Friday, December 11, 2009

Taking the mission to secure America to Copenhagen

Guest post by Jonathan Powers and Robert Diamond

Jon Powers is the Chief Operating Officer of the Truman National Security Project. He is a veteran of the Gulf War, serving as an officer in the United States Army, and the founder of War Kids Relief. He was previously Veterans Program Director at the Eleison Group, where he worked on outreach efforts by the progressive community to veterans and military families.

Rob Diamond, a Truman National Security Fellow, is a Senior Vice President at Realty Capital International LLC, a global real estate investment banking and advisory firm. He was previously a Vice President at Bear Stearns & Co. in the Structured Equity Products/Equity Finance group. Prior to his career in finance, he served as an officer in the United States Navy, completing deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

Ed. note: This post was originally published at The Huffington Post. In September, we ran a post by Jon on "why the military is worried about climate change" -- you can find it here. We have also published a number of different posts from Operation Free -- see here. -- MJWS


Next week we will board a flight with a group of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans to fly to Copenhagen and wage a battle that will help address a threat to our national security. Our plan of action does not involve the Danish military, but instead involves the negotiators who are gathered to develop an international agreement on addressing climate change. We are bringing to Copenhagen the voices of the veterans and national security experts from across the nation who are standing up as part of Operation Free to secure America with clean energy.

Watch this video of our fellow veterans who have been reaching out at events across America to talk about the risks that climate change poses to our national security:

The American people understand their security is at risk when we talk about:

• The absurdity of funding our enemies who hunt our troops in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. By sending $1 billion a day overseas to buy oil from other nations, many of whom have unfriendly regimes, we are endangering our own troops on battlefield.

• Climate change acting as a "threat multiplier," making the world less safe. When Americans see that the CIA, Pentagon, and the national intelligence apparatus are actively developing plans to address threats in climate-affected nations with already fragile governments, they understand this is a threat to our country. Climate change is a root cause of destabilization in countries around the world in which extremist groups will look to take advantage and gain a foothold.

• Our nation's dependence on dirty fossil fuels is causing carbon pollution that is making our climate unstable... and is affecting our security.

Operation Free was formed because we know it is our military that will have to address these threats. Instead of waiting for things to get worse or fights to break out, we believe the United States must begin to take decisive action now.

The security community agrees that these are unsustainable courses of action and that we must act urgently to reduce these threats. Here at home Congress is moving ahead with clean energy legislation, but Copenhagen provides us an opportunity to truly establish ourselves as a nation that leads by example.

Skeptics are calling on us to wait for China or India to take the lead, but why would we put our security in others' hands? Americans want us to take our security in our own hands, and that is why our leadership is so critical in Copenhagen.

It is American leadership that is necessary to provide a broad consensus towards an agreement that will:

  • Reduce our dependence on oil;
  • Promote clean energy incentives; and
  • Get Americans back to work producing clean, domestic, and safe energy.

America must lead by example in Copenhagen. Our security depends on it!

Sign up for Live from Copenhagen articles next week.

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