As I was saying, the thing I love about myself is writing a column in which I am able to assume that you, dear reader, are hanging on my every word. What other columnist, on what other paper, would start a column saying, “As I was saying”? No one, that’s who.
Where was I? Oh, yes, I was talking about me and my column in the New York Times. I like to write in this breezy, sloppy sort of way and I like to throw out a lot of big names, along with some big ideas that don’t have to make a whole lot of sense.
Did you read the one I wrote this weekend called “The U.S.S. Prius”? Well, that’s what I’m talking about. The big idea in this column is that green is good. It’s good for everyone, including our warfighters. In this column I talk about how the Navy and Marines are building a strategy for “out-greening” Al Qaeda, “out-greening” the Taliban and “out-greening” the world’s petro-dictators.
I got the idea for the “The U.S.S. Prius” column during a friendly game of basketball with Barack Obama. The president was telling me that half of the reason he decided to go in and save General Motors from bankruptcy was to save the U.S. competitor to the Prius (the Volt), which would save the planet. Right then I had this inspiration. “Don’t call it the Prius, Mr. President,” I said. “Call it the U.S.S. Prius” — as if a follow-on to this Japanese-made vehicle were as big and important to the nation’s future as the U.S.S. George Washington, the giant aircraft carrier which is now on patrol in the Yellow Sea off North Korea. The president was so stunned by my suggestion that he missed an easy layup.
Years ago, my wife reacted pretty much the same way when I came home from a trip to Outer Mongolia and said to her, “Honey, I think the world is flat.” Her jaw dropped and that caused her to smear lipstick on her upper lip. This happened just as we were getting ready to go to a reception at the White House for Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and a dozen of the most brilliant scientists from the subcontinent, all of whom are quoted in my new book, “More about Me and Other Very Important People.” The only reason I was invited to the reception is that my wife is the vice-chair of the U.S./India Council. Of course, it may have helped that I am an old friend of the Indian PM.
I spent a whole day with Ray Mabus, President Obama’s secretary of the navy and the former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia. He suspended all other engagements for the day to give me his complete attention. I came away highly impressed with everything the navy and marines are doing to out-green the Jolly Green Giant.
On April 22, Earth Day, a Navy pilot, dressed in a green jumpsuit, was able to bore a hole in the sky by flying an F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jet powered by a 50-50 blend of mustard seed oil and dynamite straight up at supersonic velocity. The pilot has never been seen again after disappearing into the stratosphere.
If we can fly jet fighters with mustard seed oil and power our armored personal carriers with rear-mounted windmills, we will win the one battle that counts the most in protracted engagements in remote war zones: the battle to see who does the most to reduce their carbon foot print. We cannot allow the mad mullahs to win this battle by dent of riding about on environmentally friendly donkeys. We must harness the world’s best technology to beat them. And that is what our navy and marines are doing right now.
God bless them: “The Few. The Proud. The Green. Semper Fi.