Are the Koch Brothers terrorists?
Two Japanese citizens kneel next to “Jihad John” as he demands $200 million from Japan to spare their lives. In Paris, 17 citizens are assassinated and hundreds more are slaughtered in Nigeria. ISIS, Al Queda, Boko Haram and terrorist cells around the world are a clear danger to international security, world order and human life. Such acts of terrorism, wherever they occur, are amoral, destabilizing and inhumane.
In his 2015 State of the Union address, President Obama identified another present threat to national security: “The Pentagon says that climate change poses immediate risks to our national security. Let’s act like it…” Such an expansion of the definition of national security risks is consistent with statements on climate change made by Pope Francis last summer.
“This is our sin, exploiting the earth,” Pope Francis said. “This is one of the greatest challenges of our time…Creation is not a property, which we can rule over at will; or, even less, is the property of only a few: creation is a gift, it is a wonderful gift that God has given us, so that we care for it and we use it for the benefit of all, always with great respect and gratitude.”
The popular Pope and the President have formed an alliance, combining moral authority, with military and diplomatic might. They’ve declared saving the earth to be a fact-based, moral crusade, in the interest of international security and human life. In this war, the terrorists are fossil fuel companies like Koch Industries whose business success, depends upon destroying the earth, the air and the oceans.
In a follow-up to two major scientific studies on the catastrophes of climate change—on land, and in the oceans—released within days of each other, President Obama underscored the battle lines:
“…No challenge poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change. 2014 was the planet’s warmest year on record,” he said referring to the recent NASA study. Congressional climate change deniers, busy tweeting out denials, stopped mid-tweet.
“Now, one year doesn’t make a trend, but this does: 14 of the 15 warmest years on record have all fallen in the first 15 years of this century,” Obama emphasized. We’re literally boiling in oil, the President could have said.
In late 2014, Pope Francis, not a scientist himself, was more direct than the President: “The monopolizing of lands, deforestation, the appropriation of water, inadequate agro-toxics are some of the evils that tear man from the land of his birth.”
Expected to make climate change into a moral crusade during 2015 to influence the global conference on climate, Francis continued: “Climate change, the loss of biodiversity and deforestation are already showing their devastating effects in the great cataclysms we witness.”
Perhaps emboldened by having Pope Francis on his side in normalizing relations with Cuba, President Obama doubled-down:
“I’ve heard some folks try to dodge the evidence by saying they’re not scientists, that we don’t have enough information to act. Well, I’m not a scientist either. But you know what? I know a lot of really good scientists at NASA and at NOAA and at our major universities, and the best scientists in the world are all telling us that our activities are changing the climate, and if we don’t act forcefully, we’ll continue to see rising oceans, longer, hotter heat waves, dangerous droughts and floods, and massive disruptions that can trigger greater migration and conflict and hunger around the globe.”
Then, the President who commands a different set of troops than the Pope, and is duty-bound to act on issues of national security, pointed to the Pentagon’s national security threat assessment.
“That’s why,” Obama said, “ I will not let this Congress endanger the health of our children by turning back the clock on our efforts. I am determined to make sure American leadership drives international action.”
If Congress won’t be permitted to “endanger the health of our children,” why allow the Koch Brothers? If the Pentagon considers climate change to be a threat to National Security, doesn’t that make the Koch cartel a well-financed force of global destabilization? Are the fossil fuel feudalists a new kind of “terrorist” cell? Are they holding us all for ransom?
The Pope, the President, the Pentagon, leading scientists—even China, a fossil-fuel producing nation choking on its own waste—agree that climate change is a dangerous threat to global security and human life. Yet, accelerating that threat is part of the Koch/fossil fuel business plan. By comparison, Jihad John’s demand for $200 million more to operate his business, looks like a bargain.