Monday, March 31, 2003

War Aims

What are our war aims? In the beginning, it was billed as a continuation of the war on terror. Then it was the suppression of a producer and a purveyor of "Weapons of Mass Destruction" (WMD), a euphemism for chemical and biological weapons that are known for their unreliability as weapons and unpopularity in the world community. Somewhere in there was mixed the idea that eliminating Saddam would be a great help to the innocents in Israel who were the favorite targets of terrorists who depended upon Saddam for cash and weapons. Bush and company made quite a few explanations for their readiness to go to war, including the liberation of the people of Iraq, but as the war has begun, that is the only war aim that one hears these days. The antiwar left has seized upon this vacillation as proof that Bush and Co. have been less than honest about the war, even though they have been unable to posit an alternative explanation of Bush's thinking that makes any sense at all. But such vacillation is no condemnation at all. in fact, this is a pretty common phenomenon in warfare.

Abraham Lincoln would never have gone to war to free the slaves, yet within a year of the commencement of hostilities this was the primary purpose of the continued prosecution of the Civil War. FDR had nothing against Hitler until the Japanese attacked Hawaii, yet he declared war on Germany immediately anyway. Certainly helping the Jews was not even on his radar scope, and Russia was our strongest ally in that conflict. In Viet Nam, the so-called "Domino Theory" was the raison d'etre of our entrance into the conflict, yet was not heard about for the last few years of hostilities, nor even in the Congressional debates which followed our withdrawal, as the administration sought to fund aid to support the regime in the South.

So it is not unusual for this nation to wait until after a war has begun, to settle upon a single, overarching reason to continue the conflict. In this case, our primary war aim has become the liberation of the people of Iraq. There is nothing to apologise for in this, and no reason to backtrack in our resolve to win the war and install the tools for the people of Iraq to create a government of their own. And if we do this, and there rises in Iraq a government by and for the people of Iraq, we might, we just might, be seen as having done the right thing.

We just might be able to please the Arab street, that is. Bush and Co. will never be able to please the self-hating American antiwar left. They will have to be dragged, licking and screaming, into the 21st Century.

Friday, March 28, 2003

What About Baghdad?

Reading about the enormously rapid and breathtakingly successful sweep of our forces from the desert of Kuwait into the suburbs of Baghdad, many commentators are predicting a bloodbath when we attempt to take the city by force. I ask the question: do we even have to take Baghdad?

This war has seen the first use of, let me call it, postmodern military tactics. Our army has taken almost no territory, does not attempt to protect its rear, and hardly even tries to protect its flanks. There is no "line" in the usual sense, other than a unit perimeter. We rely instead on a confidence that we can destroy anything that the enemy puts forth to interfere with our operations. Each resupply convoy seemingly operates in a bubble of protection and, once past, allows the locals to have their roads back. This is revolutionary warfare, and the old soldiers, like General McCaffery, scream that we need another division, at least, to cover our flanks and yet another to cover the rear.

But Tommy Franks doesn't listen, and should not. We must resist the impulse to refight the last war. This one is being fought differently, and there is no reason to believe that they will slip back into old habits now, since this new plan has worked so well, so far. So, I believe that we will see no assault on Baghdad.

Then it's a Siege you say. No, I don't think so. Not in the usual sense of a siege. We will not starve them out. In fact, they will eat pretty good. It is bombs and bullets that they will starve for. They move a tank, they lose a tank. They use nerve gas, they will die, not us. (By the way, they will not use gas against us either. It would cause the upending of Saddam's exit strategy, whatever it is, And you can be sure that he does have an exit strategy.) Little by little, their perimeter will constrict, as neighborhoods empty out. Deprived of any options of maneuver, hunted by Hellfire and Bunker Buster, Saddam will just whither away.

This is not an Escape from New York scenario. Although it might become one. But the Iraqi soldiers who are with him behind the wire, those who believe that they can escape a war crimes prosecution, will attempt to get that reward money. Hell, they even tried to assasinate Hitler, who was twice the dictator that So Dumb Insane has turned out to be. But to go house to house, in an urban assault to end all urban assaults, is NOT what Tommy Franks and his boss have in mind. The Arab street and history are watching, and the "compassionate conservative" feels those eyes on him. Baghdad is not a feast to Bush, it is just another flapjack, and he will not be deterred from finishing breakfast.

Thursday, March 27, 2003

Now U.S. Knows How Israel Feels

In an insightful article in the Jerusalem Post, Barry Rubin asks how it feels to Americans to be treated the way Israel has become used to being treated by the international press. He also observes that the real war is going better than the war of words. He profferred these examples:
American forces risk their lives and make completing their mission more difficult in order to limit civilian casualties, but are portrayed internationally as brutal and bloodthirsty.

US motives and methods are slandered and misrepresented.

Honest and regrettable mistakes, for example when wayward bombs do hit civilians, are portrayed as deliberate crimes.

Hatred of you is deliberately promoted, even though this attitude is undeserved.

At the same time, the adversary's misdeeds are downplayed or go completely unreported.

Other countries propose peace plans that ignore your interests and seek to steal away your battlefield gains.

You are told to give up because total victory is not achieved in a relatively short time, and it is demanded that you compromise and make concessions to those who have shown a systematic failure to live up to their past commitments.
This war has only just started. Only a week in, and we are expected to be finishing up and leaving already. We are blamed for a SAM landing in a residential district of Baghdad, and accused of War Crimes for bombing a Syrian bus that contains Palestinian fighters trying to get in on the action in Iraq.

It will be OK. War is hell. It will all come out in the wash. Do unto others, and do it fast. What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger.

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Echoes of Viet Nam

There are a few aspects of the current conflict that are evocative of our Viet Nam experience. I thought that we had learned our lesson. For the life of me, I can't understand how it is possible that a boomer, which the president surely is, could fail to avoid the primary mistake of the Viet Nam conflict.

We are pulling our punches. Up to half of targets selected by our commanders are being vetoed by higher headquarters, and lawyers in the field advising commanders. Entire categories of targets are off the table and immune to attack.
Military lawyers sit at the table when command authorities select targets and craft classified rules of engagement. Paust said such rules may specify that ground forces fire only at locations from which they are receiving fire. Some lawyers also go to command centers in the field to offer advice on treatment of prisoners or on conduct of the war.
If there is one thing that I thought that we had learned from our Viet Nam experience, it was the folly of allowing the enemy safe havens, where he could hide from our guns and bombs. I can understand that some may have hoped that the Iraqi Army would lay down and surrender, but now that that false hope is proven false, the gloves must come off. As Lincoln learned, once warfare is commenced, there is no way to win without creating terrible carnage. If Bush and Co. had no intention of wholesale killing, they should never have gone down the path to war. And given that warfare was the path that they did choose, I can't understand why they have made mistake #2, which is the embedded media program. We won every single tactical engagement of appreciable size in the Viet Nam conflict, yet we lost the war due to the presence of the media on the battlefield. John Q. Public and Suzie Q. Idiot may have a romantic view of warfare, but surely Bush and Wolfowitz, Cheney and Rumsfeld, MUST have known what war looks like, and it is incompatible with the average pampered American's view of the world. Yet they allowed video and sat phones on the front lines. I fear a tragedy coming from those images, as the months roll by, and pictures of the meatgrinder find their way into American living rooms. What were our leaders thinking when they OKed this foolish program?

And, since things always come in threes, I must include our fragging incident. In Viet Nam, a fragging was usually a case of a draftee rolling a frag into a lieutenant's tent, because he was convinced that the new officer was going to get him killed. So this case is a little different. But not by much. i don't know why the media seem unwilling to characterize this incident as a good old fashioned fragging, but it is really close.

So it seems that we are refighting the Viet Nam war. That's too bad. If we don't unleash our air power, the body bags coming home week after week will cause the public to lose the will to continue the fight. But when I read that the President himself had to OK Iraqi Television as a target, all I can think about is LBJ approving targets, and the tragedy that that type of micromanagement causes. I heard on Fox News last night that we ahve 1500 lawyers in the field, advising officers on the legallity of actions and interpreting the ROE. This is a tragedy in the making. If the Rules of Engagement need a lawyer to interpret, they are too complicated. If an officer in the field hesitates before confronting a battlefield threat, he is as good as dead.

Friday, March 21, 2003

Some Thoughts on the War

This piece from Oriana Falaci is a magnificent, almost poetic screed by a former Italian resistance fighter, a journalist who did her part to end the Viet Nam conflict, a former apologist for the PLO and Yasser Arafat, who is not afraid to come out on the side of the American government when that government is right. She says, in reference to those who advocate "peace":
I do not believe in vile acquittals, phony appeasements, easy forgiveness. Even less, in the exploitation or the blackmail of the word Peace. When peace stands for surrender, fear, loss of dignity and freedom, it is no longer peace. It's suicide.
Zev Chafetz, of the New York Daily News, says this about what the 21st century holds in store for the nations who would oppose us:
Bringing liberty to the people of Iraq would be a fine thing. Still, it is not the main thing. The goal of this war is to establish and enforce the new Golden Rule of the post-post-Colonial world order inaugurated in September 2002: Sovereignty is not an inalienable right. From now on, self-determination will belong to those people whose basic ethos and instincts do not pose a mortal threat to the United States, its interests and allies. The Iraqis and the other Arab nations may pass that test, or they may fail it. Once Saddam is gone, we will begin to find out.
Arnaud deBorchgrave, no fan of this war or this administration, just noted
A group of American anti-war demonstrators who came to Iraq with Japanese human shield volunteers made it across the border today with 14 hours of uncensored video, all shot without Iraqi government minders present. Kenneth Joseph, a young American pastor with the Assyrian Church of the East, told UPI the trip "had shocked me back to reality." Some of the Iraqis he interviewed on camera "told me they would commit suicide if American bombing didn't start. They were willing to see their homes demolished to gain their freedom from Saddam's bloody tyranny. They convinced me that Saddam was a monster the likes of which the world had not seen since Stalin and Hitler. He and his sons are sick sadists. Their tales of slow torture and killing made me ill, such as people put in a huge shredder for plastic products, feet first so they could hear their screams as bodies got chewed up from foot to head."
We have all seen the latest polls. The world is coming around. Soon it will be as hard to find someone who admits he was against this war as it is to find one of my contemporaries who was not at Woodstock.

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

War Imminent

As the water gets hotter and hotter, this frog is about to break into a rolling boil. France and Germany have failed to stop the march to war, along with their European allies, Belgium and Greece. Russia and China didn't want any part of the fight, but didn't flex their muscles to stop it either. The British Parliament approved the war resolution, 412 to 149. More and more sorties and special operations launch every day.

What amazes me is the anti-war left. Rather than seeing what is good about what is about to happen, and surrendering to the inevitable, they insist upon making it crystal clear that their hatred for Bush trumps any feeling they might have for the fate of the Iraqi people. I have heard no Iraqi voice, except those on the party payroll, that condemns this action that means imminent freedom for their people. How did the left get to a place where they side with the fascist dictator against the Anglo-European forces of freedom? To side with France and Germany, Russia and China, against most of the rest of the civilized world? At worst, Christendom against the Islamic Jihadi movement, with the Jews, finally, on the side of the Christians.

Be that as it may, I offer a prayer for our troops who are about to be committed in battle. May their aim be true, their blades cut deep, and their enemies die well. May God keep our Soldiers, Airmen and Marines safe from harm. I pray that the Iraqi people deserve the freedom that we are about to bestow upon them, and not let us down in the aftermath. And may the misguided left see the error of their ways.

Thursday, March 13, 2003

Elizabeth Smart Comes Home

Thank goodness that the all news stations have an excuse to flog another story besides the all-Iraq coverage that we have been subjected to lately. In this house there is always an all news station going in the background, and the need that these stations have to fill the airwaves with something--anything -- at all times begins to grate on the nerves when they feel the need to flog a story, like the Iraq story, when there is nothing to report. Now, finally, a distraction from the beating of the war drums. Elizabeth Smart has come home.

In the broad sceme of things, the Elizabeth Smart story has never been much of a story, just another teenage girl who disappeared. She started the summer of the kidnapped children last summer, when the news gods conspired to give us unremitting coverage of a few disappeared girls. Elizabeth Smart was the first, and the cutest, so we heard the most about her. Since she was a pretty Mormon girl, a bit out of the usual, with such an attractive family, combined with the dearth of other fodder for the news channels last summer, made for a particularly intense bout of coverage. A couple of murdered pre-teens later, the summer of the kidnapped children was well under way.

I don't mean to sound insensitive, but this story never seemed that important to me. To the Smart family, sure, but not to me. But in the voyueristic world in which the Smarts contrived to put this story, the lens of public scrutiny, once focused, does not go away so easily. We can now expect to be served a plethora of details about what happened during the last nine months, and the ecstasy of the discovery shall soon, I fear, turn into a horror show. Now we will get to find out what really happened. It may not be a pretty sight. The biggest question is: what was she doing, in disguise, panhandling on the street a few miles from her home?

Of course, all the parasites will come forward, trying to use this family's anguish to push their own agenda. Advocates for missing and kidnapped children, the homeless, the insane, will all be trying to get a piece of the spotlight that is now casting its illumination on this set of events. But this story, so far, doesn't seem to fit easily into one of the categories that these stories usually fall into. Is she a runaway? Is she suffering from Stockholm/ Patty Hearst syndrome? We shall see. Or maybe not. But one thing is sure: we will be hearing A LOT more than we need, or want to hear.

And what about the police? Recently the Smart family has been frustrated by the police dragging their heels over the case, doing their usual cop thing of, once a prime suspect has been identified, failing to look further. In their defense, the police said thad that if they had settled on this Ricci character as the perpetrator, they would have closed the case when he died in custody. But that does not answer the observation that the girl was camping out practically in her back yard right after the disappearance, and was found in her neighborhood not by the police, but by a pair of concerned citizens.

Still, I've got to give a lot of credit to the Smart family. I criticized them for putting their business in the street and airing their laundry in public, but it was that very willingness to keep this story in the public milieu that made the recovery of the girl possible. I was too willing to write the girl off, but the Smarts never faltered in their belief that their little girl was alive, somewhere, in God's protection. According to the Washington Post:
The overwhelming majority of children abducted by strangers eventually return home safely, experts say, though very few are held as long as the nine-month ordeal of Elizabeth Smart.

About 4,600 children are abducted each year by strangers, according to Ann Scofield of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. But she said most are held only briefly before being freed.

Only 100 or so abductions by strangers each year fit into more serious categories - cases in which the child is held for an extended period of time or is killed, she said.
Now they tell us. Until last night, all the reports I read told a story of the bleak fact that, if the girl was not found within 72 hours, she was in all probability dead. Isn't it funny how the coverage changes to fit the facts, as they are revealed.

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

International Criminal Court

Yesterday saw the commencement of activities at the International Criminal Court. Mainstream media reports generally have noted that the U.S.A. did not ratify the creation of the court, and typically have left to the end of their articles any statement that Russia and China also balked at support of this fiasco. It would seem that it is far more important to point out that the Queen of Holland was there than that three of the five permanent Security Council members stayed home.

All three reports linked above are from Associated Press wire copy, and include this statement near the end of the piece:
Neither Russia nor China have endorsed the court, leaving it without the support of three of the five permanent U.N. Security Council members. Of the three, only the United States actively tried to block the court's creation.
Why this tidbit is included in a way that seems to cast the American position as inferior to, rather than the more responsible position that that taken by China and Russia, is a mystery. After all, actively attempting to dissuade the Tranzies from even creating the ICC is clearly more responsible that merely opting out of the court's jurisdiction. That it is only included as a afterthought, buried in the tail end of the piece, is unforgivable.

It is no coincidence that the three world powers refuse to endorse such a court. Why should a nuclear armed power with aspirations of helping to mold the world's geopolitical future imbue this motley collection of second and third rate powers with any more credibility than its own unilateral assumption of power? And, from the American point of view, how could any American government abdicate its sovereignty to any transnational body without legislative or constitutional oversight or appeal?

But more important, why do the news media insist upon casting American motives as sinister? No great nation can afford to appoint any proxy power above and beyond its own sovereign power. None of the great powers have, in this case. Singling out America rather than those nations that have abdicated their responsibility betrays an anti-American bias that is unseemly at best, and malignant at worst.

Step a little bit out of the mainstream, however, and see what The Economist has to say about the ICC. When it comes to its provenance, they have this:
The United States has not been alone in opposing the court. The world’s most brutal dictatorships, of course, have not been very keen on it. But two other democracies, India and Israel, have also shared America’s suspicions. China and Japan have spoken in support of the court, but not yet signed the treaty. Russia has signed, but not yet ratified it.
So here we can see that governments representing at least half of the population of the world are eschewing membership or jurisdiction in this EU inspired, Transnational club. 89 countries in all have ratified the ICC however, so far. That leaves the majority of nations out as well as the majority of people.

The international community has never had a problem constituting tribunals to deal with war crimes. In my mind it is highly questionable whether it makes sense to go after ex-dictators. After all, if a dictator believes that he will have to spend the rest of his life behind bars, he will have to think long and hard before he agrees to step down in favor of any national democratic movement. Why should the existence of an international court stand in their way? Why shouldn't a nation have the right to make such a deal with their incumbent dictator? Bit the ICC takes any such dealmaking out of the purview of a locally-brewed solution to such a family squabble.

It is hard to see why the world needs such a court. It's chief purpose, it seems to me, is to give the European Union jurisdiction over other nation's business. That is power that they have refused to take by the standard means of funding and committing to a military option. They believe that talk is more powerful than a cluster bomb. There is no reason to believe that they are right.

Monday, March 10, 2003

The Lysistrata Project

is an effort from some purportedly sane lefty women who apparently believe that all women are against war, and it is the men who wage war. Furthermore, in their misguided belief that their only worth as women is their power to withhold sex, they are determined to disrail the so-called "RUSH" to war by withholding sex from their men. My wife, ten times the woman that these harridans are, believes that, therefore, the best way for a woman to signal to her spouse that she supports his politics is to make up for this impending sex deficit in a personal way. This could become a mass movement. In any case, the rallies and the demonstrations should be very interesting. In solidarity with this movement, I offer this site as a rallying point to oppose those who support the dictator Saddam Hussein with the cry of "Peace" and decry the 12 year long "Rush to War" and accuse the 40 nations who join with the U.S.A. of unilateralism, with the motto:

(Tip of the hat to Asparagirl.)

Beware of CAPPS II

Further to my post last week on Delta Airlines volunteering to be the first carrier to host this monstrous misaplication of technology, I have looked to see who else, besides crypto-libertarians and reactionary conservatives, thinks that this unwarranted intrusion into our lives and privacy is warranted.

In Pakistan, the Daily Times has a piece that reports the folly of this program. As they have it:
Like Total Information Awareness, CAPPS II is apparently based on the belief that you can find a needle in a haystack by adding more hay to the stack.
Slashdot has been on this story since February 28th. Wired has been on the story since Wednesday.

To me, the really frightening thing is the opacity of the program. There is no provision for geting a look at your dossier, or correcting any mistakes that your file might contain. Not to mention the effect that all of these inquiries on your credit record will do to your credit rating. From Wired:
"This system threatens to create a permanent blacklisted underclass of Americans who cannot travel freely,'' said Katie Corrigan, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union. "Anyone could get caught up in this system, with no way to get out."

According to a January Federal Register notice containing some details of the program, CAPPS II will store information about those deemed a yellow- or red-level threat for up to 50 years.

Information from files about those individuals could also be shared with other government agencies at the federal, state and local levels, as well as with intelligence agencies such as the CIA and with foreign governments and international agencies -- all of which could use those designations for many purposes, including employment decisions and the granting of government benefits, according to the ACLU.
Obviously the green rating holders will have little problem with the system, and the red ratings will go to criminals and supposed terrorists, who will probably not question the findings. But what of the yellows? There is no publicly available description of what the qualifications are for the various ratings. And there has been no showing that any of this will make us one bit safer in any case.

There are, of course, those who say that this is all just a tempest in a teapot - that these questions will all be ironed out in the fullness of time. Just trust in the government; they have our best interests at heart. But I don't buy any of that. Like TIPPS, Ashcroft and company just put these things into effect in the middle of the night, and then seem surprised that anyone noticed. And don't tell me that the details just slipped through the cracks, and will be picked up later. The opacity of the program is no mistake, it is expressly provided for. They have already begun compiling these dossiers on Americans, who have no right to inspect their files, and no way to correct errors... not even an explanation of what, exactly, might be on one's credit history that flags you as a terroristic threat. Don't listen to me. Listen to Kaleem Omar from Pakistan
The chilling vision of the future painted by George Orwell in his 1949 novel ?Nineteen Eighty-Four? with its ?Big Brother Is Watching You? slogan seems to be well on its way to coming true not in some totalitarian country with a despotic regime but in George W Bush’s United States of America, which, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), has now reached the point where a total surveillance society has not only become a realistic possibility but a likelihood, unless the public fights back.

?From government watch lists to secret wiretaps, Americans are unknowingly becoming targets of government surveillance,? said Dorothy Ehrlich, executive director of the ACLU of Northern California. ?It is dangerous for a democracy that government power goes unchecked and for this reason it is imperative that our government be made accountable.?
It is not surprising that a government will attempt to take on more power, if it has the chance. And the events of 9/11 have given them the chance. It is up to us, the citizens, to stay viligant. And don't, whatever else you do, ever give an airline ticket writer your social security number. Delta Airlines is the first. Boycott Delta. We can stop this thing. It's up to us. We have no one else to blame if we go meekly along.

Friday, March 07, 2003

New Threat: Model Rockets!

A provision deep within the regulations of the new Homeland Security Act is threatening to shut down the popular hobby of model rocketry because the propellant used to make the rocket’s solid-fueled motors is now classified as explosive material. This is no joke, although the Homeland Security apparatus that the administration is putting into place has been testing the limit between danger and humor on almost a daily basis. Now, it is just possible that a grandmother in a wheelchair might be carrying a weapon or a bomb. It may well be true that a bomb could be carried in a bottle of soda... and it can be shown as harmless by making the passenger take a swig out of the bottle. But Model Rockets? As a child I played with these same items that Big Brother now wants to protect us from. My 12 year old son plays with them now. It is inconceivable that these rocket motors could constitute a threat to our security. At least no more of a threat than matches, or freely available butane gas.

As noted on Science Fiction Today:
On May 24, every employee of any shipping entity who could possibly touch a package of in-transit model rocket engines on their way to a kid's mailbox or store has to be explosives-handling certified, fingerprinted and pass a criminal background check. UPS, some trucking and railroad firms have stopped shipping the motors; Fed Ex employees have indicated to some model rocket flyers they likely will follow suit in the coming weeks. "It is the heart of the problem we face. Because if manufacturers like Estes can't get rocket motors delivered to stores, the hobby is completely dead," according to Tim Van Milligan, president of Apogee Rockets in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Note that no one has ever used a model rocket in a crime. These rockets can loft only tiny payloads, and only to very low altitudes. If these rockets should be banned, why not radio controlled planes? They are surely even more dangerous. And if it is the material that these motors are made of is the threat, then, logically, matches must also be banned. After all, match heads HAVE been used to make pipe bombs that have been used in criminal activity. (Links here and here and here). The Unabomber, Theodore Kaczynski, used match heads in his earliest bombs, yet there is no movement to ban matches. Yet.

Thursday, March 06, 2003

Boycott Delta Airlines!

The administration continues with its attempts to hijack the freedom of Americans by instituting the CAPPS II system, which is an anticonstitutional protocol in which dossiers will be compiled on ALL airline passengers. Not only will confidential information on all passengers be collected, there will be no right of review or correction if they have any incorrect information, or confuse you with someone else. Delta airlines has volunteered to be the pilot airline for the program. In response to Delta Air Line's utter lack of concern with the privacy of their customers demonstrated by their participation in a test of the CAPPS II system, a Delta disinvestment campaign has been launched at: .

In the event that the name servers have not yet propagated, the site can be reached at:

The idea of citizens having to undergo a background investigation that includes personal banking information and a credit check simply to travel in his or her own country is invasive and un-American. The CAPPS II system goes far beyond what any thinking citizen of this country should consider reasonable.

If enough people refuse to fly Delta, then it is likely that other airlines will refuse to implement this sadly misguided and anti-democratic system. The boycott will remain in full effect until Delta Air Lines publicly withdraws from any involvement with the testing of CAPPS II.

Monday, March 03, 2003

Hydrates: Friend or Foe?

Under the permafrost, and in the colder, deeper parts of the seas, as well as the sediments of the Continental Shelf, are deposits of a crystalline substance called Methane Hydrate, or hydrates. They contain methane, or natural gas. One cubic foot of hydrate ice contains 160 cubic feet of natural gas.

In the debate over global warming, the greens have set up hydrates as some sort of doomsday mechanism. Somehow, when the world gets sufficiently warm, the naturally frozen and bound-up methane will be released, so the story goes, and this release just might result in the end of life as we know it. (NASAs take) (The view from England) While this sounds a bit far fetched, most of the global warming "science" is a bit far fetched. Today, science is at its limit when trying to predict the weather next week. Ten years ago, though, these theories were taken very seriously by governing bodies world wide. Today, of course, global warming scenarios are losing currency as the doomsday scenario fails to pan out. The more we learn, the more questions we have. The computer simulations that have been used to predict global warming have proven to be unreliable in predicting the future, and have to be constantly changed to even account for the past. But hydrates are very real. Take this summation of the effect of hydrate production:
Next source of natural gas [...] Fowler said hydrates are probably going to follow coalbed methane as the next unconventional source of natural gas for the United States and, he said, hydrate research is probably where coalbed methane research was a decade ago. [...] Successful development of gas hydrates would make tremendous quantities of gas available. [...] A one-foot cube of hydrate ice, Millheim said, holds approximately 160 cubic feet of natural gas, plus a little bit of water. [...] Hydrates occur both in the Arctic and in deepwater. Japan, he said, is involved in the Canadian Mallik project and is looking at deepwater hydrates it controls as an energy source. [...] ?It’s an immense resource. It dwarfs the known hydrocarbon resources on the planet,? Millheim said.
So, it very well may turn out that hydrates, which have been put forth as the bane of humankind, might be our boon. And what, I wonder, would be the effect of a plentiful and cheap, not to mention domestic, source of natural gas for us be on the power and wealth of our friends the Saudis?