Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Greening of the Hawks


With the urgency of climate destabilization growing daily, the purity of one's ideological calling card becomes less important than the need to phase out fossil fuels and phase in renewable energy as quickly as possible. As Laura Rozen reports in a Mother Jones article, James Woolsey, Hybrid Hawk, neoconservatives and Iraq war boosters are increasingly seeing the wisdom of clean energy. Though they may cloak the shift as a matter of national security, rather than a means of combatting global warming, many of them are becoming unlikely allies in the quest to beat oil addiction.

Rozen's dialogue with James Woolsey unearthed some interesting revelations:

Woolsey recalls the moment he started thinking seriously about energy as both an environmental and strategic issue. "I was sitting in my car in a gas line in Washington in '73, after the Saudis had declared an oil embargo on us and Israel was attacked," he says. "And I got mad." Energy issues have captivated him ever since. In the early '80s, he joined the Jefferson Group, an alternative-fuel salon founded on the Jeffersonian ideal "that the future of America is determined by the independent yeoman farmer."

An independent streak has run throughout Woolsey's 40-plus years in Washington. He has served in four administrations, both Republican and Democratic. In the twilight of the Cold War, he found himself increasingly identifying with Republicans on national security. He spent three years as a member of then-defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld's Defense Policy Board. When I met with him, he was expecting another career change, leaving the federal contractor Booz Allen Hamilton to join a California firm that invests in alternative-energy technology. He'd also just appeared in an anti-oil print ad for the American Clean Skies Foundation, a PR group started by a natural gas company.

With earth's future in the balance, we need all the clean energy promoters we can get.