At least vultures play an important ecological role. What can one say, however, about those officials who swooped down to capitalize on the September 11 attacks?
Before the identity of the hijackers was determined, Representative Don Young (R-Alaska) was ready to cast blame: "If you watched what happened in Genoa, and even in Seattle, there's some expertise in that field," he said. "I'm not sure they're that dedicated, but ecoterrorists . . . there's a strong possibility that could be one of the groups."
In a September 21 memo, John Studt, the head of the regulatory branch of the Army Corps of Engineers, suggested that the filling of wetlands be sped up. "The harder we work to expedite issuance of permits," Studt wrote, "the more we serve the nation by moving the economy forward."
"On September 11, America came under attack by a malevolence that craves our panic, retreat, and abdication of global leadership," said U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick in a September 24 speech. His solution? "Fast track"--the authority for President Bush to submit future trade pacts to Congress with no possibility of amendment.
And two days after the attack, Senator Frank Murkowski (R-Alaska) suggested that there was something treasonous about not drilling the Arctic Refuge because "Mideast oil funds terrorism." Murkowski threatened to hold defense spending hostage to his Arctic drilling proposal, but later indignantly denied having done so. "It would be inappropriate and in poor taste," he said. We can only agree. --P.R.