Protesters Claim War is About Oil, Yet Oppose Safe Nuclear Energy & Domestic Energy Alternatives

BACKGROUND: As the war to replace the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq continues, protesters on the political left continue to claim that the U.S. government’s military action is designed to acquire Iraqi oil.1

TEN SECOND RESPONSE: Gulf War II is properly understood as the continuation and completion of Gulf War I. The U.S. could buy Iraq’s oil for less money than the war will cost.

THIRTY SECOND RESPONSE: If American war protesters genuinely believe the U.S. has gone to war for oil, they should advocate the use of economically and technologically feasible energy alternatives. Yet, many of these protesters not only oppose U.S. domestic oil drilling, such as in ANWR, but other pollution-free energy alternatives, such as nuclear power.

DISCUSSION: Anti-oil war protesters tend to oppose domestic oil drilling while supporting alternatives to oil such as hydrogen.

In a March 17 Weekly Standard article, writer William Tucker notes that replacing oil with hydrogen ignores a critical fact: “…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

Option #2 is made unnecessarily difficult by the political left’s opposition to domestic natural gas drilling. The left also objects to measures necessary for generating electricity, such as coal mining and burning, building and operating dams, and/or building and operating nuclear power plants.

Political opposition on the left has stalled development of alternatives to oil. Ironically, given that peace activists are involved, it also has made the world more dangerous. 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 could be used to build nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, we don’t have any “fast” reactor plants and none are scheduled for construction. Nuclear power isn’t politically correct.

Peace activists who genuinely believe the war in Iraq is about oil should love nuclear power and the possibility of a new generation of “fast” nuclear reactors even more.

Strangely, they don’t seem to.


“The Permanent Energy Crisis and the Solution we Keep Ignoring” by William Tucker, Weekly Standard, March 17, 2003, available to registered users of the Weekly Standard’s website at: as of March 22, 2003.

“Reprocessing, Waste and Bombs: Good News on the Energy Front” by Gerald E. Marsh and George S. Stanford, National Center for Public Policy Research National Policy Analysis #364, available online at

“Integral Fast Reactors: Source of Safe, Abundant, Non-Polluting Power: by George S. Stanford, Ph.D., National Center for Public Policy Research National Policy Analysis #378, available online at

“Government Restrictions on Domestic Energy Development Contribute to U.S. Dependence on Foreign Oil” by John Carlisle, National Center for Public Policy Research National Policy Analysis #305, available online at


The National Center for Public Policy Research is a communications and research foundation supportive of a strong national defense and dedicated to providing free market solutions to today’s public policy problems. We believe that the principles of a free market, individual liberty and personal responsibility provide the greatest hope for meeting the challenges facing America in the 21st century.