- The Washington Times - Friday, October 1, 2010

Osama bin Laden is best known as a jihadist extremist, but he’s lately added “eco-warrior” to his resume. In a new tape posted on a terrorist website, the al Qaeda leader waves the emerald banner of ecology alongside the green battle flag of Islam.

“Massive climate change is affecting our nation and is causing great catastrophes throughout the Islamic world,” bin Laden says, as part of an 11-minute address about disaster relief efforts in Pakistan. Global warming, according to the terrorist mastermind, has killed more people than war.

The bulk of bin Laden’s message concerns reforming humanitarian assistance programs; here the terrorist adopts the role of Good Samaritan. “What governments spend on relief work is secondary to what they spend on armies,” he says, neglecting to note that in the current relief effort in Pakistan, as in most such natural-disaster responses, the military plays a critical role in providing transportation, food, water and medical support. It’s fair to say that without military participation, civilian assistance efforts would have a fraction of the impact they do now.

Bin Laden’s solution is to set up an Islamic relief organization that would promote development and agricultural programs and find means to prevent future flooding like the kind that has ravaged Pakistan. “If governments spent [on relief] only 1 percent of what is spent on armies,” he says, “they would change the face of the world for poor people.” Plus, he might have added, you can’t hug children with nuclear arms.

Like many global-warming alarmists, bin Laden is cynically exploiting natural disasters to further his anti-Western, leftist agenda. The terrorist’s approach is similar to the current faddish notion of “global climate disruption” being pushed by President Obama’s science adviser John P. Holdren. In this respect, bin Laden would fit right in at Democratic policy-making sessions. Al Qaeda’s leader is no newcomer to the global-warming craze. “Discussing climate change is not an intellectual luxury, but a reality,” bin Laden said in January. “All of the industrialized countries, especially the big ones, bear responsibility for the global-warming crisis.” That line easily could have been written by Al Gore.

In 2007, bin Laden warned that “all of mankind is in danger because of the global warming resulting to a large degree from the emissions of the factories of the major corporations,” and that this was causing “the death and displacement of millions of human beings because of that, especially in Africa.” As early as 2002, in a letter to the American people, bin Laden explained that one of the reasons he was waging war on the United States was that Americans “have destroyed nature with your industrial waste and gases more than any other nation in history.” In other words, the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers were brought down because America lacked adequate carbon emission controls.

Bin Laden may not be dropping “Islam First!” for “Earth First!” but he is setting a good example of the low-carbon-footprint life by living in a cave. It’s doubtful that he can reinvent himself as an environmental activist, but at least he’s consistent in his dedication to losing causes.