As the U.S. military continues liberating
the Iraqi people from Saddam Hussein's murderous dictatorship,
American protesters on the political left continue to march, shouting
"no blood for oil."1
The claim that the U.S. has gone to war
to acquire Iraqi oil is a malicious lie.
The U.S. could have bought Iraq's oil
for less money than the war is costing. America could have kept
some of Iraq's oil in 1991 to repay our costs for kicking Saddam
out of Kuwait - but didn't. The U.S. could have vetoed U.N. sanctions
on Iraq, assuring a free flow of cheap Iraqi oil, but we supported
sanctions, and have stuck to them - unlike some so-called "anti-war"
Gulf War II is properly understood as
the continuation and completion of Gulf War I. Nevertheless, if
American war protesters genuinely believe the U.S. has gone to
war for oil, to be ideologically consistent, they should advocate
a safe energy policy and economically and technologically feasible
Yet, in most cases, the protesters' grasp
of energy issues is no better than their understanding of national
A typical left wing "no blood for
oil" protester will tell you that war is bad because it kills
people. They'll also tell you the U.S. should lessen its oil imports
by increasing mandatory fuel economy standards on passenger vehicles
and by increasing the use of alternative fuels, such as hydrogen.
What they won't mention, and perhaps haven't
even bothered to find out, is that the National Academy of Sciences
announced in 2002 that changes to passenger vehicles required
to meet the mandatory fuel economy standards have caused an additional
2,000 American highway deaths every year since 1975.
That's over 50,000 people dead over a
quarter century, essentially making fuel economy standards a quasi
weapon of mass destruction.
Apparently, to some, deaths in a just
war to liberate a people from a killer's rule and to deter the
future use of genuine weapons of mass destruction are bad, but
tens of thousands of unnecessary highway deaths are nothing to
be concerned about.
Writing in The Weekly Standard, William
Tucker notes that replacing oil with hydrogen isn't as easy as
some make it sound: "...there is no source of free hydrogen
in the world. Supplies will come from either 1) the electrolysis
of water, which requires electricity, or 2) stripping hydrogen
from natural gas."2
The activist left, of course, has made
drilling for natural gas unnecessarily difficult. This leaves
anyone advocating hydrogen power with the need to plan for large
amounts of electricity. Not so easy. The left also objects to
measures needed to generate electricity, such as coal mining and
burning, building and operating hydroelectric dams and/or building
and operating nuclear power plants.
Though in their ignorance, they probably
don't know it, American peace activists who oppose non-polluting
nuclear power are helping to make the world more dangerous by
opposing the construction of new nuclear plants that can't create
the raw material needed for nuclear bombs.
The new generation of nuclear power technology,
so-called "fast" reactors, don't pollute, leave little
nuclear waste to be stored or shipped and generate no byproduct
that can be used to build nuclear weapons.3
Unfortunately, the world doesn't have
any "fast" reactor plants and none are scheduled for
construction. They don't exist because nuclear power is politically
incorrect in the United States.
Protesters who hate war because it kills
and who claim the war in Iraq is about oil should prefer safe
automobiles and safe energy we can generate here in America.
Strangely, they don't seem to.
Amy Ridenour is president of
The National Center for Public Policy Research, a Washington,
D.C. think tank. Comments may be sent to [email protected].
1 See, among other sources, the Associated Press
description of several anti-war protesters in front of the White
House on March 22, 2003 chanting "no blood for oil."
The protesters then pushed a policeman off his bicycle, and two
were arrested. This AP story was available on the Foxnews.com
website at http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,81890,00.html under
the heading "Tens of Thousands March Against War in New York,
Washington" as of March 22, 2003.
2 William Tucker, "The Permanent Energy Crisis and
the Solution We Keep Ignoring," The Weekly Standard, March
3 Gerald E. Marsh and George S. Stanford, "Reprocessing,
Waste and Bombs: Good News on the Energy Front," National
Policy Analysis #364, The National Center for Public Policy Research,
Washington, D.C., September 2001, available at http://www.nationalcenter.org/NPA365.html.