Politics & Policy

Oil Is Not the Only Saudi Export

Saudi hate is no worry for the just-say-no-to-energy crowd.

Look what your petrodollars helped to finance:

‐ “The cause of the discord: The Jews conspired against Islam and its people. A sly, wicked person who sinfully and deceitfully professed Islam infiltrated [the Muslims].”

‐ “In these verses is a call for jihad, which is the pinnacle of Islam. . . . Only through force and victory over the enemies is there security and repose. Within martyrdom in the path of God (exalted and glorified is He) is a type of noble life-force that is not diminished by fear or poverty.”

‐ God “prohibits killing the soul . . . unless for just cause . . . unbelief after belief, adultery, and killing an inviolable believer intentionally.”

These quotes are from Arabic language, secondary-school textbooks at northern Virginia’s Islamic Saudi Academy. As the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom reported June 11, “The Commission’s review of these textbooks found that they did contain passages justifying violence toward and even killing of apostates and so-called polytheists. The texts also include highly intolerant passages about non-Sunni Muslims . . . and non-Muslims, such as Jews and Baha’is.”

The commission added: “It is deeply troubling that high school students at a foreign government-operated school in the United States are discussing when and under what circumstances killing an ‘unbeliever’ would be acceptable.” Freedom House and the Institute for Gulf Affairs concluded that one ninth-grade textbook “teaches teenagers in apocalyptic terms that violence toward Jews, Christians, and other unbelievers is sanctioned by God.”

Under scrutiny last October, the Academy scrubbed from its website the fact that its program “is based on the Curriculum of the Saudi Ministry of Education.” Some six million Saudi students read these official textbooks.

The Islamic Saudi Academy is operated by the Saudi Embassy and sponsored by the Saudi government. The Saudi state, in turn, is being funded quite lavishly today by average American motorists who purchase $4-per-gallon gasoline, partially refined from Saudi crude oil. U.S. airlines, shippers, factories, and other petroleum buyers inadvertently underwrite such Saudi-inspired hate.

This news alone should get Congress off its collective fanny. It should prod them into liberating America from dependence on OPEC, a cartel centered in an unstable, often unfriendly region. Sputtering growth, rising unemployment, and plunging airlines — all exacerbated by record oil prices — should spur Congress to ease America’s petroleum-fueled pain. Instead, Democrats and their environmental allies Just Say No.

House Democrats on June 11 blocked Rep. John E. Peterson’s (R., Penn.) legislation to allow oil drilling 50 miles from America’s shores. Obstructionist Democrats could not fathom such activity, even 38 miles past where the horizon gobbles everything. Nor is the Just Say No crowd impressed that Hurricane Katrina slammed Gulf oil platforms with nary a spill.

President Bush and Sen. John McCain both just proposed lifting federal restrictions on offshore oil drilling; in McCain’s case, provided that individual states want it. Good news. And yet, like many Democrats, McCain opposes tapping the 10.4 billion barrels of crude accessible via a 2,000-acre parcel of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, 2.5 times the size of Central Park. Alaskans strongly favor drilling ANWR. McCain rejects onshore development at ANWR, but presumably would allow offshore drilling there. McCain’s muddle trumps Democrats, who generally resist both.

Those who treat ANWR like an open-air Sistine Chapel argue that there is no point drilling there since oil would not flow until 2015 – 2018. This is as blockheaded as saying that Johnny needs 13 years to graduate from high school, so keep him out of kindergarten.

Meanwhile, Governor David Paterson (D., N.Y.) last month scuttled an offshore terminal for offloading low-carbon liquefied natural gas. Paterson spurned “industrializing” Long Island Sound, even though 17,000 vessels already carry 47 million tons of cargo annually through Bridgeport, New Haven, and New London, Connecticut.

The Cape Wind project similarly has stalled off Cape Cod as Massachusetts’s Democratic Senators Ted Kennedy and John Kerry and other eco-yachtsmen want their ocean views unencumbered by clean, renewable windmills.

Back on shore, green activists mothballed a 500-megawatt, 20,000-acre wind farm in Valley County, Montana. They complained last fall that 400-foot turbines would disturb a nearby wilderness area. GreenHunter Energy offered to whittle the facility back to 170 megawatts, but no go. So, no wind power.

Wind power also is threatened in Shelby, Montana, where a wind farm’s 300 megawatts would run via the Montana Albert Tie Line, an electrical wire stretching into Canada. Eco-freaks fret that it also might carry wattage from coal-fired power plants.

Environmentalists also just say no to the Sunrise Powerlink solar-energy project. They contest a 150-mile, $1.5 billion high-voltage line connecting desert-based photovoltaic cells with San Diego Gas & Electric’s customers. Earth to Earth-huggers: Electricity does not travel by telekinesis.

Ecologists have stymied new refineries since 1975. A potential 200-year supply of oil shale remains shuttered in the Rockies. Carbon-free nuclear-power plants draw green ire. Hydroelectric dams? How dare humans inconvenience fish?

The green Left’s mantra is “Renewables!” Splendid. Imagine that we tripled solar, wind, and geothermal output. They then would generate a whopping 2.2 percent of U.S. energy supplies.

Democrats’ other brilliant idea is a golden oldie: the windfall profits tax. This Carter-era artifact, which Sen. Barack Obama advocates, will do bupkis to curb gasoline prices or spur oil companies to produce anything. They will shift punitive taxes to drivers at the gas pumps, or invoice investors and retirees by shriveling their dividends. This tax is like beating your baker with his rolling pin for raising his prices — never mind that the grain mill’s flour bill keeps climbing.

America also needs oil for jet fuel. Its 84 percent, one-year rise prompted US Airways’s 7,200-seat reduction in daily seats to Las Vegas. Continental soon will stop serving 15 cities including Oakland, Reno, and Tallahassee. United Airlines will sideline 100 of its 460 jets, according to the Wall Street Journal.

But America needs oil for much more: artificial heart valves, eyeglasses, syringes, computer screens, telephones, remote controls, nylon socks, polyester fleece jackets, Saran Wrap, and millions of other products that define modern life. These all will become costlier and rarer until America increases supplies of life-giving petroleum.

Self-respecting countries like India and China comprehend this. They will expand and prosper while the United States increasingly wrestles with them for oil. Either we boost supplies or watch oil prices continue to skyrocket.

Progress, shmogress. Who needs those city lights anyway? Let’s cancel the 21st Century and hand out candles and extra blankets. Better yet, let’s kill two birds with one stoning and simply join our Saudi friends in the 7th century.

NRO contributing editor Deroy Murdock is a columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution.

© 2008 Scripps Howard News Service

Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor and a contributing editor of National Review Online, and a senior fellow with the London Center for Policy Research.

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