U.S. general in Iraq calls for renewable power

The latest dirty hippie to issue an urgent call for renewable power is … U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Richard Zilmer. The top U.S. commander in western Iraq recently sent the Pentagon a “Priority 1” request for solar panels and wind turbines to augment traditional diesel generators. (What’s next, Major, wheatgrass chai lattes in the mess hall? Hemp uniforms?) Not only are generators huge fuel guzzlers, but they have a hot “thermal signature” that can call enemy attention to U.S. outposts. Also, the U.S. military spends more on transporting fuel than it does on fuel itself. “By reducing the need for [petroleum] at our outlying bases, we can decrease the frequency of logistics convoys on the road, thereby reducing the danger to our marines, soldiers, and sailors,” says Zilmer’s memo. It adds, “Without this solution, personnel loss rates are likely to continue at their current rate. Continued casualty accumulation exhibits potential to jeopardize mission success.” That’s one way of putting it.