Typically, I would not join any club that would have me as a member (Thank you, Groucho), however I have found a group of folks that I am proud to join. Operation Free is a brand new coalition of Veterans and national security organizations who recognize that our dependence on a commodity we do not control is a critical vulnerability for the Nation. They are sponsored by The Truman National Security Project. "OpFree" was formed this past summer with a goal of recruiting 100 Vets to promote secure, economical and clean energy. They are well past that number and I am proud to be one of the new recruits. I met veterans with experience from Korea 60 years ago to the Helmand Province 60 days ago.
On 23 Feb 2010 about 100 veterans gathered on Capitol Hill to hear what our legislators were doing to address our national addiction. Senators Bill Nelson and Mark Udall as well as Representative Steve Israel came to hear our concerns and answer our questions. We also heard from Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus. The Secretary has shown tremendous leadership in this energy arena although I think he chose the F/A-18 as the first fighter to fly on renewable fuel just so he can talk about "The Green Hornet". At lunch time Carol Browner, the director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy, spoke to us and took our questions. All of these conversations were informative and open. The Vets asked hard questions and all were responded to, if not always to our complete satisfaction. Senator Nelson (D-FL) pointed out that there are about 37 million acres of offshore leases on the books with the oil companies that are not being exploited. Rep Israel (D-NY) has been an advocate for energy security for years and continues to sound the tocsin of our vulnerability. We even had a celebrity drive-by when the actor Gloria Rueben (E.R. hottie) stopped by to thank us for our activism in this arena.
This group continues to grow, crisscrossing the country on bus tours to raise the alarm. When environmentalists tell you we are endangering the planet, we nod. When economists tell you we are transferring huge amounts of wealth, we shrug. When combat decorated veterans (and the former Director, CIA) tell you we are creating an enormous national vulnerability and sending a BILLION dollars a day overseas to fund both sides of two wars, it is time for action. Check out the Operation Free website and if you are so minded, support this important movement. We have talked and talked and talked. Now it is time for action.