Friday, February 04, 2005

Greenocons - Marriage of necessity

Bush, the former oilman, may have packed his administration with veterans of the oil and coal industries but energy conservation might become a conservative issue.
Embracing conservation for national security reasons may not get a neocon invited to a Phish concert but some leading neoconservatives who pushed hard for the Iraq war, now seek a reduction in the flow of American dollars to oil-rich Islamic theocracies, Saudi Arabia in particular. Petrodollars have made Saudi Arabia the primary source of terrorist funding and Islamic radicals.

Neo-cons James Woolsey, the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency and Frank Gaffney, the president of the Center for Security Policy, both hawks, have been speaking regularly in Washington about fuel efficiency and plant-based bio-fuels. Woolsey and Gaffney are members of the Project for the New American Century, who advocated military action against Saddam Hussein back in 1998. Gaffney told a conference in Washington that America has become dependent on oil imported from countries that, "by and large, are hostile to us." and called reducing oil imports "a national security imperative."

Woolsey is on the board of a group called Institute for the Analysis of Global Security a Washington-based think tank that tracks energy and security issues.
Their site claims: The Institute for the Analysis of Global Security (IAGS) is a non-profit organization which directs attention to the strong link between energy and security and provides a stage for public debate on the various avenues to strengthening the world's energy system. The IAGS came up with a plan for the federal government to invest $12 billion to: encourage the manufacturing and consumption of more efficient cars, develop industrial facilities to produce plant-based fuels like ethanol; and promote fuel cells for commercial use. One of the authors of the IAGS plan is none other than Richard Perle, along with members of the conservative Hudson Institute. The IAGS is a big supporter of "plug-in hybrid vehicles," which use internal combustion engines in conjunction with electric motors that are powered by batteries charged by current from standard electric outlets.

Environmental groups, Natural Resources Defense Council and the American Council on Renewable Energy both endorsed the IAGS plan. "It's a wonderful confluence. We agree on the same goals, even if it's for different reasons," says Deron Lovaas, of the NRDC.
The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, endorsed the IAGS scheme, and the Committee on the Present Danger is about to offer its support also. CPD members include conservatives Midge Decter, Jeane Kirkpatrick, Newt Gingrich, and Steve Forbes, as well as Woolsey and Gaffney. Can’t you see Newt Gingrich playing hacky-sack with NRDC interns?
The greenocons believe they can convince Congress and the White House to adopt their program, the head of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, predicts that House Majority Leader Tom DeLay will be "open to arguments that we can increase and enhance national security for a reasonable price." Gaffney stated "We continue to enjoy access to and friendships with people who are key policymakers."

The biggest obstacle to implementing this plan will be Al Gore’s endorsement. Actually it will be getting conservatives, who mock greens and fuel efficiency standards, on board. This can also give enviros, who consider SUV’s to be a bigger threat than al-Queda, credibility to people outside the drum circle.


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