Ethanol is a far better alterative to fossil fuels. It is cleaner and it is renewable. Soldiers have not died from defending ethanol. The US needs to become less reliant on foreign oil. The coproduct of ethanol, called distillers grains, goes towards livestock feed, is a misconception that it is one or the other. Big Oil is pushing the ethanol propaganda.
Cellulosic Ethanol is a corn product which means it is a renewable resource. While it does take farming space, and cause minor harm as all farming does by stripping soil nutrients, a lot can be done to prevent and reverse this kind of effect. Fossil fuels are a finite resource that pump toxins into the atmosphere and Ethanol is a clean alternative to them, one of the best we have at the moment. Until we can develop a method to produce enough clean electricity to run everything, Cellulosic Ethanol is the best alternative to fossil fuels available.
The claims that ethanol is somehow cleaner or better than regular gasoline is, even today, questionable. There are a lot of people, including people who used to support the use of ethanol who are slowly realizing that it isn't that helpful. There's also the issue of farmers raising crops, mostly corn right now, to sell for processing into ethanol and not growing enough corn for feed for livestock and food for humans.