If the Iraq war had ended within 18 months, as the supporters of the war believed it would, then the Bush Presidency might have been honored as visionary. But, that did not happen. Perhaps if the Vietnam War had ended successfully within a year or two, then-President Johnson would be considered a hero and a visionary today, but that did not happen either.
The Middle East is not Vietnam. There is a big difference between the Vietnam War and the war in Iraq. The difference is the oil in the region and the importance of oil in the world economy; specifically the importance of oil as a source of energy (transportation fuels). Our dependence on oil to produce gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel makes us vulnerable to shortages. An interruption of the supply of oil anywhere in the world affects everyone because oil is a global commodity. The Middle East has about 60% of the world’s known oil reserves; if the U.S. Military pulls out of Iraq allowing civil war and sectarian violence to escalate, causing the region to fall into the hands of Islamic militants who hate the United States and Western values, the Middle East oil will become a weapon of political extortion subjecting the United States and Europe to economic terrorism by threatening the global economy with oil supply interruptions.
The United States walked away from Vietnam with only a loss of national pride and nothing to show for the deaths of fifty-eight thousand U.S. soldiers (and 300,000 wounded), but otherwise, the loss of Vietnam had no real influence on the U.S. or world economy. The situation in the Middle East is different. If the U.S. walks away from the Middle East it must have alternative sources of energy to replace oil. Not just for the USA alone but for the entire world. The world economy will need alternative energy, on a scale large enough to break the global economic influence of Middle East oil. That can only be accomplished by a full substitution (replacement) of oil as the dominant source of transportation fuel (energy) for the global economy. For this reason, the development of alternative transportation fuels is the most important challenge facing this generation of Americans.Strength and National Security through Energy Independence
Future wars could be prevented if everyone who has taken a stand against the war in Iraq would turn their passion toward the goal of American Energy Independence. Standing against war is not enough – Standing together for Energy Independence will create a positive political force and a shared national dream.