puppet regime.
This article carefully documents the role of war crimes in feeding the military industrial complex. “War is Good for Business” and so are war crimes. Russia is tacitly complicit in selling weapons to the Iraqi “government” which constitutes a US proxy regime.
The not so hidden objective is twofold: to feed multibillion dollar contracts to the US weapons producers while also contributing to the ongoing destruction of Iraq as a nation state. (GR Editor. M.Ch.)
Iraq War Preparations Behind Closed Door
On February 10th 2003, German Green MP Joschka Fischer, then Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor, stunned an international security conference, in Munich’s opulent 19th century Bayerischer Hof hotel discussing the proposed invasion of Iraq, by banging on the table, switching to English to guarantee Donald Rumsfeld understood and shouted of the US arguments for war: ” … I am not convinced.” As he spoke, he gazed at the then US Defence Secretary over his silver, half framed spectacles, concluding: “That is my problem, I cannot go to the public and say, ‘these are the reasons’, because I don’t believe in them.”
The astute Herr Fischer recognized a pack of lies when he heard them and saved Germany from enjoining a war of aggression – Nuremberg’s “supreme international crime” – against a country which posed no threat and had no way of defending itself against the world’s most devastating and destructive weapons, whose poisonous residual pollution will continue to maim and kill generations to come for all time.
Tony and George W.
Both Tony “I’d do it again” Blair and George W. Bush face a citizen’s arrest whenever they appear in public, with Blair also reiterating with others responsible for bombing Iraq back to a pre-industrial age (again) that the country is a better place without Saddam, “a tyrant who killed his own people.”
In Kurdistan, where the people in the Iran border are were terribly caught in the crossfire from the weapons used by both devastated sides (and sold to both sides by the US) Saddam Hussein was firmly in the firing line for the terrible deaths at Halabja. However a meticulous 1990 US War College Report threw doubt on the facts of even that horror, stating: “Iraq was blamed for the Halabja attack, even though it was subsequently brought out that Iran too had used chemicals in this operation, and it seemed likely that it was the Iranian bombardment that had actually killed the Kurds.” (i)
Further, according to a 2008 study (ii) George W. Bush: “and seven top officials – including Vice President Dick Cheney, former Secretary of State Colin Powell and then National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, made 935 false statements about Iraq” during the two years following 11th September 2001.
However, the US and UK are seemingly remarkably selective when it comes to tyrants who “kill their own people”, and not only have failed to censure their tyrannical Iraqi puppet, Nuri al-Maliki, but are arming him to the teeth with the same weapons which are linked to the horrific birth defects, and cancers throughout Iraq, which he is now using on “his own people.” Moreover, if allegations from very well informed sources that he holds an Iranian passport are correct, to say that US-UK’s despot of choice appears in a whole new political light would be to massively understate.
“Counterterrorism” is “Good for Business”
To facilitate Al-Maliki’s assault on Iraq’s citizens, the US “rushed” seventy five Hellfire missiles to Baghdad in mid-December. On 23rd January Iraq requested a further five hundred Hellfires, costing $82 million – small change compared to the $14 Billion in weapons provided by America since 2005.
The AGM-114R Hellfire II (image below), nauseatingly named “Romeo”, clocked in at: $94,000 each – in 2012. Such spending on weaponry in a country where electricity, clean water, education and health services have all but collapsed since the fall of Saddam Hussein.
Last week an “American cargo jet loaded with weapons” including 2,400 rockets to arm Iraqi attack helicopters also arrived in Baghdad.(iii)
This week a contract was agreed to sell a further twenty four AH-64E attack helicopters (image below) to Iraq “along with spare parts and maintenance, in a massive $6.2 Billion deal.” With them comes the reinvasion of Iraq, with: “hundreds of Americans” to be shipped out “to oversee the training and fielding of equipment”, some are “US government employees”, read military, plus a plethora of “contractors”, read mercenaries. (iv)
According to Jane’s Defence Weekly, on November 15th 2013 Iraq also took delivery of: ” its first shipment of highly advanced Mi-35 attack helicopters as part of a $4.3 Billion arms purchase from Russia”, of an order of: “about 40 Mi-35 and 40 Mi-28 Havoc attack helicopters.”
“Defeating Al Qaeda”, “Saving the Lives of Civilians”
The all to “attack his own people” in the guise of defeating “Al Qaeda” in Anbar province and elsewhere where the people have been peacefully protesting a near one man regime of torture, sectarianism, kangaroo courts which sentence victims who have also had confessions extracted under torture.
The chilling death penalty regime, lead the UN Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay to comment, with considerable understatement: “Weaknesses in the criminal justice system means that the death sentence is often handed down under questionable circumstances in Iraq.”
On 22nd January it was reported that thirty eight people had been executed in the previous four days.(v) In 2013 Iraq had the third highest executions in the world, according to Amnesty International.
So now Al-Maliki is to unleash weapons of mass destruction on any who oppose his reign of terror. Hellfire missiles, also used by the US forces in Fallujah are described as “Thermobaric Hellfire Missiles”(vi) “Their effective performance in Fallujah led to major production contracts in 2005.”
“Thermobaric weapons use high temperature/high pressure explosives as anti-personnel incendiary weapons. They char or vaporise victims in the immediate target location, or suffocate and collapse internal organs with their extended blast/vacuum effects.”
“These weapons use a new generation of reactive metal explosives, some of which are suspected of using Uranium for the high temperature and increased kinetic blast effects. If Uranium enhanced warheads were used in Fallujah these may have contained between ten and one hundred kgs of Uranium per warhead, depending on weapon type.” Ongoing.
They also contain a fuel air explosive (fae) of which:
“The (blast) kill mechanism against living targets is unique and unpleasant … What kills is the pressure wave, and more importantly, the subsequent rarefaction (vacuum) which ruptures the lungs ... If the fuel deflagrates but does not detonate,victims will be severely burned and will probably also inhale the burning fuel. Since the most common fae fuels, ethylene oxide and propylene oxide are highly toxic, undetonated fae should prove as lethal to personnel caught within the cloud as most chemical agents”, according to the US Defence Intelligence Agency. Syria watchers please note. (Emphasis mine.)
The temperature within the detonation can reach 4,500 to 5,400 °F (2,500 to 3,000 °C). Outside the cloud, the blast wave travels at over two miles per second (3.2 km/s) – 7200 mph.
There are also reports of white phosphorous or napalm having being used by Maliki’s forces in Falluja. Certainly if one two minute video is authentic, as it appears to be, a tell tale inflammatory weapon which cannot be extinquished is well apparent. (vii – in Arabic, but the visual speaks for itself.)
On 28th January World Bulletin recorded: “Some 650 people have been killed or injured and 140,000 displaced by indiscriminate army shelling in Iraq’s western city of Fallujah” according to Iraqi Parliament Speaker Osama Nujaifi.
The people of Samarra, whose eye wateringly beautiful, golden domed Al-Askari Mosque was blown up in 2006, offered their homes and hospitality to the people fleeing Fallujah and Anbar province, but Maliki’s security warned Samarra residents not to accept any displaced Fallujah and Anbar families. They were given twenty four hours to leave Samarra, writes a friend in Iraq, adding: “Can you believe such criminality? Forcing the kicking out the refugees who left their houses due to heavy bombing by Maliki’s criminal forces?”
On Thursday 30th January a source with contacts in Fallujah gave the names behind the statistics of just a few of the injured arriving at Fallujah General Hospital:
Iman Mohammed Abdul Razzaq 40 years old (female)
Isaac Saleh Mohammed 4 years (Male)
Abeer Mohammed Saleh 18 years old (female)
Shorooq Borhan Ali 7 years (female)
Ashoaq Mohammed Jassim, 25 years old (female)
Sarah Mohammed Odeh, 13 years old (female)
Fatima Mohammed Odeh, 15 years old (female)
Saleh Mohammed Abdul Razzaq 45 years old (male)
Nobel Peace Laureate Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron’s regimes are as culpable for their continuing support and facilitating of Al-Maliki’s crimes against humanity as were Bush and Blair in the lies that delivered Iraq’s ongoing death and destruction.
But they would do well to note that the escalation of the unrest in Fallujah began on the 30th of December, the anniversary of Saddam Hussein’s execution – by a man who was also called Al-Maliki.
The puppet Iraqi Prime Minister further enraged a justifiably angry population last week with a speech on TV talking of the interference of other countries and their support for terrorist groups. The response was to point out his apparent amnesia over the fact that he entered Iraq on the back of the American tanks in an illegal invasion – and there is still the question of that alleged Iranian passport.
Given the Iraqi’s record of running out of patience with imposed despots, he should watch out. The last imposed Prime Minister called Nuri (al-Said) who ignored, as Wiki puts it: “poverty and social injustice, became a symbol of a regime that failed to address these issues, choosing a course of repression, to protect the privileged”, met a very unpleasant end.
As mentioned before, Iraq’s history repeats in uncanny ways.
“Most gods throw dice, but Fate plays chess, and you don’t find out til too late that he’s been playing with two queens all along.” – Terry Pratchett
There has not been a more enigmatic U.S. President than Barack Obama since Abraham Lincoln. We know so little about Obama. It is certainly true that he has divided the Nation further than any President since Lincoln. But the questions I cannot shake as we enter into our sixth year of his Presidency are: What are his ultimate goals, and how in the world did this African-American junior Senator and former community leader become the most powerful man in the free world?
It is easy to jump to the conclusion that Obama could be a Muslim and a Marxist bent on remaking America into a socialist state much like so many European countries. That Obama has driven an even wider divide between America, between left and right, is beyond debate. That Obama has added nearly $7 trillion to America’s Federal debt is a black-and-white fact.
That is a far cry from 2008 when candidate Obama promised to be a breakaway leader for the American people. Instead, President Obama has proven himself to be a President for Wall Street interests, billionaire bankers and the military-industrial establishment. That during his Presidency, Obama has fulfilled none of the promises to the middle class or to the millions of black Americans who saw him as a ray of hope for a better future is certain. That Obama has helped make the world a more divided and dangerous place for all is undoubtable.
The Tale Of Two Obamas
Charles Dickens wrote A Tale of Two Cities150 years ago about the French Revolution: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness…”
So it has been these past several years with Obama the candidate and as the President.
Beginning in the summer of 2008, it seemed that America could be on the verge of anarchy. It seemed possible that there could be an economic collapse as well as a collapse in confidence in the Federal government and many of the Nation’s institutions. That would lead to a collapse in the New World Order, which the United States underpins. Those forces built up over decades needed somebody transformative, somebody to pull the wool over the eyes of the world. From the shadows stepped Obama, anointed by some as the chosen one and appealing to tens of millions of people at home and hundreds of millions of people abroad.
The real question is by whom was Obama chosen? He had no experience as a leader or a thinker and certainly not as a doer. His past was so checkered it called into question not only his birthplace but his college background, economic beliefs and even his religion. Yet within a year he had become an international sensation, a Nobel Peace Prize winner. That erstwhile kid from Hawaii was a pop star 10 times bigger than Justin Bieber and half as smart.
But rather than change, Obama has doubled down on all the corruption and dysfunction that our Federal government has planted over the past three decades. It was Obama the candidate who attacked George W. Bush’s abuse of executive powers, only to spy upon the Nation with impunity as President. It was Obama the candidate who criticized Bush and the Republicans for the bailouts of big investment banks but then as President provided a no-strings-attached policy after his Administration’s $800 billion bailout, which allowed for record bonuses to top Wall Street executives who scant months before he had vilified.
A Probable Pawn For The NWO
The most startling discrepancy between candidate Obama and President Obama is when it comes to foreign policy. As President, Obama has wielded foreign policy with a broadsword against real or perceived enemies in ways that Dick Cheney must watch with green envy. Consider Obama’s air attacks on Libya.
In December 2007, candidate Obama was asked if a President could bomb Iran without Congressional authorization. Obama’s answer: “The President does not have the power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”
Yet as commander in chief, Obama did not have a problem breaking such a promise and quickly used massive American airpower and sea power against Libya. In 2011, Obama went so far as to go against his legal advisers, insisting he did not need Congressional approval under the War Powers Resolution to continue attacks against Libya beyond the 60-day limit dictated by the resolution. Obama sounded like Bill Clinton when he said that what he had done was dependent on the definition of “sex.” Obama claimed that U.S. attacks were outside the legal definition of “hostilities.”
Even a military hawk like Speaker of the House John Boehner was outraged, saying, “The White House’s suggestion that there are no ‘hostilities’ taking place in Libya defies rational thought.”
So what is rational when it comes to Obama, both the candidate and the President? The two are very separate men. The first, who offered to change things for the better, no longer exists (if he ever did). The President is the ever faithful company man to the financial and military establishments. Obama has made his mark as the first African-American President. Despite his myriad failures in office and his multitude of lies, I believe his Presidency will be celebrated. Those who determined his election know how to pay off a loyal servant. But thankfully for some, Obama will be remembered as a pawn and not a king. How many feel that way depends on us understanding the truth, fighting for our liberties and protecting the Constitution.
Yours in good times and bad,
Peak Oil responds, “The report of my death was an exaggeration.”
A recent post entitled The Welcome Death of Peak Oil by George Koch on the Ludwig von Mises Institute of Canada website begins with the following optimistic comment: “Improved technology and more efficiency mean North America could eventually become an oil exporter.” [i] The author goes on to argue that technology has placed the theory of Peak Oil in its grave and that energy independence for North America is just around the corner. That Peak Oil is a mistaken and buried theory has been argued recently elsewhere,[ii] and the idea of North American energy independence is one that has been and continues to be widely disseminated by the corporate media, the oil industry, and investment firms.[iii] There is one significant problem, however. The statement is based on an unsound foundation.
The notion that hydraulic fracturing will result in American energy independence appears to have been debunked.[iv] In fact, just recently Faith Birol, president of the International Energy Administration, has stated that the increase in American oil production is simply a surge, not a revolution.[v] To put it simply: the bold assertion of energy independence is predicated on early production numbers of shale oil wells; unfortunately, these production rates cannot be sustained for very long except through an exponential increase in the number of wells drilled.[vi] This only serves, however, to increase the speed at which the resource deposit is drawn-down, quickening the arrival of the day that the wells will no longer be economically viable. It is interesting to note that a number of companies have already lost money investing in shale oil and others are actively looking to get out of the business.[vii]
If an argument’s underlying foundation is faulty, then it is axiomatic that the conclusion drawn from it is also flawed. To paraphrase that classic movie, Monty Python and The Holy Grail, Peak Oil is ‘not quite dead yet’. In fact, I would argue that it is alive and as pertinent as ever, perhaps more so. I offer the following evidence to support that view.
While the American government was not interested in the topic of Peak Oil when Marion King Hubbert first proposed the model for petroleum resource depletion in 1948, by 1974, shortly after his prediction of US oil production peaking became reality, Hubbert was asked to provide written testimony to a Congressional committee writing the National Energy Conservation Policy Act as to the impact of Peak Oil on the monetary system.[viii] Jimmy Carter’s administration was driven by the concept of finite resources, creating the Department of Energy and prompting the president to present the issues in a televised speech in 1977.[ix]
More recently, the secretive National Energy Policy Development Group (NEPDG)–that was created only ten days after George Bush defeated Al Gore for the 2001 presidency and placed under the direct authority of Vice President Dick Cheney–brainstormed for ten meetings over an nine week period from January to May 2001 about Peak Oil and other energy security issues; issues that would significantly shape American government policies for the next few years. Although agendas and minutes of the meetings have been classified, seven pages were released after two lawsuits. These pages show that the group was reviewing how much oil remained in the world, where it was located, and who controlled it.[x] The public report from the NEPDG made dozens of recommendations based on the underlying belief that oil resources were finite and securing them were in the national interest of the United States.[xi]
The picture has not changed. The shale oil ‘boom’ is a short-term blip in a long-term trend that has been known to the American government for decades. The fact is the previous American administration perceived the issue of energy security as one requiring immediate response by all levels of government. I think most would acknowledge that the geopolitical tensions and military interactions in the Middle East over the last several decades have been centred upon one main objective: control of the oil and gas in the region. The idea of Peak Oil was very much driving American policy, especially foreign policy, less than a decade ago and it’s naïve to believe it is no longer a driving force in the current administration’s geopolitical strategising. Despite assurances and rhetoric, the current administration has not drawn down the number of military personnel in the Middle East and has actually become involved in additional conflicts in the region (e.g. Libya, Syria).[xii]
Leaving North America for the moment. It was only three years ago that the Future Analysis Branch of the Bundeswher Transformation Centre, a branch of the German military,[xiii] carried out its initial study for the German government’s Federal Ministry of Defence on the impact of Peak Oil.[xiv] As taken from the report’s Forward: “…the purpose of security-related future analysis is to acquire knowledge precociously and scientifically based in order to refine conceptual specifications and objectives without making predictions…[and] to enable the Federal Ministry of Defence to identify long-term issues with relevance to security policy at an early stage...” That Germany focused this branch’s first research on the topic of Peak Oil and its security implications speaks volumes as to the seriousness of finite oil resources and how they will impact the globe.
But back to the idea that Peak Oil is dead and buried. Here is what the report has to say: “It is a fact, however, that oil is finite and that there is a peak oil. Since this study is mainly focused on understanding cause-effect relations following such a peak oil situation, it is not necessary to specify a precise point in time…. Depending on the development of globally relevant factors, we cannot rule out that peak oil could have serious security policy implications within the review period of the 30-year investigation perspective” (emphasis added). So, the German military and the German Federal Defence Department not only believe that Peak Oil exists, but that the country must begin to prepare for the implications of Peak Oil sooner rather than later.
I think one has to take a step back in temporal perspective to get a good view of Peak Oil and to understand it and its implications for our global, industrial world. After about 200,000 years of low energy existence, humans happened upon a one-time windfall of energy-intensive resources and it has taken us less than two centuries to reach the production peak of this resource bonanza. On the way up the curve we have used the easy-to-retrieve and highest energy-return-on-energy-invested (EROEI) resources first, leaving us the less energy efficient (lower EROEI) and much more difficult-to-retrieve and expensive dregs; much of which may never get extracted.
Small ‘successes’, such as that of the American shale oil industry’s, are seen as minor deviations or perturbations in the long-term picture that emerges. For example, discoveries at Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, bumped up American oil production for a few years in the late 1970s and early 1980s but by the mid- to late-1980s the country resumed its journey down the Hubbert curve that began in 1970. The same pattern seems to be emerging with the ‘shale boom;’ a slight blip in the production numbers for a couple of years beginning in late 2009 and then it will be back to the downward slide of Hubbert’s Peak in the not-too-distant future.
This is not just true of the U.S.. It is true of every oil-producing country. Peak Oil is factual and based upon geologic patterns observed in every finite resource extracted to date. In fact, M.K. Hubbert predated his work on petroleum resources by studying extraction rates for various minerals that mimic the Hubbert curve.[xv]
The implications of Peak Oil are sure to be extremely upsetting to many. They range from James Howard Kunstler and John Michael Greer’s argument that the transition from fossil fuels will be a rather gradual fall from grace that will take generations, with possible spits and spurts of crises[xvi], to Michael Ruppert’s more apocalyptic and quick-moving collapse scenario. The reality of it, however, cannot be denied. But denial, of course, is the first stage of the Kubler-Ross model, also known as the five stages of grief, that psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross uses to argue that when faced with impending death or some other horrible fate, a person will experience a series of emotional stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.[xvii]
We won’t know when we’ve actually passed the peak of the Hubbert Curve with respect to oil production except in retrospect, and there are not likely to be any apocalyptic scenarios emerging as a result when we do; the truth is we may have already passed the point–global production rates of conventional oil have not moved above the levels reached in 2005/06.[xviii] There are many who have learned to accept it as inevitable but there are also a great many people still in the denial stage about Peak Oil.
Until more people arrive at the last stage of acceptance, we are destined to hear and read more stories with the theme reflected in Koch’s post. That Peak Oil is dead, technology will continue to save the day, and it’s time to move along, there’s nothing to see here. Unfortunately, I believe that the longer we maintain policies based on a denial of its existence, the less likely we will be able to prepare ourselves adequately and the more dire of the consequences will emerge.
What will befall an energy-dependent society as it begins its trip down the global, post-peak curve of Hubbert’s model can only be imagined. Will it reflect the brutal world of the television show Revolution where the power grid has failed due to wayward nanites?[xix] While failure of the grid in this science fiction series is not the result of Peak Oil, grid failure is a real possibility in a post-Peak Oil world, as pointed out by Richard Duncan in his Olduvai Theory.[xx] Will there be a massive die-off of humans as some predict?[xxi] Nobody knows.
One thing is sure though.
Peak Oil is dead, long live Peak Oil.
[i] G. Koch. The Welcome Death of Peak Oil. http://mises.ca/posts/blog/the-welcome-death-of-peak-oil/. November 9, 2013.
[ii] R. Wile. Peak Oil is Dead. http://www.businessinsider.com/death-of-peak-oil-2013-3. March 29, 2013.
B. Walsh. The IEA Says Peak Oil is Dead. That’s Bad News for Climate Policy.
D. Blockman. As Fracking Rises, Peak Oil Theory Slowly Dies. http://www.forbes.com/sites/davidblackmon/2013/07/16/as-fracking-rises-peak-oil-theory-slowly-dies/. July 16, 2013.
K. Smith. No Peak Oil Really is Dead.
[iii] G. Smith. U.S. to Be Top Oil Producer by 2015 on Shale, IEA says.
P. Domm. Ship, baby, ship! Calls come for U.S. to export oil. http://www.cnbc.com/id/101087815. October 4, 2013.
R. Plank. North American Energy Independence Now Possible. http://www.chron.com/business/energy/article/North-American-energy-independence-now-possible-4007354.php. November 4, 2012.
D. Burney and F.O. Hanson. Pipelines are the ticket to North American energy independence. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/pipelines-are-the-ticket-to-north-american-energy-independence/article8952216/. February 22, 2013.
C. Assis. North America energy independent by 2020, but still tied to markets: report. http://blogs.marketwatch.com/energy-ticker/2013/09/27/north-america-energy-independent-by-2020-but-still-tied-to-markets-report/. September 27, 2013
Wood Mackenzie Press Release. Wood Mackenzie: Global Geopolitics Reshaped by North American Energy Independence. http://www.woodmacresearch.com/cgi-bin/wmprod/portal/corp/corpPressDetail.jsp?oid=11572576. September 26, 2013.
S. Arsenault. U.S. could reclaim role as net energy exporter. http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2013/08/2013831142514713250.html. August 31, 2013.
[iv] W. Koch. Could fracking boom peter out sooner that DOE expects? http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/11/03/fracking-boom-bust-us-energy-independence/3328561/. November 3, 2013.
T. Whipple. The Peak Oil Crisis: The Shale Oil Bubble. http://www.resilience.org/stories/2013-10-30/the-peak-oil-crisis-the-shale-oil-bubble. October 30, 2013.
R. Heinberg. America’s natural gas revolution isn’t all it’s ‘fracked’ up to be. http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Opinion/2013/1023/America-s-natural-gas-revolution-isn-t-all-it-s-fracked-up-to-be. October 23, 2013.
M. Mushalik. The U.S. will always remain a crude oil importer. http://www.resilience.org/stories/2013-10-31/us-will-always-remain-crude-oil-importer. October 31, 2013.
S. Kelly. Could California’s Shall Oil Boom Be Just a Mirage? http://www.desmogblog.com/2013/11/07/could-california-s-shale-oil-be-just-mirage. November 7, 2013.
M. Lardelli. The propaganda campaign against peaking fossil fuel production. http://www.resilience.org/stories/2013-11-05/the-propaganda-campaign-against-peaking-fossil-fuel-production. November 5, 2013.
J.D. Hughes. Drill, Baby, Drill: Can unconventional fuels usher in a new era of energy abundance? http://www.postcarbon.org/reports/DBD-report-FINAL.pdf. February 2013.
[v] K. Cobb. Will the real International Energy Agency please stand up? http://resourceinsights.blogspot.ca/2013/11/will-real-international-energy-agency.html/ November 16, 2013.
[vi] SRSrocco. The coming bust of the great Bakken Oil Field. http://srsroccoreport.com/the-coming-bust-of-the-great-bakken-oil-field/the-coming-bust-of-the-great-bakken-oil-field/. November 16, 2013.
M. Katusa. U.S. #1 in Oil: So Why Isn’t Gasoline $0.80 per Gallon? http://www.caseyresearch.com/cdd/us-1-in-oil-so-why-isnt-gasoline-0.80-per-gallon. October 29, 2013.
[vii] K. Sloan. What’s next for oil shale? http://thebusinesstimes.com/whats-next-for-oil-shale/. October 8, 2013.
G. Chazan. Shell write-down bad new for US shale.
G. Chazan. Peter Voser says he regrets Shell’s huge bet on US shale.
[viii] M. King Hubbert. On the Nature of Growth. http://www.hubbertpeak.com/hubbert/OnTheNatureOfGrowth.pdf. 1974.
[ix] J. Carter. Primary Resources: Proposed Energy Policy. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/primary-resources/carter-energy/. April 18, 1977.
Miller Center, University of Virginia. Jimmy Carter. http://millercenter.org/president/carter/essays/biography/print.
Wikipedia. Energy Task Force. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_Task_Force
On the Issues. Dick Cheney on Energy and Oil. http://www.ontheissues.org/celeb/Dick_Cheney_Energy_+_Oil.htm.
Haliburton Watch. Energy Task Force. http://www.halliburtonwatch.org/about_hal/energytf.html.
Sourcewatch. Cheney Energy Task Force. http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Cheney_Energy_Task_Force.
[xii] T. Dokoupil. Who’s the War President? http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/08/05/president-obama-president-bush-and-the-march-of-u-s-soldiers-abroad-where-they-are-and-why.html. August 5, 2011.
D. Degraw. Obama Far Outdoes Bush in Escalating War–The Numbers Will Surprise You. http://www.alternet.org/story/144449/obama_far_outdoes_bush_in_escalating_war_–_the_numbers_will_surprise_you. December 8, 2009.
P. Woodward. More US troops deployed overseas under Obama than Bush. http://warincontext.org/2009/10/13/more-us-troops-deployed-overseas-under-obama-than-bush/. October 13, 2009.
[xiv] Future Analysis Branch, Bundeswher Transformation Centre. Peak Oil: Security policy implications of scarce resources. http://www.jpods.com/JPods/004Studies/PeakOil_StudyEN_GermanArmy.pdf. November 2010.
[xv] M. King Hubbert. Future Ore Supply and Geophysical Prospecting: Mineral Properties Now Entering a New Epoch. http://www.hubbertpeak.com/hubbert/FutureOreSupply.pdf. January 1934.
[xvi] J.M. Greer. The Long Descent: A User’s Guide to the End of the Industrial Age. http://www.newsociety.com/Books/L/The-Long-Descent. 2008.
J.H. Kunstler. The Long Emergency: Surviving the Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century. http://www.amazon.ca/The-Long-Emergency-Catastrophes-Twenty-First/dp/0802142494. 2005.
E. Kübler-Ross. On Death and Dying. http://www.amazon.ca/On-Death-Dying-Elisabeth-Kubler-Ross/dp/0684839385. 1997.
[xviii] M. McDermott. IEA chart says conventional oil production peaked in 2006. http://www.treehugger.com/corporate-responsibility/iea-chart-says-conventional-oil-production-peaked-in-2006.html. November 11, 2010.
D. Biello. Has Petroleum Production Peaked, Ending the Era of Easy Oil? http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=has-peak-oil-already-happened. January 25, 2012.
[xix] Wikipedia. Revolution (TV Series). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolution_(TV_series).
[xx] R. Duncan. The Olduvai Theory. http://www.thesocialcontract.com/artman2/publish/tsc1602/article_1362.shtml. Winter 2005/06.
The Olduvai Theory: Terminal Decline Imminent. http://www.thesocialcontract.com/artman2/publish/tsc1602/article_1362.shtml. Spring 2007.
America: A Frog in the Kettle Slowly Coming to a Boil.
The Olduvai Theory: Towards Re-Equalizing the World Standard of Living. http://www.thesocialcontract.com/artman2/publish/tsc1602/article_1362.shtml. Summer 2009.
[xxi] M. Savinar. The Peak Oil and Die-Off. http://www.unicamp.br/fea/ortega/eco/traducao-DieOff.pdf
J. Siman. Speaking very gently about die-off. http://www.resilience.org/stories/2006-10-10/speaking-very-gently-about-die. October 10, 2006.
N. Hagens. Jay Hansen and Dieoff.org. http://www.theoildrum.com/story/2006/7/13/21018/2121. July 24, 2006.
Oil and gas executives at an industry conference in Montreal sipped on a rather unique beverage this week, the National Post reports — fracking fluid.
During a lunch presentation at the Quebec Oil And Gas Association’s annual conference, Halliburton Canada vice-president John Gorman handed out glasses of the company’s “CleanStim” fracking fluid, and some 20 to 25 execs — Gorman included — took a sip, the Post reported.
Talk about a potent potable.
Gorman said Halliburton “only had to replace very few chemicals with some food additives” to create a fracking fluid safe enough to drink. But the company maintains its fracking fluid is “not intended for human consumption.”
It was a publicity stunt, of course, one that Halliburton — which used to be headed by former Vice President Dick Cheney — has repeated multiple times in recent years.
It’s meant to show that environmentalists’ concerns about toxic fluids in fracking operations are overblown.
Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper told a U.S. congressional committee earlier this year that he drank Halliburton fracking fluid.
And it was likely not a coincidence that the latest round of fracking fluid drinking took place in Quebec, which has instituted a moratorium on fracking.
That moratorium has frustrated some energy companies hoping to jump-start the fracking industry in the province, and led to a lawsuit against the federal government.
Lone Pine Resources says it plans to sue Ottawa for $250 million under NAFTA provisions. The company claims Quebec’s moratorium on fracking beneath the St. Lawrence River, instituted in 2011, takes away the company’s “valuable right” to frack.
Violent clashes broke out earlier this month at Elsipogtog First Nation in New Brunswick when police tried to enforce an injunction against an ongoing protest against shale gas exploration. Shale gas is typically extracted through fracking, which is a process by which water and chemicals are forced into rock formations in order to extract oil or gas.
Besides concerns that toxic chemicals could leak into the groundwater from fracking operations, some studies have suggested fracking exploration is causing earthquakes.
A new study from the British government, released this week, says fracking isn’t a public health risk, so long as it’s well regulated and well run, the Guardian reported.
- Halliburton exec’s new drink of choice: Fracking fluid (mining.com)
- Top Haliburton executive sips fracking fluid with colleagues in industry show stunt (business.financialpost.com)
- What Fracking Means for Bottled Drinking Water (knowyourbottledwaterblog.com)
- Fracking (xufenghuang.wordpress.com)
- Peak Oil Denial: Skimming Over Facts (peakoil.com)
- Fracking hysteria prompts industry code of conduct to quell fears (business.financialpost.com)
- ‘Low health risk’ from fracking (bbc.co.uk)
- Study: Fracking Sucks Up Freshwater At Alarming Rate (mintpressnews.com)