Bin Laden Goes Green

What does the world’s most notorious terrorist have in common with Al Gore?


Judged simply by their content, it would be easy to misidentify the speaker who uttered the following quotes:

"The effects of global warming have touched every continent. Drought and deserts are spreading, while from the other floods and hurricanes unseen before the previous decades have now become frequent."

Al Gore perhaps?

"The world is held hostage by major corporations, which are pushing it to the brink. World politics are not governed by reason but by the force and greed of oil thieves and warmongers and the cruel beasts of capitalism."

Sounds a lot like something you might read at the Daily Kos.

"We must also stop dealings in the dollar and get rid of it as soon as possible. I know that this has great consequences and grave ramifications, but it is the only means to liberate humanity from slavery and dependence on America."

That’s got to be George Soros, doesn’t it?

In fact, all three quotes are part of Osama bin Laden’s latest appeal to the world in an audio tape released last week by the Arab news network Al-Jazeera. The idea, no doubt, was to appeal to more “mainstream” anti-Americanism around the world. Those who help sabotage American industry and our economy, in other words, punish the infidels. Perhaps not quite as spectacular as blowing up a CIA outpost, but all contributions are gratefully accepted.

This is not to say that either Al Gore or George Soros are terrorist sympathizers (the jury is out on the Daily Kos). Rather, it’s to observe that radical messages tend to attract radicals. Bin-Laden’s self-serving green activism will resonate with people pre-disposed to distrust America, and alarmists like Gore have created the environment that allows this to occur.

There is much obvious, and laughable, hypocrisy in bin-Laden’s sudden concern for the environment. It was his terrorist organization, after all, that leveled the twin towers, which subsequently created the most horrendous air pollution disaster in the history of New York. If he’s really concerned about the environment, this Islamic warrior might also want to consider how Mother Earth fares in his ancestral home of Saudi Arabia.

The following is an anecdotal story, but one suspects it’s representative of a larger truth. I worked in Saudi Arabia, on and off, between 1996 and 1998, in the Red Sea port city of Yanbu. During my time there, I had occasion to drive up the coastal highway to observe operations at the Yanbu Cement Company, located about seventy kilometers north of Yanbu. (The bin-Laden family was then rumored to have an interest in Yanbu Cement, but I can not confirm it). At the time, Yanbu Cement operated three large kilns, essentially big rotating drums in which the ingredients that go into cement “cook” at high temperature.

In the United States, and in most all of the western world, cement kilns have to utilize pollution control devices to comply with environmental standards. Without such devices, these kilns would emit truly amazing amounts of air pollution. I was therefore shocked to observe a huge, menacing, dirty brown plume that ran for miles through the air above the Red Sea. Approaching Yanbu Cement, the source of that incredible smear on the atmosphere became obvious: none of the kilns at Yanbu Cement were controlled at all. The stacks belched out filthy plumes of soot at a rate that I have never observed then or since in over twenty five years of environmental practice.

This kind of story can be told again and again throughout the developing and third worlds. Those nations are not nearly rigorous about protecting the environment as the west, because environmental controls cost money to install and to operate. Accordingly, if everyone followed bin-Laden’s advice and, using the power of their purses, effectively transferred manufacturing capacity to such nations, the net result would be a far more polluted world.

But, of course, bin-Laden doesn’t really care about the health and welfare of the planet and its inhabitants. He’s just scrambling for talking points that he hopes will resonate with listeners who hate America. Al Gore and his disciples have unwittingly provided him with more ammunition to do so. That doesn’t make Gore a terrorist, but it’s surely further evidence of the unintended consequences that are bound to occur when you abandon science for the sake of a political agenda.