Retired U.S. Marine Encourages UA Students To Cut Ties with Oil and Drive Electric Cars

Retired U.S. Marine, Lt. Colonel Greg Ballard spoke to UA students about his new book, “Less Oil or More Caskets: The National Security Argument for Moving Away from Oil.” Ballard said that in order to eliminate the flow of caskets, of troops coming home from the Middle East, we need to be driving electric cars.

By Katherine Welch
News Reporter

A retired U.S. Marine Lt. Colonel and former mayor of Indianapolis told University of Alabama students the only way American Troops will stop being returned home in caskets is if the United States cuts ties with foreign oil.

Greg Ballard traveled to UA on Feb. 19 to discuss his new book, “Less Oil or More Caskets: The National Security Argument for Moving Away from Oil.”

The event was hosted by the Department of Communication Studies, and was moderated by Dr. Darrin Griffin, assistant professor for communication studies.

After serving two terms as the mayor of Indianapolis, Ballard decided to add another title to his resume: author. The presentation, which promoted his new book, focused on discussing the role oil plays in American Troops being deployed to the Middle East.

“The troops over there think they’re fighting terrorism. They are, but it’s because of oil,” Ballard said. “There is only one reason we are in the Middle East, that is to make sure our oil gets out of there.”  

Ballard said starting with the Gulf War, the United States has fought wars based solely on the oil industry. He referenced previous American presidents and their opinions on the subject. “America is addicted to oil, which is often imported form unstable parts of the world,” said President George W. Bush, during the State of the Union Address in 2006.   

Ballard’s theory is that the United States needs to switch completely to electric vehicles. “The future of electric cars is now,” Ballard said.

By switching to electric vehicles the oil industry will be completely disrupted, he said. Reliance on foreign oil has increased from 28 percent in the early 1970s to 60 percent in 2006. Ballard explained that this increase occurred despite embargos and terrorist activity.

“We are funding terrorism,”Ballard said. “When they read history books in 100 years, they’re going to wonder what we were thinking.”

After reading Ballard’s book, Griffin described his opinions, focusing on the theme he called the “unintended consequences.” Griffin described the unintended consequences as disruptions and changes to the flow of money around the world, the electrical grid, military activity and more.

“There are some unintended consequences of our oil dependency, but looking forward, there are going to be unintended consequences of turning to electric cars,” Griffin said.  “This book is modern, forward thinking and a little bit ahead of itself.”

David Siegel, University of Alabama student, questioned Ballard on the effect of charging  electric cars in your home. “How much has your electric bill gone up since you bought your electric cars,” Siegel asked.

“You wouldn’t notice an increase in your bill if you bought a new lamp,” Ballard said.  “What is being said is simply not true, there is a lot of misinformation because it is so easy to fool people on this.”

Ballard said that in order to eliminate the flow of caskets, of troops coming home from the Middle East, we need to be driving electric cars.

Ballard’s closing statement to the room was, “You support the troops? Really, what kind of car are you driving?”