Ratcheting up the debate over sport utility vehicles, new television commercials suggest that people who buy the vehicles are supporting terrorists. The commercials are so provocative that some television stations are refusing to run them.

Patterned after the commercials that try to discourage drug use by suggesting that profits from illegal drugs go to terrorists, the new commercials say that money for gas needed for S.U.V.’s goes to terrorists….

The two 30-second commercials are the brainchild of the author and columnist Arianna Huffington. [New York Times, 1/8/03]

Of course, these ads mean that not just SUVs, but every driver is supporting terrorism.

What, it’s only “wasteful” use that counts as supporting terrorism? OK, then, anyone who drives more than is minimally necessary is supporting terrorism. The amount of gas “wasted” on “needless” driving is no doubt far more than is “wasted” by driving SUVs rather than economy cars.

In fact, by Ms. Huffington’s logic, anti-nuclear protesters support terrorism as well, since by going nuclear we could significantly reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

Now it’s true–buying oil sends money to oil-producing countries, some of whom support terrorism. But then the answer is to ban purchasing oil from those countries–or, better yet, to overthrow the governments of those countries and to return the oil to its rightful owners, the American and British companies who discovered and developed the oil.

These ads are not the product of concern with terrorism, but of hatred for SUVs, and more fundamentally, of hatred of selfishness–which SUVs supposedly represent. I say let’s have more selfishness, more SUVs, and more intolerance of regimes that support terrorism.

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