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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 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,  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, 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.


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US Army via Flickr/Creative Commons
by Jon Soltz

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1:08AM PDT on Jul 5, 2011

We certainly need both sustainable energy electricity (mostly wind and solar but geothermal and ocean thermal energy can also contribute) and a sustainable substitute for petroleum that 18-wheeler tractor trailer trucks will run on. Algae grow even faster than any higher plant and need no crop land only clear plastic bag to grow in water and a tad of fertilizer. Algae are also more politically acceptable than hemp. Bio-diesel from algae seems to be in the pilot plant stage, certainly technically feasible but it will take the oil companies a lot of practice to learn how to raise and press algae for oil efficiently enough to compete with oil. I suspect it would be well worthwhile for the federal government to subsidize bio-diesel from algae by contracts with one or more oil companies to help them through the learning period until bio-diesel from algae becomes competitive with petroleum.

7:11PM PDT on May 10, 2010

Planting only 6 percent of the continental United States with biomass crops such as hemp would supply all current domestic demands for oil and gas.
Did you know the average American spends 33 of 40 working hours to support their need for energy? It's true; 80 percent of the total monetary living expense for everything we do is ultimately wrapped up in energy costs; from the energy it takes to make the food we eat, to fuel for the cars we drive, to the manufacturing, storage and transportation of the products we buy. And 80 percent of solid and airborne pollution in our environment can be blamed on fossil energy sources. It is estimated that America has already exhausted 80 percent of its fossil fuel reserves.
Industrial hemp is the number one biomass producer on earth, meaning an actual contender for an economically competitive, clean burning fuel. Hemp has four times the biomass and cellulose potential and eight times the methanol potential of its closest competing crop - corn. Burning coal and oil are the greatest sources of acid rain; biomass fuels burn clean and contain no sulphur and produce no ash during combustion. The cycle of growing and burning biomass crops keeps the world s carbon dioxide level at perfect equilibrium, which means that we are less likely to experience the global climactic changes (greenhouse effect) brought about by excess carbon dioxide and water vapors after burning fossil fuels.


7:10PM PDT on May 10, 2010

1) The decision of the United States Congress to pass the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act was based in part on testimony derived from articles in newspapers owned by William Randolph Hearst, who, some authorsTemplate:Http:// stress, had significant financial interests in the forest industry, which manufactured his newsprint.
2) Hemp paper threatened DuPont's monopoly on the necessary chemicals for manufacturing paper from trees and hemp fiber cloth would compete with Nylon, a synthetic fibre, that was patented in 1938, the year hemp was made illegal It is often asserted in pro-cannabis publications that DuPont actively supported the criminalization of the production of hemp in the US in 1937 through private and government intermediates, and alleged that this was done to eliminate hemp as a source of fiber—one of DuPont's biggest markets at the time. DuPont denies allegations that it influenced hemp regulation.

3)Hemp for Victory is a black-and-white United States government film made during World War II, explaining the uses of hemp, encouraging farmers to grow as much as possible.


10:09PM PDT on Mar 20, 2010

I fully agree with the strategic need for energy independence and urge that we howl until our elected officials respond. How can we use less oil right away. Mandate electric cars and increase our electric grid with solar and wind generators. Make it a massive security initiative, create millions of new jobs. To get you really angry at how our government is ignoring this issue because of the power of big oil I urge everyone to review the short film "Who killed the electric car?". This subject documents how the electric car initiative in California was derailed by greed and big oil interests. Good luck finding this information.

11:14AM PDT on Mar 20, 2010

As a veteran myself, I agree, it is very necessary for us to use the rights we have defended. Besides not being wasteful of oil, we can use our voices to speak up and speak out against those who use machines that are just status symbols and gas hogs, like the civilian hummer. You don't need a freakin hummer to drive by yourself down the LA freeway.

4:22AM PDT on Mar 20, 2010

Thanks for telling the world.... we need to go solar as much as possible... if the sun goes out, we can kiss everything goodby, anyway!

9:42PM PDT on Mar 19, 2010

All the more reason that we should be drilling for our own oil.

6:41PM PDT on Mar 19, 2010

Wonderful article; thank you, Cynthia.

6:15PM PDT on Mar 19, 2010

Thank you.

3:57PM PDT on Mar 19, 2010

Thank you.

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