Leo Tolstoy once said: "The struggle with evil by means of violence is the same as an attempt to stop a cloud, in order that there may be no rain."
The US Government spent nearly $440 billion on military expenditures for the Department of Defense during fiscal year 2007. In 2008, the proposed spending increased to over $480 billion for the same subject matter. Of that amount, from what I've read, the US spends roughly $67 billion annually on this war.
In contrast, the US spends a mere $3 billion on energy research each year, according to the National Science Foundation. DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the creator/inventor of the Internet (computer networking and hypertext) amongst other things, manages a roughly $3 billion budget as well. This is the agency of the US Department of Defense that has been responsible for funding the development of many technologies which have had a major impact on the world, in past years...
President Bush currently says that he is seeking about $10 billion for alternative energy research over the next five years as part of his proposal to reduce U.S. gasoline usage by 20 percent by 2017. You have got to be kidding, right?
Albert Einstein once said: "The problems that exist in the world today cannot be solved by the level of thinking that created them."
It doesn't take a genius to realize that you're always better off solving the problem at the root cause (foreign energy dependence) rather than patching solutions (imperialism and aggressive foreign policy). This is such a exhaustive subject, but I'm hoping that the more we mention it, the more likely we spend our tax payer dollars on fixing the problem sooner rather than later.
We don't even need to spend that much on research to make simple changes to our energy policies. In the 70s, France migrated substantially away from oil and now generates about 75% of its power from nuclear power plants. That's worked successfully for them for nearly 30 years. In the US, in contrast, over 70% of our energy is derived from coal, petroleum, and natural gas. Although nuclear energy isn't ideal, it doesn't produce the air pollution that burning natural resources does and it unshackles us from a dependence on the Middle East. And, the technology is here now; including impressive solutions for nuclear waste remediation.
What do you think would happen if we tripled our annual energy research budget? Would we come up with a better solution than ethanol sooner? Would we have a better solution to our high consumer gas prices than the Prius? Possibly, probably... Considering the relative spend in the context of our war funding, it would seem like a smart diversion of funds if you ask me.