This week President Obama gave the commencement address at the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut. The speech devoted significant time to the issue of climate change and the problems it creates for the military. He said in part that…
“I’m here today to say that climate change constitutes a serious threat to global security, an immediate risk to our national security. And make no mistake, it will impact how our military defends our country. And so we need to act — and we need to act now.”
To no one’s surprise, Fox News bristled at the notion that the potential harmful effects of climate change would be a topic of discussion at a military graduation ceremony. And among those flustered by the President’s message was pathological liar Bill O’Reilly (video below) who began his reproach by claiming that “that theory surprised a lot of military people.”
Then, as evidence of the many surprised military people, O’Reilly played a clip of Sen. John McCain (who has not been in the military for 34 years) saying that he is, indeed, worried about climate change, but wonders whether “we give a damn about what’s happening in the streets of Ramadi.”
McCain was attempting what many intellectually vacant demagogues do by implying that it’s impossible to care about more than one thing at a time. Even so, he undermined O’Reilly’s point by admitting his worries about climate change. But more importantly, that soundbite from McCain was the only proof O’Reilly offered of his assertion that the military are surprised by Obama’s speech. Had he actually done any research on the subject he would have found that the Pentagon has expressly cited climate change as a “threat multiplier” that can “aggravate” conditions that lead to conflict and terrorism. As stated in the Pentagon’s 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review:
“The pressures caused by climate change will influence resource competition while placing additional burdens on economies, societies, and governance institutions around the world. These effects are threat multipliers that will aggravate stressors abroad such as poverty, environmental degradation, political instability, and social tensions – conditions that can enable terrorist activity and other forms of violence.”
What’s more, sixteen retired Generals and Admirals writing for the Center for Naval Analyses’s Military Advisory Board published a report that warned that…
“…developments in scientific climate projections, observed climate changes (particularly in the Arctic), the toll of extreme weather events both at home and abroad, and changes in the global security environment have all served to accelerate the national security implications of climate change.”
So as usual, Bill O’Reilly doesn’t have the foggiest notion what he is talking about. Not only do 97% of scientists who study climate agree that climate change is a real concern and is exacerbated by human behaviors, but the military has repeatedly affirmed the geo-political risks. Which makes it all the more disturbing that O’Reilly can say with a straight face that…
“It’s fine to want a cleaner planet. I do. And it’s good to explore ways to eliminate harmful emissions. Every sane person supports that. But to tell a group of military graduates that climate change is a defense priority borders on delusion.”
Apparently O’Reilly believes that America’s military leadership are suffering delusions with regard to climate change. Then again, if anyone knows about being delusional it’s O’Reilly. And he isn’t alone. His contention that every sane person supports exploring ways to eliminate harmful emissions would put congressional Republicans in the insane category. Just last year GOP members of the House voted overwhelmingly to prohibit the Defense Department from using funds to implement the recommendations of the science institutions best qualified to assess climate change.
This is just another example proving that the last thing the GOP wants is for experts to be contributing their expertise to policy. And the last thing O’Reilly and Fox News want is for facts to get in the way of their rightist propaganda.
News Corpse Presents: The ALL NEW 2nd volume of
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.