It's easy for opponents of the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACESA) to portray supporters as whiners and environmental Kool-Aid drinkers who want to harm America. No faster way to prove your point by calling your opponents wimps... right?
Try that with the folks in Operation Free. Go ahead, look 'em the eye and say that.
Operation Free is a group of veterans and national security experts who support ACESA because it will make America safer and keep our troops out of harm's way. These aren't starry-eyed hippies; these are starry-shouldered generals like Wes Clark telling us that climate change and dependence on foreign energy will mean more natural disasters drawing U.S. military interventions, as well as more overseas adventures to secure foreign oil like the Gulf Wars. And hey, that's not just me shouting "No Blood for Oil!" That's soldiers who've given blood for oil, like Rick Hegdahl, a vet with South Dakota roots:
Another vet on the tour, Rick Hegdahl, said he got involved because of what he learned while serving in the Navy in Kuwait just before the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Hegdahl commanded a patrol boat that would keep watch on giant oil tankers waiting to fill up.
"It really dawned on me that the primary reason we were there was to control the shipping lanes for oil," he said. "I said, 'Something's wrong. Something's really wrong'" [Matt Hagengruber, "Veterans on Tour Will Warn of Warming Climate," Billings Gazette, 2009.10.12].
...and Chuck Tyler:
“I don’t want oil period,” said Chuck Tyler, a 10 year Army veteran of Operation Desert Storm and Operation Enduring Freedom. “As a threat multiplier, it doesn’t even have to come from overseas. If you put it in your car, if you burn it, it contributes to carbon disruption…it’s something that we don’t want to deal with and it’s something that 1.4 million people in uniform don’t want to have to deal with” [Rocky Kistner, "American Power Tour South Rolls into St. Louis," Operation Free, 2009.10.14].
Two busloads of veterans are touring the U.S. right now to promote support for action on climate change and energy independence. One busload of patriots will make two stops in South Dakota tomorrow, Thursday, October 15:
- Downtown Watertown, Goss Opera House, 100 E. Kemp Ave., 13:00 CDT (that's 1 p.m. for us civilians): public roundtable discussion
- Sioux Falls VFW, 3601 S. Minnesota Ave: Press conference at 16:00 (4 p.m.), public roundtable discussion at 18:00 (6 p.m.). And hey, this one's at the VFW, so you can buy supper there, too! (Maybe even buy supper for a vet.)
Catch the vets' bus in Watertown and Sioux Falls. Shake these soldiers' hands, listen to what they have to say.