It has come to my attention, sadly not because I am a keen political observer (although I am) but because the media now reports everything that Sarah Palin says, that apparently British Petroleum (and any of the other companies involved including Halliburton who installed the concrete that was supposed to seal off the backflow of natural gas) is not at fault for the oil rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico and then proceeded to spill between 105,840,000 and 181,440,000 gallons (current estimate is 35K-60K bpd and if you multiply those two by the now-72 days it has been leaking then multiply that answer by 42, the number of gallons in the internationally-accepted barrel of oil, you arrive at the range I have stated - estimate as of July 1, 2010) of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. To give my readers a measuring stick by which to assess the size of this spill, I could only find two oil spills in bodies of water that were larger than this one and, depending upon which estimation you go with, one of them actually was not larger. The Ixtoc mishap in the Gulf of Mexico occurred when Pemex (the state-owned Mexican oil company) was drilling and unintentionally released approximately 140 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Barring some sort of miracle, this leak is going to release more oil than the Ixtoc leak. At this point, the only oil release into a body of water that is comparable to the Deepwater Horizon accident is when Saddam Hussein intentionally turned the taps on and spewed 240-460 million gallons of oil into the Persian Gulf during his scorched earth retreat during the Persian Gulf War. The only event that put more oil into a body of water at one time was an act of eco terrorism by Saddam Hussein... now that's saying something about magnitude.
So, back to Sarah. She says that environmentalists like me are the cause of this explosion because if we would have just acquiesced to drilling on land and in shallow water the oil companies wouldn't have to take such huge risks involved in drilling an oil well a mile below the ocean. Imagine my surprise reading this when I had thought that this disaster would finally be the real-life event that convinced average, every day Americans that people like me calling for major money to be put into the research and implementation of a form of energy that the United States, and only the United States, controlled were right.
Here are some things we know that the American consumption of oil has accomplished. First and foremost, we have made countries like Saudi Arabia far more powerful and influential than they ever should have been by giving them enough money for everyone related to the founder of the House of Al-Saud to be able to swim in it like Middle Eastern Scrooge McDucks and putting the Middle East's hands around the neck of every Western economy which they can choke with an embargo as they did in 1973. Second, Saudi Arabia's many princes have invested their money in the construction and support of madrassas, known to the American intelligence community as jihadist manufacturing plants, that teach Wahhabism (a form of Islam that rejects all forms of modernity) and Deobandism (a virulent anti-Western strain of Islam). Therefore, what starts out as our money has been playing a role in killing Americans since the 1990's at the earliest. Just like the United States founds pluralistic democracies, Saudi Arabia founds fundamentalist Wahhabbist Islamic states. Third, we know that the pursuit of ever-larger amounts of oil for the purposes of fuel is damaging one of our greatest advantages as a country which is our natural resources. We need only look to the Gulf Coast to confirm this. Fourth, in our narrow focus on obtaining oil, China is already starting to one-up us on solar power. The Communist government of China is ordering by fiat that certain percentages of their electricity be generated by alternative sources and they are working with American companies to base solar panel manufacturing plants in China. Jobs, might I remind everyone, that should be going to Americans since we are the ones whose research and development has enabled solar energy to become a viable source of electricity. Oil was the source of energy for the 20th century and the race is on to see what country will gain a stranglehold on producing the implements to create electricity any place. any time with little to no negative output. If the United States achieves this, it will improve our economy as the countries of the world come to us to get wired up for electricity and we can decline to sell to countries we deem hostile to our interests.
George Washington, in his farewell address, warned the American people against foreign entanglements. In the context of the time, he meant the foreign entanglements of alliances with European countries so that America would not be dragged into a war in Europe. However, I believe that he would find our embrace of oil to be an even more disturbing foreign entanglement as it gives Saudi Arabia and other countries with the most oil the money to hire the most lobbyists and the power to shut off the spigot if the American government makes policy it doesn't care for. We broke from Britain to obtain our independence and until the second half of the 20th century we had enough domestic oil to stay independent. That is no longer true. Even if we were able to tap every bit of oil America has the right to drill tomorrow it wouldn't cover our demand for energy that expands with each passing year. So this year, on Independence Day, I urge every American to return to the Founding Fathers' message of self-sufficiency and demand of our government that it do more than give some money and lip service to alternative forms of energy. The course of the 21st century depends upon it.