Energy Scarcity vs. Cost of the War in Iraq

January 22nd, 2007

I built a spreadsheet with functions that break down the cost of the war in Iraq into dollars per minute. According to the Pentagon, the war in Iraq is costing $8.4 billion per month.

Cost of the War in Iraq Per Minute

Cost per month: 8400000000
Cost per week: 2100000000
Cost per day: 300000000
Cost per hour: 12500000
Cost per minute: 208333.33

That war is costing $208,333 per minute!

On the last page of the this Oregon State University story about wave power is the following sentence:

“OSU’s College of Engineering is seeking $3 million from the U.S. Department of Energy to build the national wave energy research center, where the engineers hope to test not only their own designs but those of other researchers and commercial developers.”

I tweaked my widget to allow me to enter an “opportunity cost” element to see how many minutes of war spending would need to pass before the cost of the other thing could be paid for:

OSU’s wave energy research center could be built with what is spent on the war in Iraq in about 14.4 minutes.

I was so shocked by this number that I started thinking bigger. For example, what is the total annual budget of the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory?

The annual budget now stands at $210 million. In other words, the U.S. spends more on the war in Iraq in one day (about $300 million) than it does on the ANNUAL BUDGET for the primary government laboratory that is tasked with renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development.

What you have here is a proof, with mathematical certainty, that the U.S. government is engineering energy scarcity issues.

This isn’t even an interesting topic anymore, given these numbers.

The far more interesting question is:

Since they are obviously allowing these energy problems to escalate, what do they have in mind for all of us when the “crisis” finally hits?

Like I said in a recent comment:

“We have a problem with human nature. There is, however, no shortage of readily available energy… Water, top soil loss, copper and wheat issues are going to impact peoples’ reality before any of the energy scarcity issues do.”

Hmm. It’s interesting how the energy scarcity meme drowns out the sound of the wolves barking at the door.

Tell me the shit is hitting the fan because of top soil depletion, or fascists with nuclear weapons, etc. but don’t insult my intelligence by saying that there isn’t easily enough energy available from the oceans, the sun and the wind. And the cost? Do you want me to send you a copy of my handy Iraq War Opportunity Cost In Minutes Calculator?

I don’t like religion. It’s certainty and exclusion of simple, observable data—that don’t fit the dogma—are anathema to my nature. The energy scarcity argument, on its own, is like the American dream: you’d have to be asleep to believe it.

Again: We have a problem with human nature. There is, however, no shortage of readily available energy.

In the end, I guess it doesn’t matter. I’d just prefer to know the real score, rather than some nonsense that doesn’t even stand up to basic arithmetic.

27 Responses to “Energy Scarcity vs. Cost of the War in Iraq”

  1. Colin Smith Says:

    You’re missing the point… Who’s paying for the war in Iraq, and who’s benefiting? Are the people who are benefiting the ones paying? No. They have managed to get someone else to pick up the tab.

    “It is the highest impertinence and presumption, therefore, in kings and ministers to pretend to watch over the economy of private people, and to restrain their expense…They are themselves always, and without exception, the greatest spendthrifts in the society.” – Adam Smith

  2. Kevin Says:

    I wrote the article, so I think I know what the “point” was: Energy scarcity, on it’s own, is a scam.

    If you’re saying that energy scarcity is just another tool the elite are using for control… Yep. That’s what it looks like.

  3. Matt Savinar Says:

    Kev,

    I think you have it backwards: the elite are trying to control us because they know energy resources are diminshing and a crisis of scarcity is an inevitablity as our population doubles every generation or so. That’s where their bioweapons and genetic-bombs come in.

    Even in most optimistic of energy situations, this simply can’t continue unabated.. Wind, wave, and solar are limited by the amount of oil and raw materials we have such as copper, platinum, etc as all the alternatives are themselves constructed and maintained using resources that require heavy duty oil powered machinery at this point.

    The elite know it so they’r plan is (I suspect) to wipe us peasants out and leave enough for them and theirs while using a police force caste to keep whoever is left in line.

    It’s not that they’re engineering the crisis any more than the chiefs on Easter Island engineered that society’s tree shortage or the elite of Viking society engineered that society’s topsoil crisis. Like the elite of those socieites their way of dealing with dimnshing energy resources (topsoil and trees being energy sources) is to kill and steal what’s left and keep it for themselves.

  4. Kevin Says:

    Matt,

    You wrote:

    “the elite are trying to control us because they know energy resources are diminshing and a crisis of scarcity is an inevitablity as our population doubles every generation or so. That’s where their bioweapons and genetic-bombs come in.”

    But in the same comment you also wrote:

    “It’s not that they’re engineering the crisis any more than the chiefs on Easter Island engineered that society’s tree shortage or the elite of Viking society engineered that society’s topsoil crisis.”

    So, according to you, there’s a kill off conspiracy, but no energy policy or energy technology related conspiracies?!?!

    Hmmm…. Well… That’s interesting, from a logic perspective, to say that, on the one hand, they’re going to wipe us out, but, on the other hand, they’re not attempting to manipulate energy technologies and policies.

    As usual, Matt, it’s not that bad, it’s worse; or, in this case, it’s both.

  5. Matt Savinar Says:

    Kevin,

    There will be manipulations and conspiracies in regards to energy just as I’m sure the Viking, the Rapa Nui, and the Roman elite factions attempted to conspire and manipulate things for their benefit. But the fundamental physical problems are very real for us just like they were very real for the Rapa Nui, the Vikings, etc.

    We have a human population that is doubling every 25-30 years on a planet with a finite ability to sustain us. The elite, or at least whichever factions financed groups like the Club of Rome, understand this and their solutions are going to be ones that protect them at our expense.

    So there are conspiracies in regards to energy but that does not invalidate that we have reality based energy problems.

  6. George Kenney Says:

    Wow! I just love reading the titans of blogging Kevin and Matt weighting in on such an epic topic!

    Maybe the name of the game is simply maximizing the amount of wealth the big oil corporations can extract from the remaining 1 trillion barrels of oil.

    They have nothing personal against alternative energy except that it reduces profits.

    They have no interest in killing off millions because they can help increase demand and increase profits. And it is expensive to kill off people.

    So test every news story or action by how it related to total profits on the one trillion (+-) remaining barrels. Take for example current oil price. How can Saudi Arabia increasing production and dropping oil price now help maximize profits?

    If lowering the price to $50 can weaken Iran, and annoy them into attacking us somehow, then we can invade and voila! $200 per bbl oil and maximized profits.

    The same thing can be applied to the our national debt. It is just profit maximizing of the central banks. Subprime loans, 18% credit card rates, printing USD, petrodollar demand, soaring federal debt all help make tons of money.

    http://mwhodges.home.att.net/n.....-nat-a.htm

  7. Kevin Says:

    I remember from my research on Iraq back in college that one of the justifications Saddam used when he went into Kuwait was what he perceived as downward manipulated oil prices…

    http://www.cryptogon.com/docs/us_iraq.pdf

    Overproduction of OPEC quotas. Saddam claimed that some Gulf countries had begun early in 1990 to produce beyond their OPEC quotas to such an extent that the price in certain instances had plummeted to $7 per barrel, although the agreed-upon price was $18 per barrel. He claimed that every one-dollar drop in the price per barrel meant a loss of $1 billion per annum for Iraq. He explicitly stated that in Iraq’s present economic state this overproduction was an “act of war.”

  8. SB Says:

    Kevin is absolutely correct. There is no shortage of available energy in the world. What there is a shortage of is research on new technologies for the masses to live a more enviromentally friendly and sustainable way of life. That’s the rub…Darth Vader hasn’t found a way for the empire to control and profit from it, so it’s not going to happen. YOU’RE ON YOUR OWN, PEOPLE! To all the detractors and doomers on this thread, that’s the only “point” (in my opinion anyways) Kevin was trying to make.

  9. malcolm jones Says:

    What an eye-opener. again.

    I just wanted to echo “Qui Bono?”

  10. SB Says:

    We humans can save our planet if we can

    CHANGE THE WAY WE THINK !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Matt Savinar Says:

    Not really sure I would go so far as to call myself a “titan of blogging.” More like “a loudmouth with a 56 k connection.”

    If you’re looking for a WWE style blogging bitchslap session I think you’ll have to look elsewhere.

  12. Dwayne Says:

    If you take those numbers and do the calcs you will see the true cost of Iraqs oil to the US people.
    8.4 Billion x 12 = 100,800,000,000
    2.5 MBD Iraq average oil production before war x 365 = 912 MBY
    100,800,000,000 divided by 912 MB= $110.56 per barrel. Remember, the 8.4 billion is the Pentagon’s figure. The real figure is estimated to be any where from 2-5 trillion dollars for the first 5 years which puts the price per barrel to over 400.00.

    For 1 trillion dollars you can buy solar systems from the Real Goods company to outfit nearly 77 million households with large solar power systems. Where is the energy crisis?

  13. George Kenney Says:

    The sweet thing about the Iraq war is the that cost is paid for by us US tax payers and the benefits go to the Oil companies!

    Here is how accounting works at oil companies:

    Revenue = 112 billion barrels * 50 (or 200 after Iran invasion) or 5.6 Trillion dollars.
    Cost = $0 +- ($2 trillion eventual war cost goes to our children, ha ha!)
    Profit = revenue – cost = $5.6 Trillion dollars
    (Jackpot!)

    Value of stock = revenue * P/E ratio (11) or
    $61.6 Trillion dollars!

    Now that is some awesome bonuses for XOM executives and Rocking dividends for the Rockefellers great grandchildren while we tax payers pick up the tab.

    Gotta go work on my 1040 to go help them out.

  14. cryptogon.com » Archives » U.S. TO DOUBLE SIZE OF STRATEGIC PETROLEUM RESERVE Says:

    […] The U.S. spends more on the war in Iraq in one day (about $300 million) than it does on the ANNUAL BUDGET for the primary government laboratory that is tasked with renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. […]

  15. cryptogon.com » Archives » America, China, India and South Korea All Adding to Their Oil Reserves Says:

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  16. Bryce Says:

    It is not the Federal governments job to be in the business of developing new energy. Just as it is not their job to support any social programs, education, etc. The Federal government should spend all its money defending the borders and building defense. Its all in the preamble and the Constitution. The fact that people are fighting over energy is a side note. The Federal government should defend the US people in any fight.

  17. EV Rider Says:

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    Ford recognized the utility of the hemp plant. He constructed a car of resin stiffened hemp fiber, and even ran the car on ethanol made from hemp. Ford knew that hemp could produce vast economic resources if widely cultivated. Ford operated a successful biomass conversion plant at their Iron Mountain facility in Michigan, which included 12 acres of industrial hemp fields cultivated for research and development. Ford engineers extracted methanol, charcoal fuel, tar, pitch, ethyl-acetate and creosote through a process called pyrolysis.

    Almost any biomass material can be converted to create methanol or ethanol (ethyl alcohol). These fuels burn cleanly, and with less carbon monoxide and higher octane than petroleum or gasoline. Hempseed oil can also be refined to produce a type of hemp biofuel. Our collective addiction to oil is at the root of at least six fundamental issues that are adversely affecting our nation and indeed, the entire planet: corporate-driven globalization, global warming, poverty, war, terrorism, and the undue influence of money on the political process. More Eco Issues at Glass Onion.

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  18. cryptogon.com » Archives » Priming the Pump for a Major Motion Picture on New Energy Says:

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  22. pedro Says:

    And we found the Administrations lies to be an unacceptable reason for the invasion and occupation, so we looked to the Corporations that profit from the sacrifice of our military, our sons brothers and sisters.

    Those same corporations are our nemesis.

    In my opinion, we need to become re-educated, choose less impactful lifestyles, and learn compassion and love. Taking care of each other we may just have half a chance.

  23. cryptogon.com » Archives » Al Gore’s Personal Energy Use Is His Own “Inconvenient Truth” Says:

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  26. cryptogon.com » Archives » Canary Island to be Powered Solely by Renewables Says:

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  27. fred Says:

    Hi;
    What about the oil of Iraq? Who’s getting it? Why aren’t we getting that oil at a low price to at least have soemthing in return for this mess.