Today Glenn Beck defended his coverage of Democrats and liberals in the aftermath of the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ). Beck claimed that his rhetoric has never been over-the-top and strongly rejected any suggestion that he promoted violence. Beck’s critics tend to disagree, pointing to some comments Beck has made about progressives as a “cancer”, and a fantasy Beck once talked about involving strangling Michael Moore. In his own defense, Beck said that he only had positive things to say about Congresswoman Giffords. Beck proceeded to play a clip in which he and his radio co-host praised Giffords’ call for more border security. However, Beck left out another incident in which he and his co-host had some “not so positive” things to say about Giffords.
In the video to the left from 2010, Beck plays an audio clip in which Giffords, at a congressional hearing, asks General Patreaus about renewable energy solutions in Afghanistan. Beck and his co-host can be heard laughing in the background. Beck’s co-host then says Patreaus should have answered with “That’s the dumbest thing anyone has ever asked me, you moron. Are you really asking me, a four-star or five-star, what is Patreas?” Repeatedly Beck says “Mhmm” in agreement. At the end, Beck mocks Giffords for saying that the military’s reliance on fossil fuels is unsustainable.
Of course, if Beck and his co-host had done some research, they would have found that Giffords’ question was incredibly relevant. Fossil fuels are very costly to transport, both in terms of money and lives. One of the foremost difficulties in Afghanistan, which is landlocked, is trying to get fossil fuels where they are needed. The infrastructure in the country is not developed, to say the least. In addition, fuel convoys make easy targets for insurgents. A recent study by the Army Environmental Policy Institute found that there was an average of one casualty for ever 24 resupply convoys. Attacks on fuel convoys accounted for nearly half the American deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan. Just last November an attack on a fuel convoy killed five NATO service members. Beck and his co-host may consider that something to laugh at, but clearly Giffords did not.
A switch to renewable energy sources would reduce the number of fuel convoys needed, and therefore also reduces the costs of war. The Pentagon has recognized this fact, which is why they are prioritizing a plan to reduce the reliance on fossil fuels within the military. Giffords was asking about one of the foremost problems facing the armed forces, yet Beck felt it appropriate to mock her.