Democrats & Liberals Archives

Santa Claws

Are you scared yet, really, really scared? Is the big baaaaad boogeyman coming out from under your bed again? Make sure your chimney doesn’t let the wrong claws in your house this Christmas. The vigilance level is being raised again so that we can really catch those terrorists this time. But be careful because Kris Kringle just might be a bearded terrorist this year.

Pardon me but aren’t our soldiers over in Iraq to fight those guys on their own ground? Wasn’t that supposed to prevent terrorism at home? Do you mean to tell me that the policy of preemptive war might not be working as advertised against terrorism? Or is Dick Cheney right? This might just take fifty years if we keep on doing this the way we are doing it now. What are the terrorists doing here today? Why are they still here? After all over one hundred and eighty billion dollars has fattened the bottom line for Haliburton and Ashcroft has the right to know what all of us citizens checked out of the library. At the same time the governmental curtain of secrecy has descended on as mundane a set of information as who it was that told Dick Cheney oil was the fuel of the future?

If we might be so bold let’s have a little real information this time, like how and where they might be going to strike? Or is this another phantom of the opera attack without the fat lady ever really singing? Where is the loud-mouthed, wrong-headed Bush boy who said, “Bring Them ON”, last summer? He can keep us safe from gay marriage but he is having a little trouble finding the real enemy. The terrorists who want to kill a few million of us are still running around loose! Saddam is no longer out there, but our cities and the people in them are not really any safer than they were before Iraq was our problem, are they? “Merry Christmas to all”, and perhaps BOOM instead of goodnight. Why is it that we are stuck in Iraq once again? Can we hear another chorus about how this will make us safer along with hark the fearsome terrorists sing?

If you get the idea that I am irritated at this administration, whose objective to get reelected is interfering with their attention to national security you are absolutely right. All of those toys coming into this nation from outside of it are flowing through ports that are no more secure against attack than they were two years ago. The very police forces that are our first line of real defense against terrorist attacks are under-funded this year in part courtesy of the Bush tax cuts. Our fire departments are being decimated by reductions in funding because the state coffers are empty. That is, except in California, where Arnold is filling them courtesy of committing our grandchildren’s allowances for the next thirty years. The illusion of working on making us more secure, by bombing Baghdad and then burying it under a pile of money, is not going to work to really make us a lot safer.

Qaddafi as a trainer of terrorists I find easy to believe, but as a source for WMD I find him un-credible and unlikely. He is in the headlines for giving up his weapons programs that never were a real or substantive threat. The terrorists he was funding were a real threat and the deaths caused by them were real enough but after more than ten years of effort sanctions worked! But that is being turned into a lesson about how he got scared by Saddam’s fate and suddenly crumbled under that fear. Bombing his compound might have had something to do with his change of heart, but that didn’t require an invasion. Folks, we are being had by the gang that can’t shoot straight but can spin faster than you can say epidemic. What we are being fed is an enema of fear and there is no bathroom in sight.

Is there a real threat this Christmas? You betcha folks, and there will be one as long as we pursue energy policies that force us to try to keep the peace in the Middle East. You see, we need that remote area of the world because oil flows there like water used to under our great plains. Oil is becoming increasingly scarce and sources that can keep up with the growth of demand worldwide are even scarcer. Iraq and Saudi Arabia are the only nations that can expand production enough to do that cost effectively. Without their oil in the market the Western Democracies will fall on hard times indeed. Unless, that is, we figure out that continuing to pursue a diminishing resource may not be the wisest course for our energy policy.

Is terrorism inevitable? In a world where we pursue the politics of an oil based empire with weapons brandished high, yes it is. This is at risk of turning into a war between civilizations and that will be greatly different than the “cold war”. What we call terrorism is built into the culture of several of the Middle Eastern nations. We have myths about Knights and they have myths about assassins. Make no mistake, the only way they can fight us is through the use of terror, and they will use that tactic to its greatest effect. We can crow about how being strong scares the pants off men like Qaddafi but there are always the Mujhadeen. Remember that they never buckled under to Russia whose military was strong enough at that time to scare us more than a little. We out-spent Russia and finally became overpoweringly strong militarily but they were a real first rate power back then and they lost to the Afghan rebels. There are no cheap and easy solutions to this problem but action figures of our President in a uniform that he is not qualified to wear will not win this war. The warnings about its length are because no one knows how to win it yet.

What will help most to end this war is a program that can create energy independence for our nation. Instead we are caught up in the same old war for oil that has been waged since before the beginning of the century just ended. That war is the last century’s war folks. We need to arm ourselves to fight the next century’s war which will be fought against the forces of cold and energy insufficiency. Terrorism against us will now, never end, until we have eliminated our dependence on oil from the Middle East. The free market as it is currently manifested cannot win this war against a cold future for us all by itself. No more could capitalism have won the cold war without the government financing that supported the research into all those great weapons systems. Remember they are what made us too strong to fight head to head. We need to build a renewable energy program equal to the moon project talked about by the President in what was perhaps the most wrong-headed speech he has given yet.

We need to develop new sources of energy and focus our fiscal and human capital on building renewable energy systems as the new basis for our national economy. This is the only way to end the terrorist attacks on our nation permanently. If we remove the need for oil in our economy how does the terrorist equation work? They are fighting for control of the oil, make no mistake about it. Controlling the oil would give them stunning power to affect our economy. If we replace the oil with renewable technology, which can be done for a lower cost than fighting this endless war, we will reduce the value of the oil in the ground as a weapon to be used against us. Unfortunately we are caught up in jingoistic selling of this Administration’s goals. One of which appears to be expanding our military presence in a world that responds to that expansion with terrorism. If your response to an attack stimulates the same attack over and over again is that a way to victory?

There may still be time for us to overcome our dependence on foreign oil even if this Administration is reelected and continues to pursue its wrong-headed approach to cleansing the world of terrorism. Getting the Taliban out of Afghanistan made sense; we needed to disrupt the support for Al Queda that existed there. But that was all we were really capable of, disrupting it, not destroying the terrorists. The war on Iraq is a distraction at best. The oil is still the point of that war, not Democracy. Even if the Administration believes its own press releases and is trying to install Democracy as a check against instability there the point of the war was still keeping the oil flowing. That is why we are there trying to make Democracy work there, not elsewhere. International trade and industrial power are worth little if there is no fuel to run the engines that power those factories. Ask Germany and Japan who both finally lost WWII for a lack of oil more than any other reason. If we replace the foreign oil, which is draining our economy anyway, that fate at least can be avoided.

We have a maximum of thirty years before oil and natural gas from currently accessible sources run low enough for the prices to rise rapidly. They will certainly eventually rise beyond the point where our current energy systems are viable. That could happen anytime during that period. We need to concentrate our efforts on making our nation safer. We can only do this by developing our renewable internal energy sources and eliminating our dependence on oil from unstable nations. We can still work to spread democracy around the world. It will become a cold and unfriendly place regardless if we do nothing to replace oil and natural gas in our economic infrastructure. Global warming may make it marginally warmer but that is hardly going to create much in the way of benefits.

Mr. Bush. Being tough is not based on a policy of stimulating the fear of the people in your nation. Manipulating the citizens with their fear until they finally yield up their rights to the control of the government is not democracy. Being strong is not flailing away at a petty tyrant in a world full of petty tyrants. Using the strongest military force ever created as a peace keeping force in a nation that was no threat reduces its power to deter our real enemies. Being bold is not uttering a loud-mouthed brag like, “Bring Them ON”. Being brave is not flying into Baghdad for a holiday with the troops and then leaving them there to wash the dishes and face the enemy. Meanwhile is your Secretary of Defense still looking for ways to save money on their salaries and retirement benefits? Being a leader is more than following the course prescribed by advisors who neglect the impact of long term fiscal and energy policies. Does the future of your nation beyond the short time of your Administration matter to all of us except you? We need better leadership than you have offered us if Santa is to lose his claws any time soon. God bless and keep you all safe in this time of terror and fear without any end in sight.

Posted by Henri Reynard at December 24, 2003 8:53 AM