September 11, 2007
Lest We Forget 9/11

by Donald G. Mashburn

It doesn’t seem possible that six years have passed since the world viewed the unedited horror of that terrible morning of September 11, when evil was on display in a way, and on a scale, that previously had been unimaginable.

We can never – nor should we want to – forget the television images of airliners being flown into the World Trade Center towers. Nor can we as a people and as a nation forget the soul-wringing horror of knowing there were innocent people on board who understood neither the terrible tragedy they were trapped in, nor the immeasurable evil of the small group of crazed Arab terrorists who had taken over the airplanes.

Yet there are some who for their own agenda and advantage would have us forget 9/11 as though it was only a bad accident, or an unpleasant inconvenience brought on us by some terrorist types who died with the some 3,000 victims of that terrible day.

Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards called the war on terror a “bumper sticker war.” Such a callous, and shallow, description of the organized four acts of terror, carried out by 19 crazed fanatics from Arab countries, diminishes the lives that were lost on 9/11, and the lives that have been sacrificed in the war against terror.

The New York Times has suggested that we may be getting tired of remembering. And some academics, and other liberals in the “anti-Bush” mode, have suggested that 9/11 might soon be nearly forgotten.

But the facts of Islamic extremists are hard to ignore. They planned for years to hurt us, and they did. They have hurt us in other places, such as the attack on the U.S.S. Cole, and embassy and apartment complex attacks where Americans and other innocents were killed.

We should not forget 9/11. Let it stand as our “Pearl Harbor” in the war against Islamofascism. Let it be remembered as a memorial to the innocents who died on that day of infamy.

And let it be a perpetual memorial to those who have fought bravely in the war against terror. To forget would diminish us and the nation they fought for.

Congress Obstructs Energy Independence

by Donald G. Mashburn

Congress, with its purveyors of pork from farm states, supported by activists from the environmental and anti-Big Oil ranks, seems to have an agenda of blocking any effort of this nation to free itself from dependence on foreign oil.

The politicians hinder, obstruct, and in any was possible prevent the exploration for and the production of petroleum reserves in areas the anti-oil elitists deem too valuable to let an oil company drill a hole seven inches in diameter to produce oil and gas needed by U.S. industry.

They hide the obstructionist efforts behind exaggerated claims for things like ethanol and other biofuels. They particularly like to promote ethanol, because farmers like the promise of higher commodity prices, and they have supporters who love to mine the government grant deposits for ethanol subsidies, which, in turn, Congress loves to fund.

But study after study shows that ethanol and other biofuels cannot fuel our huge economic engine that has been designed to run on petroleum and coal. In one of those studies, scientist, and professor of chemistry at MIT, John Deutch has calculated we would have to plant some 25 million acres, or about 39,000 square miles, of productive land to corn to replace only some five to 10 percent of our petroleum requirements.

And none of the studies has been able to accurately account for the total impact of such a huge dislocation of agricultural effort. High crop prices, higher food prices, shortages and shifting changes in foodstuff production are just a few of the considerations that should be taken into account if we shift so much acreage to planting corn and other vegetation for fuel.

Over the near term, biofuels can’t do much to reduce our oil needs. Science and technology simply don’t support the false claims of farm state politicians and the opponents of the American oil industry.

Moreover, despite the preachments of those with political or money axes to grind, we can’t “save” our way out of our dependence on petroleum. The exaggerated claims and political pandering to special groups won’t generate a single barrel of oil. Indeed, some of the loudest voices for cutting down on fuel usage by the masses come from members of the elite who continue to waste petroleum products as if there’s no shortage – such as Al Gore, who required a five-vehicle convoy to get him and his entourage to and from the Cannes Film Festival.

The United States may never see true energy independence again. The world’s largest petroleum reserves are located in areas that are either hostile, or reliably “neutral”, such Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, and now Venezuela.

Although we can’t expect to produce enough oil to reach independence, we can do some sensible things to prevent a critical dependence on oil from those who wish us harm. Our greatest energy asset is coal. Some have estimated that we have a coal supply that can last for some 300 years. No one really knows.

But we do know that gasoline from coal is feasible. South Africa proved that during the draconian sanctions of the apartheid years. They refined known technology to convert coal to gasoline, and without that source, the country would have come to a virtual standstill, because sanctions blocked oil imports from usual suppliers.

Besides coal, we can tap wind, hydroelectric, biomass, oil shale and tar sands for the contributions they can make. And, yes, we should take fuel-cell potential to the maximum. But all that’s years, perhaps decades, away. Until then, the obtuse opposition to developing U.S. oil reserves will continue their hypocritical blather against our becoming more self-reliant in energy.

Voters who are tired of high gas prices, and who are tired of the self-serving politicians who use the oil industry as a whipping boy, should start insisting that Congress get of its “do-nothing-stool” and do something about our chronic energy shortage.

We should of course develop all feasible renewable energy resources, including biomass fuels, but the nation should not be seduced by the promises of politicians who want to pump billions of taxpayer dollars into the effort. With their own states and districts, needless to say, being among the most worthy recipients of governmental pork.

But for now, the U.S. should pull out all the stops to permit a high tech oil industry to tap our energy reserves on and off both coasts.

And we should get with the program in starting development of oil and gas reserves the ANWR. Now!

Never Give Up on the War on Terror

by Nathan Tabor

It seems hard to believe that 9/11 was not so very long ago. But it seems to me that a number of people—particularly certain public officials—have become complacent when it comes to the War on Terror.

This is a war that is likely to last far longer than President Bush’s administration. In fact, it’s a battle America will be fighting for the rest of our lifetimes. If you had any doubt about the continuing terrorist threat facing not only Americans but also innocent people throughout the world, consider this: a recent terrorist bombing in Algeria killed some 30 people.

You may not think that sounds like a significant event in the scheme of things. However, an ABC news correspondent reported that the attack was part of a broad “Spring Offensive” campaign launched by our enemies at al Qaeda. ABC stated that the terrorist network might later attempt to hit targets throughout southern Europe and North Africa.

The ABC report stated, “According to French and Algerian intelligence officials, Algerian [terrorists] like these, veterans of the fight against U.S. forces in Iraq, are central to the offensive, which has been planned for months and is believed to target locations in France, Italy, Spain, Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria.”

Just because New York City was not on the list doesn’t mean that we can rest easy. The fact of the matter is that there is strong evidence to indicate that al Qaeda continues to be active and remains determined to resume its reign of terror around the globe.

While it would be wrong to panic in the face of such a threat, it’s critically important that we remain on guard. That means funding a strong defense, securing our borders, and making it clear that the U.S. is determined to defeat the terrorists.

I realize that thinking about terrorism is disconcerting. We don’t like to be reminded of that dreadful day when we saw the Twin Towers fall before our eyes. But, for the sake of our children and our children’s children, we must never forget.

Those who are pushing for a de-emphasis on defense, those who want to open our borders to anyone and everyone who comes knocking and those who try to elicit sympathy for terrorists, are simply not on our side.

At another time in our nation’s history, such individuals would be called traitors. When it comes to our security, we cannot afford to compromise. We need strong leaders who will not blink in the face of terror—who will do whatever it takes to ensure that our country is safe.

To do otherwise is to risk everything that our forefathers and countless others fought for. For we cannot be considered truly free if we kowtow to people who have no respect for our lives, our nation, and our traditions.

Leadership, both for the sake of our nation and for the sake of the Western world, demands a strong U.S. defense.

Let’s hope Americans remember that on September 11, and when they head to the polls in ’08.

Nathan Tabor is an independent, conservative writer.