Commentary Magazine


Topic: confused intelligence services

Who Is the Enemy: Islamists or the Global-Warming Scare?

Yesterday, President Obama acknowledged that “We are at war,” though he’s still a bit sketchy about exactly whom we are fighting, since nobody in Washington is allowed to use the “I” word. (It may, however, be possible to say the “T” word every once in a while.) But though the failed airliner attack over Detroit may have concentrated the administration’s collective mind on the task of fighting Islamist terrorists, even if we aren’t allowed to call them that, our overburdened and often confused intelligence services are also being asked to track another deadly enemy: global warming.

Last month, NPR reported that: “For the first time, Pentagon planners in 2010 will include climate change among the security threats identified in the Quadrennial Defense Review, the Congress-mandated report that updates Pentagon priorities every four years. The reference to climate change follows the establishment in October of a new Center for the Study of Climate Change at the Central Intelligence Agency.”

This decision was rightly lampooned in an editorial in Investor’s Business Daily. They point out that a group that hasn’t been able to focus with accuracy on the threat from Iranian nukes (as demonstrated by the fallacious National Intelligence Estimate on that subject released in late 2007, which had to be repudiated within months) ought not to be wasting valuable resources worrying about the supposed threat to the polar bears. Recent intelligence failures have highlighted an attitude of complacency about the potent threat from Islamist terror. But instead, the CIA is going to be squandering its efforts playing to the Al Gore environmental alarmist crowd. They seem to be forgetting, as IBD points out, “hijacked airliners, not rogue icebergs, brought down the World Trade Center and attacked the Pentagon.”

IBD’s conclusion is right on target: “We disagree that a purely hypothetical and thoroughly discredited threat to our planet, attributed to our use of carbon-based energy, is as serious as the threat posed by Islamofascism. When the al-Qaeda threat recedes, we’ll start worrying about the glaciers.”

Yesterday, President Obama acknowledged that “We are at war,” though he’s still a bit sketchy about exactly whom we are fighting, since nobody in Washington is allowed to use the “I” word. (It may, however, be possible to say the “T” word every once in a while.) But though the failed airliner attack over Detroit may have concentrated the administration’s collective mind on the task of fighting Islamist terrorists, even if we aren’t allowed to call them that, our overburdened and often confused intelligence services are also being asked to track another deadly enemy: global warming.

Last month, NPR reported that: “For the first time, Pentagon planners in 2010 will include climate change among the security threats identified in the Quadrennial Defense Review, the Congress-mandated report that updates Pentagon priorities every four years. The reference to climate change follows the establishment in October of a new Center for the Study of Climate Change at the Central Intelligence Agency.”

This decision was rightly lampooned in an editorial in Investor’s Business Daily. They point out that a group that hasn’t been able to focus with accuracy on the threat from Iranian nukes (as demonstrated by the fallacious National Intelligence Estimate on that subject released in late 2007, which had to be repudiated within months) ought not to be wasting valuable resources worrying about the supposed threat to the polar bears. Recent intelligence failures have highlighted an attitude of complacency about the potent threat from Islamist terror. But instead, the CIA is going to be squandering its efforts playing to the Al Gore environmental alarmist crowd. They seem to be forgetting, as IBD points out, “hijacked airliners, not rogue icebergs, brought down the World Trade Center and attacked the Pentagon.”

IBD’s conclusion is right on target: “We disagree that a purely hypothetical and thoroughly discredited threat to our planet, attributed to our use of carbon-based energy, is as serious as the threat posed by Islamofascism. When the al-Qaeda threat recedes, we’ll start worrying about the glaciers.”

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