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Missed Opportunity

When our government goes to war, it tells us it is in our "National Interest." That's usually Washington speak for "they have something we need." In other words, it's the type of political correctness that fosters the postulation that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.

When you cut the crap away from the political justifications for a war with Iraq, all that is left is the fact that the Middle East has lots of oil and sand, and we want the oil. If you could run an automobile on sand, we'd want the sand.

In the name of democracy, freedom, justice, and God, we're not going to let radical arabs cut off our oil supply. It's in our "National Interest."

Suppose instead, we were smart enough to recognize that our National Interest is not necessarily served by bludgeoning our adversaries into submission, but by simply making them irrelevant.

As of 8:36 p.m. on December 22, 2007, we had spent $479,325,400,000.00 on the war in Iraq. (National Priorities Project). Since the war started, 700,000 Iraqis have been killed by one side or the other, and 4 million Iraqis have become refugees. Over 60,000 US soldiers have been wounded, and nearly 4,000 have died trying to keep middle east oil out of the hands of those who would use it to destroy our way of life. So far, this enormous endeavor has resulted in a 300% increase in the price of gasoline, which we continue to happily pay. After all, the arabs need the money. They have a war to win.

How much better it would have been to simply outsmart them.

With $479,325,400,000.00, we could have built at least 117,100 hydrogen fueling stations across the country and still had $479.2 billion dollars for related development . According to the Census Bureau in 2002, there are only about 117,100 gasoline service stations in the US to begin with. Providing the infrastructure to quickly convert them to hydrogen fueling stations would have cost no more than $1 million per station.

California Hydrogen Blueprint Plan, Vol. 1, reports that there are a few hydrogen fueling stations already in operation in that state, built at a cost of about $1,000,000 each. Doubling the number of existing hydrogen fueling stations in California is expected to cost only $500,000 each. And the cost will continue to drop dramatically as the number of stations and demand for them increases.

Practically every automobile manufacturer in existence has a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle on the drawing board, and some, like Honda, have invested heavily in high efficiency production vehicles that are on the road today. All hovering around the measly 11 refueling stations currently in California, of course.

Fuel cells generate electricity on demand from hydrogen and oxygen. The by-product of this remarkable technology is pure water. Imagine, drinking the emissions from your car instead of breathing them!

More remarkable than that, imagine converting that water back into hydrogen and oxygen using nothing more than sunshine, and using that hydrogen and oxygen to generate more electricity to operate your car! It sounds like the mythical perpetual motion machine. It's not, of course, but it's close. And it is being done today.

Had we as a country been smart enough to invest $479.3 billion dollars kick-starting the Hydrogen Age, we could have solved the Global Warming problem by eliminating a major source of greenhouse gas emissions; we could have reduced our oil consumption to a level sustainable for many years through our own domestic production; we could have added uncounted thousands of jobs to our economy; and we could have saved thousands of lives.

Best of all, we could have told our adversaries to go sit in their sandbox and drink their damned oil. We don't need them anymore. They are irrelevant.

As our Australian friends would say, "Good on us, and Peace on them"




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