A Late Day DrumBeat, just for ha-has...

Check out John Robb's latest, The Changing Face of War: Into the 5th Generation (5GW)...

...and from Alternet:

Even as Iraq verges on splintering into a sectarian civil war, four big oil companies are on the verge of locking up its massive, profitable reserves, known to everyone in the petroleum industry as "the prize."
Where is Electra when you need her?
land sakes, what a surprise! why , this must be an added perk to "spreading democracy".who da thunk it?
The Alternet article is a joke.  Leanan already pointed this out.  The reserve numbers given are laughable.  This is an obvious attempt to play on rampant anti-bush, anti-war sentiment, but publishing this bizarre series of lies just leads to a lose of credibility.  If the Iraqi government is smart and independent (and it appears that they are), they will privatize their oil industry now as a way of attracting much needed foreign investment and then kick the bums out (nationalize) ten years from now.  That's what i'd do anyway.  At this particular point in time, it just makes sense for Iraq to look for foreign expertise and capital to jumpstart their oil industry.  There's nothing wrong with this.  It makes perfect business sense.  But in ten years, it will make perfect business sense to tear the contracts up.  As for all of the contracts going to the big 4 American and British companies, there's no evidence that this is going to be the case.  The Iraqis will give the oil contracts to whoever offers them the best deal.  I'm sure the big 4 will be very involved, but so will Total, China, India, Norway, etc.  The best the American companies can hope for at this point is equal treatment.  But even that is a longshot.  The Iraqis would probably prefer to avoid the headache of involving American and British companies if they can.  It's a simple matter of looking out for their own interests.  Look for all of the big oil companies (state run, private, American, and otherwise) to put their best offers on the table and look for the Iraqis to chose the offers that best suit their interests at this juncture.    
There's a certain masochism among some of these liberal nut jobs.  For whatever reason, they can't sleep at night unless they can convince themselves that Bush is all-powerful.


For what it's worth, I think the conservatives are nut jobs too.
Yeah, SAT, they are far more dangerous nut jobs who actually control the military. I can't stress this point enough.

One of my distant cousins (twice removed) was the 31st president.  Even back then, the public office holders were not the real power in the US.  And that is the tragic/comic farce of america.  People are highly polarized about parties and personalities that have no real significance.

In many nations, the elites rule openly without any pretense of democracy or public interest - their subjects know the score.  

In a few other places, mainly small developed nations, there is a representational government with honest elections where the office holders have real power.  Their citizens are right to be engaged by electoral politics.

But Americans are hypnotized by the media passion play of (fake) left vs (fake) right politics.  (Ok, maybe the local school board elections are honest.)  But people who believe that national US elections decide anything in the modern era are the real nut jobs.

PS: The current US Treasurer is from Goldman Sachs. Clinton's US Treasurer was from Goldman Sachs.  Catch the drift?

I've attacked this position before and I'll attack it again - the last 5 years have showed us that national US politicians do have the capacity to genuinely lead - look how far they've recently led us astray.  We just suspended habeus corpus.  We have national debates about whether torturing prisoners ourselves (rather than shipping them to other countries to do it) is good policy.  We're fighting a war that we can't figure out which lie justified.  We've ignoring the war which for the first time in 60 years, we had a universally defensible reason to fight.  There have been discussions about nuking Iran, and the armed forces are positioning themselves for the possibility that it will be politically necessary to start a war there.  Tell me Gore or Kerry would have done that with a straight face.

There always has and always will be a pull towards big money in decisionmaking, but how leaders resist or give in to that pull varies immensely.  The current leadership does things like cutting taxes for the rich repeatedly and heavily, and when they encounter enough political opposition to that to force them to stop, firing the IRS tax attorneys devoted to investigating super-high income tax fraud - the ones who bring in $70 billion a year that would otherwise be fraudulently deducted, so that we won't have to pay their ten or twenty million in salary.

If Goldman Sachs et al control things completely, why were these lawyers ever put in place?  Why have the rich ever paid taxes?  I have more than enough cynicism to go around, but the rich are not yet all-powerful.  They are not yet invincible.  A determined, skilled populist leader COULD still reinstitute a sense of liberal democracy we've had for at least significant portions of the 20th century.

Americans are beginning to wake up, and he-said-she-said journalism is slowly unravelling.  Blogs are taking up the slack, and they have an inherently more accessible range of viewpoints than network TV.  Network TV is shifting the confrontational model to personality-driven shows that perform the core responsibility of the Fourth Estate that's been ignored - analysis.  And in-depth analysis is harder to do when your job is nonsensical hypnosis (you can actually teach the entire breadth of a logic and semantics course on fallacies using a half hour of O'reilly).

There is a good cop bad cop dynamic going on here.  The US commitment to control of the Persian Gulf (military if necessary) is known as the Carter Doctrine, from January 1980.

Clinton waged war on Yugoslavia with depleted uranium.  Clinton also passed NAFTA and some pre-Patriot Act type laws after OKC.  Now Bill Clinton vacations with his good buddy G.H.W.Bush.

Zbig Brzezenski (Carter's national security advisor) called for a New Pearl Harbor to galvanize the US populace into supporting an imperial resource war in Asia.  The book is called "The Grand Chessboard" and is available on Amazon.

Hillary Clinton does lunch with Rupert Murdoch every week.

As for Al Gore, his daughter Karenna married Andrew Schiff.

As for Kerry, he is a cousin of G.W.Bush and fellow bonesman.

There are style differences between the red and blue squads, but they are all one team at the end of the day and serve the same masters.

Seriously.  Assume democrats (none of them populist) control congress and the presidency in 2009.  Do you believe they would repeal HR6166 (The Military Commissions Act)?  Do you believe they would repeal the Patriot Act?  Do you believe they would withdraw from the middle east?  I don't believe any of those things.

Assuming that a real populist candidate got some traction, I would recall the fates of Huey Long, JFK, RFK, MLK, George Wallace, and the death threat to Ross Perot's family in 1992 when he briefly led in the polls before dropping out for the summer

This article talks about how the Democratic rank and file wants out of Iraq, yet the Democratic leadership is providing candidates who oppose even talking about a timetable for withdrawal.  And Hillary is supporting at least one of these candidates.


     Paul Wellstone?


Please return ..
"And in-depth analysis is harder to do when your job is nonsensical hypnosis (you can actually teach the entire breadth of a logic and semantics course on fallacies using a half hour of O'reilly). "

Do it...all his interviews are on foxnews....

cut paste teach

Yo, dude, Iraq is a war zone thanks to your hero, George III.
The logical process and motivation behind this kind of comment is deplorable. Just because someone criticizes Alternet doesn't make them a fan of George Bush. I'm pretty sure SAT is strongly anti-Bush.

The frequent and blatant attempts to smear anyone who offers the slightest dissent against the far left party line have to stop. This is a large part of the reason why althopugh the vast majority of Americans hate Bush, the fear the foaming anti-Bush lunatics even more.

I'm wondering what this "far left" party line is that you talk about. I've been studying politics for 30 years and have never seen evidence of more than a smattering of leftists in this country. I'm not talking about democrat leftists, who would, in most places in the world be to the right of center. I'm talking your dyed in the wool leftists, you know, socialists, communists. Hey, I'd settle for your basic social democrat.
To me, it doesn't have to do with left or right.  It's the partisanship that drives me crazy.  Like this article.  It's driven purely by partisanship.  At this point, I could do without either party.
I've voted in every election since I was old enough to do so. I can honestly say that when it comes to voting for president, I have never voted for either a Republican or a Democrat. I don't even consider them to be two sides of the same coin - they're two layers of non-precious metal on the same side of the coin.

When I lived in Northern Utah they had the crazy ant-government
people running for office. I think they claimed to be libertarian cant remember. In any case they had a lot of support so I decided to vote for them. A few actually won and it was comic seeing how they acted in office. Sort of like Hamas now. It just shows that the elected officials have little control over the machines they inherit. And ruling a country is about first controlling the machine, compromise with with your neighbors machine and finally move your political agenda forward. Today neither Bush not Hamas is willing to play the game and look at the consequences.
it doesn't have to do with left or right.  It's the partisanship that drives me crazy.

Exactly. If the commenter had said that you were "just like your hero Michael Moore", I would reacted exactly the same way, but substituted the word right for left.

I do think the "hero" commenter provided us with a great exaple of the argue by insult methodology utilized by ideologues on both sides of the sectrum.

David:Jack blames everything and the weather on those crazy "leftists". They are just one vote from taking over and eating your children. In reality, the USA in 1976 was far more "left" than it is now and likely to be in the future. The socialist/leftist advances in USA society from the late 40s to the late 70s built the middle class and the overall economic strength of the country. What is remaining in 2006 is a financial economy based on equity and real estate speculation, and record levels of debt.    
No. I highly value the thoughts and political contributions of those on both the left and right who try to advance their positions by debate, education and persuasion.

I am equally dismissive of the far right and far left ideologues who see any position more than one degree away from them as Satanic.

I see the far left and the right right as equally complicit in scare mongering, enemy-building and demonizing those who don't agree with them. To me George Bush building up the "Axis of Evil" as some scary puppet to wave in front of people is no different that the left trying to continually build up bush as a scary puppet to wave in front of everyone.

Does anyone reading this really think that SAT gave any indication that he sees George Busgh as a hero? No, that was completely made up and is typical of the thinking of the Bush-obsessive.

BrianT is amomg the worst of them. No matter how many times I said that I deplore Bush and think he may be the worst president the US will ever have BrianT relishes every opportunity to compare me to Bush or Cheney. I understand that this is because BrianT and others are incapable of discussing issues based on facts and analysis and so need to support their points with insults and falsehoods.

Were members of the far right commenting on TOD, or if the far right had surrendered any credibility among voters in the way that the far left has, I would have noted that too.

I would like to see a stronger opposition to Bush and a platform that provides Americans with options that they will vote for.

I think the far left has abdicated responsibility by abandoning discourse and falling in to a hysterical fit of insult making that is pitiful and highly damaging to the US.

When the vast majority of the US has indicated that they disapprove of Bush and the collapse of his regime is imminent, it is a trgaedy that the greatest contribution from those that should be providing an alternative is list of silly nicknames and websites that expound any idea, no matter how speculative to eager fans who consume it without thinking.

What are you going to do with your life in two years when Bush is gone? Invent another enemy?

Although you seem temperate in your remarks, here, the problem is that crazies are running the show now, got it? And they are not liberals. Your "middle of the road" comments do not reflect reality.

You want to argue? Argue with me. Arguing against the far left crazies is a straw man.

Re: I would like to see a stronger opposition to Bush and a platform that provides Americans with options that they will vote for

Fine, provide me with the source code -- I am a software engineer, or at least I was, now retired -- for the software in the Diebold voting machines. Then, get back to me. If it checks out, OK.

What a crock of shit.

My point is that we need to get rid of the crazies running the show. But convincing voters that you may be the only people who are actually crazier seems an odd way to go about it.

I am trying to argue with you, but you want me to try to find source code for Diebold and can't say anything about this point:

I would like to see a stronger opposition to Bush and a platform that provides Americans with options that they will vote for

Other than it is a crock of shit? Why bother?

I am trying really hard to make sense of your reply. So far, no luck. The connection between "stronger opposition to Bush" and the Diebold voting machines (especially in Ohio, 2004) seems so obvious to me that I can not for the life of me see why you refuse to see it.

The late Diebold was a heavy supporter of and contributor to the Republican party, a huge Bush supporter. I want to see the source code, which nobody has yet seen.

Where, exactly, does your confusion lay here? I am saying there is a strong possible conflict of interest and subsequent corruption & malfeasance regarding the electoral process. Florida, 2000? Katherine Harris? Supreme Court -- 5 to 4, decided the election. Does any of this ring a bell?

So, where's your confusion? What, do you think the world just works in some rational, orderly fashion which disregards human nature as manifested in politics altogether????

You're not that naive, right? Please tell me it's not so, OK?

You realize that other voting machine companies have been required to provide source code, and refuse - it seems as if they have to provide that, our way of life would lay in tatters on the floor, since those companies would no longer be able to earn a living, or something. It is the 'something' which remains so interesting. There are plenty of great sources of information on how to manipulate voting machines (for example, Diebold itself - http://www.siliconvalleysleuth.com/2006/08/diebold_gives_a.html)

Actually, the same applies to allowing a defendant to examine the software in radar guns, except in those cases, we aren't talking about such major issue - and the judge threw out the cases when the manufacturer refused to comply.

Sadly, the same just doesn't work with elections.

But to add a note of realism - vote stealing is one of the oldest American political realities, and thinking it is somehow new or modern is just silly. Heck, even the Jim Crow laws were modern compared to how the Constitution classified voters - you know, no women, no Indians, and in the slave states, no slaves. Or the fact that direct election of senators is also a modern innovation.

Just because they teach you in school that America is a shining beacon of democracy doesn't actually mean that what you were taught is reality. And yes, there are a number of systems worse than America's - just because something isn't perfect doesn't mean that its flaws are all that remains.

Oh, by the way - for the first time, I received an absentee ballot sent to my address. Previously, the rules had required me to apply for a ballot every election cycle - yes, I actually have to spend time and money to vote (postage for requesting ballot, postage returning ballot to be exact - trivial), but coming from a former Jim Crow state, that is not exactly a surprise. But this time, without ever having provided any proof of identity, I can vote. I found it quite interesting, seeing how there seems to be a debate about ID standards for citizens living in the U.S. to prevent vote fraud. Personally, it would seem like the chance to pick up a few hundred votes with absentee ballots would be hard for any self-respecting partisan to resist. Or maybe that is the explanation why I received a ballot instead of having to put some effort into voting as in the past, considering the typical demographics of overseas voters? And notice, there is no fraud or illegal manipulation involved at all - just 'voter outreach,' which is always a good thing, right?

Politics is a nasty sport, and anyone thinking otherwise is very naive.

The idea that the left side of the US political spectrum is split between moderates and hard core left is a frequent topic of discussion in political circles on both the left and the right. Read Washington Monthly for example, where the topic of winning elections versus ideological purity is a frequent topic.

My point is that George Bush is highly unpopular in the US, and his presidency appears on the edge of collapsing under the weight of incompetence and malice.

Yet, the most vocal opposition is dedicted to building and anti-personality cult which does little more than demonize Bush.

I expect that 70% of Americans want to dump Bush, but 80% think that the core anti-Bush crowd is an obsessive fringe group. So "far left" in political spectrum terms may not be the right waty to categorize this "movement", extreme Bushophobes might.  

The fact that the Bushophobes will set upon anyone who disagrees with them like a school of ravenous piranas without even realizing that they agree on more than they disagree on benefits Bush more than anyone else.

Re: This is a large part of the reason why although the vast majority of Americans hate Bush, they fear the foaming anti-Bush lunatics even more

I have taken the liberty of correcting the English in your quote, Jack.

The far left party are whackos, but we have far more to fear from the far right whackos who are actually in power at this time in history. The notion that "the vast majority of Americans [they, your words] fear the "foaming anti-Bush lunatics" even more than they fear a governing whack-job neocon oligarchy in what is supposed to be a functioning democracy is patently ridiculous. Iraq being a very large case in point.

The problem, of course, is that even if we toss out the neocons, the whole situation is so fucked up beyond repair that it probably doesn't even matter who ends up running the show. See what I mean????

And -- excuse some of us for being really, really, really pissed off about this Iraq thing, all the DEAD PEOPLE and the phony "War on Terrorism". In order to have a "war", you need a country. So, to have his war, Cheney (I won't say W) needed to have a country. Conveniently, this was a country with the 2nd biggest untapped oil reserves in the world.

Are you, maybe, starting to get my drift?

I did not say the vast majority of Anmericans fear the foaming anti-Bush lunatics more than the governing whack job neocon oligarchy.

I said that the foaming anti-Bush lunatics are hurting the cause of getting Americans to see that there is a better option than the governing whack job neocon oligarchy.

Are you, maybe, starting to get my drift?

(Actually you obviously are because your point isn't much different than mine)

Re: The frequent and blatant attempts to smear anyone who offers the slightest dissent against the far left party line have [sic, should be "has"] to stop. This is a large part of the reason why althopugh [sic] the vast majority of Americans hate Bush, the[y] fear the foaming anti-Bush lunatics even more

Foaming? Who do you think you are dealing with? I know you have read my posts.

As I said earlier today on the Drumbeat with Darwinian, I must ask you the same question: perhaps I do not understand the English language? Do I need lessons?

I know just how you feel.  Every night I cower under my sheets  and worry about what the evil far left will do to us next!  I have a recurring nightmare that they might force us out of Iraq before we get our million.  I know that only my prayers to George Bush will save us from the coming liberal apocalypse.
latest excuse    blame it on ramadan    
I agree that the Alter Net article is a political scare piece, full of absurdities. The sourcing is poor, and relies heavily on innunendo.

However, it describes what Cheney was trying to do; it's just that it immediately fell apart.

During the Bremer viceroyalty, they brought in a retired oil ceo to sound out privatization, and he essentially told the Repubs that it was illegal under international law, and would be disinherited once the Americans pulled out, so no oil company would touch it.

Things now are only worse. I wouldn't want their oil fields if you gave them to me; what good are they if taking possession will get your employees killed, and whatever you invest will disappear or be blown up?

SAT.. a quite good analysis. Bullshit is it.
"If the Iraqi government is smart and independent"
What have you been smoking SAT?
The Iraqi government supports Iran's nuclear ambitions, supports Hezbollah and its goals with respect to Israel.  The Iraqi PM, while visiting Iran, talked about, "two nations with one soul," "a shared brotherhood," "a common worldview," etc.  Iraq is reaching out to Iran to form oil and gas joint ventures, expand commerce, student and professional exchange programs.  Does this sound like a U.S. puppet regime to you?

I understand that the original idea was to conquer Iraq, be welcomed as heroes, put Chalabi in charge, and sign the oil over to Exxon, but this plan failed.  Later the idea was to get Allawi elected and have him sign the oil over to Exxon.  This plan failed too.  Later they wanted to establish an entirely new form of government in Iraq, with outrageous powers given to minority groups, but the Shiites (led by their religious leaders) insisted on Democracy.  The U.S. had to give in and grudginly accept Democracy in Iraq.  The current PM hates the U.S..  He can barely hold his tongue when talking about America.  He openly admits that he sided with Iran in the Iran-Iraq war, against Sadams American-backed army.  He has nothing but warm feelings toward the Iranian people and their government, and that's why he has made deepening ties with Iran his number one priority.        

What is gained by insisting that Iraq is a puppet regime?  If, "liberals" think admitting that Iraq has established an independent government somehow legitimizes the Iraq war, they're just going to have to learn to deal with it.  This government is fiercly independent and does a great job representing the views of the Iraqi people.  The reality is more complex than an all-powerful George Bush colonizing Iraq.  If that was his original intention, and I think it was, he failed.


Well done. There is a lot of territory between the neocons and alternut. Just because you stray from the party line on one side, doesn't put you in the opposite camp.

I'm not sure I agree with everything you say here, but do think it is an example of critical thinking.

Here's a great link that speaks to what I am arguing here:


The bottom line is, whether it comes to the oil industry, relationships with foreign powers, the presence of U.S. troops, etc., the Iraqis will continue to be pragmatic.  
Shit, I might as well admit it, I posted that link by mistake.  It says nothing which could even remotely be construed as backing up the position I've been defending here.  If anything, it discredits it entirely.  The comment I posted following the link (some BS about the Iraqi government's "pragmatism") was just a desperate attempt at a, "save."

As Franz Kafka said about, "The Castle" as he lay dying of tuberculosis in a sanatorium near Vienna, "I'm having trouble following the thread."



Iraq was set up as a puppet government.  Whether it can still be called a puppet is as questionable as whether it can still be called a government.  Representing the views of ALL the iraqi people by necessity shouldn't involve the kind of lowlevel ethnic-cleansing-as-intimidation and anarchic civil war going on there now, including the portion being committed by the state machinery.  We are seeing al-Anfal being repeated on a local scale all over Iraq in various permutations of race, tribe, and religion.

If the Iraqi government is smart and independent (and it appears that they are)

History 101 - No government/nation is independent when occupied by foreign troops.

Although not specifically dealing with oil, Bremer left Iraq with his "100 Orders" in place. Not to recite them all here, but in general they give US corporations the "right" to own a majority interest in any Iraqi corporation. In addition, no US company would be in any way liable for environmental damage, workers' injuries, etc. Basically makes Iraq a free-fire zone for US corporate interests - not that anyone in his right mind would try to do business there at this juncture!    
I'm glad to see that there is mention of William S. Lind, a well-respected military analyst and thinker on 4th generational warfare.

I have a very high regard for this man's opinions, and I have corresponded with him (he doesn't do email) on several topics.

As most of us know, a vital element of US military dominance in the world is the carrier battle group, typically consisting of a super carrier, an Aegis class missile-defense cruiser, several missile frigates, and an attack sub. Conceptually, this is supposed to function like Darth Vader's Death Star: an irresistable force capable of delivering massive destruction whenever and wherever the President so chooses.

Unfortunately, the carrier battle group has become increasingly vulnerable, and in my view it is soon going to go the way of the battleship. Just as the effectiveness of the dreadnought battleship was done in by the airplane, so too willl the effectiveness of the carrier battle group be done in by increasingly effective cruise missiles (such as the supersonic Russian Sunburn) and increasingly effective homing torpedoes (such as the Russian super-cavitating Shvall (sp?), the latter still in the developmental stage.

It is no secret that both the Russians and Chinese have as a top military priority the ability to  neutralize US carrier battle groups.

It is also evident that the Chinese are looking at ways to cripple or otherwise blind our satellites, upon which our military is so highly dependent.  They have allegedly already messed up one of our satellites by hitting it with a high-powered laser, though details on the incident are sketchy.  

So, where am I going with all this? I posit that multi-billion-dollar weapon systems are increasingly going to get us nowhere, and may even weaken our position in the world.  This is a world where some illiterate teenager wearing cheap plastic flip-flops and a Mickey Mouse teeshirt can disable a two-million-dollar Abrams tank if given a state-of-the-art shoulder-fired anti-tank rocket.

Both the US failure in Iraq and Israel's failure to squash Hezbollah in Lebanon give strong credence to the effectiveness of so-called fourth-generation warfare.

I think this puts the lie to the notion that there is a military solution to our oil problem.

"This is a world where some illiterate teenager wearing cheap plastic flip-flops and a Mickey Mouse teeshirt can disable a two-million-dollar Abrams tank if given a state-of-the-art shoulder-fired anti-tank rocket."

Not really a hell of a lot different from 1945. How much did a  Panzerfaust cost and what was the average age and training of their users?


Lind first came to prominance back with Gary Hart's campaign.

Your point about the possibility of a carrier group(s) being vulnerable is true, but it would have to come from a relatively advanced country like China, or in a surprise. It is also possible that the USA could do something very stupid, like getting swarmed by 100 small craft in the Persian Gulf.

But two points. One, if the USA wants, it can deliver a catastrophic blow against a North Korea, or Iran, or Syria (rumors out there about Israel and Syria going at in 2007). It would also bring about massive world political change, including in the USA. But that is one of the fallacies about the 4th or 5th generation of warfare, there is a trump card called the nuclear option.

Two, one of the most interesting things to come out of the Democratic Party camp, in my mind, in this off year election is the call for energy independence by a red/blue state majority, across the board. This is consistant polling data. If we see over the next two-four years a sustained move in this direction, including the use of coal and nukes, it will change the fundamental power of oil.

By the way, I agree that lots of nations will be bidding on Iraq oil work, but I would not want to own stock in a company working in that nation in its current condition. Kuwait or SA makes quieter sense to me.

Jack Greene -

Well, an attack on one of our carrier battle groups is not going to come from a country like Bangladesh; it's going to come from either China or Russia or Iran.  That should be obvious.

Yes, the US could deliver a catastrophic blow against either North Korea or Iran, including the use of nuclear weapons.  But the sticky question remains: what does the US do AFTER it has delivered that catastrophic blow?

If it does nothing, then either country would regroup and gradually attain their former status as 4th generational enemies. If the US  really wants to subdue either country, then that automatically means an occupation force, and we've seen all too painfully  from Iraq where that option leads.

As to your 'trump card' of a nuclear attack, the same principle applies: even if you nuke a country, if you really want to subdue it, you are going to have to occupy it; and that, as we've seen, poses many inherent problems.

The US cannot rule the world by threatening to nuke anyone who goes against its wishes.

I think we're straying over the boundaries between 3rd and 4th generation warfare.

3rd generation warfare is one state vs another state (US vs. Afghanistan or Iraq).

4th gen warfare is between one state (US) and some shadowy group that has no locus, no set geographical position. If New York were to blow up tomorrow, who should we nuke? It isn't clear. Either everybody or nobody.

The fatal mistake made by the Bush admin is that they refused to believe that 4th gen warfare was even possible! If we are attacked, there has to be a state involved;Cheney & Rumsfeld's world view cannot accomodate the idea that the enemy might be truely stateless, or that states might not have ultimate control over what happens within their borders. But if that were the case, then the US government would be held responsible for the existence of the various mafias that operate within our borders.

As for aircraft carrier battle groups being attacked, they will have to beat feet away from the Persian Gulf if they don't want to get overwhelmed by Iranian salvos of Chinese and Russian anti ship missiles. We only have to look at the Hezbollah nailing that Israeli ship during their little war.

During WWI, the "invincible" British battleship groups, when confronted by the new U boats, labelled them "uncivilized" and various equivelents to "terrorist," and then the fleet retreated to the waters off Scotland.

Warfare has always been a never ending see saw between offense and defense being supreme, with every weapon system at some point being neutralized.

Why should aircraft carrier groups be any different?

Jim Burke -

Well said!

I think it is a somewhat contradictory situation that while on the one hand states are getting more and more effective at repressing their own people, on the other hand they are experiencing less and less control over stateless mafias, militias, 'terrorist' groups, and the like. Just look at Iraq or Lebanon.

Yes, as an amateur student of naval history, I think the problem the Brits had leading up to WW I was a classic example of the inherent tension between offense and defense. The U-boat and the mine certainly cramped the stype of the traditional battlship school.

 In general, offense always has an inherent advantage over defense. Offense can take on myriad forms, whereas deffense is highly constrained in what it can do. Defense is always a game of catch-up against offense.

In the case of a US carrier battle group, while their mission may be offensive, they could easily find themselves in a very tenuous defensive position, which would severely compromise their offensive capability. When an offensive entity spends most of its resources defending itself, then it ceases to be an offensive entity.

Just as Luke Skywalker found a way to defeat the Death Star, so will those Third World people find a way around the US high-tech invincible military.  

It's already happening.

What's needed is a total reassessment on the part of the US as to how it should relate to the rest of the world. This is not going to happen during the last part Bush administration, but we should hope for better things to come.

Jim Burke,

Just a small point here.

It is my understanding that Uranium and other items in a bomb can be traced back to the source with out too much difficulty. I think that is why thinking is the material used in the sub-kiloton North Korean blast was local material.

So if New York goes, we will know where it came from and maybe their was a third party involved but the first party is toast.

What if the uranium traces back to a stolen Russian tactical nuclear warhead, stolen druing the '90s? Would we launch a first strike against the Russians?
Jim Burke,

If we want to look hard enough I am sure there are scenarios where somebody might get away with something for a little while. The scenario you suggest is on the face of it will not have the USA retaliating against Russia. But someone would die.


I agree about China and Russia.

As to Iran, unless they get the drop on us they simply do not have the capability of hurting us with naval or air units. If we steam close to their coast and they set off a bunch of missiles, maybe. Their submarine service is too small and too old.

"Anyone who commits the American Army in the Asian mainland should have his head examined." -- Douglas MacArthur, 1949. Maybe, just maybe, we have learned this lesson for the last time.

I would argue that if we were hurt bad, say a city was blown up with a nuke (or Tel Aviv), a serious disease was let loose, or we suffered, say, major damage to two carrier groups, we would heavily retaliate. And probably retreat into a Buchanan Fortress America or Fortress Americas (South and North) mentality.

P.S. They had the debate between the two guys running for Iowa Governor, and the Democratic candidate said that he wanted to make Iowa energy independent!

Which means as many ethanol plants as possible.  Don't think IOWA wants that.
"The US cannot rule the world by threatening to nuke anyone who goes against its wishes."

Fallacy and completely false. Yes, the US can do this. Is it something that most of us here want to see happen? Hell, no! But it would be possible, particularly as this Washington Post story on new US space policy so clearly suggests.

Do you understand how long it takes for an orbital warhead to reach a target? About 15 seconds. Unlike ICBMs, for which there can be warning and then retaliation, orbital warheads may not leave enough evidence of origination to allow for a retaliation. If the US (or anyone else) places large numbers of nuclear warheads in orbit with appropriate delivery systems, all bets are off. China could cease to exist before they knew the launch occurred. In such a world, whoever controls the "high frontier" would indeed be able to rule the world.

Note: I do NOT support such a thing but to assert that the US (or anyone else) cannot rule the world via threat of force through nuclear attack is clearly wishful thinking. Nuclear devices are dangerous. Nuclear devices in orbit are orders of magnitude more dangerous, not because the actual damage component changes but because the political consequences of usage change so drastically.

Ahh... but you forget how easy it is to destroy orbital flight paths; effectually rendering space a true final frontier as man would never again be able to run the gauntlet of lethal space debris.
Unlike ICBMs, for which there can be warning and then retaliation, orbital warheads may not leave enough evidence of origination to allow for a retaliation.

I don't think so.  If it were really 15 seconds (which I doubt) then the trajectory could easily be computed backwards to the finite number of known "launch platforms" in space.  If it were only "15 seconds" then knowing the exact time and location of impact (which would be easy), which reduce possible launch positions enormously.

These would be about as reliably identifiable as land masses from which ICBM's were launched.

I think that permanent stationing of warheads in space is also against a treaty the US signed, and as yet hasn't violated.  That may mean nothing but I don't think this scenario would be as simple as claimed.

The orbiting launch platforms would be obviously there, very expensive, very destabilizing and easily disabled.

And then again, what is the point?  I don't see a critical mission these would perform that doesn't outweight the disadvantages.

Tyson thinking of fighting women?

"It's all fun. I'm not Mike Tyson," he said, referring to the fierce boxer whose career was upended by a prison term. "I'm not 20 years old. I'm not going to smash anybody. I'm not going to talk about smashing anybody's brains. You're not going to see that guy no more."

These New Republic articles are free, but you need to register(fakename and fake-email).

A TNR Online Debate
Bob Woodward's State of Denial

State of Denial has little in it about the Niger uranium controversy and the Valerie Plame leak case--which ended up ensnaring Woodward. It may have been a justifiable editorial decision for him to sidestep these matters (even though the Niger affair did lead to open warfare between the CIA and the White House). But Woodward's entanglement with a source involved in this episode appears to have caused him to misguide the reader. In the book, he reports that, in the summer of 2004, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage was asked if he would succeed George Tenet as CIA chief. Woodward notes that Armitage turned it down because he could not stomach working with Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. In this telling, Armitage (an important Woodward source) comes across as a fellow rejecting a prestigious job out of principle. But there was more to it than that.

Armitage (as Hubris disclosed) had been under investigation for having leaked classified information on undercover CIA officer Valerie Plame Wilson to conservative columnist Robert Novak. Woodward knew that Armitage had leaked the same information to him, and he "had long suspected" (as he said in an interview for our book) that his source--meaning Armitage--had been Novak's. So Woodward must have realized when writing State of Denial that Armitage could not have accepted the CIA job and gone through the confirmation process. At any moment the news could have emerged that the man nominated to be the CIA chief had blown the cover of an undercover CIA employee. But Woodward--apparently to protect a source--tells his reader none of this. Consequently, he paints a not-entirely-true picture. On "60 Minutes," Woodward recently described the anecdotes in State of Denial as "not just kind of right, but literally right." Not so in this case.

And for all you conspiracy-theorists...this one has practically been proven.

How French TV fudged the death of Mohammed Al Durah.
Camera Obscura

On September 30, 2000, images of 12-year-old Mohammed Al Durah and his father--cowering behind a barrel at Netzarim Junction, in the Gaza Strip--circulated globally, along with a claim that they had been the targeted victims of Israeli fire. If Ariel Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount two days earlier had sparked riots, these images triggered all-out war. The ensuing horror and outrage swept away any questions about its reliability. Indignant observers dismissed any Israeli attempt to deny responsibility as "blaming the victim."

Thanks to Prof. Goose for the late Open Thread. And keep in mind, lately oil has been dropping big on Tuesdays.

Tyson versus Bobbit ha ha.
The fight rules are as follows:
  1. He tries to bite her ear off.
  2. She tries to ... well never mind.
Heh, Heh. I was thinking that he's already fought every woman he's ever known. Just ask his ex-wives. They ended up with black eyes, but they always won. Mike's big problem was always the sucker punch.

Dick Cheney's Bedtime Reading

Where did that map come from, Dave? I think that large blob in the far West and the equally large blob in the South were made up from whole cloth; they certainly don't ring any bells. See my post of a few minutes ago somewhere down below. The following looks a lot more familar...


Dave pulls those things out of his ass -- that might explain the extra smudges.
Please don't respond to what I said with an image, Dave.  It was just an innocent joke.  Please, i'm begging you.
No, the smudges are because he uses that blasted 100% tag.  Mutter, grumble...
Regarding the Alternet post: I don't doubt that the oil companies influenced US policy through the Cheney's energy plan nor that they are angling to get their shot at Iraqi oil. My only question is, so what?

After the US leaves Iraq, whenever that is, does anyone think this Iraqi Government will last longer than Nguyen van Thieu did after the US left Vietnam? Anything they negotiate will likely be a worthless piece of paper five years from now.

On Alternet article.

People should probably immediately look-up Jack's comments from last few days on this subject. If only for the fact that they pre-date this posting. And it's Jack. Bringer of Sanity.

I was thinking about Westexas' Export Land Model last night and came up with this question which I'm too lazy to explore right now.

How much does it cost to move a barrel of oil (on average) from the Middle East to A)Europe B)North or South America C) Asia via tanker?

Let's figure two answers. One for a tanker with a 1 million barrel capacity. And one for a tanker with a 2 million barrel capacity.

I came up with roughly $3 per barrel based on some rough figures in my head.

What changes this figure over time? What factors affect it?

Points for sophistication and accuracy.

Hello Oil CEO,

Interesting question!!!  My feeble two cents follow:

Geographic transport distance is fixed; easily calculated on propulsion burn rate from port to port.  Where costs can rapidly escalate is insurance, distance shifts, and if required, paying for 'free passage' protection [explained below].  Obviously, an outbreak of violence and/or war jacks up the 'fear premium' on every basic price/barrel, but I leaving that emotional pricing component out of this discussion so as to focus on FFs' logistics and control.  Simply put: when logistics and control are questionable is when the fear premium will be the highest, so when these two components are publically considered 'normalized'-- the fear premium is lowest.

To me, it all starts when the confluence and influence of the global topdogs' interaction reaches a critical inflection point necessitating a re-equilibration of powers over Iran and the MidEast [ME] in general. I profess no intimate knowledge of cooperation vs competition at this alpha-male level.  My gut level says a 35-65 ratio as very little got accomplished at the last G8 meeting in Russia-- I was hoping it would be more like 75-25 ratio, and ASPO's Depletion Protocols would have been on the agenda table at that time.  Oh well, maybe next time.

IMO, it all starts IF Iran carefully sinks a tanker first:  Hormuz transit ins. goes through the roof for non-Iranian flagged tankers, but can be offset to some degree by shifting some pipeline loadings to the Red Sea ports--this shortens EU transport distance, but greatly increases transport distance to China, Japan, etc.

Of course, opposite effects if Suez Canal blown up, or a Suez-max tanker is blown up in canal transit instead, jacking up Suez ins., but Hormuz stays clear, but Hormuz ins.  will still go very high.  This second tactic should be Iran's preferred initial military choice: puts the maximum logistic hurt to the Sunni rulers of KSA, and forces ships to a long, scenic route around the southern African tip to resupply EU.  I think this is the main reason the EU is negotiating so softly on Iranian nuke sanctions.

Additionally, Suez is much smaller and shorter than Hormuz--should be militarily easier to close for long periods, especially if covert Egyptian Shia detrito-terrorists can be employed to do the dirty deed as required.  If further required, pipelines to Turkey and the Mediterranean can be easily & repeatedly blown up by detrito-terrorists too.

Suez closed, but Hormuz open, but now damn expensive to insure, gives a sizable logistic price/barrel advantage to southern & east Asia.  I don't think the US Navy will sink any Iranian-flagged tankers, counter productive in my mind, but they will sure as hell will impose a very, very stiff 'safe passage' tax on any ship wishing to exit the Hormuz to equalize aggregate Suez re-opening and protection costs.  Pirates of yore utilized this strategy on the high seas in the past.

At this point, a new 'tit for tat' equilibrium is reached; it could stay this way for sometime to 'mask' the Peak, or it gets convoluted from here with further equilibration adjustments:

Now it is up to China, India, and Japan [Iran's customers] to get Iran to re-equilibrate by pledging to allow free Hormuz passage of non-Iranian flagged tankers from KSA, Iraq, Qatar, UAE, etc, diffusing the situational logistics. And/or Israeli, EU, and US Military Forces can counter re-equilibrate by repossessing Sinai and the Suez Canal to safeguard the Canal from further harm.  Further leverage could be obtained by attacking Gaza, the Litani Basin, and dislocating/killing millions of Palestinians, Lebanese, and Syrians.

I don't think there is any way for China and Iran to dislodge the Indian Ocean carrier task force and Diego Garcia Naval & Air Force Ops.  Nor anyway for Iran to extend their military reach very far outside their borders after that initial Suez attack except by minor terrorist attacks.  Modern piracy tactics safely esconsced out of the reach of anti-ship missiles may trump Iranian control of the Strait of Hormuz and the Suez without full-fledged Naval battle... If you want oil out of Hormuz: you better be prepared to ante up bigtime to the US & EU Piracy coalition.

The wild cards: one would be if China decided to march into Iran itself to just take the oil & natgas for themselves, instead of paying the sea pirates tax, but the Iranians would be the maximum loser in this scenario, and India, Pakistan, and Japan would be seriously pissed off as a counter to Chinese moves.  The next wildcard would be if the Mullahs and Ahmadinejad really decided the 12th Imam would return as the Iranian Dr. Strangelove and they therefore will continue the nuke program, and willingly jumpstart the torching of the entire ME by sinking every ship and FF platform they can, forcing the US, EU, KSA, and Israel to savagely counter-attack to try and save what infrastructure they can salvage.  The next wildcard is Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld are truly nuts and seek a divine mission of attacking Iran as a prelude to the full-on nuclear gift exchange.

I think I would prefer to take my chances with modern day military pirates that could act as a 'logistical throttle' on ME FFs.  IMO, seems like the cheapest way to re-equilibrate until the next inflection point becomes crucial.

Bob Shaw in Phx,Az  Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Do you write science-fiction?  If you don't, you should give it a try.
Gee when you hit a grand slam you leave little to everyone else.  Good insight!
I read this at http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/

"Administration officials told me on Monday that President George Bush is likely to announce "an exit strategy" that would draw down current U.S. force levels in Iraq.
"I think the dimensions of the catastrophe there has finally sunk in," one administration source said.
He and two others I talked to refused to speculate on details of any withdrawal, but all said that Bush would begin public statements after the upcoming elections were completed.
But they did say that Bush is also becoming "increasingly pessimistic" about any military action against Iran. According to one, "Bush really wanted to mount an attack on Iran earlier this year -- he was really hot to trot," but military briefings brought home to him that attacking Iran did not mean eliminating its suspected nuclear sites but also having to destroy "Iran's entire retaliatory capability," in the words of one. This capability is formidable; U.S. intelligence sources say Iran has underground missile batteries southwest of Abu Musa with the HY-2 advanced version of the Silkworm anti-ship missile. There are also Scud-Cs which could hit any UAE ports, including those to the south and west of Abu Dhabi and they could also strike Dubai where U.S. naval sources currently dock at the port of Jebel Ali.
Since the Scuds are long-range missiles, they don't need to be moved to the Gulf islands in order to hit targets on the Saudi side of the Gulf.
The underground storage bunkers also store the newer Chinese-made C-801 and C-802 anti-ship missiles and it could easily transport them to Abu Musa if they are not already there as a few U.S. experts contend. The majority I spoke to felt they were there already.
They could also be transported to places like the Tunbs, Sirri and other islands in the blink of an eye where they would be sheltered in bunkers.
There is also the threat of Iran's Navy. It has much amphibious capability -- both flat bottomed ships and hovercraft -- and a brigade of marines, all of which it showed off in exercises in the spring of this year, meaning it could cross the Gulf at any point it chose to, say experts.
Iran has submarines that could be easily sunk, the Gulf being so shallow, and so Tehran would likely resort to its array of E-boats, mini-subs, combat swimmers, and fast missile patrol craft to wreak damage. Iran is also training fundamentalists from Egypt, the Gulf States, Tunisia, Algeria and Lebanon at Iranian facilities, and would be likely to have a Fifth column in place in the Gulf States long before any conflict began.
Iran's ability to do this quickly and effectively is pretty much taken for granted, U.S. officials said.
One military analyst pointed out that in 1986-1988 when Iran's oil infrastructure was being savaged by Iraq, Iran responded by using fast interdiction boats like Boston Whalers, Boghammers as well as helicopters to launch attacks against Saudi and Kuwait shipping. Tehran could be expected to resort to this tactic again, experts say.
If the United States began the bombing of Iran's conventional military forces, Iran might attempt to close the Straits of Hormuz before losing its chief military assets.
In Qatar, there is currently underway a $50 billion natural gas project funded mutually by Exxon-Mobil and the Qatar government. The United States is fast running out of natural gas, and the Qatar program would ship in new reserves to take up the shortage. But even though Qatar has assured Tehran that it does not back any action against Iran by the United States, Tehran has made it clear that Qatar would be heavily damaged in punitive attacks if the Bush administration starts a war.
As one civilian military expert said, "Iran would be likely to do a great deal of damage in the Gulf before its assets on the mainland and islands were neutralized."
In other words, if attacked, Iran would respond asymmetrically, and any U.S. Iran war would be more frightful, full of bloody slaughter and unintended consequences than current U.S. planners think. This is what is giving Bush pause.
Cheney is still pushing hard for a strike, but Bush has become more skeptical of the vice president's ardor as he looks over the wreckage of Iraq, U.S. officials said.

Richard Sale"

Iran may have lots of light fast boats, but these boats would be defenseless targets against US attack helicopters and aircraft launchable from the carriers and the US airbase in Qatar.

The anti-ship missiles would be quite troublesome, but again they could be vulnerable to attack by aircraft.  

There is also the problem of guidance of those missiles: how would the Iranians properly track and program the targets?  Likely most of their fixed radar and communication sites would be eliminated.

The disadvantage to that scenario (blowing up Suez) would be that Iran is making an overt attack on a large, nationalist (not royalist) Arab state.

That could generate quite the negative blowback toward Iran, including Arabs (even Shiites) in Iran.

Bob, you definitely get points, but they will have to be bonus ones out of the special fund. You know I only give first points for hard numbers. The modern day pirates thing counts for a lot. Because that is a true fact.

I realize you are busting my balls. You want be to do the heavy lifting. You know I will eventually. If for no other reason than to check someone else's figures. So you've finally figured me out.

But then you'll have to wait. In the meantime I hold my secret weapon. Knowing when others don't.

I Love Ya, Baby. When me and Paris finally tie the knot, I want you there with a shotgun. You'll get invitation Numero Uno.

Two articles about the aircraft carrier Eisenhower steaming towards the Middle East, one, a factual tour diary from Stars and Stripes, the other, a bit speculative, but food for thought.

En route to the Middle East, 'Ike' makes a call in Naples

Bush's Nuclear Apocalypse

The Eisenhower (along with a couple other flat tops, if remember correctly) are due to arrive in the middle east by the end of the month.

If this was any other month, I wouldn't necessarily take this too seriously; however, the Republican Party is set for a drubbing at the polls, while Bush is supremely confident his party will win.

October surprise? How about starting a war with Iran, with the sure knowledge that Americans will rally around him and the flag? In 2002, he forced a showdown over going to war with Iraq mere weeks before the last mid-term election. They gained seats in Congress and that really jumpstarted his ability to get more tax cuts. So why not do it again?  

I find this an extremely serious development.

The Einsenhower group is set to replace the Enterprise carrier group already in the Arabian Sea.  What will be telling is if both groups stay there simultaneously.  That is quite a display of firepower which may be just that...a display.
Dont forget the 6000 Navy and Marines of ESG5 plus the contingent of sweepers and hunters.  The last time I checked, there weren't too many mines floating in Iraq or Afghanistain.
Off-Topic:  I thought this might be the group to ask -- I may have the opportunity to transfer to a job with the Department of Energy's National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) in Morgantown, WV. I was wondering if anyone here could tell me about either the laboratory or the surrounding area. As our next move will likely be our last, I'm particularly interested in the sustainability aspects: soil, climate, community, and other resources.
I think the opportunity to influence government energy policy from the inside -- and understand the insider Peak Oil perspective -- would be invaluable.  Thanks to anyone who can help.
If you get a job with the government and want to keep it for very long, first rule would be, don't mention Peak Oil.  You won't have your job for very long.
I work for NASA at the moment, and fellow employee Jim Hansen has managed to stay employed after going to bat for global warming.  I imagine we could see the same kind of fight for recognition of Peak Oil.
I'm an intelligence analyst for the government.  I've been giving briefings on the immanence of peak oil and its impact to senior officials for several years.  I've never briefed a department secretary, but I regularly brief Assistant Secretaries and Deputy Assistant Secretaries (of both Interior, Defense, and Justice) on the topic.  In fact, many graphics from The Oil Drum have found their way into my presentations.  They haven't fired me yet.  I tried to quit to go back to school recently (perfect opportunity to get rid of me, if they wanted), and they literally made me an offer that I couldn't refuse--in a flexible hours/good pay & healthcare while I go to school kind of way, not a dead horse head in my bed.

It's easy to say that there is some evil plan on the part of the Bush administration--and I certainly don't know what they think regarding peak oil.  But I can say with 100% certainty based on personal knowledge that they are not ignorant of the topic, and they even welcome discussion of it.  I'm about as big an opponent of Bush as you will find, but I honestly don't believe this is a case of a conspiracy theory.  As I've been arguing for quite some time, this is a structural issue.  People in power can want to do all the good in the world--this is less an issue of the failure of their attempts to do so than a failure of their ability to recognize the structural nature of the problem.

Your information here is very welcome. Thank's for contributing.

-- Dave

I second Dave's sentiments for all that share their ideas here from all walks of life.  Each bit of information helps the resolution of a cloudy future.
OK...perhaps you won't get fired, but your data and ideas may be used for purposes you did not intend.
What about whores and cocaine? How does that figure into the mix? I'm just saying. Cuz I got a brother-in-law who's trying to get a job with Homeland Security in Las Vegas. What do they check for out there? He's thinking about moving out to Hollywood maybe later. Any good skill sets you could recommend?

"data and ideas may be used for purposes you did not intend"

Ooooh. Scary. Most people would shit pancakes if their ideas were used at all. Who are we talking about - Einstein, Oppenheimer, or Feynman?

Its good to hear from someone in the trenches.

I actually believe that Bush and Co are very peak oil aware.
In fact considering the must have detailed info on KSA oil reserves they are the only ones on position to really know the state of the oil supply outside of KSA. You would have to be a fool to think the CIA does not have a lot of internal information flowing out of Aramco and the rest of KSA.

So given your report there is no reason you can't consider Iraq as the first shot in the peak oil end game.

The only real issue is they seem willing to hide what they know from the American people and they have decided pretty much on there own how America is going to respond to the coming peak oil crisis.

That's the tragedy of the situation. Its the same approach they took with global warming but in the case of peak oil there are not enough reliable public numbers for scientists to become vocal about the situation.

While VI isn't necessarily wrong about much of the bureaucracy, I think a) most industry folks believe in a peak, they just don't know when it is, and b) it would seem that the folks at NETL or NREL, etc., etc., would all be sympathetic to getting the country the hell of its collective ass and onto a more prudent energy path.

As for Morgantown, it's a college town (with all of the positives and negatives of that) with a (poorly funded) Carnegie Research I university.  Also, it's not as cheap as you would think.

P. Goose...I hope what you say above is true.  I worked with the EPA for awhile and despite the great efforts and hard work of many in the field and research, POLICY wins out in the end.  Projects get paid for and worked on.  They are then get filed away forever or are brought out for one political reason or another if they fit the need at the time.
Well if the big 4 don't get the oil ,  who will ?
It's a college town, with WVU enrollment being about half of the town population(around 50k total).  Morgantown is home to one of the only functioning examples used in Personal Rapid Transit essays, though in reality it's little more than a campus-to-campus automated people-mover with minibus-sized vehicles.

I guess Morgantown qualifies as an exurb of Pittsburg, but just barely.

The climate can be a little rough in the winter - it's not that far from several ski resorts to the east/south (though to be fair they're  dependant on snow generators).  Agriculture is possible in the spring/summer, (check here for an example), but I don't think it's a prominent activity.  I personally like the idea of bison or elk farming - extremely low maintenance way to use marginal land to produce desirable food.  One thing you might want to worry about if you're planning on agriculture is the water - coal (especially much-maligned mountaintop removal) is king in WV, and many creeks and streams in that area are contaminated to some degree with mining wastes of marginal toxicity.

and coal is such a king that they literally move mountains to get at it.  and you thought strip mining was bad?  
Thanks for the info, people.  I appreciate it.
There's way too much of the personal in this thread. But it seems to me that some things, if the facts are looked at coldly and calmly, cannot be denied:

  1. The US is in Iraq for the oil. It's contemplating -- well, preparing actually -- to go into Iran for the oil and the gas.

  2. The Bush regime was intent on going into Iraq in the first weeks of 2000, (Clarke and O'Neill). Actually PNAC was talking about it even before that.

  3. There's no way they could have gone into Iraq without 9-11, and they knew it. Without any other evidence, it's almost impossible to be so lucky as to have a guy in cave plus 19 suicidal hijackers come along and provide just what the doctor ordered. But of course there is massive and incontrovertible evidence that no luck was involved. WTC 7, Silverstein confession, shorts on the airlines, etc.

  4. Cheney was well informed about peak oil and spoke about before 9-11, before he was in office and still working for Halliburton.

  5. We are losing our liberties as part of this whole process: first the Patriot Act, now the Military Commissions act which kills off habeas corpus. This is entirely consistent with the needs of the junta in dealing with the domestic reaction to peak and the need to conduct endless war.

  6. Peak oilers agree on one thing: peak is near or here, but disagree on everything else. There's no point in calling each other names when arguing of the technicalities of peak oil, and there's no point in doing so over the implications of peak oil -- as devastating as they. If the "extremists" and "loonies" like me are wrong, then there's nothing to worry about, is there? The errors of fact and logic will be easy to point out.
Good post. I agree with most of what you say, but not all. I expect we would disagree more in terms of what solutions would look like. However, I respect the a logical set of points that you make and think this sets the stage for discussion.  

My original criticism was not about people who hold any position, but about ones who insult people who deviate from their party line. There are thousands of positions that people can legitimately hold and we can engage in civil discourse with those who disagree with us.

For example, I might say that I am not 100% sure that the US is contemplating going into Iran and if they were the reasons are not only about oil.

You are free to disagree, but resorting to slandering me by saying that I am a neocon or Bush hero worshipper is not only inaccurate, but wouldn't help convince anyone that your point is right.  However, I do find that this is a very common tactic, which I wanted to point out and shine a little bit of light on.

Jack, think of it this way, maybe this will help --

#1 -- I want to know what Ghawar (KSA) is producing daily and what the water cut is.

#2 -- I want to know how the software in the Diebold machines calculates the vote tally.

Same thing in both cases. I want transparency so I know what is going on.

Always, always verify if possible. Robert Rapier told me on a Drumbeat the other day that he could not pass on some production numbers affecting peak oil he got from the chief economist at ConocoPhillips -- where he works -- because they were proprietary. Sorry, he could not say.

Well, you can only imagine what I think about that little secret. You probably don't have to think too hard about how I feel about that, know what I mean?

I don't understand why you think I am disagree ing with you on any of this. However, the standards are not absolute and full transparency of everything is not the right answer

To my mind, the transparency of the US voting system is a crucial element of democracy. It is imperative that Americans can triust the vote counting systems and I do not think Diebold passed that test.

I would also like to know the Ghawar figures, but also think it is Saudi property, why do you or I have the right to demand the information. Saudi Arabia is faced with two choices, keep the information secret and deal with scepticism, or be transparent and expect to be trusted. They can't have both.

I don't think the government has the right to demand transparency in regard to who you are calling on the telephone, looking at on the web or spending your money on. Neither do I think we have a right to information about Exxon's finances or resrves beyond what the law requires.

I support transparency in all public dealings, but privacy in private dealings. Sometimes desire for complete information about everything clashes with the right of individuals and private entities to have privacy.

Ahhh - you have gone off into some territory I did not even begin to talk about.

Transparency about the world's oil production and productive capacity is just about the most important thing I can think of right now concerning the health of the global economy. It certainly has been for the last 137 years since 1869. So if you say "it is Saudi property, why do you or I have the right to demand the information" -- then I've got to say that you are seriously out of touch with the very things that may jeopardize our safety -- speaking about our economic well-being. Sorry, but your position here is indefensible.

You do not seem to understand the imperative of knowing where we stand with respect to the production of petroleum now and in the future. In this respect, I can only conclude that you are completely out of touch with these important realities, given that the world's economies depend on it. So, that's where I will leave this discussion. I have always been puzzled by many of your remarks here on TOD. However, I have just achieved some clarity on those points tonight. For me, I'm sad to say, your views are not encouraging as concerns your understanding of very important issues about the current and future role of oil production now and going forward. This is, in large part, why The Oil Drum exists. And with that --

Best to you. Goodnight. I'm going to bed.

What if The Family which controls Saudi Arabia doesn't want to hear Ghawar is close to or already peaking? What if they want to hear only about technical solutions to keep things flowing and increase production capacity because they have already made up their minds there is a lot more oil to be had? What if anyone who tells them what they don't want to  hear is demoted or worse? The Family is the law. It is a secretive place and there may be a lot going on there we don't come close to understanding.
Very sensible points.

I must confess that I have a hard time getting excited about the depletion protocol. Yes, it would be very desirable -- perhaps even critical -- to know the inside story about Saudi oil. But face it, they aren't going to tell us. I'll be more blunt: it is not in their best interest to tell us, because releasing that bit of knowledge may cost them their priviledged position, and perhaps their lives.

The reason we want to know is so we can know with greater precision exactly what year we're going to be really fucked. But if we know that is going to be the outcome, then we should prepare now, shouldn't we? So whose fault is it that we, as a society, are not going to make any changes to our way of life until it's too late?

Does anyone know if the people of KSA are informed at all?  Is there censorship of the people as to what they can access via the internet say.  Or books, etc.?  Just curious b/c if the people know of PO, and 10 years from now KSA is consistently producing 10-15% less YoY, they've got to wake up.  We've already done this in TX.

I accuse you only of reasonableness. On Iran, I'm too lazy to collect the links that might convince you right now. One major piece is Seymour Hersch a few months ago. I will only say that all the steps that led up to Iraq are being followed with only minor variations. They have met obstacles: the Israeli adventure in Lebanon didn't provide the pretext they needed. There has been resistance in our military. There is some division in gov't itself. But I think they have no choice but to proceed. That's the great tragedy: they have committed crimes that make it impossible for them to retreat.

The US is likely to have a Democratic Congress after November, which would make much of this harder.

I suspect that the Democrats will make no efforts to investigate the WTC claims. I haven't seen any evidence that many of them take it seriously.

I'm sure the Bush administration would love to knock off Iran if they thought they could do it. I certainly don't put it past them. But even they realize it is impossible. It is very hard to distinguish evidence of mounting war from bluffing.

I do think that the Bush administration has reason to fear the investigations that come from a Democratic Congress and/or Senate. However, I don't se why invading Iran is a logical extension of that. I also think the US will have at least a Democratic Congress, wouldn't that by itself prove wrong much of the allegations that Bush would do anything to rig the system?

I agree with you. I've read the Seymour Hirsh articles in the New Yorker, and somehow I cant' really believe they can pull it off, even if that is their intention (which we won't know for some years).

When Bush got us into Iraq, I argued against it in the opinion pages of the major papers in Arizona, and the reason all my letters were published is because I was a very lonely voice. The country as a whole was primed and ready for war.

They are not primed for war anymore (and my letters are a tiny part of the antiwar river). Americans as a whole are ready for some serious isolationism, not expanding the war and blowing up the middle east, cutting off our oil and getting our army overwhelmed in Iraq.

Bush feels he has to try to get the Iranians to back down, and since he doesn't have any powder left, he is forced to bluff.

Even if he wanted to start a war with Iran, I don't think the military would go along with it. They would sabatage it (as with the leaks to Hirsh), and perhaps even start resigning in protest.

Nicely stated DBG...and now let's add North Korea setting off nuclear bombs and the USS Eisenhower carrier group joining the USS Enterprise carrier group in the Middle East before the end of October.

Stir it all up and what comes out of the oven?


Are you from the castle, or are you from the village?

I'm off to bed.  

Keep me posted.

I'm inside the Trojan horse, rolling toward the castle.
Or is it a windmill?
"I'm Don Quixote, the man from La Mancha...."

That remains to be seen...are we all fighting windmills?

or at least tilting at them...?
are we all fighting windmills?

Only figuratively, I hope.

Can I pile onto the Alternet article as well?

Sheesh... it's hard to know where to start. OK, just one point (just one peanut). The Western Desert of Iraq is probably the most overhyped exploration acreage on the planet. There may be a few billion-barrel accumulations out there - though it seems unlikely; the main play fairway runs NNW-SSE from Mosul through Southern Iraq, Kuwait and trending SE through the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. The big reservoirs were all discovered early on (before the 70s) by drilling the surface topography (subtle bumps on the surface that correspond to deep structure, which traps oil if there is a source, migration pathway and seal). If there were any such bumps in the Western Desert, they would have been drilled back in the 40s and 50s.

Nice business for yer Lukoils, ENIs and Repsols - the second-stringers - but not likely to be very lucrative under any PSA set at $70/bbl. Forget tax & royalty - it simply won't be on the table. You're looking at corporate-bond rates of return here; the Iraqi Gubmint (or the provincial govt. - that will be a negotiation in itself) would be using the foreign oil companies (FOCs) as a combination bank, project manager and fixer of security. Drilling rigs, gathering centers and pipelay spreads tend to be large and slow-moving targets. Guess who puts the cash on the table and assumes the risk?

Energy Wars.
I'm watching a flic called 'Green Street Hooligans.'
Can any of our brothers and sisters in the UK attest to this film's veracity culture-wise.
Keep in mind fellas. All we gots to do is pull 120 or 130 posts by 9:15 and the Professor is gonna be convinced of the importance of a 5 o'clock 2nd Drumbeat. March to the tune of a different Drum.
Yes. We must petition the TOD Powers That Be for more late threads.

With that in mind, Oil CEO, I believe this is your guy, Jim Jubak.

"Oil prices will leap again, blaim Russia"

http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/Investing/JubaksJournal/OilPricesWillLeapAgainBlameRussia.aspx? page=all

You bastard. I wuz gonna post that. I haven't even had time to read it. Now you get all the street cred. Oh well. When the Doom comes I get all your stuff anyway. Incoming!
I need all the streeet cred I can get today. They're killing me.
You are being relieved. Take two weeks in the country. You held the line longer than anybody. Medal of Honor for you buddy. I'm serious.

Take a break. Go watch some movies. Have some beers. We got it under control. We patched the hole.

You come back as a Colonel. Word from up above. I have no idea. I just told them you always protected my left flank. And I never got hit from that side.

If you want work, check my right side. Otherwise, get some rest. We need a leader.

All kidding aside, over the last three years Jubak has shown himself to be one of the shrewdest and most disciplined of oil industry analysts. No surprise. He reads.

He does his homework. I can nitpick his points, but overall, he gets it. There is no denying that.

He may even read us.

I want 130 posts by 9:15. This is not about ideology.

This is about frustration. My Ziggy Stardust shit is all on album. The DVD ain't workin in this case. I've gotta go down in the basement.

Analogy. Peak Oil.

This is about freedom of choice. This may be our only chance.

Wherever you are. Around the world. Chime in. Welcome to the Fall.

Say you love TOD and you want a second Drumbeat. Round about 5pm. Welcome to the fall.

You don't have to post. You just have to use your support. This is American Democracy.

You can even say "Nay." Nay is welcome.

I'm specifically looking for the non-responses.

I love TOD and I want a second Drumbeat !!!

Although I would also settle for randomized Drumbeats. When they all come out at 9:30am there are two problems:

  1. people can time and ambush them
  2. by the time we international types see them there are already 200+ posts

Please P goose, listen to your CEO for once.
The Goose always listens to me. But my voice is not important. I'm watching Terence Malick's 'The New World' for the second time. Killer soundtrack.

Let the TOD'ers speak. Cast your vote. I'll take credit when it fails. Thanks Jack. That's why we're friends(in case anybody was wondering).

"# people can time and ambush them"

Strangely enough, though they can do it...I don't think anyone has yet.  Not maliciously anyway.  I timed it once, because I'd thought of something the night before and just decided to wait until the next day to post it.  But I've yet to see anyone hijack the thread every day or just totally plaster it with posts one morning.

"# by the time we international types see them there are already 200+ posts"

Shouldn't they be catching most places in Europe mid-to-late afternoonish if it's morning here?

that was the point of putting them up then, it's a) convenient for Leanan (first priority) and b) convenient for most to read.
Thanks for the explanation. Leanan's links and such are a great addition to The Oil Drum. It is fair to arrange it to facilitate her work.

But what is wrong with a few more lare afternoon/evening threads? Those could go off without all the links.


Well, if we're all done with the "my corrupt political party is better than your corrupt political party" game, let's go back to the subject we started at:  OIL

One of the biggest attacks on the Alternet article seemed to be it's estimation of Iraqi oil reserves, which were considered fantastically high by many of the TOD posters, and therefore, absurd on the face of it.  Perhaps.

But allow me to point your attention to a site with "street creds" here on TOD, and an article involving a discussion with one Ali Morteza Samsam Bakhtiari,  that's Dr. Bakhtiari to you, a man I assume who has some creds of his own here...


About two thirds of the way down that page, you will find a rather interesting chart, giving the various estimates of crude oil reserves,
From the Oil & Gas Journal, BP Statistical Review, Colin Campbell, and Dr. Bakhtiari himself.

Interesting notes:  Bakhtiari seems to think that Colin Campbell is far too optimistic about Iran's reserves, and a bit optimistic about Saudi Arabia's, but in most other cases they are in agreement, well, except for one, and it's big:  Iraq.  Bakhtiari's estimate for Iraqi reserves is far in excess of Campbell's, and very close to Oil and Gas Journal's and BP's  100 billion barrels.

That's interesting, because if you take Bakhtiari's estimate of 80-100 billion barrels for Iraq, and his 120-140 billion for Saudi Arabia, you almost get a statistical dead heat.  

The Alternet article gives 112 billion barrels proven reserves for Iraq, sourcing the Department of Energy on this, and that seems about right.  We will leave the "probable and possible" stuff for another day, the point now is, that if what we know is in Iraq could be developed, and what Bhakhtiari thinks is in Saudi Arabia is fully developed (and folks here seem to assume it is) then Saudi Arabia has reason for deep concern.

What does all this mean at street level?  Well, there has been suspicion that Saudi money and even some Saudi manpower has been leaking over the border to help "sustain" and encourage the insurgency.  Given the above, we can see a possible motive for this, and for the Saudi regime looking the other way while it happens, which many have long suspected.  

But it would explain something bigger:  The seeming Saudi Arabian paranoia about a flood of oil and a collapsing price.

What all the folks who frequent TOD must wonder is, where do the Saudi's think this flood of cheap oil will come from?  They must by now know that the North Sea and Mexico, long thorns in the Saudi side when it came to full OPEC monopoly as "swing producer" cannot now hurl a vast flood of oil on the market.  Likewise, their fellow OPEC countries, Bahrain, Kuwait, UAE, etc.  They are all pretty much at max and most are still declining on production.

For the upcoming decade, the feared oil flood could only come from one of three places, until ultra deep offshore and arctic oil could kick in:
(1) Russia (2) The Saudi's themselves (which of course they would know about), or (3) Iraq.

Since the Saudi's know what they can do, and more importantly, what they are WILLING to do (big difference often overlooked here), and the Russian situation is pretty much a known (most of the remaining big oil is in very difficult  terrain and will take years to develop, and that is with the best management and technology, no assurance in Russia), it is the Iraqi oil they fear.

If the Iraqi insurrection could be brought under control, the West would have access to the last giant, easy to get, cheap to extract light sweet crude known to man.  We would of course vapor it away as though it were cheap garbage, in a final decade of decadence.  But  our vice is not the Saudi's concern.  Their concern is that with a growing and more militant population of young males with rising expectations, and rising debt, they would be faced with being forced to sell the last of their great endowment of crude oil for nearly nothing, assuring a death spiral for them, us, and the world as it washes itself in a final luxury bath of carbon.

There is a reason the Arabs call oil "The Devil's Tears".

Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout

Roger, we love you far and wide. We could never do this without you. And, for what it is worth, we all agree with you.

We need late night support. You are a vampire. Help us.

Vote YES on "proposition 2nd Drumbeat."

"They'll know you came for me. Your people will find out soon enough." - Smith

Iraq has less tha 40 billion barrells of oil reserves and there is very good evidence to back this up. The major 28 fields  out of 55 in Iraq had 41 billion barrels proved reserves in 2003 of which the lowest had 50 million barrels
Could you please elaborate on that..
     I will post a reference for those comments tomorrow fromm 11 different sources by about 30 separate geologists. I have spoken privately will Ali Samsam Bahktairi and he has very good reasons for those low Iranian reserves. He was also not aware of the report on Iraq's reserves showing that low figure, until I gave it to him
Whether true or false, Dr. Bakhtiari's Iraq reserve estimate would explain Iran's interest in and continued meddling in Iraq's internal affairs. We all know that politicians believe what they want to believe, not necessarily what is true. Iran's politicians (including the mullahs) are clear proof of that. (And yes, save the salvos of anti-Bushisms as we all know George believes what he wants to believe as well.) So it does not matter if those estimates are correct. What matters is if someone in power somewhere believes them and I would submit that both the Iranian and the US governments want to believe those estimates.

Anyway, such reserves would be of immense value to Iran and Iran could make a good case to the Shiite faction in Iraq that they would be better off under Iranian rule than under the tri-part government that the US is trying to build in Iraq. Then there is the additional strategic advantage - if Iran controls the Shiite population in Iraq, they would gain a great geographic and demographic lever against Saudi Arabia, who they see as their chief rival in the region (after Israel).

Politics is not so simplistic as something like "George Bush is evil and this is the explanation for all the world's ills." No, politics from every side is a move within a move within a move. The problem is in attempting to unwrap all the layers of action from each player.

Did anyone else see unleaded gas jump 0.16 this morning?

Price here in KC went from $1.93 to $2.09 at the same stations overnight.

That's a bit odd since I've been watching the wholesale price and it hasn't really breached $1.50 for a month or so now.  In Kansas City, MO, retail price is about 0.50 above wholesale.

I'm just curious if other cities saw this jump last night and if anyone could explain the jump.  Could it be the switchover to winter formulations?


Jumped about 0.10 in NE Atlanta a few days ago - maybe 2 days?