As long as the United States relies on imported oil from Arab nations to meet its energy needs, dollars are used to fuel terrorism.  It is not importation per se that is the problem, but the attitude and venue of the importers.  Since Saudi Arabia uses its outsized capital to promote Wahabism, an extreme version of Islam, through madrassas worldwide, we have an obligation to stem the flow of capital to the region.

Brow beating the Saudi government has not worked because the underwriting for extremists is, in fact, an extortion payment to protect the existing regime.  The Saudi princes pay so they can stay. Our position must be a government directed program to move as quickly as possible away from dependence on Middle Eastern oil.  And we must do so without necessarily picking the “energy winner,

The free market model may get the country to the same place, but the timeliness is unpredictable.  Moreover, the price of oil can be manipulated by the OPEC cartel thereby influencing the pace of change.

As a conservative I am reflexively suspicious of government directed programs; in this case, however, I don’t see an alternative.  Only the government has the ability to mitigate the effect of manipulated oil prices.  Presumably OPEC can charge less for oil when alternatives are being introduced into the market at the same price.  Does anyone remember the abortive synfuels project?

This time decisions must be insulated from price since what is at stake is nothing less than national security.  If terror mechanisms are starved, they cannot function.

Some will argue, indeed have argued, they if we buy less oil China and India will buy more.  But surely these nations do not want to be reliant on insecure oil sources if an alternative is available.  China would have to protect its sea lanes now patrolled by American vessels.  In this scenario, transactional costs would escalate putting China and India in the market to secure energy alternatives.

The issue, as I see it, is timing.  This nation should consider moving to hybrid automobile engines as quickly as possible.  Getting 125 miles to the gallon will change the energy calculus dramatically.  Similarly, nuclear plants should produce almost all of the nation’s electricity needs.  At the moment nuclear plants account for 16.5 percent, albeit oil accounts for about 2.5 percent of electrical production. The source carrying the load for the grid is coal, available within the nation in abundance.  Yet every step away from oil dependence, however small, is desirable.

Winning the war against the radical Islamic terrorists means preventing them from buying the bombs, weapons and personnel that promote destruction.  The way to win, alas, the way to wage the war, is to divest the United States from its reliance on foreign oil.  We must win this war on foreign battlefields and we must win this war at home by weaning ourselves from “black gold