Terrorism's End

How Does Terrorism End?

How Does Terrorism End?

 

One of the main themes of The Cost of Empire is that we are usually designing our military to fight the last war. A new report from the Rand Corporation says that the only way we will be able to fight Al Qaeda is to end “the war on terrorism.”

A recent RAND research effort sheds light on this issue by investigating how terrorist groups have ended in the past. By analyzing a comprehensive roster of terrorist groups that existed worldwide between 1968 and 2006, the authors found that most groups ended because of operations carried out by local police or intelligence agencies or because they negotiated a settlement with their governments. Military force was rarely the primary reason a terrorist group ended, and few groups within this time frame achieved victory.

Rand suggests we drop the phrase Global War on Terror and simple refer to the police operations as counter-terrorism.

 Calling the efforts a war on terrorism raises public expectations — both in the United States and elsewhere — that there is a battlefield solution. It also tends to legitimize the terrorists’ view that they are conducting a jihad (holy war) against the United States and elevates them to the status of holy warriors. Terrorists should be perceived as criminals, not holy warriors.

Since the US government probably paid for this report, what are the chances that anyone in the Pentagon or White House will read it?

This entry was posted in Defense Policy, Foreign Policy, Innovation, Iraq War, Islam, Military Spending, Politics, Terrorism and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

77 Responses to Terrorism's End

  1. Jason says:

    The message of this report is clear: the Rand Corporation is a liberal elitist who hates America.

    Drop the phrase “War on Terror”? That would be like America dropping its pants, and you know what happens when you drop your pants? Bin Laden gives you a wedgie. No, thank you. The Freedom Crack is an invite-only club, no undergarments allowed.

  2. Jason says:

    The message of this report is clear: the Rand Corporation is a liberal elitist who hates America.

    Drop the phrase “War on Terror”? That would be like America dropping its pants, and you know what happens when you drop your pants? Bin Laden gives you a wedgie. No, thank you. The Freedom Crack is an invite-only club, no undergarments allowed.

  3. Morgan Warstler says:

    Its absolutely make sense to drop the phrase, The War On Terror.

    But, Counter-Terrorism still requires boots on the ground, but not the kind that kill bad guys, you need systems guys to go in and establish services.

    I still think in Afghanistan you’ll hear McCain / Obama couch it in terms of a war, but the Iraq War is over – we should reclassify the mission. We friggin WON. Can you friggin believe it?

    Jon, I think you might be surprised, I’d bet Bush would LOVE to announce, we were in the next stage – it no longer required War footing, we just need to remake the military to be able to handle Counter Terrorism.

    BTW, I note you totally skipped the link I sent you about Russia using oil supply to crush the Czech’s for wanting an anti-missile installation. Point being we can’t totally focus on CT militarily.

    Here’s another point: I’d bet McCain is actually more likely to cut military and Obama is more likely to cut Medicare. It’s either for each, to get that part done.

  4. Morgan Warstler says:

    Its absolutely make sense to drop the phrase, The War On Terror.

    But, Counter-Terrorism still requires boots on the ground, but not the kind that kill bad guys, you need systems guys to go in and establish services.

    I still think in Afghanistan you’ll hear McCain / Obama couch it in terms of a war, but the Iraq War is over – we should reclassify the mission. We friggin WON. Can you friggin believe it?

    Jon, I think you might be surprised, I’d bet Bush would LOVE to announce, we were in the next stage – it no longer required War footing, we just need to remake the military to be able to handle Counter Terrorism.

    BTW, I note you totally skipped the link I sent you about Russia using oil supply to crush the Czech’s for wanting an anti-missile installation. Point being we can’t totally focus on CT militarily.

    Here’s another point: I’d bet McCain is actually more likely to cut military and Obama is more likely to cut Medicare. It’s either for each, to get that part done.

  5. dcdave says:

    @Jason — LMAO, but can’t tell if you’re serious.

    But really, RAND is center right, but only until it disagrees with conservative ideology? Terrorism has been around a lot longer than the GWOT. Terrorists are just base criminals and should be treated as such.

  6. dcdave says:

    @Jason — LMAO, but can’t tell if you’re serious.

    But really, RAND is center right, but only until it disagrees with conservative ideology? Terrorism has been around a lot longer than the GWOT. Terrorists are just base criminals and should be treated as such.

  7. Rick Turner says:

    Morgan, what did we win? Oh, high gas prices, that’s what we won. No, the oil companies won the war. Just look at their profits. We didn’t win jack shit unless we have all our money tied up in Exxon Mobile stock.

  8. Rick Turner says:

    Morgan, what did we win? Oh, high gas prices, that’s what we won. No, the oil companies won the war. Just look at their profits. We didn’t win jack shit unless we have all our money tied up in Exxon Mobile stock.

  9. Morgan Warstler says:

    Rick, even if you want to pretend that oil prices are high because of the Iraq War (they aren’t), Big Oil is owned by shareholders, huge pension funds with millions of employees – there is no boogie man, the boogie man is us. It isn’t speculators, it is just supply and demand.

    More and more, you are going to hear about Iraq’s Oil fields coming online. As Saudi Arabia begins to hit their peak, Iraq will be the way we keep prices from racing to $500. We have to get to nuclear, wind & solar – along the way we need oil prices as low as possible.

    Also, I think you need to admit, like Obama has admitted, that the gains of the past 18 months were totally unexpected and WELCOME. It is great to come out of that mess with our heads held high. It was a strong finish, that’s all I’m saying.

    You are still welcome to say you prefer the old Iraq regime / old ME situation. But give the military some credit here man.

  10. Morgan Warstler says:

    Rick, even if you want to pretend that oil prices are high because of the Iraq War (they aren’t), Big Oil is owned by shareholders, huge pension funds with millions of employees – there is no boogie man, the boogie man is us. It isn’t speculators, it is just supply and demand.

    More and more, you are going to hear about Iraq’s Oil fields coming online. As Saudi Arabia begins to hit their peak, Iraq will be the way we keep prices from racing to $500. We have to get to nuclear, wind & solar – along the way we need oil prices as low as possible.

    Also, I think you need to admit, like Obama has admitted, that the gains of the past 18 months were totally unexpected and WELCOME. It is great to come out of that mess with our heads held high. It was a strong finish, that’s all I’m saying.

    You are still welcome to say you prefer the old Iraq regime / old ME situation. But give the military some credit here man.

  11. Jon Taplin says:

    Morgan-I think you are really wrong here. Oil prices are clearly falling because the “war premium” is leaking out of the price. The recent calming moves by both Iran and the US, lead traders to discount an attack on Iranian facilities. That combined with recent threats by the Senate on Oil speculation have moved money out of the oil futures markets. Investors became net sellers in the oil market last week for the first time since mid-February 2007, according to Barclays Capital.

    I’m happy for America to declare victory and go home, but that’s not what John McCain wants to do.

  12. Jon Taplin says:

    Morgan-I think you are really wrong here. Oil prices are clearly falling because the “war premium” is leaking out of the price. The recent calming moves by both Iran and the US, lead traders to discount an attack on Iranian facilities. That combined with recent threats by the Senate on Oil speculation have moved money out of the oil futures markets. Investors became net sellers in the oil market last week for the first time since mid-February 2007, according to Barclays Capital.

    I’m happy for America to declare victory and go home, but that’s not what John McCain wants to do.

  13. Ken Ballweg says:

    I think Morgan is demonstrating the kind of thinking we really need here. Have the administration say we’ve won, and then we go home. Their diehard supports have no problems with “If they said so, it’s true”. That way the hard core right gets what it needs, and the left gets what it wants.

    It’s win, win.

  14. Ken Ballweg says:

    I think Morgan is demonstrating the kind of thinking we really need here. Have the administration say we’ve won, and then we go home. Their diehard supports have no problems with “If they said so, it’s true”. That way the hard core right gets what it needs, and the left gets what it wants.

    It’s win, win.

  15. Kenneth says:

    Terrorists are NOT base criminals. Trying to cram the problem into a ‘mere police matter’ solution will get you nowhere. Even if the terrorists demands are unreasonable I think modifying a nations activities to minimize upsetting others shouldn’t be off the table. The likelihood of an action causing an increase in terrorism should go in the costs column of any analysis.
    We all know that the Global War on Purse Snatching is a policing problem but recognize that we shouldn’t leave purses unattended on park benches.

  16. Kenneth says:

    Terrorists are NOT base criminals. Trying to cram the problem into a ‘mere police matter’ solution will get you nowhere. Even if the terrorists demands are unreasonable I think modifying a nations activities to minimize upsetting others shouldn’t be off the table. The likelihood of an action causing an increase in terrorism should go in the costs column of any analysis.
    We all know that the Global War on Purse Snatching is a policing problem but recognize that we shouldn’t leave purses unattended on park benches.

  17. Rich Hudson says:

    Notice how conservatives avoid bringing up Britain’s fight against the IRA. There was no “war on global Catholo-fascism” declared, but of course it may have been different if the Irish were dark-skinned.

  18. Rich Hudson says:

    Notice how conservatives avoid bringing up Britain’s fight against the IRA. There was no “war on global Catholo-fascism” declared, but of course it may have been different if the Irish were dark-skinned.

  19. John Feeney says:

    Why do we allow Corporate giants to hide behind umbrella of “WAR”. Government or Pentagon read this – why? Their vendors are securing new markets.

    We are building cities in the desert for people that little knowledge or care what this involves. Royalty is Royalty – caring for the people is not part of the equation. Royalty believes the people exist to “serve” them. All they have is money and can do nothing else but spend it. These corporations don’t care because their getting paid, so what if it’s in the desert. In time these cities will return to the desert, that will not change.

    What is sad, why is this type of economic build-up not taking place in this country. Why are we building everyone else’s structure at the expense of ours? Tell me why we cannot build a refiner in this county? Tell me why we cannot build another airport? Tell me why all this profit being made is not planting seeds in our economy.

  20. John Feeney says:

    Why do we allow Corporate giants to hide behind umbrella of “WAR”. Government or Pentagon read this – why? Their vendors are securing new markets.

    We are building cities in the desert for people that little knowledge or care what this involves. Royalty is Royalty – caring for the people is not part of the equation. Royalty believes the people exist to “serve” them. All they have is money and can do nothing else but spend it. These corporations don’t care because their getting paid, so what if it’s in the desert. In time these cities will return to the desert, that will not change.

    What is sad, why is this type of economic build-up not taking place in this country. Why are we building everyone else’s structure at the expense of ours? Tell me why we cannot build a refiner in this county? Tell me why we cannot build another airport? Tell me why all this profit being made is not planting seeds in our economy.

  21. Another Jon says:

    I can’t wait for Rand Corp’s next report titled “Duh!”

  22. Another Jon says:

    I can’t wait for Rand Corp’s next report titled “Duh!”

  23. Rick Turner says:

    Where are we going to put nuclear waste? Morgan? Jon? Anybody want to confront this issue head on?

    We could have brought the troops home when Bush was in “Mission accomplished” mode, right?

  24. Rick Turner says:

    Where are we going to put nuclear waste? Morgan? Jon? Anybody want to confront this issue head on?

    We could have brought the troops home when Bush was in “Mission accomplished” mode, right?

  25. Hugo says:

    I agree with RAND. Would be much more effient and bloodless to double, say, Delta Force, cover them with specific presidential findings viz specicifically targeted threats, and then cut them loose in the Israeli manner.

  26. Hugo says:

    I agree with RAND. Would be much more effient and bloodless to double, say, Delta Force, cover them with specific presidential findings viz specicifically targeted threats, and then cut them loose in the Israeli manner.

  27. Morgan Warstler says:

    Rick, we’ll have to store it. Somewhere away from terrorists. I’m thinking it goes nicely out west somewhere. Alaska, or maybe Canada.

  28. Morgan Warstler says:

    Rick, we’ll have to store it. Somewhere away from terrorists. I’m thinking it goes nicely out west somewhere. Alaska, or maybe Canada.

  29. civ4freak says:

    Terrorism ends when the people who tolerate their living among them step up and demand justice. Think, if only all the Iraqis and Arabs stood up to these evil-doers. We can’t let them intiminate us. Hence, however, military force doesn’t equal the necessary solution. Rather the people and thier policies themselves count. Good post, I agree.

  30. civ4freak says:

    Terrorism ends when the people who tolerate their living among them step up and demand justice. Think, if only all the Iraqis and Arabs stood up to these evil-doers. We can’t let them intiminate us. Hence, however, military force doesn’t equal the necessary solution. Rather the people and thier policies themselves count. Good post, I agree.

  31. Lew says:

    Jason,
    How long have you been a crack addict?

    Why don’t you “man-up” for Iraq duty if they are such a threat to the continuation of the US?

    Enlistment center opens up 8am sharp, son.

  32. Lew says:

    Jason,
    How long have you been a crack addict?

    Why don’t you “man-up” for Iraq duty if they are such a threat to the continuation of the US?

    Enlistment center opens up 8am sharp, son.

  33. Ken Ballweg says:

    Lew. It’s called irony. It’s a form of humor. The clue is the “drop the pants” line. Okay.

  34. Ken Ballweg says:

    Lew. It’s called irony. It’s a form of humor. The clue is the “drop the pants” line. Okay.

  35. Rick Turner says:

    Morgan, who in Canada wants the stuff? And Alaska is probably gone, gone, gone now that their brilliant senator got caught with his pants down. Nobody wants the stuff in their backyard…or do you? How ’bout that? I’ll vote for that…all nuke waste goes to Morgan’s place…

  36. Rick Turner says:

    Morgan, who in Canada wants the stuff? And Alaska is probably gone, gone, gone now that their brilliant senator got caught with his pants down. Nobody wants the stuff in their backyard…or do you? How ’bout that? I’ll vote for that…all nuke waste goes to Morgan’s place…

  37. Rick Turner says:

    Love to know what the libertarian view is of this:

    http://www.state.nv.us/nucwaste/trans/prand01.htm

    It’s the Price Anderson Act that limits liability in the case of a nuclear accident. Without it, no insurance company in the world (that is a solvent one) would write a policy covering a nuclear power company. So with Price Anderson, if it melts down, the shareholders are protected…at the expense of all those poor suckers down wind…

  38. Rick Turner says:

    Love to know what the libertarian view is of this:

    http://www.state.nv.us/nucwaste/trans/prand01.htm

    It’s the Price Anderson Act that limits liability in the case of a nuclear accident. Without it, no insurance company in the world (that is a solvent one) would write a policy covering a nuclear power company. So with Price Anderson, if it melts down, the shareholders are protected…at the expense of all those poor suckers down wind…

  39. Jon Taplin says:

    Rick- I’m not so sure you are right about nuclear. The grid is going to need a consistent 24/7 source of electricity that doesn’t generate CO2 and can fill in the gaps of a solar/wind based electricity economy. Nuclear can Provide that. Have you ever been to Nevada near Yucca Mountain? You couldn’t live there if you wanted to.

  40. Jon Taplin says:

    Rick- I’m not so sure you are right about nuclear. The grid is going to need a consistent 24/7 source of electricity that doesn’t generate CO2 and can fill in the gaps of a solar/wind based electricity economy. Nuclear can Provide that. Have you ever been to Nevada near Yucca Mountain? You couldn’t live there if you wanted to.

  41. Rick Turner says:

    Jon, I’m very willing to be convinced. I don’t disagree with you on that, but there has to be some thought put into the storage of power potential…power that can be generated by the sun or wind during daylight hours, used in the storage of potential, and then released at night. One way is to simply pump water up hill during the day and then to release it at night to run hydro-electric turbines and generators. Yeah, it reduces the overall efficiency of the whole thing, but it’s relatively clean and safe. It’s also old-tech which you may notice I am well in favor of. No particular slams against wish lists and research and development, but, hell, we should be taking advantage of that which we know already works in addition to pushing into new territory.

    In my work I’m constantly up against the issue of using “appropriate technology”. There’s always a whiz-bang cool and seductive higher tech way to do something. Right now in the guitar biz it’s UV curing of certain finishes…which can be done in 30 seconds. Yes, shoot a coat of finish on, put the guitar in a $15,000.00 UV booth, and pull it out in 30 seconds as cured as it will ever be. But it was the guy who pioneered the use of this who told me, “Don’t bother until you’re making 90 guitars a day.” Using the same basic chemistry, but curing the material with a simple chemical catalyst, I can cure the finish in 24 hours. That’s still literally 20 times faster than the previous industry standard finish…nitrocellulose lacquer. 20 X speed is plenty for me.

    And so, too, might other mature technologies be appropriate for helping and bridging over our energy gap. We don’t have to wait for a breakthrough to do better. It’s not sexy, it doesn’t make headlines. It just makes progress…more progress than Bushco have made in many a year.

  42. Rick Turner says:

    Jon, I’m very willing to be convinced. I don’t disagree with you on that, but there has to be some thought put into the storage of power potential…power that can be generated by the sun or wind during daylight hours, used in the storage of potential, and then released at night. One way is to simply pump water up hill during the day and then to release it at night to run hydro-electric turbines and generators. Yeah, it reduces the overall efficiency of the whole thing, but it’s relatively clean and safe. It’s also old-tech which you may notice I am well in favor of. No particular slams against wish lists and research and development, but, hell, we should be taking advantage of that which we know already works in addition to pushing into new territory.

    In my work I’m constantly up against the issue of using “appropriate technology”. There’s always a whiz-bang cool and seductive higher tech way to do something. Right now in the guitar biz it’s UV curing of certain finishes…which can be done in 30 seconds. Yes, shoot a coat of finish on, put the guitar in a $15,000.00 UV booth, and pull it out in 30 seconds as cured as it will ever be. But it was the guy who pioneered the use of this who told me, “Don’t bother until you’re making 90 guitars a day.” Using the same basic chemistry, but curing the material with a simple chemical catalyst, I can cure the finish in 24 hours. That’s still literally 20 times faster than the previous industry standard finish…nitrocellulose lacquer. 20 X speed is plenty for me.

    And so, too, might other mature technologies be appropriate for helping and bridging over our energy gap. We don’t have to wait for a breakthrough to do better. It’s not sexy, it doesn’t make headlines. It just makes progress…more progress than Bushco have made in many a year.

  43. Morgan Warstler says:

    Rick, I LOVE that you have a religious-style faith in modern technology. The thing is, I’m a tech-head, a pure on R&D junkie, and there is a simple giant GAP between what we can do, what we can forsee doing, and what we need right now OR PEOPLE DIE.

    It isn’t that nuclear is sexy. IN FACT, let me be clear, I’m 110% behind coal too. It’s that we have to reduce the profit per barrel for the ME, and save the money for finding new alt.energy stuff.

    See that’s the thing – I don’t think we disagree, I think that you simply dont grasp the DEATH TOLL involved from blindly believing in clean tech, because you dont like the true life facts; we fight for free flow of oil, we need to exploit coal and nuclear, and OF COURSE when we can move to solar, wind, clean stuff we will.

    Usually, when I aak hard questions here – they go unanswered, but I will try again.

    (drum roll)

    Rick, if you KNEW 100% for sure, that we had to do off-shore drilling, coal, and nuclear, because clean alt energy wouldn’t be a true alternative for 20+ years, would you change you mind? What facts do you have to hear, and from who – to change your mind? Would three years in a row of colder seasons work? What’s it take? Does god have to tell you/ What would actually chnage your mind? Seriously.

  44. Morgan Warstler says:

    Rick, I LOVE that you have a religious-style faith in modern technology. The thing is, I’m a tech-head, a pure on R&D junkie, and there is a simple giant GAP between what we can do, what we can forsee doing, and what we need right now OR PEOPLE DIE.

    It isn’t that nuclear is sexy. IN FACT, let me be clear, I’m 110% behind coal too. It’s that we have to reduce the profit per barrel for the ME, and save the money for finding new alt.energy stuff.

    See that’s the thing – I don’t think we disagree, I think that you simply dont grasp the DEATH TOLL involved from blindly believing in clean tech, because you dont like the true life facts; we fight for free flow of oil, we need to exploit coal and nuclear, and OF COURSE when we can move to solar, wind, clean stuff we will.

    Usually, when I aak hard questions here – they go unanswered, but I will try again.

    (drum roll)

    Rick, if you KNEW 100% for sure, that we had to do off-shore drilling, coal, and nuclear, because clean alt energy wouldn’t be a true alternative for 20+ years, would you change you mind? What facts do you have to hear, and from who – to change your mind? Would three years in a row of colder seasons work? What’s it take? Does god have to tell you/ What would actually chnage your mind? Seriously.

  45. Rachel says:

    Rick, I totally support your idea of the hydro “battery” concept – it’s already in use in other countries, and is actually quite profitable. In Australia, the Snowy Mountains Hydro Authority sells electricity at peak rates by letting water through the turbines. Then it buys back energy at off-peak rates and pumps the water back up the hill. Owning a hydro plant becomes a license to print money.

    Unfortunately, as you say, it’s not all that good for the environment, because – in Australia at least – the energy that’s bought to pump the water back is derived from coal or gas.

    One technology that’s already in use, and *works* and provides carbon-free baseload power, is hybrid solar/geothermal generation. It ‘s completely reliable for baseload generation, and would work quite well for large chunks of the American midwest.

    It can be used at the local level, on a per-building basis, http://preview.tinyurl.com/5rc5ds, or in “chimney” style 8-10MW plants, which are currently under construction in Germany: http://preview.tinyurl.com/66cqzm

    There’s a pilot chimney plant in California, which is performing very well.

  46. Rachel says:

    Rick, I totally support your idea of the hydro “battery” concept – it’s already in use in other countries, and is actually quite profitable. In Australia, the Snowy Mountains Hydro Authority sells electricity at peak rates by letting water through the turbines. Then it buys back energy at off-peak rates and pumps the water back up the hill. Owning a hydro plant becomes a license to print money.

    Unfortunately, as you say, it’s not all that good for the environment, because – in Australia at least – the energy that’s bought to pump the water back is derived from coal or gas.

    One technology that’s already in use, and *works* and provides carbon-free baseload power, is hybrid solar/geothermal generation. It ‘s completely reliable for baseload generation, and would work quite well for large chunks of the American midwest.

    It can be used at the local level, on a per-building basis, http://preview.tinyurl.com/5rc5ds, or in “chimney” style 8-10MW plants, which are currently under construction in Germany: http://preview.tinyurl.com/66cqzm

    There’s a pilot chimney plant in California, which is performing very well.

  47. Pete Wolf says:

    Nuclear might be necessary, but going for it implies a really massive long-term commitment (60 year minimum or so) and a serious amount of funding up front. That’s excluding the potential risks (which are less than they used to be, but still there) and the issue of waste storage. On top of this is the issue of uranium prices, which will no doubt rise quite substantially if there is the kind of worldwide deployment many people want.

    Basically, the major point is that whereas you can afford to experiment with renewables, there is no experimenting with nuclear, if you go for it, you go for it. We should only do that if we’re absolutely certain its the best way.

  48. Pete Wolf says:

    Nuclear might be necessary, but going for it implies a really massive long-term commitment (60 year minimum or so) and a serious amount of funding up front. That’s excluding the potential risks (which are less than they used to be, but still there) and the issue of waste storage. On top of this is the issue of uranium prices, which will no doubt rise quite substantially if there is the kind of worldwide deployment many people want.

    Basically, the major point is that whereas you can afford to experiment with renewables, there is no experimenting with nuclear, if you go for it, you go for it. We should only do that if we’re absolutely certain its the best way.

  49. Jack says:

    What!? And they’ve only just worked this out!?

  50. Jack says:

    What!? And they’ve only just worked this out!?

  51. Pingback: Afghanistan Trap « Jon Taplin’s Blog

  52. Pingback: Afghanistan Trap « Jon Taplin’s Blog

  53. Rick Turner says:

    Morgan, I have faith in what works and is appropriate. Nothing to do with religion, everything to do with believing in what is while knowing that it’s easy to be dazzled blind by high tech solutions that always seem to be just out of reach. Hence my belief in solar heating of domestic and some commercial hot water. It’s old technology; it’s even kind of boring; and it works like gang busters even in somewhat overcast weather. Nukes? Not so sure about it. The risks bother me, and evidently bother the insurance industry as well. Clean coal? Love to know more. Off-shore drilling? Well, we don’t have the rigs to do it, for one thing. I’d like to be convinced it can be done safely, but with the bottom line being shareholder’s ROI, I don’t think the commitment is there to do it safely at this point.

    And, Morgan, I don’t buy your 20 years plus statement, so the whole “If I knew…” argument kind of falls flat. If you knew that NanoSolar could dectuple it’s output of printed thin film solar cells in three years, what would you think then?

    I still say that if you heated let’s say 40% of the domestic hot water in the US, you’d free up millions of BTUs of energy that could then go into different uses. LNG for cars, electricity for plug-in hybrids, etc. Then simply outlaw or put a huge tax on incandescent light bulbs, and you’d free up a whole lot more BTUs of energy.

    Go to a distributed contribution model of electrical generation…mini and nano electrical generation plants everywhere, and you’d save a tremendous amount of the juice that currently is turned to heat in line losses…the figure for long distance high tension line losses is about 30% loss!

    I think we’re close to having the energy we need, though I’d like to see clean generation of it. But we’re wasting too much both in the transmission of it and the end use of it.

    So I don’t buy the argument set forth. Hey, I am open to that which is needed; I just thing that there are powers that be behind a manufactured need to do things the way you suggest. And there are massive subsidies being paid for by an unsuspecting public to benefit a tiny technocracy. Once again, it’s public risk for private profit. Not exactly the lib line…

  54. Rick Turner says:

    Morgan, I have faith in what works and is appropriate. Nothing to do with religion, everything to do with believing in what is while knowing that it’s easy to be dazzled blind by high tech solutions that always seem to be just out of reach. Hence my belief in solar heating of domestic and some commercial hot water. It’s old technology; it’s even kind of boring; and it works like gang busters even in somewhat overcast weather. Nukes? Not so sure about it. The risks bother me, and evidently bother the insurance industry as well. Clean coal? Love to know more. Off-shore drilling? Well, we don’t have the rigs to do it, for one thing. I’d like to be convinced it can be done safely, but with the bottom line being shareholder’s ROI, I don’t think the commitment is there to do it safely at this point.

    And, Morgan, I don’t buy your 20 years plus statement, so the whole “If I knew…” argument kind of falls flat. If you knew that NanoSolar could dectuple it’s output of printed thin film solar cells in three years, what would you think then?

    I still say that if you heated let’s say 40% of the domestic hot water in the US, you’d free up millions of BTUs of energy that could then go into different uses. LNG for cars, electricity for plug-in hybrids, etc. Then simply outlaw or put a huge tax on incandescent light bulbs, and you’d free up a whole lot more BTUs of energy.

    Go to a distributed contribution model of electrical generation…mini and nano electrical generation plants everywhere, and you’d save a tremendous amount of the juice that currently is turned to heat in line losses…the figure for long distance high tension line losses is about 30% loss!

    I think we’re close to having the energy we need, though I’d like to see clean generation of it. But we’re wasting too much both in the transmission of it and the end use of it.

    So I don’t buy the argument set forth. Hey, I am open to that which is needed; I just thing that there are powers that be behind a manufactured need to do things the way you suggest. And there are massive subsidies being paid for by an unsuspecting public to benefit a tiny technocracy. Once again, it’s public risk for private profit. Not exactly the lib line…

  55. STS says:

    Rick,

    I like your point about all the BTU’s used to heat household water. If home-generated solar power replaced that plus ran refrigerators we’d make huge strides.

    Sustained high energy prices will produce pretty considerable change along those lines soon. Carbon taxes designed to put a floor under prices would ensure we maintain focus on demand destruction rather than just relax every time there’s a dip in market prices.

  56. STS says:

    Rick,

    I like your point about all the BTU’s used to heat household water. If home-generated solar power replaced that plus ran refrigerators we’d make huge strides.

    Sustained high energy prices will produce pretty considerable change along those lines soon. Carbon taxes designed to put a floor under prices would ensure we maintain focus on demand destruction rather than just relax every time there’s a dip in market prices.

  57. Rick Turner says:

    I just ran a Google search on the economics of solar hot water, and for much of the country, if you put in solar hot water heaters when you build or refinance and remodel, the installation starts paying back…positive cash flow…immediately. Worst case you’re looking at a five year payback and then free hot water. It’s much easier than running refrigerators, though that is certainly do-able, too. The problem there is the usual…night time. Yes, you can do dual energy refrigerators and run them on natural gas at night, but that’s trickier than most people would go for. Solar hot water (which I’ve had) is quite literally a no-brainer once you’ve got it. In a two years of living in a cabin in Topanga Canyon, I never even had to think about hot water, whether it would run out, etc. It was simply there. So take the energy saved and put it into a plug in hybrid vehicle. Now many folks can make it to work and back home AND have hot water for the same amount of bucks they now pay for just the hot water…and this is with Steam Punk level technology without Babbage.

  58. Rick Turner says:

    I just ran a Google search on the economics of solar hot water, and for much of the country, if you put in solar hot water heaters when you build or refinance and remodel, the installation starts paying back…positive cash flow…immediately. Worst case you’re looking at a five year payback and then free hot water. It’s much easier than running refrigerators, though that is certainly do-able, too. The problem there is the usual…night time. Yes, you can do dual energy refrigerators and run them on natural gas at night, but that’s trickier than most people would go for. Solar hot water (which I’ve had) is quite literally a no-brainer once you’ve got it. In a two years of living in a cabin in Topanga Canyon, I never even had to think about hot water, whether it would run out, etc. It was simply there. So take the energy saved and put it into a plug in hybrid vehicle. Now many folks can make it to work and back home AND have hot water for the same amount of bucks they now pay for just the hot water…and this is with Steam Punk level technology without Babbage.

  59. Morgan Warstler says:

    Rick,

    I totally agree with modern solar (nanosolar) becoming worthwhile (assuming we still use the OIL to make the solar panels).

    But generally, this is what I mean:

    “So take the energy saved and put it into a plug in hybrid vehicle. Now many folks can make it to work and back home AND have hot water for the same amount of bucks they now pay for just the hot water…and this is with Steam Punk level technology without Babbage.”

    Please go check your stats. Your math is way off.

    There is no way that the energy saved by Solar Water Heaters, is enough to drive an electric car. You are talking about vastly different scales of economy.

    And while I salute you because “every little bit helps,” that fact that you assert this kind of savings, ease of soltuion – leads me to believe you haven’t actually dealt with the sheer size of the energy crisis.

    A 5 minute shower falls in there about .40-.50 cents. Less if you use modern electrical water heater.

    The generous $15-20 saved monthly, while it adds up as savings – doesn’t come close to covering the cost of driving.

    It’s not that easy. I’m ballparking this, but it is 100x harder than you seem think. We need oil prices to stay as low as possible for as long as possible – to SAVE THE WORLD.

  60. Morgan Warstler says:

    Rick,

    I totally agree with modern solar (nanosolar) becoming worthwhile (assuming we still use the OIL to make the solar panels).

    But generally, this is what I mean:

    “So take the energy saved and put it into a plug in hybrid vehicle. Now many folks can make it to work and back home AND have hot water for the same amount of bucks they now pay for just the hot water…and this is with Steam Punk level technology without Babbage.”

    Please go check your stats. Your math is way off.

    There is no way that the energy saved by Solar Water Heaters, is enough to drive an electric car. You are talking about vastly different scales of economy.

    And while I salute you because “every little bit helps,” that fact that you assert this kind of savings, ease of soltuion – leads me to believe you haven’t actually dealt with the sheer size of the energy crisis.

    A 5 minute shower falls in there about .40-.50 cents. Less if you use modern electrical water heater.

    The generous $15-20 saved monthly, while it adds up as savings – doesn’t come close to covering the cost of driving.

    It’s not that easy. I’m ballparking this, but it is 100x harder than you seem think. We need oil prices to stay as low as possible for as long as possible – to SAVE THE WORLD.

  61. Pete Wolf says:

    Not to niggle, but we don’t need oil prices to stay as low as possible for as long as possible.

    We need them to stay within a range that is cheap enough not to wreck the economy but expensive enough to provide serious incentive to move away from oil, i.e., we need them to be cheap enough to supply the means to switch our economy, but expensive enough to supply the will.

    This right level is not necessarily as cheap as possible (even with all things being equal), and its not even necessarily a constant figure (a steady increase in price might even be beneficial under the right conditions).

  62. Pete Wolf says:

    Not to niggle, but we don’t need oil prices to stay as low as possible for as long as possible.

    We need them to stay within a range that is cheap enough not to wreck the economy but expensive enough to provide serious incentive to move away from oil, i.e., we need them to be cheap enough to supply the means to switch our economy, but expensive enough to supply the will.

    This right level is not necessarily as cheap as possible (even with all things being equal), and its not even necessarily a constant figure (a steady increase in price might even be beneficial under the right conditions).

  63. Rick Turner says:

    Well, Morgan, if we tended not to live stupid distances from where we work, then plug-in hybrids using solar power might just work fine for many folks. It would for me as my commute can be measured in yards, not miles. But that’s a life-style choice I’ve made, and I learned that from once having a very long commute where I was spending 2 1/2 hours a day in my car. What a dumb use of time that was. I took a major pay cut to stop that and work in the town in which I lived.

    BTW, here are some figures…

    The upcoming Toyota plug in hybrid will have a 13 Amp hour battery giving it about 8 miles range on electricity alone. Here’s a 13 Amp/hour per day solar array for under $400.00 http://www.caravantechnology.com/30WATTSolarPanel.aspx

    So, for about $400.00 you get to drive eight miles a day without buying gas. Live within four miles of work, and you’re doing pretty good. That’s with current off the shelf old-tech solar panels. No R& D required.

    The break even point (not including the car…just the solar array) on the above example is about 1,800 miles if you work the numbers against a conventional car at 20 mpg. After that, you’re driving your 8 miles a day for free plus a bit of maintenance which you’re going to have anyway. That means that in about a year’s worth of short commuting, you’ve paid off your solar array and you now have extra cappuccino money to spend at that Starbucks that isn’t there anymore. Go spend it in a locally owned coffee shop instead…

    Old technology, new way of thinking…that’s a start.

  64. Rick Turner says:

    Well, Morgan, if we tended not to live stupid distances from where we work, then plug-in hybrids using solar power might just work fine for many folks. It would for me as my commute can be measured in yards, not miles. But that’s a life-style choice I’ve made, and I learned that from once having a very long commute where I was spending 2 1/2 hours a day in my car. What a dumb use of time that was. I took a major pay cut to stop that and work in the town in which I lived.

    BTW, here are some figures…

    The upcoming Toyota plug in hybrid will have a 13 Amp hour battery giving it about 8 miles range on electricity alone. Here’s a 13 Amp/hour per day solar array for under $400.00 http://www.caravantechnology.com/30WATTSolarPanel.aspx

    So, for about $400.00 you get to drive eight miles a day without buying gas. Live within four miles of work, and you’re doing pretty good. That’s with current off the shelf old-tech solar panels. No R& D required.

    The break even point (not including the car…just the solar array) on the above example is about 1,800 miles if you work the numbers against a conventional car at 20 mpg. After that, you’re driving your 8 miles a day for free plus a bit of maintenance which you’re going to have anyway. That means that in about a year’s worth of short commuting, you’ve paid off your solar array and you now have extra cappuccino money to spend at that Starbucks that isn’t there anymore. Go spend it in a locally owned coffee shop instead…

    Old technology, new way of thinking…that’s a start.

  65. Morgan Warstler says:

    I do agree with you the one of the problems is that people live to far away from work or city centers.

    Also, snowy days / overcast days, etc.

    And as I keep saying making solar panels uses fossil fuels, the good news is they will only get cheaper, the bad news is they will take longer to get cheaper is the cost of oil is sky high.

    See here:

    http://www.powerswitch.org.uk/portal/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=563

    Even things like food production gobbles up oil, ask Peak Oil comes upon us, every single sector of the economy will compete for dwindling supplies – the price of everything will go up.

    Again, I’m not arguing with you about the need for solar, I’m telling you to get to the future we both want, with the least amount of DEATH, we are going to have to maximize our own production of oil, natural gas, coal, and nuclear.

    If we aren’t doing everything RIGHT NOW to avert disaster, we are weakening ourselves for when the transform has to happen.

  66. Morgan Warstler says:

    I do agree with you the one of the problems is that people live to far away from work or city centers.

    Also, snowy days / overcast days, etc.

    And as I keep saying making solar panels uses fossil fuels, the good news is they will only get cheaper, the bad news is they will take longer to get cheaper is the cost of oil is sky high.

    See here:

    http://www.powerswitch.org.uk/portal/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=563

    Even things like food production gobbles up oil, ask Peak Oil comes upon us, every single sector of the economy will compete for dwindling supplies – the price of everything will go up.

    Again, I’m not arguing with you about the need for solar, I’m telling you to get to the future we both want, with the least amount of DEATH, we are going to have to maximize our own production of oil, natural gas, coal, and nuclear.

    If we aren’t doing everything RIGHT NOW to avert disaster, we are weakening ourselves for when the transform has to happen.

  67. Morgan Warstler says:

    Drill Malibu!

    “What I don’t want to do is for the best to be the enemy of the good,” he said. “And if we can come up with a genuine bipartisan compromise, in which I have to accept some things that I don’t like or the Democrats have to accept some things that they don’t like in exchange for actually moving us in the direction of actual energy independence, then that’s something I’m open to.”

    http://apnews.myway.com/article/20080802/D92A6KKG1.html

  68. Rick Turner says:

    Morgan, I’m a little skeptical of MIT claims these days. Remember last year’s amazing discovery announced by some MIT researchers? Yeah, the transmission of electrical power without wires using some coils. It seems that they had never heard of Nikola Tesla nor the fact that Tesla did that same feat well over 100 years ago. Academics have a tendency to go for publicity prematurely…

    But back to the subject at hand… Why exactly is it that you seem to think that photovoltaic panels can’t be produced using solar generated power? You keep harping on the need for oil to make solar panels. I don’t get it. Power is power, and aside from some products…plastics…that use oil as their basic building blocks, there is no reason a factory cannot get a lot of its power from panels on it’s roof.

    Also, I’m not saying we should not go gung ho on R&D, I’m just saying that some of the solutions are right under our noses, and we should use those first.

  69. Morgan Warstler says:

    The amount of oil, that goes into making plastics, pesticides, etc. is not some sliver of consumption.

    Plastic alone is 8% if oil consumption. Price increases hit it in equal relation to gasoline. The cool new solar stuff is all plastic.

    http://www.ntnews.com.au/article/2008/07/31/4887_ntnews.html

    We can use petrochemicals (coal and gas) for fertilizer, but still I can’t seem to make this clear, if oil is $300 a barrel… $500 a barrel, the costs of MAKING the solar panels increases the costs of adoption. We still gotta invent the stuff, we gotta make the factories, we gotta ship and install the stuff. Batteries are awhile other issue. It’d be great to hook solar into the grid, that’d help.

    For the near future (next 20 years), what we want is higher levels of oil production for as long as possible, to ensure that the cost of adoption is feasible. Iraq is/was part of that calculation. Moving to natural gas in cars, seems like a smart play too.

  70. Rick Turner says:

    Morgan, you might want to check that link! I hope it wasn’t a pal…

    There are a lot of plastics that can be made from bio-matter. Even adhesives like epoxies can be made from plants. Those that cannot be made this way deserve the oil more than our cars do, but let us not make crap out of plastic that is just proto-landfill garbage, and let’s mandate (yeah, pass laws…) recycling of all plastics.

    You’d have more natural gas for the (hopefully) plug-in hybrid cars if you’d simply heat hot water with black piping on your roof. It’s a start.

    And what I don’t seem to be able to make clear to you, Morgan, is that solar energy from solar panels can power factories to make…yes…solar panels. This is like machines that can replicate the parts needed to make themselves. Sure they take raw materials, but the value is there in doing so.

    Can you tell me why the next year’s output from NanoSolar is all going to Germany? I’d say that it’s because the Germans are a good step ahead of us in committing to this energy independence we’re talking about. They’re a step ahead on the private capital side as well as the political side.

    BTW, this all ties into the latest thread started by Jon re. the 10,000 mile supply chain. The cost of oil is going to change the whole world trade game, and we’re going to have to build, grow, and make more of the stuff we consume closer to home. I’d add to that list the transformation of energy into useful forms.

  71. Morgan Warstler says:

    As noted therein, my side owns the benefits f market forces. Thanks for noticing.

  72. Jacques Daillloux says:

    Since 2002 we’ve witnessed a direct correlation between the increase in foreign troops and increase of attacks on them but also on the Afghan national army (ANA) and Afghan national police (ANP). Two reasons:
    1. The presence of foreign troops in itself is the main reasons behind the attacks against them; it was also the main reason why Al Qaeda was initially formed, ie to oust foreign troops out of Saudi Arabia.
    2. Unfortunately the ANA and ANP are not representative on the local population they are suppose to “protect and serve”. They are seen (for some good reasons) as a corrupt entity representing the interest of a non accountable and opaque National Government.
    Therefore before any progress can be made against the so called and indeed badly named “war on terror” effort should focus on building the capacity of the Afghan Government and making it accountable to its citizens. (rule of law, no more impunity, corruption, narco-trafficking ect).
    Unless this happens all other efforts will lead to nothing.

  73. Why are we paying terrorist countries for oil.?
    We have to get oil from somewhere.
    The global warming Al Gore environmentalists won’t let us get our own oil. The NIMBY people won’t allow new refineries and on and on. I don’t know how they got so much power to influence such events. We have 300 years of coal we can mine. New technology has made the use of coal practical and much less polluting. The choice is ours. Get rid of these kinds of people, including Hillary and Obama, or just go on paying.

  74. Pingback: To destroy Al Qaeda, we must end the war on terror: Rand Corporation | MashTopic

  75. Pingback: To destroy Al Qaeda, we must end the war on terror: Rand Corporation | MashTopic

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