Why Drought Does Not Cause Terrorism, Or Bernie Sanders Has A Senior Moment

A Turkana woman scoops water from a dry river bed in Nasder, north of Lodwar in the Turkana region, on March 13, 2014. A first downpour relieved pastoralists in the drought stricken Kenyan Turakana region after a twelve month span that pushed livestocks and communities to the brink of another looming humanitarian crisis.   TOPSHOTS/AFP PHOTO/MARCO LONGARI

More and more frequently one is left with the feeling that there is actually nothing too bizarre for the left to believe and, by the same token, there is nothing that the left believes that the mainstream media won’t insist is true. We’ve seen that with the “rape culture” on college campuses. We see it a University of Missouri, which, we are told, is a hotbed of KKK activity though there are more black racists on the faculty of that university than their are Klan members in the student body. Now we are expected to believe that anthropogenic global warming is to blame for ISIS.

Why are we supposed to believe it? Because Bernie Sanders said so. From the Democrat debate transcript:

Absolutely. In fact, climate change is directly related to the growth of terrorism. And if we do not get our act together and listen to what the scientists say, you’re going to see countries all over the world — this is what the CIA says — they’re going to be struggling over limited amounts of water, limited amounts of land to grow their crops, and you’re going to see all kinds of international conflict.

This, obviously, is lunacy.

First and foremost, drought is sort of a stable condition in Iraq and Syria. Exhibit A.

syrian desert

This is not a new state of affairs. It has been that way for more than a millennium.

But, in order to keep Sanders from looking like the deranged old commie that he is, TIME has set up a defense:

U.S. military officials refer to climate change as a “threat multiplier” that takes issues like terrorism that would pose a threat to national security and exacerbates the damage they can cause. A 2014 Department of Defense report identifies climate change as the root of government instability that leads to widespread migration, damages infrastructure and leads to the spread of disease. “These gaps in governance can create an avenue for extremist ideologies and conditions that foster terrorism,” the report says.

A couple of quick points. First, these kinds of reports are not issued by “military officials.” These reports are prepared under the direction of political appointees. So it would be a surprise that an administration which has climate change as its dominant religion found anything else. Second, the report was prepared in 2014, well after the current mess started. Third, the report doesn’t say that climate change has caused terrorism. In fact, the 2011 report on the same subject doesn’t even mention it as a possibility.

Even were we to suspend disbelief that agree that anthropogenic global warming — and I use this term for a reason, because everyone knows climate changes, what the warmists insist is that man causes climate change and they insist the “climate change” is in only one direction: warmer — could possibly exists, there would be a high bar of proof necessary to establish any causation between AGW and terrorism. In fact, the very factors listed in the Pentagon study make intra-state conflict more likely but make terrorism less likely.

International terrorism requires a supply of fairly well educated people with an income stream and dependable food supply. Starving people don’t become terrorists… until they arrive at UN refugee camps. Starving people don’t grab onto “extremist ideologies” because they have more pressing needs. There is a reason why totalitarian regimes keep their populations scrambling for subsistence. If you are busy staying alive you don’t have time to engage in conspiracies.

Back to TIME:

The parallels between the situation described in the government report and the situation on the ground in Syria are striking. The worst drought on record in the Middle Eastern country has created instability for farmers and threatened the food supply. At the same time, the government has struggled to hold on to power across the country in the face of militant groups and millions of Syrians have fled their homeland.

Actually, this is not true at all. The drought Syria is currently undergoing is not the worst on record.  As this journal shows there have been worse droughts.

syrian rainfall

In fact, if you look at drought-severity maps you immediately note that 1) Syria’s drought is not as severe as many other areas and 2) those other areas don’t have ISIS:



The food supply in Syria has not been in jeopardy. The violence that was kicked off by the Obama administration trying to overthrow Assad has created economic dislocation and a large scale migration into refugee camps in Turkey. To say that this would not have happened were it not for drought is just fatuous. Syria, under minority Alawite rule, has had several rebellions and has existed on the razor’s edge of civil war for decades.

Again, let’s suspend disbelief and pretend Bernie Sanders and his erstwhile defenders aren’t idiots and AGW is to blame. So what? How does that knowledge help you address the problem? How does this knowledge even allow you to intervene to prevent problems? How would your reaction to a drought cause by AGW differ from your run-of -the-mill drought? For that matter, would reducing human impact on the climate to offset terrorism offset the cost of reducing the developed world to a neolithic Hell-hole?

No. Bernie Sanders is an idiot mouthing left wing shibboleths. Drought may very well have made Syrians less likely to stick it out on their land and could make them less interested in returning home once the fighting ends but to say that this drought is cause by AGW and it, in turned, contributed to ISIS is just stupid.

Get Alerts