The Energy Speech Bush Missed
It was such a missed opportunity it makes me think that on all issues other than Iraq and Iran, the president is in full lame duck mode.
Here's the speech I would have written for him:
The Global War On Terror is also the Global War on Terrorist Funding. It is an irrefutable and well documented fact that petrodollars fund terrorism. Al Qaeda would never have been able to carry out the September 11 attacks on our democracy if it were not for the billions of petrodollars that flow daily into the Middle East from the United States.Ah, what could have been. What should have been. Instead, we got pablum about "addiction to oil." Thanks to Power Line, many of us now have read Jerry Taylor's comment on the Cato Institute site:
Because of our demand for oil, we frequently call the Saudis our friends. But while we have seen improvements in their public face, they remain Wahhabists, which means they support the spread of Islam by any means possible. And that, my fellow Americans, means they support terror, and they are not our friends.
As my Under Secretary of the Treasury, Stuart Levey, testified to the Senate just last year:
Wealthy Saudi financiers and charities have funded terrorist organizations and causes that support terrorism and the ideology that fuels the terrorists' agenda. Even today, we believe that Saudi donors may still be a siginficant source of terrorist financing, including for the insurgency in Iraq. (War Footing, p. 42)
We defeated Hitler by bombing his economic infrastructure into oblivion. Figuratively, we must do the same thing with the financial infrastructure that feeds global terrorism, and we must do that by waging an economic war. Like any war, this war will bring hardship. And like any war America sets its mind to, this is a war we will win.
Working with brave and committed members of Congress, tomorrow I will introduce the Energy Independence and Global War On Terrorist Funding Act, which will prohibit the importing of oil from states known to support terrorist organizations, or to allow their citizens and charities to support terrorist organizations. I fully expect that upon enactment of this law, oil imports from Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and several other countries will cease.
The bill will also place a temporary and necessary prohibition on environmental litigation over any aspect of domestic energy exploration and production. We have adequate environmental protections in place, and we will enforce those protections. We don't need environmental activists using the courts to stop domestic energy production to the benefit of international terrorist organizations.
Free of obstructionist lawsuits, we will immediately and aggressively pursue the production of oil off our coasts, in ANWR, and on federal lands. I will authorize the immediate initiation of bidding processes for oil, natural gas, oil shale and coal leases on federal land where these resources are abundant.
I am also authorizing the opening of the Strategic Oil Reserves. These reserves are set aside for emergencies and times of war. Ladies and gentlemen, does that not define this current moment?
Finally, I have also made sure that the bill includes provisions for temporarily waiving air quality regulations relative to the processing of these materials into the fuels we need to replace terror-funding fuels we will no longer import. We have made such dramatic improvement in our national air quality since the Clean Air Act was implemented in the 1970s that we can afford a temporary -- and I do mean temporary -- slip in order to deprive terrorists of their funding.
I believe these provisions will be short-lived, because I fully expect the oil producing nations that will be hard-hit by these restrictions to quickly reverse their position on global terror. If the leadership of those nations fail to change their ways, I believe the people of these nations will be empowered to change their nation's leadership for the better. That is why we have worked so hard and sacrificed so much to plant a strong desire for democracy and freedom in the Muslim world through our efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Peace in the Global War on Terror is possible in our lifetime. And once it is achieved, we can again aggressively pursue alternative fuels that may offer promise.
But first, we must achieve that peace, and to do that we must win a war. To win that war, we must economically cripple our enemy by changing the way America uses energy. I know that America can do this. I know that patriotic Americans look forward to doing this. And I know that Al Qaeda and its supporters are very, very afraid that we are doing this.
[I]t’s odd that the President would complain that America is 'addicted to oil.' Another way of putting it is that American consumers are attracted to the lowest cost sources of energy to meet their energy needs. It's a bit distressing to call that sensible inclination an 'addiction.'So see, we don't even have an addiction to kick. We can do this. I just wish we had a president brave enough to do it.