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Saturday, July 23, 2005

Behind The Scenes

Member of the Top 100 screwups, James Woolsey remains a shadowy, largely inscrutable neocon figure. Recently, Dick Durbin claimed Woolsey was trying to convince him to read a paper during senate hearings on the energy bill.

Senate hearings:

One of the aspects about this whole debate is security. In a paper that former CIA Director James Woolsey gave to me at a press conference a day or two ago, he identified six technologies that, with vigorous Government support, could dramatically change the nature of our fuel use in America over the next 20 years. I will not go through the list, but they are things that are already available. So when some Senators come to the floor and say we cannot imagine how we lessen dependence on foreign oil without dramatically tripling the fuel efficiency of cars, they haven't taken the time to do the research. If they did, they would understand there are plenty of technologies available today to reach those goals. ``I am not sure every one of these is going to be implemented,'' Mr. Woolsey advised, but at least it gives a starting point to make the changes.

The Woolsey watch.

Woolsey does all this stuff behind the scenes, BUT WILL HE DO IT IN VIEW OF THE MASS MEDIA? sadly, no.


Professor Blogger SW said...

I've had some minor contact with Woolsey. Years ago, prior to 9/11 I thought that he was a hawk who was plugged into the power structure but who was open to some progressive uses of technology if you could make an argument that there was a national security imperative.

We made that pitch, the argument being very similar to what he is peddling today. The idea was that after the cold war, the next big threat will appear to be terrorism. But that isn't really the case. Terrorism is really just a symptom of our dysfunctional energy policy. Our mucking around in the Gulf region in particular has caused a huge amount of resentment that is bubbling over. Couple that with the intractable Israeli/Palastinian conflict and it is a prescription for disaster.

We made this pitch as the administration was changing over. The idea being that work on renewables would be on a lot firmer ground if it were cast as a matter of national security than if it were presented as a response to an environmental challenge. Since they are both true...

Anyway, watching his behavior since 9/11 I'm not really sure if having the support of Mr. Woolsey is an asset or a liability.

3:18 PM  
Professor Blogger Engineer-Poet said...

SW, you need to check your history.  Muslim Arabs have been engaging in terrorism against Jews, Christians and everyone else in the Middle East for centuries; they were conducting pogroms against Jews long before the formation of Israel in 1948.  The US mucking about in the area is the latest excuse, not the cause.

So far as getting rid of the problem by getting rid of the need for oil, I suggested this in March of last year.  I figure that there would be a huge benefit to the economy as the technology started to get close to market (even before it came out), because the oil producers would look at the end of the market for their product and try to sell as much as they could while the selling was good.  Once Li-ion batteries or zinc fuel cells or whatever started eating into the market for petroleum, cutting output to pump prices up would have permanent impacts upon demand; the oil producers would be facing peak income, with nothing but downside ahead.

2:09 PM  
Professor Blogger SW said...

Well, I think that terrorism is a tactic that has been used from time immemorial usually by the powerless against the powerful. Terrorism was an integral component of the tactics used in the creation of the Jewish state as well. And I say this as someone who supports Israel. But if you don't have an army or an air force you reach for the bomb, whether in Ireland or wherever. That isn't to say that brutal tactics that we might identify as terrorism weren't employed by say the Ottoman Turks. But what I was talking about are non-state actors.

We keep hearing about how the motivation of bin Laden and his band of lunatics is that they "hate our freedom". In reality, they don't really care all that much about us one way or the other. They hate the governments in the region that we support. They hate us because they feel we are responsible for propping them up. For keeping them in power. For supporting them militarily and through the oil trade.

3:55 PM  
Professor Blogger WHT said...

They want the infidels out of their countries.

We want the fuel within their countries.

Mutually exclusive propositions which begets frictional terrorism.

5:04 PM  
Professor Blogger Engineer-Poet said...

SW, quit reading what the left says that the Islamists want.  Read what the Islamists say about what they want (jihadwatch.org and memri.org are good sites); you'll get a much better picture of their thinking.

Getting rid of dicatorships isn't on their agenda; they just want to be on top, and establish a world-wide Caliphate.  It's not a democratic movement, it's totalitarian.

8:13 PM  
Professor Blogger SW said...

Who said anything about democracy? Or "the left". They want to overthrow the existing governments to institute what you and I would consider to be a repressive backwards oppressive fundamentalist state. You are reading things into my statements that are not there. Understanding motives is not the same thing as making excuses.

7:01 AM  
Professor Blogger Engineer-Poet said...

I was addressing this claim:

"In reality, they don't really care all that much about us one way or the other."

If that was true, they wouldn't still be lamenting the loss of al-Andaluz more than 500 years after the fact.

8:28 PM  

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