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Why Vets Are Backing Clean Energy

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This week, VoteVets.org has gone up on the air in four districts (and has more planned) with television ads backing the American Clean Energy and Security Act, sponsored by Reps. Waxman and Markey. The ads, all like this one, use local Iraq veterans urging Reps. Jim Matheson (D-UT), John Barrow (D-GA), Gene Green (D-TX), and Charlie Melancon (D-LA) to vote for the legislation.

Some might be doing a double take. Why would veterans get involved in a fight over renewable energy and efficiency? Well, for those of us who served, fighting terrorists and insurgents, supporting the bill is a no-brainer.

It has been well documented that terror organizations around the world gain funding from sources in oil rich nations in the Middle East. In fact, just two weeks after the September 11 attacks, Assistant Secretary of Energy David Garman said, "It is clear that our reliance on imported oil -- 56% of the oil we use - has complicated our response to the terrorist attack. There is also little doubt that some of the dollars we have exported in exchange for foreign oil have found their way into the hands of terrorists and would-be terrorists."

While some improvement has been made on shutting down the pipeline that allows oil profits to flow to terror groups since then, that pipeline has not been closed, nor is it ever likely to be closed.

It's very rare that you'll find a group like VoteVets.org -- which was initially formed to oppose the war in Iraq -- agree with the neocons who helped plan the war.

But, indeed, one of the staunchest Iraq war backers and self-professed "Member of the Dick Cheney Fan Club", Frank Gaffney, wrote in a column, "We are funding both sides in this war for the free world, as our petrodollars are enabling much of the threat we most immediately confront. This is an intolerable -- and unsustainable -- situation." He's called for a greater focus on efficiency and alternative power.

James Woolsey, the former CIA director, famously now drives a Prius with a bumper sticker that says, "Osama bin Laden Hates This Car." He also partially powers his home -- and even his laptop -- with solar panels.

And that's just the neocons. During the campaign, both President Obama and Senator McCain made it pretty clear that they view this as a national security issue, as well.

So, besides creating jobs and curbing Global Climate Change, the American Clean Energy and Security Act will put policies in motion that will move us off of foreign oil, delivering a severe blow to terrorist funding. That helps protect America, and helps ensure that there is less of a need in the future to have to deploy troops to fight extremists.

This was just too important an issue for those of us who served, and who still have buddies out in the warzone. That's why, despite it seeming like a disconnected issue on the surface, vets are stepping out in support of Clean Energy, and why we're urging Democrats and Republicans, alike, to vote for this bill.

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