Frontpage Interview’sguest today is Robert Zubrin, the president of Pioneer Astronautics and also president of the Mars Society. For many years he worked as a senior engineer for Lockheed Martin.
In addition, he is the author of the critically acclaimed nonfiction books The Case for Mars, Entering Space, Mars on Earth; the science fiction novels The Holy Land and First Landing; and articles in Scientific American, The New Atlantis, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Mechanical Engineering, and The American Enterprise. He has appeared on major media including CNN, CSPAN, the BBC, the Discovery Channel, NBC, ABC, and NPR. He is the author of the new book, Energy Victory: Winning the War on Terror by Breaking Free of Oil.
FP: Robert Zubrin, welcome to Frontpage Interview.
Zubrin: Thank you for inviting me.
FP: What inspired you to write this book?
Zubrin: For the past two decades, I have devoted most of my engineering work towards advancing the space program. However the events of September 11, 2001 caused me to give pause and think about what I might be able to do to help out here on Earth. Then, as I researched the problem, it because very apparent that the terror cult was being promoted by Middle eastern tyrannies using oil money, which is to say our money, and that this is what had to be addressed if the war on terror was to be won.
You know there is an old aphorism, "there are three things necessary to wage war: money, money, and yet more money." Well, the same is true of jihad. So consider the following. In 1972, the USA paid out $4 billion for oil imports, an amount equal to 1.2% of our defense budget at that time. Last year, we paid $260 billionwhich was half of what we paid for national defense! Over the same period, Saudi oil revenues have grown in direct parallel from $2.7 billion in 1972 to $200 billion in 2006, and this year are likely to exceed $300 billion. And if something isn't done to break the oil cartel, the situation is likely to get much worse, because with China and India industrializing, world demand for fuel is going up, and OPEC is in position to exploit this to effect further radical price hikesin fact they've raised prices 50% this year alone. We are financing a war against ourselves, and the way things are going, we will soon be paying the enemy more than we are paying our own military.
Furthermore, the situation is even worse, because as a result of our dependence on enemy oil, we cannot effectively strike back at them. Take the Iranian nuclear bomb program, for example. We could shut it down in an afternoon just by striking their very vulnerable oil export terminal at Kharg Island. No oil exports = no cash = no nuclear bomb program. But we can't do that right now because of the effect on the world economy of a shutdown of Persian Gulf oil. The same is true in our dealing with the Saudis. In effect, they are using their own fragility as a shield against us, saying "you can't hit us because we have a glass jaw." And, given our dependence on them, the ploy works. But take away that dependence, and we can dictate terms to them.
So the battle for energy security is the decisive front in the war on terror. And that is an area where I, as an engineer, believe I have something to contribute.
FP: Expand for us on how Americans are funding radical Islam by buying gas.
Zubrin: Saudi Arabia is the largest recipient of international oil revenues, over two trillion dollars in the past three decades, and, as documented by numerous sources cited in my book, they have used a substantial fraction of this cash to finance a global effort to spread Wahhabi totalitarian cult ideology. They have funded a whole alphabet soup of front organizations such as the MWL, the WAMY, and the IIRO, for this purpose, as well as to directly fund terrorist groups, and have set up over 20,000 madrasses outside of Saudi Arabia to teach millions of young boys that the way to paradise is to kill Christians, Hindus, Jews, Buddhists, Taoists, animists, humanists, etc. It was the graduates of this indoctrination effort who killed 3,000 Americans on September 11, 2001, and thousands of our troops in Iraq in the period since. But they've killed plenty of other people too, in countries ranging from Biafra and the Sudan, to former Soviet central Asia, to Indonesia and the Philippines, where vicious attacks on Buddhists and Christians are ongoing.
Then there is Iran, a terror state which receives the majority of its income from oil. It is oil money that is funding Hezbollah, an Iranian terror asset which is now setting up bases in Latin America, by the way. It is oil money that is funding the Iranian nuclear bomb program, which could give those Hezbollah operatives the weapon they need to inflict mass destruction on their potential victims- which will soon include not only Israeli or European cities, but targets in the Western Hemisphere as well.
Read it all.