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Democrats: Buying Mideast oil gives cash to dictators

POSTED: 12:08 p.m. EST, January 20, 2007


HELENA, Montana (AP) -- Montana's Democratic governor says President Bush is wrong on Iraq and has failed to recognize the importance of energy independence.

Gov. Brian Schweitzer, who learned Arabic while building irrigation projects in the Middle East for six years, said political solutions are needed in the region.

"Mr. President, there are animosities between Sunni and Shiite people in the Middle East that have developed over centuries," Schweitzer said Saturday in the Democrats' weekly radio address. "Outsiders cannot resolve this conflict unless the Iraqi people want security and freedom at least as much as us."

The governor urged the Bush administration not to embed American troops with the Iraqi army, beside what he called "untested and potentially corrupt members of the Iraqi military."

Schweitzer also argued that American energy independence is the only way to ensure the country doesn't have to continue fighting wars in the Middle East.

Options: Biodiesel, wind power, liquid fuels, ethanol

The governor touted his support for biodiesel and his efforts to increase wind power in Montana and develop new liquid fuels from coal. He also pointed to the efforts of others to develop more ethanol.

"We have enough energy resources and green technology in the United States to enable us to stop relying on foreign dictators to supply us with fuel," Schweitzer said. "Along with a smart strategy in Iraq, our energy independence can make us stronger and safer."

Schweitzer said the country uses 6.5 billion barrels of oil a year, while only producing 2.5 billion barrels. The rest comes from "some of the world's worst dictators."

Instead, the nation should cut back on 1 billion barrels through conservation, produce another 1 billion barrels of biofuels, and 2 billion barrels from turning coal into liquid fuel.

"We can achieve energy independence in 10 years, create a whole new industry with hundreds of thousands of high-paying jobs, and you'll never have to send children and grandchildren to war in the Middle East again," Schweitzer said.

"Mr. President, let's create hundreds of thousands of jobs in America by producing our own clean fuels -- bring our men and women home -- and stop spending money in Iraq."


                                               Look at the flowers

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