EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Columns

September 15, 2012

Column: Middle East chaos shows need for American energy

America’s economic well-being is at the mercy of the most thin-skinned hotheads on Earth.

The tragic and outrageous assassination of American officials in Libya and the vicious attacks on U.S. embassies in (at this writing) Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen dramatize the enormous risk of depending on petroleum from a region where a film clip can trigger riots, bloodshed and fatalities.

If this week’s turmoil proves as communicable as the rapidly tarnishing Arab Spring, Islamic militants could hammer the Great Satan by sabotaging OPEC oil fields or simply encouraging their co-religionists to leave their petroleum-sector jobs and, instead, rail against Western “infidels.” The mere potential of such a scenario introduces yet another element of uncertainty into a U.S. economy suffocating beneath question marks.

It would be dreadful enough if that Libyan mob murdered four American diplomatic personnel — including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, an esteemed career envoy and former Peace Corps volunteer — because U.S. bombers foolishly flattened the main mosque in Benghazi. If terrorists in Cairo invaded our embassy, ripped down the Stars and Stripes and ran an al-Qaida banner up the flagpole, this would be problematic enough had the CIA accidentally unleashed a drone strike on a madrassa full of 10-year-olds.

Instead, as a New York Post headline explained on Wednesday: “IT’S JUST A STUPID MOVIE!”

This mayhem stems from militant Islam’s inability to withstand even a shockingly amateur, low-budget, borderline TV sketch of a “film” called “The Innocence of Muslims.” An 11-minute preview of this silliness hit YouTube, and deadly chaos erupted. Where it will end is anyone’s guess, especially because this cinematic mess features a surfer-like Mohammed expressing a smorgasbord of sexual appetites. In 2006, a Danish newspaper’s publication of cartoons of Mohammed — many of them respectful — unleashed global Islamic mayhem that killed at least 45 people.

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