In Iraq and Afghanistan today, our military is facing down bullets and improvised explosive devices that are being paid for right here at home!
The U.S sends approximately one billion dollars a day overseas to import oil. While this figure is staggering by itself, the dangerous implications of our addiction are even more pronounced when analyzing where our money goes -- and whom it helps to support.
Today, the Truman National Security Project is releasing our latest report, Oil Addiction: Fueling Our Enemies.
As an Iraq veteran, I am joining with hundreds of my fellow veterans as part of Truman National Security Project's Operation Free to secure American with clean energy. We want to make sure Americans understand the true costs of our addiction to oil.
Examine what these true costs meant during the year 2008:
- One Billion Dollars a Day Spent on Foreign Oil: In 2008, the United States imported
- 4.7 billion barrels of crude oil to meet our consumption needs. The average price per barrel of imported oil for 2008 was92.61. This works out to1.19 billion per day for the year.
- Our Annual Oil Debt Is Greater than Our Trade Deficit with China: Our petroleum imports created a386 billion U.S. trade deficit in 2008, versus a266 billion deficit with China. This national debt is a drain on our economy and an anchor on our economic growth.
- We Overwhelmingly Rely on Oil Imports...: In 2008, we consumed 7.1 billion barrels of oil in the United States, meaning that the 4.7 billion barrels of crude oil we imported was 66% of our overall oil usage.
- ... to the Detriment of National Security: Vice Admiral Dennis McGinn, U.S. Navy (Retired), captured the national security dangers of our addiction to oil in 2009 testimony before the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee: "In 2008, we sent386 billion overseas to pay for oil -- much of it going to nations that wish us harm. This is an unprecedented and unsustainable transfer of wealth to other nations. It puts us in the untenable position of funding both sides of the conflict and directly undermines our fight against terror."
The one billion dollars a day that Americans send overseas on oil floods into a global oil market that enriches hostile governments, funds terrorist organizations, and props up repressive regimes.
Former CIA Director Jim Woolsey> explains it this way:
Except for our own Civil War, this [the war on terror] is the only war that we have fought where we are paying for both sides. We pay Saudi Arabia $160 billion for its oil, and $3 or $4 billion of that goes to the Wahhabis, who teach children to hate. We are paying for these terrorists with our SUVs.
For every $5 increase in the global price of crude oil represents:
- An additional $7.9 billion for Iran and President Ahmadinejad;
- An additional $4.7 billion for Venezuela and President Chavez; and,
- An additional $18 billion for Russia and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
America's military leaders are not waiting to take action on the threats posed by our dependence on fossil fuels. The Defense Department considers climate change such a strategic threat that it is part of the military's long term planning. The CIA has opened a center to track the threat of climate change. The Army, Navy, Air Force and the Marines have all committed to reducing their carbon pollution.
For example, in October 2009 the Navy launched the USS Makin Island, a first-of-its-kind hybrid powered amphibious assault vehicle that emits less carbon and saved the Navy $2 million in fuel costs during its maiden voyage alone. The Marine Corps has even created a model Forward Operating Base (FOB) in Quantico, VA, which will allow the Marines to test a hybrid power station that is set to be deployed in Afghanistan by mid-2010.
It is time for Congress to follow our military's lead.
It is time for legislation that will move America to invest in clean, independent and domestic energy. Only then will we be able to take our security again in our own hands and stop funding those who wish to harm us.
In the words of US Marine General James Mattis, "Unleash us from the tether of fuel."