Cape Wind coming under a suspected clandestinely funded "mercenary attack" by a resurgent indigenous resistance, apparently still trying to throw off the yoke of European colonization on Cape Cod, is an ironic twist of a tried and true environmental warfare tactic.
Only this time, the hidden talons of alleged Alliance (to Protect Nantucket Sound) money persons have spun their hired hang-around-the-fort Indians against the alternative energy pioneers, as well as against a mostly honest bureaucracy at Interior's Minerals Management Service trying to facilitate a mostly honest process.
Decades ago, Greenpeace and other opposition forces battling to block the Waste Isolation Pilot Project (WIPP), which intends to bury spent nuclear power plant fuel beneath Yucca Mountain, Nevada, were joined by varied Native American tribesmen claiming Yucca Mountain as their historically sacred, ancient ceremonial ground.
"Holy hypocrisy, Batman!" And how ironic. And how successful, thus far?
As is not unknown in the histories various empires, rising and falling, here again have "indigenous tribes" turned toward a higher bidder, as it is being alleged in the Cape Wind controversy's latest bizarre twist?
If this is indeed the case, then the extraction industry oligarchs for whom the Alliance is accused of fronting have scored a cynical but potentially effective blow to Jim Gordon's effort to open and develop a new energy frontier.
And quite obviously, it also gives weight to the adage that, "What goes around, comes around."
Exploiting indigenous envy and intergroup rivalries, territorial or religious differences is, unfortunately or not, in the highest traditions of cultural superimposition and colonial conquest, usually with payoffs for all except the innocent citizens who may be caught up between warring factions, only to be victimized for "The Cause."
Even after Cornwallis surrendered to George Washington at Yorktown, British forces operating from Canada paid bounties to indigenous mercenaries for scalps lifted from frontier settlers along the Ohio River's wilderness, as evidenced by receipts for such bounties found by history researchers among Parliamentary records of that era.
Bales of scalps: men's, women's and children's -- even those of unborn infants reportedly cut from their dead mothers' wombs, all the better to justify a separate payment -- had been sent from Ohio to Canada to England, to demonstrate to the bean counters of George III that their hired Indians were earning their keep, so to speak.
Horrified, the powdered politicians demanded no more to see (and smell, it is reported) the evidence of their "unofficial" policy, and eventually -- no doubt pushed by competing budgetary demands -- they quit paying, although the targeted American frontiersmen, perhaps understandably unforgiving, hunted down the Indians and repaid their favors, until cooler heads -- at least, heads which still had their hair -- established a truce.
Indeed, this very strategy epitomizes currently bandied approaches to an undermining of Taliban influences in Waziristan and other troubling "stans," where Islamists battle crusaders while dope cartels battle everybody. No "scalp expense accounts" have thus far been publicized in this latest iteration, but readily available aerial views of exploded insurgents will be proofs enough of tribal betrayals by rivals and settlements of feudal grudges.
More evidence that the anti-Cape Wind crusaders hoisted eco-warriors on their own petards, as it were, arises from the frontier of panicked sea level rise refugees inhabiting Pacific islands and Third World coastal regions, where the evil electricity sucking, coal cooking Neanderthalian industrial people are being accused of provoking the ocean gods and threatening to sink innocent island tribes beneath a vengeful sea! Oh, the humanity!
Yikes! We must save them, we are commanded. Failing that, we're supposed to: "Send money!" Or visas?
Who is representing and "advising" such mini-nations, who are sorely lacking in indigenous climate science, Cray computer modeling capacity and satellite imagery documenting the encroaching seas they claim will eat them?
Well, at times such representation comes from environmental organizations: in Geneva, in London, in New York, or in Washington, DC. Such tactics also have helped influence votes in favor of marine mammal conservation and at International Whaling Conventions for decades, as whaling nations have complained through treaty after treaty, whaling ban after whaling ban.
Notable and worthy causes all, but undermined by disingenuous tactics! And too many whales still die.
Appalachian coal regions are, at least inferentially, thus accused of making "war" against once-carefree South Seas tribes worshipped by Margaret Mead and her devotees, a classic example one might argue of greedy oligarchs again igniting ethnic wars to advance or obstruct this policy or that, in the name of protecting "the global commons," whatever it is perceived to be at the time.
In this case it is by using IPCC-promoted panic to foster race-baiting, hysterical accusations and respondent backlash between coal miners with their names on their shirts and distant islanders, both of which groups have only televised dreams to which they have no real hope of practical achievement. Ugly, but not at all "new."
If this weren't so damaging to our nation's progress toward a rational, balanced and better energy future, not to mention such an insult to Jim Gordon's creative and courageous initiative to demonstrate wind power on a scale which might attract additional entrepreneurial commitments to strategically safe energy supplies, it would be a riot.
Oh, yes, hilarious! Except for the hatred being seeded and the cultural futility eventually and more likely permanently engendered, setting increasingly disempowered populations at one another's throats.
What is familiar here? Competing elites using poor people as pawns, perhaps? Is there an echo in here?
At best, it is a travesty, and it should be embarrassing to Native Americans of intelligence and character which, beneath and beyond the retail political hype and hyperbole, we "white settlers" have so painfully learned to accept, understand and, indeed, to honor and to celebrate. Thus, neither do our past conflicts merit refighting.
Such cynical manipulation of perceived or amplified racial and cultural differences, conducted by reactionary NIMBY factions but paid for primarily by "others" having less crystalline motives, is intolerable, whether it is a tactic of Planet Loving Greens or of mining oligarchs protecting their "views" while undermining progress toward a balanced, more sustainable energy future, transitioning with integrity and candor and grace from old to new.
Our need for a different, varied and creative energy mixture -- for our own country and, indeed, for Earth-At-Large -- is demonstrably real and deadly serious. But panicked responses trending toward a "run for the lifeboats" mentality and a "who eats the fastest, gets the most" ethic, are neither warranted nor befitting civilized people.
Efforts to exploit vestigial traditions, or to graft ancillary issues while paying casino-building tribes for going on some extraneous, unjustified "warpath," are global cultural sins for which their perpetrators should be called to account, publicly exposed and humiliated, then left in the dustbin of history in favor of optimistic modernity.
Beyond the gentle salons of Osterville and Hyannis, in the shadowy hills of Coal Country and on crowded islands with deficient resources, the potential impacts of such fomented cultural warfare are geni that, once loosed from their lamps, will be immensely difficult to contain.
There be dragons here. Hungry and with sharp, gnashing teeth!
Let's be careful up there. The whole world is watching!