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Avatar of GI KoreaBy on June 24th, 2010 at 10:50 pm

General Petraeus Questioned By Democratic Congresswoman On Using Solar Panels in Afghanistan

» by in: Afghanistan

With this year likely to be the bloodiest yet in Afghanistan and the US war effort on shaky ground and Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is wondering what General David Petraeus is doing to save the planet in Afghanistan:

Does she have any idea how much fuel it takes to power MRAP’s, HMMWV’s, and other heavy military equipment?  Does she think heavy armored vehicle’s can be powered with solar panels?  Solar panels can only provide power for things like street lights and possibly some offices with backup generators on the military bases.  The fuel savings would be small compared to how much fuel that vehicles use.  The convoys would still be running with the same frequency from Pakistan and other areas because they bring in more than fuel to the bases in Afghanistan.  Maybe the convoy would have one less fuel truck.  In the grand scheme of things big deal.   Solar panels are not a practical power source to for a military war effort.  They are a niche source of energy that should only be implemented if it can save the military money in some instances.  General Petraeus’ answer was quite diplomatic, but you would think there would be better questions than this?  Than again the Congresswoman may have just been making a show of herself to the various solar panel companies that work in the Tuscon area?

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  • Andrew Barbour
    4:19 pm on June 24th, 2010 1

    Giffords is my Congresswoman (or at least she was before I moved to Korea). I would have preferred Jim Kolbe to stay on, but he supported Giffords in a nice bit of non-partisanship since they share similar views on free trade.

    The question may be poorly timed, but in the big picture–and given just how much the military is in fact spending on fuel–I think it's a pretty relevant question. Just maybe not right now. Anyway, she's not so stupid as to think we can get armored Priuses running around up there. She's just focused on the stationary in-camp stuff.

  • tellos
    6:48 pm on June 24th, 2010 2

    isn't the army trying to relly less on Oil and more on electric power?

    Aren't soldier equiped with Solar equipment to recharge batteries etc???

    Just right now it's not possible to power a MRAP or HMMWV with electricity, but isn't it a goal they try to achieve?

  • Leon LaPorte
    7:46 pm on June 24th, 2010 3

    I would thing if the Army kills enough enemy it would definitely decrease their future carbon output. There's more than one way to skin a cat.

  • maui
    8:23 pm on June 24th, 2010 4

    I like your reasoning Leon.

  • Left Flank
    9:49 pm on June 24th, 2010 5

    @ #1:

    Agreed! General Petraeus, meet the budget deficit ( The irony is, that the "socialist" president is standing up for budget discipline, and the generals are like spoiled girls at the mall.

  • Matt
    10:23 pm on June 24th, 2010 6

    I never realized how many freakin' ribbons GEN Petraeus had on his uniform. Christ, his CAB is up almost at his shoulder! Additionally, he's got a ton of "hershey bars" denoting combat time on his right arm. Each of those stripes denotes 6 months for those of you who don't know.

  • tellos
    11:49 pm on June 24th, 2010 7

    #5 Thanks for the info

    I found that when trying to look closely

  • Tom Langley
    5:11 am on June 25th, 2010 8

    Hey B!T(H, We are at WAR!!! How f'ing stupid can you get? Rep Giffords if your worried about 'carbon footprints' maybe you could shut your mouth. Maybe you could mount a M2 50 Cal on a Segway scooter. How putting a big sail on a 155 mm howitzer if it needs to be moved. Every time I hear a liberal say something stupid I can't imagine how anything could get worse until I watch the news. What will Rep Giffords say tomorrow?

  • Pete
    7:00 am on June 25th, 2010 9

    When you are in a discussion and know nothing about the subject – change the subject. She took the safe way by asking a question that has been in the news with the BP spill. Even if she knows nothing about the war she has kept this information to herself.

  • Robert
    9:42 am on June 25th, 2010 10

    Now I know why the poor man passed out.

  • Retired GI
    10:14 am on June 25th, 2010 11

    tom langley #7. Don't hold back man! Tell us how you REALLY feel. :grin:

    Chit! I've been done with Liberals since Carter asked pre-teen Amy about world affairs.

  • archieb
    12:06 am on June 26th, 2010 12

    She probably wants us to win the war without hurting anyone's "feelings."

  • Kingkitty
    3:39 am on June 26th, 2010 13

    Is the room she is and the General are located lights powered by sun pannels or wind mill? Is there a small Hydro dam located outside on the mall powering the microphones? I wonder if people like her understand that the camps in Afghanistan or really isolated? Water is shipped in for showers, drinking water is crated in. Large generators provide the bulk of the power. I am certain there are far more important things to quiz the General about such as the enemy or what he is doing to win the war and as The President likes to say “stop the momentum”? It sounded more like she just wanted to get a statement out to make her eco friends happy. Not very relevent at the Generals level.

  • tellos
    6:59 am on June 26th, 2010 14

    Why is everybody thinking that wasting less energy is negative.

    If you could have the same energy from solar powered generator, why would it be bad? wouldn't it mean less gas to convoy to different base?

    One way or another, since oil isn't for ever, what will the army do when we will run out of the precious liquid, if it's the only think that make it move?

  • Leon LaPorte
    10:02 am on June 26th, 2010 15

    #13 Using less energy would be great. The ridiculousness of her bringing this issue up at this time and in this forum is mere political theater for her fringe supporters.

    I heard she now wants to grill him on the team USA elimination from the World Cup and quiz him on how many and what kind of feathers are in Army pillows. :roll:

  • Leon LaPorte
    10:07 am on June 26th, 2010 16

    I just read her bio. Interesting. A dependent and an astronauts wife, though I think she's the one who is spacey. :razz:

  • Retired GI
    10:12 am on June 26th, 2010 17

    # 13. "what will the army do when we run out of the precious liguid," That would mean that all the Miss Americas that wished for world peace, would be *closer* to getting their wish. And millions of people will need to be retrained world wide.

  • JoeC
    11:34 am on June 26th, 2010 18

    "what will the army do when we will run out of the precious liquid"

    Sounds like something General Jack D. Ripper would have said.

  • ChickenHead
    2:39 pm on June 26th, 2010 19

    "what will the army do when we will run out of the precious liquid"

    Take it from anybody who hasn't.

  • ChickenHead
    2:49 pm on June 26th, 2010 20

    How General Petraeus Should Have Answered Questions Regarding His Carbon Footprint

    "Obviously, we wear carbon-free boots."

    "Well, ma'am, many of our weapons systems remove atmospheric carbon by producing uranium carbonate. Does that count?"

    "We are currently using congress' carbon credits to achieve victory. You will need to start walking to work next week… biaaatch."

    "Carbomb footprint? They leave footprints? That's amazing. I had no idea. I wonder if EOD knows this…"

    "Our carbon-reduction program is going to plan. Keeping the local population un-industrialized and living a sustenance existence greatly reduces the entire nation's long-term carbon emission."

    "Well, we have implemented a cap and trade program. We cap all traitors."

    "Ask me another stupid questing like that and I'll put a carbon footprint in your azz."

    "We banned fast food outlets and the carbon-producing soft drinks they distribute."

  • Tom Langley
    4:10 pm on June 26th, 2010 21

    Tellos, in regard to your comment #14, please google sapphire energy, ls9(that's not a typo), bfs, etc. These companies are developing ways of taking algae, subjecting it to heat & pressure, then presto you have biopetroleum. I didn't say biodiesel, I said biopetroleum. It's almost identical to petroleum drilled from the ground & can be refined to gasoline, diesel, kerosene, heating oil, jet fuel, & petrochemicals. There was recently an article on the 'Science Daily News' website discussing a university professor who were working on the same thing. An area of 51,000 sq km, approx the size of Costa Rica would supply current world demand. Right now the cost are too high but as with other technology eventually the cost will decrease. The bottom line is despite the propaganda of the 'peak oil' pimps WE WILL NEVER RUN OUT OF OIL. Even some of the big oil companies are investing in this technology, I just hope & pray that they don't lock up the technology.

  • someotherguy
    12:00 pm on June 27th, 2010 22

    Kinda funny considering the US Military already push's for "green" / "energy reduction". They don't do it for any sort of "save the earth" but because it saves on the energy bill. Turning off the lights / environmental energy for the lights and what not. The military gives a damn about "carbon emissions" but they care about money.

    Plus how the f*ck are you going to run things like HMMWV, MRAC, M1's, Apaches or Blackhawks on "green energy". Those things are expected to haul a crapton of weight around so you can't go skinny on a little 4-banger.

  • Glans
    4:57 pm on June 27th, 2010 23

    Which has a greater chance of destroying civilization: the Taliban, or climate change?

  • Glans
    4:59 pm on June 27th, 2010 24

    Which is a greater threat to our security: the Taliban or reliance on petroleum?

  • Leon LaPorte
    5:07 pm on June 27th, 2010 25

    The Taliban, left unchecked, is a more immediate concern regarding our security. Especially considering events of the last decade or so.

  • Left Flank
    10:14 am on June 28th, 2010 26

    @ #25:

    Al-Qaeda is 00 guys who can move around a whole lot better than the US military ever could. It's true, as mentioned on MTP Sunday, that a;-Qaeda would reacquire the facility by which to attack the US if the uS withdrew from Afghanistan. But that just underscores that we have always been fighting the wrong war and wasting lives and treasure doing it. Rep. Giffords' questions can be interpreted in that light: the US has a budget and laws; al-Qaeda doesn't. The US is wasting blood and treasure to chase a malaria-ridden fly. The US can get AQ and save resources if it fights smarter.

    I should also point out that the US gets the majority of its oil from the Canadian tar sans and ocean rigs, not the Middle East. That whole rationale, using Afghanistan or Iraq doe our resource needs is BS. This is as good a bad example of path dependency as any kind of Wall Street reform. The US is not fighting in Afghanistan because it works, but because too many people are getting rich and Congress, the President, and others have no clue how to keep their own campaign war chests going without that blood money.

  • Left Flank
    10:15 am on June 28th, 2010 27

    I should have said "AQ is 100 guys" Sorry!

  • someotherguy
    11:24 am on June 28th, 2010 28


    Anthropological Global Warming is a political stunt to create revenue. The climate of this planet is determined by factors way the hell outside of man's control. Namely the solar cycle, distance from sun (it varies), and geological activity. Anyone who digs deep enough will find all sorts of wrong in current "climate science", so much wrong that serious scientists only use AGW in attempts to get more grant money.

  • Left Flank
    1:08 pm on June 28th, 2010 29

    @ #27:

    Unlike your "OPCON" argument on the other post, this one is just sheer crackpot.

  • Left Flank
    1:11 pm on June 28th, 2010 30

    Oh, and on Afghanistan itself – the part of the argument at hand, not the AGW distraction – I guess creating a deficit through misguided wars is fine as long as the US takes money from Americans, including veterans?

  • Jeff Addiego
    3:25 am on July 8th, 2010 31

    Who voted for this woman!!!!what a JOKE.Arizona,I like your immigration law,but this woman has to go.Did she think she was speaking to Al Gore.

  • Schirete
    1:53 pm on July 24th, 2010 32

    Representative Gifford:

    I'd like to ask what have you, or the administration done to encourage development of an automobile that travels using other methods than the fuel guzzling engine? China is working on some such automobiles and will probably flood the market with them. Germany has one. France has invented an urban car that travels on air, and we're still stuck on oil that not only pollutes our seas, but also forces us to import and finance people who are not very friendly to us.

    Until you do so, and I hope before every other country leaves us behind, as they have done with renewable energy, you should not be questioning the Army, Air Force, Marines, or Navey.


  • Schirete
    1:56 pm on July 24th, 2010 33

    I realized I misspelled Navy. Sorry about that.

  • Diane
    3:20 am on August 26th, 2010 34

    Southern Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords' opponents have stooped too low this time. While American soldiers are on the battlefield risking their lives for this country, Giffords' campaign opposition is making up lies and distortions about the dangers they face – just to win an election. 

    At a House Armed Services Committee hearing in June, Giffords  asked Gen. David Petraeus about the military's policy of reducing fuel consumption in war zones. Why did she ask about that? Because reducing fuel consumption and maintaining a stable electrical supply are part of the military's plan to protect our troops from the dangerous work of guarding fuel supply convoys.

    But Giffords' opponents are smearing this hearing to score political points. They are pretending that she questioned Gen. Petreaus about bayoneting the enemy to reduce carbon emissions putting solar panels on Humvees. These false accusations are beneath contempt.  They disrespect our brave servicemen and women who are putting their lives on the line for our country. 

    Here are the facts:

    Fact: Fuel consumption and transportation are major security threats for our troops. One hundred and seventy servicemembers lost their lives in 2007 alone guarding and transporting fuel.

    Fact: Our enemy, Osama bin Laden, has called oil our military’s “umbilical cord” and tells his terrorist followers to “focus your operations on oil, especially in Iraq and the Gulf area, since this will cause the [Americans] to die off.”

    Fact: Military leaders agree: The more fuel our military consumes, the more vulnerable we are to attacks on fuel convoys and to roadside IEDs. When we reduce our dependence on fuel, we reduce the number of troops killed delivering gas.

    Fact: Rep. Giffords did NOT ask General Petraeus about carbon emissions, global warming or the environment. She asked him about his policy on fuel consumption and maintaining a stable electrical supply, which he called for in his 2006 Counterinsurgency Strategy.

    For more information, here is what the nonpartisan has to say about this smear campaign : The transcript from the testimony at the June 16th, 2010 hearing is also posted below. 

    GIFFORDS: Yes, thank you, Mr. Chairman. General Petraeus, welcome back to committee. And, Madam Secretary, thank you, as well. Hailing from southern Arizona, I'm glad you're staying hydrated. It's very important, something that we know out in the desert. And on behalf of the men and women of Fort Huachuca and Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, we just want to thank both of you for your service. And, unfortunately, we lost two of our airmen, actually, associated with Davis-Monthan, Senior Airman Benjamin White, who was 24, and also Tech Sergeant Michael Paul Flores, 31, were both based at Davis-Monthan and were part of the Rescue Command. Very sad. Very much brings home, you know, what we're asking of our men and women. There's been a lot of attention back here in the United States on what's happening with the BP oil spill. And as we all know, the largest user of energy on the planet is actually the United States Air Force. And the DOD is the largest user of energy in the United States. And I really want to commend the work done on behalf of DOD and also what's happening in the field with our energy. But it's an area that I just really want to focus on, and I know a lot of questions have been asked, but during the last three years, supply lines have increasingly threatened — have been threatened either by enemy action or through international places. And in places like Kandahar, where we have a large presence, we have been plugged into a very unsustainable and really incapable grid system. We know that a major part of the upcoming Kandahar offensive will include some serious repairs and upgrades to the energy system, which will include small-scale solar and hydropower systems, and also some solar-powered streetlights. I'm just curious whether or not there's plans to utilize any of those same technologies at our bases around Afghanistan. And wouldn't that greatly reduce our need for fuel?

    PETRAEUS: I pause, because there are a couple of different components to what we're trying to do with respect to energy reduction, if you will, and that's really what it is about. And there's, again, a fairly comprehensive effort in that regard. We don't have hydropower, obviously, access to that on the bases, but there has been a significant effort which has reduced very substantially, actually, what we've needed for the cooling and heating of our workplaces and living places. And that is sometimes as simple as pumping extra insulation into the roof and walls of these fairly rudimentary temporary buildings that we have, sometimes even the tents. And it's interesting, because we were exchanging e-mails today with an individual who's involved in that effort, and we believe there have been actually billions of dollars of savings in this effort, if you look at what we did in Iraq first in that regard, and have now been pursuing in Afghanistan. If I could, I might note that the supply lines actually have worked well — the lines of communication through Pakistan. Yes, there periodically are attacks, and there was one a week ago, but that followed a period of months and months, if not a year or so, since the last significant attacks. And it's much less than 1 percent of all of the cargo that goes in through Pakistan that is affected by these various attacks. And we're up now to some 70 percent of all supplies, not necessarily all materiel, but all supplies coming through the north through this carefully constructed northern distribution network that we've been able to establish over the course of the last year, in close partnership with U.S. Transportation Command and the State Department, that enables us to bring items through Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and into Afghanistan, and then even through some of the other countries, there are other routes, including one that comes out of Iraq through Turkey and then turns east. And we do use solar power in some cases, again, where that provides a benefit to us. We did that in Iraq, as well, by the way, I might point out, quite considerable use of that. And, again, that's the case in Afghanistan, as well. If I could add one final item, we're about to send you the new commander of Fort Huachuca, Brigadier General, promotable, Steve Fogarty, has been a stellar military intelligence chief at Central Command over the last two years, has time in Afghanistan, former special mission unit, intel chief, and so forth, and I think you will really enjoy him and his wife, by the way, once they get out there.

    GIFFORDS: And we're looking forward to it.


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