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The Oily Land

04/12/02 12:00AM By Bill Seamans

(Host) Commentator Bill Seamans thinks that our dependence on Middle Eastern oil is a serious threat to our national security.

(Seamans) Israel's foreign minister Shimon Peres once said, "This is no longer the Holy Land it is now the Oily Land." Peres' acute observation leaves little doubt that the little three-letter word, "OIL" is the fuel driving the geo-political engine in the Middle East.

However, refer back to the major statements by President Bush in recent months and you'll have a tough time finding the word "oil" mentioned. But you will find it spoken out loudly by those brave hearts who periodically warn that we must free ourselves from dependence on Middle Eastern oil by creating a fuel industry based on hydrogen, which they say is a proven and practical alternative. They get a brief mention in the newspapers and TV news but are quickly dismissed by the spin machine of the Bush administration.

Our Middle Eastern foreign policy is in reactive confusion mostly because the U.S. economy is beholden to our dependence on Middle Eastern and especially Saudi oil. Thus we find ourselves buying billions of dollars worth of oil from the Saudis who, in turn, use some of that money as one of the biggest financial supporters of terrorist groups that have killed Americans around the world.

Meanwhile, the Saudis are offering a peace plan for the Israeli-Palestinian crisis but have not called upon the various Arab terrorist groups to stop their murderous attacks. Would it thus be too far-fetched to say that part of the money we spend to fill our gas tanks goes via the Saudis to support terrorist groups that have killed thousands of Americans and threaten to kill more of us? Remember, Osama bin Laden's fortune and the twenty terrorists responsible for the World Trade Towers disaster came from Saudi Arabia!

What if we were no longer dependent on Middle Eastern oil? I remember when President Kennedy committed the nation's resources to achieve what was then an impossible dream: to put a man on the moon. Right now we need the same kind of national commitment from President Bush to free us from dependence on foreign oil. President Kennedy created NASA. What if President Bush, with the same vigor that he proposes billions for missile defense created NAFA, the National Alternative Fuel Administration to make an all-out effort to free our nation from the political chains of foreign oil. I humbly offer the title NAFA gratuitously.

The American public is becoming more and more aware of how the House of Saud is, in effect, the tail that wags the Middle Eastern foreign policy dog in Washington. This is one of our major national security threats right now and President Bush would do us a great, yes, heroic and historic service if he met the challenge head-on and made the creation of an alternative fuel industry an all-out national security emergency effort.

This is Bill Seamans.

Bill Seamans is an award-winning journalist and a former correspondent and bureau chief for ABC News in the Middle East.
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