OIL, CLIMATE CHANGE, NATIONAL SECURITY and VETERANS
EDITOR’S NOTE: After seeing the VoteVets commercial, Care2 invited their co-founder and chair Jon Soltz, to tell us why veterans are advocating for the highly contested energy bill.
Just over a week ago, the war veterans of VoteVets.org began running a new, powerful television ad that puts our addiction to foreign oil in stark terms and makes clear that the best way to break that addiction is to pass the clean energy legislation in front of Congress right now.
In the ad, Chris Miller, who earned a Purple Heart from an IED explosion in Iraq, notes something that our troops and intelligence have known for a long time: new and powerful explosive devices called EFPs (Explosively Formed Projectiles,) some created in Iran and introduced into the wars our troops are fighting. Now, those who target troops (both those with ties to Iran and not) know how to make the weapon, which is specifically designed to pierce American armor.
Miller then makes the point that every time a barrel of oil goes up a buck on the world market, that’s another $1.5 billion for Iran, helping enable them to continue this kind of activity (not to mention help the regime keep its own people down). Miller concludes, “The connection between oil and the enemy couldn’t be clearer. We need to break that connection by breaking our addiction. And we can. By passing a clean energy climate plan. It’ll cut our dependence on foreign oil in half.”
And, that’s true. The World oil market depends greatly upon Iranian supply and the United States, as the top consumer of oil in the world, significantly drives up oil prices.
Years ago, I started a campaign with General Wesley Clark, stopiranwar.com. To me, nothing would be a bigger mistake than facing the Iranian threat with military force. War is a last resort, not a first choice. But we also must be realistic about dangers we face. Therefore, defunding states that fund or support terrorists and insurgents by cutting our oil dependence through renewable sources is just a common sense move.
But, this battle isn’t just about defunding those who want to harm our troops and nation. In the latest Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), our very own Defense Department has taken the threat of global climate change very seriously, as a security threat in and of itself.
The report noted, “While climate change alone does not cause conflict, it may act as an accelerant of instability or conflict, placing a burden to respond on civilian institutions and militaries around the world.”
This assessment has been growing in the Pentagon and intelligence community for a while. In recent years, the Pentagon has been running simulations on climate change, to see how its effects would stretch our military, and put American lives on the line. In 2008, a National Intelligence Assessmentobserved that “global climate change will have wide-ranging implications for US national security interests over the next 20 years.”
In one scenario, a flood in Bangladesh “sent hundreds of thousands of refugees streaming into neighboring India, touching off religious conflict, the spread of contagious diseases and vast damage to infrastructure” according to a story in the New York Times. Other models put key military installations in severe danger, while melting polar ice opens up new shipping channels that must be defended.
“The demands of these potential humanitarian responses may significantly tax U.S. military transportation and support force structures, resulting in a strained readiness posture and decreased strategic depth for combat operations,” the intelligence estimate concludes.
For our troops and for our security, breaking our dependence on oil is of extreme and immediate importance. Veterans are engaged in this battle, and need you to join them.
Jon Soltz, Co-Founder and Chair of VoteVets.org, is a leader of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans community and is originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. From May to September 2003, Soltz served as a Captain during Operation Iraqi Freedom, deploying logistics convoys with the 1st Armored Division. During 2005, Soltz was mobilized for 365 days at Fort Dix New Jersey, training soldiers for combat in Afghanistan and Iraq. He also served his country with distinction in the Kosovo Campaign as a Tank Platoon Leader between June and December 2000. Soltz is a graduate of Washington & Jefferson College with dual degree in Political Science and History. He has completed graduate work at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public and International Affairs.
US Army via Flickr/Creative Commons
by Jon Soltz