Saturday, August 20, 2005

Ford Links Oil Dependence With Funding Terrorists

U.S. Rep. Harold Ford Jr. told a University of Memphis group Friday the nation's dependence on oil is helping to "subsidize" terrorists.

Ford spoke to a group of 400 at the annual dinner of the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys Law School Alumni Board at Holiday Inn at the University of Memphis.

He made the oil-terrorism connection as he called for finding new sources of energy and lessening dependence on foreign oil. That could include some domestic oil drilling and upping the mileage requirements automakers are required to meet when building cars, he said.

Ford is running for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, who is not seeking re-election next year.

State Sen. Rosalind Kurita of Clarksville is also seeking the Democratic nomination.

Ford noted that oil prices and oil consumption are both up since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

"Shame on us. The people that subsidize what happened to us on Sept. 11. ... We still fund it," he said to applause from the audience. "When I walk out and start that Tahoe, I'm funding it. I'm subsidizing it."

Ford has drawn criticism from some fellow Democrats for supporting President Bush on the decision to go to war in Iraq. But he said he differs with the White House over tactics in the war.

"The greatest military in the world can't protect a three-mile strip from the (Baghdad) airport to where our military meets and where they plan all of our operations," said Ford, who will make a return trip to Iraq in October.

"I love my President. But he's just wrong -- wrong to not be willing to admit that we made some mistakes and wrong to not be able to say we have to figure out another course."

He also complained that Americans are becoming less aware of a more diverse world in which Islam is a factor.

"They understand us, but we don't understand them. ... We find ourselves as a nation more and more isolated at a time when the rest of the world is becoming more and more one."

From: The Commercial Appeal