Beating Swords into Wind Turbines–or Solar Panels if You Like

by Paul Gipe

The following op-ed was originally posted on July 4, 2005 and then appeared at Renewable Energy on July 11, 2005. This version has been updated with current figures for the cost of the war and estimates of its total direct and indirect costs (to the USA only).

Now that President Bush has again exhorted Americans to "stay the course" in Iraq, perhaps it's a good time to consider what we could have done with the money spent on waging war in the Middle East had we heeded the Biblical injunction to beat swords into plowshares.

Rather than plowshares, what could the United States have done if it beat its swords into wind turbines or, if you prefer, solar panels? What could we have accomplished toward building a renewable future here in North America instead of launching a war in the oil-rich heart of the Persian Gulf? The answer is simple: a lot.

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