- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 22, 2006

Running out of oil

I’m not surprised that economist Walter Williams has no concern about running out of oil (“Running out of oil?,” Commentary, Thursday). Most economists don’t. Most geologists don’t share his optimism.

Geologists know that we seek out and develop the richest resources first and that we are well past the prime oil resources. In 2005 we burned five times as much oil as we discovered. They know that money and energy aren’t interchangeable and that it takes energy to make energy available for use. When it takes more energy to find, pump out and refine oil than the energy available in that oil, it will no longer be an energy resource.

The low energy return of the various oil shale, tar sand and coal liquification options render them a rather thin reed on which to place the hope of continued economic growth. The fact that these options would greatly increase global-warming gas concentrations renders them an unacceptable option to anyone who cares about their children. The energy answer doesn’t lie in developing ever larger quantities of ever lower quality fossil fuel resources. The answer lies in reducing our population, reducing our per capita demand and developing renewable energy sources.



The energy debate

I take issue with your assertion that “there is no principled reason to lavish royalties on the coastal states” (“Mining the Gulf,” Editorial, yesterday).

The Washington Post, being the supreme arbiter of fairness, went even further and claimed that the coastal states did not deserve any royalties. It seems to me that if you want to be fair, the entity that suffers the most risk should be able to reap the highest return as compensation.

If you claim that there is no risk or that the risk is negligible, why is there so much hate and discontent regarding offshore drilling among environmental groups? And why has drilling been prevented for so long?

Should most of the country be insulated from the risks of energy consumption? That is the case now. The cost at the pump is a minor irritation, and the Washington area is affluent enough that neither driving nor living habits have been affected substantially by higher energy prices.

In fact, if something bad happens to the states subject to the new drilling and possible refining of oil, most of the users of that energy will only have to suffer the inconvenience of reading about it in the local newspaper.

As usually is the case, when liberals embrace collectivized action in the name of spreading the pain, it rarely comes out that way. What actually happens is that a small fraction of the population bears the burden for the rest of us, for which there is rarely any compensation, and this is just another example.



How to defeat Hezbollah

A “negotiated settlement,” also known as a “stalemate” between Israel and Hezbollah puts us back at square one minus one. “If Hezbollah is not strategically degraded to ineffectiveness, it will emerge strengthened and much more dangerous,” according to the Thursday editorial, “No time for ‘restraint’.” Moreover, the editorial sees gain for Lebanon, Israel and the U.S. by “[making] sure that Hezbollah is destroyed.”

Victory would be good for Israel and the West, and also for the Middle East at large, and, indeed, the rest of the world that is easy prey to Hezbollah-type movements such as al Qaeda. A self-defeating Hezbollah essentially allows its patrons Iran and Syria into Lebanon to the dismay of Sunni Muslims in Jordan, Egypt and even Saudi Arabia. Paradoxically, this is already redounding in favor of the fight against terrorism, not just exacerbating the Sunni-Shiite fissure, but the internal Sunni conflict over, implicitly, Israel and the West vs. a militant pan-Arabism.

The Bush administration has the correct attitude toward the Middle East: shock therapy can yield positive results. A positive outcome of the Israel-Hezbollah and Israel-Hamas conflicts may do for the Middle East what President Bush had hoped democracy in Iraq would do.

Hezbollah needs to be defeated. Their having initiated the conflict by invading Israel not only gives Israel the moral upperhand, but allows the free world’s “proxy” to finish what Hezbollah started. It’s true that while taking a bite out of militant Islam, Israel is castigated, but that is only a geometric problem, i.e., how much more can Israel be despised?

By defanging the Islamic terrorist organization that has come to “legitimacy” by representation in the Lebanese government, Israel and the West send a message to countries that sponsor terror and to terrorist groups themselves that their victory is far from inevitable.




Israel is pursuing the right goal but in the wrong country.

Disarming Hezbollah and other Islamist extremist groups is and should be a priority. However, air strikes on Lebanon won’t accomplish that. Rather, air strikes on Iran and Syria will. As long as those governments fund and train terrorist groups, Hezbollah will operate. Destroying Lebanese cities and roads will at best put a dent in Hezbollah’s operation. Overthrowing the Iranian government will kill Hezbollah at its roots.



‘War in the name of Islam’

I am writing in response to Friday’s Page One article “Israel pounds Hezbollah: Annan hits ‘excessive use of force’ in Lebanon” and its report that Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora “accused the United States of encouraging Israel’s offensive in Lebanon.” According to the article, Mr. Siniora said, “The United States is allowing Israel to pursue its aggression.”

Here we go again. What is it about fighting terrorism that U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and other world leaders don’t seem to understand? Excessive use of force is exactly what is needed to defeat Hezbollah. Would they rather Israel and the United States allow Hezbollah to pursue its aggression against Israeli civilians and/or American and Lebanese civilians? It is unfortunate in any war that during hostilities some innocent civilians may be caught in the crossfire. Nevertheless, at least the Israelis warn the civilian population ahead of time in Lebanon of their counterattacks so the civilians can go to safer ground. Terrorists never do so. They purposely target civilians.

Israel withdrew from Lebanon six years ago. As a result, it has been taking attacks for six years and even gave Hezbollah time to dig underground tunnels to cross over the border, making it easier for the terrorists to continue their aggression. That to me is too much restraint on Israel’s part — and that is why the terrorists have gotten stronger.

An obvious war has been declared on Israelis and other non-Muslims in the world. It’s time for Israeli aggression in full strength against these attacks.

It’s also time for the United Nations and Mr. Annan to wake up and face reality. Appeasement and negotiation don’t work with terrorists. The time for restraint is over. This unconventional terrorist war in the name of Islam has been declared on Israel, the United States, France, Spain, England, Indonesia, India, etc. What is it about this fact and truth that the United Nations does not understand?


Owings Mills, Md.

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