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難吃的油飯 April 20, 2020

Posted by hslu in 石油, 美國, 美國, Energy, Oil.
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最近這幾個月 coronavirus 在世界各地無情的肆虐,政府規定人民留在家中,多國經濟幾乎停擺,石油需求量也大幅下滑。2020 年 3 月,沙烏地阿拉伯和蘇俄的石油生產量談判破裂,接下來原油價格狂跌,給石油界造成前所未有的破壞和難以挽回的後果。

4 月中,德州 Permian Basin 一家石油輸送管道公司只肯付 $2 一桶買 South Texas Sour 的原油。4月初,Wyoming Asphalt Sour 原油的競標價竟然達到史無前例的 -$0.19 一桶,也就是每桶油我給你美金 19 cent,拜託你來把我油田生產出來的油運走。

這種翻天覆地的市場變化和對產油及服務公司的危害可以說是聞所未聞的。

這不禁讓我想起三十幾年前油價一路下跌對我,我做事的油公司和我的同事的打擊和影響。

想到這裏,我只能說:這碗油飯還真不好吃啊!

話說 1980 年代末,公司要派我去加拿大出差一年。這是一個我們在研究發展部門做事的人夢寐以求的機會。我跟老闆說我要帶太太和兩個孩子一起去。他答應了以後,我們就著手辦理出國手續,安排房子,車子和孩子在加拿大上學的事情。一切辦妥了以後我們就飛去 Alberta 省的 Calgary 開始我們一家四口為期一年的加拿大生活。

一年以後,我和五個加拿大同事在工地做的實驗項目剛剛有了意想不到的結果。加拿大要我留下來,我要求美國的老闆讓我多留一年。他說加拿大的稅太貴,他付不起,最後說好延長半年。

去加拿大出差是許多人爭取的對象。我有不少同事被派到非洲或沙烏地阿拉伯分公司出差。雖然他們的海外加級比我多了不少,可是那邊的生活條件很差,衛生情況落後,人身安全不保險,無名的疾病盛行,醫療設備也不齊全,孩子的教育更是一個大問題。加拿大跟美國幾乎一樣。除了工作上要採取公制,例如公里,MPa 等等,和時常可以看到一些法文之外,其他衣食住行,風俗習慣根本沒有兩樣。

現在想起來,這一年半是我工作生涯中最輕松,最愜意,錢拿的比同事多,在職業上也是收穫最多的一段時間。可惜在最後的半年裏,我精神上的壓力很大,是一個比較痛苦而又無奈的一段時間。

加拿大是一個實行社會主義的國家。所得稅和 VAT 稅(17%)很高,東西比美國貴,加拿大的薪水相對的比較低,街上很少高級車,不過社會福利很好,生活步調很慢,工作上的競爭也沒有美國激烈。我的加拿大同事對美國有很深的反感,嫉妒心也很重。當然,整體社會的工作與生活步調根本不能跟美國緊蹦的環境相提並論。

那時候,$0.67 美金就可以換一塊錢加幣,無形之中我的薪水比我同級的加拿大同事幾乎要多 50%。除此之外,我有海外加級,公司還幫我付兩邊的所得稅,我們在加拿大的生活實在是悠哉悠哉的不行啊。

Calgary 的風景優美。Bow River 流經市中心。大大小小的公園到處都是。雄偉壯觀的 Rocky Mountain 就在眼前,美麗的 Banff 國家公園和精緻典雅的 Lake Louis 就在城外,自然景觀美不勝收。空氣新鮮,藍天白雲,陽光充足。一年當中沒有夏季,每年只有七,八兩個月是春天。九月底冬天開始,一直要到第二年的四月底才結束。冬天溫度奇低,北極寒流一來,零下二,三十度要持續好幾個禮拜。好在,捷運站就在家和公司附近,上班很方便。孩子在家附近上小學和幼稚園,太太在家看孩子等我下班。週末我們帶孩子去中文學校,沒事請朋友來家吃飯,打個小牌。冬天孩子可以去溜冰,我們可以去看 Curling 和 hockey。閑了沒事,整個加拿大的南邊幾乎都被我們走遍了。這一年半的生活可以說是逍遙自在,不亦樂乎,真叫我樂不思歸啊。

從 1980 年代的初期開始,我就著手於重油生產的研究和開發,一直持續到我離開公司為止。有幾年我參加委內瑞拉重油和非洲海上一個新的大油田的開產。後來委內瑞拉把所有外國石油公司的資產收歸國有,一部分員工也被委內瑞拉政府暫時徵收。我不想去南美洲所以就退出了。非洲的油田經過團隊的開發後就交給該國的同事經營,美國這邊就剩下監管的任務了。

那重油是什麽呢?簡單的來說,重油的“比重”比輕油的“比重”重。世界最有名的 WTI 原油它的比重是 0.827(@ 60 degrees F);也就是水的密度的 82.7%。Brent 原油的比重是 0.835,而 Bakken 頁岩油之比重只有 0.809。這些都是輕油。當原油的比重超過 0.934 以後那就統稱重油。

輕油和重油最大的區別就是輕油的稠度低,在油層裏容易流動。換句話說,越重的油就越不容易生產。

重油的特點是它的稠度高。太濃,太稠的重油混在沙裏就跟舖在路上的瀝青一樣。想要把它從幾千英尺深的油層中生產出來很不容易。我的專長就是爲重油油田找出有效的生產方法,降低生產成本,增加生產量來開發重油油田。

一般來說,生產重油需要在油層中注射大量高壓,高溫的蒸汽來降低重油的稠度,增加它的流動性,然後才能將重油生產出來。

我們先用電腦模擬配和實驗室模型來研究不同的生產方法,然後在工地測試它的可行性並決定其生產參數。成功以後就可以推廣到整個油田,開始商業化的生產和開發了。

我們公司在加拿大有驚人的重油儲存量。可是這些重油只比水輕一點點。在加拿大北邊,許多的重油比水還要重。因為它的儲存量驚人,我們發明的技術一旦能夠有效的提高生產量就可以大量的增加可開採的資源,提高公司股票的市值和原油生產量。

我去加拿大就是要協助他們找出一個新的重油生產方法因為傳統方法沒有效率。我們這個六人團隊經過一年的努力,發明了一個獨一無二,非常有效的生產方法。我們是當之無愧運用水平井在地層下開發重油的先鋒。我們的經驗也間接的刺激我們公司水平井技術的突破和廣泛的應用。

接下來的方案就是決定生產參數同時將它逐步的推廣到整個油田。計劃的報告草擬了,資金和人力資源的需求也有了腹案。我們對這個項目信心十足,當然也都得到應有的獎勵。

可是,好景不長,世事難料,我們的夢想一夕之間成為泡影。接下來的幾個月,我的心情逐步下跌,心灰意冷之餘無奈的舉家遷回美國。

原因很簡單,油價下跌了。

1980年,WTI 的油價從 1978 年的~$15 一桶漲到 ~$42。六年後,油價掉到 ~$10。1988 年我們去加拿大的時候,油價在 $17 左右徘徊。接下來的幾個月它一直往下掉,到了九月份,油價跌到 ~$13。

$13 一桶是什麼概念?基本上美國油公司都不賺錢。加拿大的重油更慘:$5 加幣,也就是三塊多美金一桶。每個加拿大的油公司都是烏雲遍佈,一片悽涼。給油公司做事的員工個個都可憐兮兮,前途無亮。

油價低的結果就是裁員。其實在這之前的五年之間,我們公司已經裁過兩次了。每次都是每個部門一律裁 25%。這兩次裁員對我沒有任何影響。公司肥油多,他們年資高,個個都在混日子,等公司炒他們魷魚。除了退休俸,還可以拿一筆可觀的遣散費(兩年半的薪水)。想要離開的還可以通知經理,大家好合好散,皆大歡喜。

不過,在裁員之前,高資本投資項目停止了,日常開支降低了。所有出差都停止了。每一口油井都要從上到下的審查一遍。不賺錢的關起來。有問題的能不花錢修就不修。問題太大的,先關起來再說。不到兩個禮拜,公司就幾乎要停擺了。

1888 年油價下跌,我們束手無策。沒多久謠言開始了:董事會已經決定裁員,裁多少還在討論中。我的同事都沒有心情做事,因為他們都知道每個人的工作都在經理的切菜板上。

跟我比較要好的一位工程師,常常來我的辦公室聊天。他年紀不小,可是還無法退休。他不屬於我們的團隊,被裁的可能性比較高。他自己心知肚明,只能逆來順受。

我們團隊的表現不錯,工作穩定。工地的員工也無法裁太多,剩下的幾個就不妙了。我的同事也知道其中原委,心裏很擔心。他孩子還在高中唸書,馬上要考大學,現在還在補習法文。我也沒有什麼振奮人心的話,只希望這一刀砍下去不會砍的太深。

沒多久,裁員 20% 的謠言出來了。公司的 HR 部門在總公司有眼線。這些謠言有一定的可靠性。20% 的謠言還沒有發酵完,25% 就已經滿天飛了。其他的像項目外包,計劃停止,油田外賣,免除中級主管的謠言也被炒的活裏活現的。

什麼時候裁和遣散費多少也是每個人關注的對象,誰還有心思管我們項目的死活呢?整個公司從上到下個個跟無頭蒼蠅一樣。一有新的謠言,大家都聚在一起討論它的可能性,然後各自回辦公室分析一下它對自己的影響有多少。

總公司的指示下來了。律師來了,會計師也到了,HR 來的最多。經理天天都拿著報表和人事資料去開會。每個人的資格和近來的表現都攤在桌上,一個一個的審查。在裁員邊緣打滾的那幾個(on the bubble) 更是被批評的厲害。每個人的資料,律師和 HR 都要過目。裁員的理由一定要充足,在法庭上要能站得住腳。他們天天神秘兮兮的躲在會議廳裏,吃飯都是從外面叫三明治,可樂和巧克力餅乾來打發。搞了好幾天,名單擬好了,分的很細。從第一排到最後一名。只要總公司命令下來告訴加拿大那一刀在那裏砍,誰留,誰走,一翻兩瞪眼,天堂地獄就這麽決定了。

感恩節過了。聖誕節和不怎麽快樂的新年也過了。每年冬天加拿大同事去加勒比海度假也不去了。固定的休假也不拿了。如果被裁員,這些假日還可以換撫恤金。大家戰戰兢兢在辦公室等消息。我知道自己沒有危險,也猜的到那幾個人會被解僱。

幾個禮拜以後,命令下來了:裁員 30% – 35%。好無情啊!命令下來的第二天,經理來通知,保安在門外等著,給你十五分鍾收拾細軟。然後一個個被保安客客氣氣的請出大門,連跟同事打個招呼說聲再見的機會都沒有。殘酷,無情。

事變以後的第二天,我們那層樓一半都空了。燈都不用開,黑丫丫的一大片。算算人頭,30% 多一點。我的好朋友沒能躲過這一關。從紐約總部傳來的消息是:最後決定 ~35% 是想一次多裁一點,免得過沒多久還要再來一次。多傷感,多諷刺啊。可恨的是三年後,我們公司又裁了 25%。這真是叫天不應,叫地不靈的恨啊!

被裁員的同事在外面根本找不到事,因為每個油公司都在裁員。街上一大堆油公司的剩男剩女。他們除了拿失業救濟金以外還真沒有其他的選擇。家裏房貸要付,孩子的教育也不能減,飯還是要吃,法文說不定得停下來。你說他們能怎麽辦?去超市後面下貨,半夜去超市補貨,飯館裏收桌子,廚房裏洗碗?五十出頭能幹什麼?

遠在達拉斯的部門一樣被裁。頭兩次沒有中國人被裁。這一次不同了。中國人被裁了好幾個。中國人有自知之明,一向工作都非常努力。這次不一樣了。大刀闊斧的砍下來,連躲都沒有地方躲。這些人薪水高,年紀大,福利好,正是被炒魷魚的目標。年輕的工程師才出學校,薪水低被解僱的反而比較少。

裁員完後的下一步就是爲我們的項目爭取一個苟延殘喘的機會。我們的生產成本要十幾塊錢一桶。$5 加幣一桶的油價就像被處了死刑一樣。在那時,加拿大最大的投資項目就是在大西洋中,北極圈附近的 Hibernia project。雖然我們的整個重油投資還沒有它的零頭多,一樣是:免談。我提出要達拉斯研究發展部門出錢來繼續這個有歷史意義的項目也被加拿大否決了。理由是:工地抽不出人手。時不我與,半途而廢,遺憾的很。

我們的計劃被打入冷宮。大家只有把重要文件整理齊全,公司破例的讓我們用我們的名字申請專利。新的技術就付諸高閤,等以後時機成熟再搬出來吧。

我在加拿大一年半,高高興興的開始,一路馬不停蹄的爲一個信念而投入,在零下四十幾度的夜裏守著鑽井臺。不停的努力,奮鬥。結果成功在望的時候被攔腰一斬,最終以體無完膚而結束。一個重油生產領域中最先進的技術被束之高閣,我們怎麼能夠不傷心,不失望呢?

如今,我們發展出來的技術早就被加拿大石油界肯定,大幅度的運用在重油油層中,提高重油的生產量一直到現在。

1989 年年中我們離開加拿大回到達拉斯。在下一個十年之內,公司又裁員了三次,每次都是 25% 上下。當我剛進入公司的時候,研究發展部門有 3,500 個員工。經過六次裁員以後只剩下 560 多人。這裁的還真狠啊。

最後一次裁員是在 1999 年。總公司那邊沒有任何謠言傳來,大家都以為我們要買另外一家油公司,等合併了以後再裁員。結果一直到新聞媒體報導了以後我們才知道公司被我們的死對頭,Exxon,併吞了。政府核准了以後,Exxon 派人來公司聼簡報,我們都要在 Exxon 的專家前面替自己的計劃吹噓一番。接下来的十個月,公司裁了 25%,不過所有的技術人員都可以留下。原因是:Exxon 要求的。

我們公司,Mobile,在 2000 年被 Exxon 併吞。有意思的是,1870 年成立的標準石油公司在 1911 年被美國政府強迫分成兩個公司:Exxon 和 Mobil 。90 年以後,這兩個公司因為世界局勢的變化和資本市場的需求又合併在一起了:ExxonMobil 。

我的工作生涯以光輝燦爛開始卻以經過了六次裁員而結束。這是資本主義的詛咒。六次裁員對任何人來說都夠了。我也在 2000 年離開了公司。

如今,油價又是沒有預警的大跌。我怎麽能夠不心驚膽跳呢?雖然我以前的同事大部分都離開了,幾個去 Exxon 休斯敦的同事也已經快要退休了。

毫無疑問的,新的一輪裁員正在每個油公司裏如火如荼的進行之中。我的同事說不定也在砧板上。數不清的工作會在這一輪被裁掉,無數個家庭會在這一輪被連根拔起。

雖然我不認識這些人,可是我們心裏還有原油的噁心氣味,我們腳下還有工地裏的原油殘渣,我們腦海裏還有原油的點點滴滴,我們的孩子都是吃油飯長大的。我只能爲這些人祝福,爲他們祈禱,希望他們的職業生涯不會像我的那樣一直在風雨中飄渺,時時刻刻在大浪裏浮沉。

世事無常,實在是難料,這口油飯還真不好吃啊!

November 4, 2018 July 24, 2018

Posted by hslu in 石油, 美國, Economics, Islam, Oil, Trump, U.S. Foreign Policy, 川普.
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That’s about 100 days from today, July 24, 2018.

What’s so special about November 4, 2018 anyway, you might ask?

That’s the day Trump has given countries to stop importing oil from Iran.

What if these countries choose to ignore Trump’s empty threat and carry out business as before?

What will Trump do?

Will Trump initiate financial sanctions against these countries or will Trump find himself a face saving excuse to walk back his empty threat?

And how high will oil price go in light of wars of tweets between Trump and Iranian president? What if the Strait of Hormuz is in essence closed because Iran threatens military action against oil tankers flying American flag without firing a single missile?

$100 per barrel? $200 per barrel?

And how long will American people tolerate Trump’s impulsive and irresponsible 140 character, all CAPS foreign policy if they continue paying $4 per gallon at the gas station? By then, many people will have already lost their jobs and the U.S. economy will roll over into recession

How high will oil shoot up to? July 20, 2018

Posted by hslu in Middle East, Military, Muslim, Oil, 川普.
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$200 USD per barrel perhaps if a war breaks out between Iran and Israel.

And how much higher will oil company stocks be traded for if anything remotely close to an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities happens?

Finally, what will happen to Israel if Israeli Army doesn’t clean up Iran’s nuclear facilities in the first strike?

Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia, Iran and oil December 15, 2017

Posted by hslu in China, 石油, 美國, Energy, Global Affair, Islam, Middle East, Military, Oil, Putin, Trump, U.S. Foreign Policy, 川普, 中國.
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Mohammed bin Salman’s ill-advised ventures have weakened Saudi Arabia’s position in the world

http://flip.it/93wubN

The failed policies of Mohammed bin Salman, the growing influence of Iran and the formation of Shia cresent are the primary reason that WTI is trading above $55 a barrel and Brent crude at $63 a barrel. A 20% war premium has been added to the price of crude oil contracts since November. It has gained more than 30% since the low achieved in late June of this year.

Saudi Arabia has been fighting a proxy war with Iran via Yemen for 2 years with little but many dead Yemenis to show for. Saudi’s oil infrastructure is now under external threat from Yemen which will keep the price of Brent crude at an elevated level. 

US shale oil production is expected to rise because WTI is trading at a few dollars below $60/barrel. However, since US exports very little of its oil, the spread between WTI and Brent crude will widen.

Source: CNBC

Source: CNBC

With WTI comfortably trading above $45 a barrel, roughly the average price of WTI for the past three years, oil company stocks should see a nice rebound in 2018. If the tension between Saudi and Iran flares up further, oil companies should see more upside too. 

With an young and inexperienced prince in Rydah colluding with a dotard and impulsive Trump in the WH, giant mistakes will continue to happen.

It is bad for the world.

It is good for China and it will be great for the US oil companies.

Putin is smiling too.

The Kingmaker has failed miserablly in Iraq July 30, 2014

Posted by hslu in China, Cold War, Energy, Global Affair, Islam, Obama, Oil, Politics, Putin, Religion.
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America has for decades played a ‘King Maker’ role with other countries’ governments in the world. It financed the opposition party of the govrrnment in power. It invaded other countries. It set up military bases and selected persons loyal to the U.S. and made them ‘King,’ all in the name of national security and in the name of promoting democracy as the supreme government system for the affected countries and the peace of the world. America then showered the new ‘King’ with American tax money and used billions of green backs to seal off oppostions’ objection hoping the new ‘king’ can fortify his new-found power under the protective shield of American military prowess.

The ‘New World Order’ or ‘The Rule of Governance’ envisioned by the US for the world is ‘democracy’ in countries that’s important to the US and it has never been shy about its intentions.

The problem is that it seldom works. Take Iraq for instance: Maliki was put in power as a puppet for America. Maliki believed he has enough power and a strong military force to protect his power base. He asked US to leave because the opposition don’t want America in its country. It also believe that their oil production and export will be big enough to do without American’s financial support. The trouble for Maliki and American’s ‘democracy everywhere’ dream is that the religion got in the way.

It looks like that we’ll have a morden version of ‘新三國演義’ in Iraq. ISIS will not stop making its move toward the south because that’s where the money is. We’ll see how it will play out in years to come. 0

Iran was like that. Iraq was like that. Egypt was like that. Libya was like that and the list goes on. Saudi has rejected the ‘democracy’ call because America for 40 years had to relied on Saudi to keep the oil flowing. American presidents have learned their lessons and they dare not to ‘pull tooth from a lion’s mouth’ or ‘在老虎嘴裡拔牙.’

Well, I am not sure America will stop ‘making Kings’ around the world. They probably will avoid the Middle East and change its targets to South East Asian countries.

America has a new ‘Cold War’ to fight with China.

Mark my words! It is happening now no matter how much American government denies its intention.

Well, the problem for America is that Obama has made Putin America’s enemy No. 1. Worse, there is no country in South America which can call America friend.

The fundamental problem

One million barrels September 10, 2012

Posted by hslu in Economics, Energy, Global Affair, Obama, Oil, Politics.
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Obama said at Democratic National Convention that the U.S. is importing one million barrels of oil a day less these days.

He said it “臉也不紅氣不喘"as if he did it all by himself.

Nope! He didn’t do anything to accplish that milestone.

It was the economy, stupid.

A slowing down economy will need less oil every time I checked.

This is “inert lecture dishonesty” at the highest level.

Shame on Obama

It’s so predictable April 22, 2011

Posted by hslu in Economics, Energy, Global Affair, Obama, Oil, Politics.
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As gas prices top $5 in some cities in the US, you will see Obama, Senators and Representatives from both parties attack big oil companies such as ExxonMobil because they are easy targets. And I am sorry to say that most Americans are stupid when it comes to crude oil production and how it reaches our favorite corner gas station in the form of gasoline or diesel.

I once heard a caller to Kudlow’s weekend radio talk show and offered this brilliant remedy to solve high gas prices once and for all.

He said that we can all stop buying gas from ExxonMobil and Shell for two weeks which will then force them to lower the gas prices.

What? How stupid can that be? From an American on a business talk show?

He has no idea that ExxonMobil has absolutely no say on gas, for that matter, crude oil, prices.

People like this caller have no idea where does gas come from and have no idea how capitalism works. They have no idea how big a struggle ExxonMobil has to go through to keep their reserve replaced year after year. They have no idea how much oil The US has and they have no idea that most oil in the world is owned by America’s enemies.

It is precisely people like this caller that the politicians are trying to get their votes from.

The politicians have no shame. Some American voters are too stupid and so un-educated to have any common sense at all.

弱國無外交A weak country has no diplomacy March 30, 2011

Posted by hslu in Uncategorized.
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A weak country has no diplomacy. China was in this exact position after WW II and was betrayed by America, England, France and Soviet Union.

Libya is taking a beating from the US and the other because Libya has no military to speak of and no friends strong enough to go against the US in UN.

The country is flat with no place to hide. It is an easy target from the air. Ti American fighter pilots, Libya tanks look like ducks from the air.

The US may be in it for Libya’s oil if a pro-democracy and pro-US government is established but nothing is that easy when Obama didn’t know whom he was friends with.

Well, the devil is all un the details.

What if Qaddafi win and the so-called Revel lose?

Also interesting to note is that the main street news media called the opposition rebels instead of “Freedom Fighters.”

Why?

But I am afraid that the attack will make Muslims all over the world hate the Americans even more.

You can also expect that more western soft target in Europe and US will face more terrorist attacks in coming years.

2010 in review January 2, 2011

Posted by hslu in Chinese Food, Economics, Energy, Food, Global Affair, Oil, Restaurants.
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The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Fresher than ever.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

The average container ship can carry about 4,500 containers. This blog was viewed about 20,000 times in 2010. If each view were a shipping container, your blog would have filled about 4 fully loaded ships.

 

In 2010, there were 404 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 664 posts.

The busiest day of the year was April 20th with 145 views. The most popular post that day was Seoul Soondae – Seoul Plaza, Annandale, Virginia.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were en.wordpress.com, alphainventions.com, google.com, search.aol.com, and en.search.wordpress.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for discrimination against blacks, italy financial crisis, eurozone financial crisis, gom tang e, and 巴山蜀水 rockville.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Seoul Soondae – Seoul Plaza, Annandale, Virginia August 2009

2

Euro Zone Financial Crisis – Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain May 2010

3

How much oil is produced each day? August 2009

4

A National Crisis in the Making – The State of US Oil Industry August 2009

5

Crude Oil Price History – August 2009 August 2009
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US to Leave Afghan October 29, 2009

Posted by hslu in Energy, Global Affair, Politics.
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US to Leave Afghan

 

I believe that the Unites States will eventually leave Afghanistan because it could potentially become another Vietnam. This will happen sooner than later. There is simply no public interests in a 20-year nation building project with dead US soldiers. The current president made the war in Afghanistan (as opposite to the war in Iraq) a big issue during the presidential campaign. He gets stuck with his war now.

The problem to the White House becomes much more open with McChrystal’s request for 40,000 more troops. As more US soldiers dying there, the enemy is getting stronger by the day. The White House is dragging its feet because the president and his anti-war sponsors are trying to devise a plan to get out of that country without being seen by Muslims as a paper tiger.

The current administration is going through Soviet experience in Afghanistan and I bet they do not see any light at the end of the tunnel for United States either. High tech weapons can not substitute soldiers in a war like that. But is United States willing to sacrifice more of its young soldiers for a war with ill-defined purpose?

Someone at the table must have raised this question too: “Why should we stay there if there is no oil in Afghanistan?”

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