Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Focus on Energy Independence, Not War

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Focus on Energy Independence, Not War

Article excerpt

On learning of the Islamic State group attack on Paris, my gut reaction was that we needed to wipe them from the face of the Earth. But after I calmed down, I concluded that while this would be very satisfying in the short term, it might not be the most intelligent course of action.

The Iraq and Afghanistan wars are costing our country $6 trillion - that's $75,000 per household(!). Might it be a better strategy to spend an equivalent amount on energy self-sufficiency instead of beginning another ground war in the Middle East?

We could install solar panels on every roof, replace every inefficient window and insulate every house in America for less than half of that $75,000 ... There would be money left over to improve our rail system and public transportation.

Doing this would kill three birds with one stone: It would starve our enemies of the money they need to make war, it would reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and it would create a huge number of jobs. Think about it.

FRANK WELLS

Observatory Hill

U.S. amnesia

I am glad to see the empathy and outpouring of support from the U.S. government and public for France. It is much more pragmatic than when our federal representatives were having official meetings to make sure that "freedom fries" rather than "french fries" were being served in the nation's cafeterias. That, if we recall, was a reaction to the French government's objections to the U.S. bombing of Iraq ... which, if we reflect, was one of the early steps into this perpetual 21st-century world war, of which, tragically, the people of Paris are the latest victims. ?

Our national narrative about war and terrorism has been fraught with exactly this kind of hypocrisy and amnesia (in regard to many peoples and nations in addition to the French). It is as if we have not developed any further than the blind propaganda of Vietnam and the first Gulf War (the veterans of which we aren't taking care of).

It would be easier to keep track, and healthier for all of us, if our government policy and public sentiment were consistently anti- war and anti-bombing, pro-liberty and pro-peace, rather than these bipolar swings between revenge and sympathy that we go through from decade to decade. …

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