If you think $4 a gallon is a lot for gasoline, you should try paying $400. Sadly, we are paying 100 times the domestic price to get fuel to our troops in Afghanistan, if you include the costs from the source to the pump. In 2008, it was estimated that we paid $88 a day per soldier on the ground for gas in Iraq. 70% of Americans say they’re feeling the financial pain at the pump every time the price goes up a penny. For the military, those pennies add up to millions of dollars each month.
Even defense spending, long a ‘sacred cow’ exempt from budget cuts, seems to be on the cutting board. The question our leaders in Washington will have to struggle with is how much to cut. Either way, increasing fuel costs will continue to eat up a large chunk of our military’s shrinking budget, especially for the Navy and Air Force which require large amounts of fuel for their ships and aircraft. Though budget shortfalls for the military due to energy costs can often be made up with discretionary spending, it appears even this will be subject to cuts. This creates a scenario where our military leaders will have to choose when, where, and how to respond to threats in the field based upon whether or not we can afford it. Energy costs are beginning to put the squeeze on our national security. We shouldn’t have to worry about whether we can afford to keep our country safe anymore.
Fortunately, many are waking up to this fact. It is well documented that every branch of the military is making efforts to reduce fuel use and find energy from alternative, renewable sources. Every part of our national security apparatus, from the State Department, CIA, and the National Security Council to the Departments of Energy and Transportation, are working to find solutions to this problem. As cuts are made, the efforts of these agencies and departments to win the race for future energy should remain off the table. This is money we should spend to save us money tomorrow.
We cannot afford to let high fuel prices put the squeeze on our security. We need to continue to invest in finding alternative energy sources so our troops can fight and our military leaders can worry about keeping us safe, not whether they can afford the gas. High oil prices are compromising our national security and thats why its time to cut oil out altogether.