2007 August 08 Wednesday
Newt Gingrich Sees War On Terror As Phony
Newt would rather end our reliance on Saudi oil as a more effective way to fight terrorism.
Washington — Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Thursday the Bush administration is waging a "phony war" on terrorism, warning that the country is losing ground against the kind of Islamic radicals who attacked the country on Sept. 11, 2001.
A more effective approach, said Gingrich, would begin with a national energy strategy aimed at weaning the country from its reliance on imported oil and some of the regimes that petro-dollars support.
"None of you should believe we are winning this war. There is no evidence that we are winning this war," the ex-Georgian told a group of about 300 students attending a conference for collegiate conservatives.
We need technological innovations to end our need for oil. The development of ways to power cars without use of fossil fuels would yield many benefits including cleaner air and less cash for the Saudis to use to spread Wahhabi Islam. Better battery technology that can power cars long distances will reduce the threat from terrorism.
Update: We also need to simply keep Muslims out of the West. If they weren't living among us they couldn't try to set off car bombs, bus bombs, train bombs, and airplane bombs. But this simple and effective response is beyond the pale as far as the gatekeepers of political correctness are concerned.
Actually, a war on terrorism starts with not welcoming in the enemy. Everything else is tenuously related in comparison.
The 'war' isn't a war, by rights it should be nothing more than a criminal investigation with military support. Calling it a war gives the criminals a legitimacy they don't deserve.
If the US were serious, starting in 2002 it could be well on its way to cutting its oil imports 60% by now. It could do it without needing some miracle technology, but just by developing a policy that encouraged more efficient mobile power plants - 4-cylinder engines, compact cars, public transport etc. Just look to Europe for the methodology.
Indeed, some overly suspicious people might begin to suspect that the absence of any substantive efficiency policies might be evidence of the existence of a policy that actually wants increased US military involvement in the middle east - on an imperial model.
For the record, nano-technology based lithium batteries already make it possible
to build an SUV or truck that can go 250 miles per charge (and get charged in less than
10 minutes, for a life time of 20 years per battery.)
The only problem is that these new lithium batteries cost more than $50,000 per unit due to the limited production and manufacturing in the laboratory. This was done with limited private capital only. If we had spent only 25 % of the money wasted in Iraq (already $500 billion spent in Iraq since 2003, already these batteries would have become affordable with a range of 500 miles per charge instead of 250.
And it takes only 100 one thousand megawatt nuclear reactors to charge 200 million cars every day. The cost of building a 1000 megawatt reactor is less than $1.5 billion, and if we only build 20 reactors per year, this woudl cost only $30 billion, which is nothing compared to the huge trade deficit and government deficit.
I am not a big fan of Newt's, but he certainly got this one right. Of course, the terrorist criminals should be rounded up and shot, but that seems a rather small part of an overall rational strategy - Islam seems to be a bottomless well of terrorists, and we will never get them all. Our first priority should be ending our energy dependence on non-North American sources - no more oil and gas from Saudi Arabia, Iran, Nigeria and Venezuela, among others. What Judeo-Christian western democracies have in common with these dreadful regimes, I will never know - why should we keep subsidizing their terrorism, corruption, anti-Americanism and fanaticism? By promoting alternative fuels, new technology such as improved batteries and fuel cells, conservation, nuclear power, and maximizing North American production (flat-out drilling in Alaska, offshore and outer continental shelf, plus oil sands/shale), we might be there in a decade. Brazil did it, why can't we? And Superfluous Man is right - let's end illegal immigration and legal Muslim immigration - why let the enemy get inside the walls?
Yes, keeping terrorists out of the United States should be the top priority of a "war" against terrorism. That the Bush Administration refuses to see that speaks volumes.
I was arguing in 2002 for a huge effort to obsolesce oil and put a stop to the oil money flowing into the Middle East. But some neocon hawks in blog discussions told me we could defeat the terrorists very rapidly and that we didn't have the time to wait for scientific and technological developments. I told them that since it was going to take years to develop substitutes that was precisely the reason we had to start immediately. I'm still making that argument.
Toyota just announced a 2 year delay for their next gen lithium ion battery hybrids because they think the lithium ion batteries still aren't safe enough.
Toyota is reported to be using Panasonic batteries, which use cobalt oxide chemistry. All they have to do is switch to the iron phosphate or titanium oxide chemistry.