WASHINGTON - A preventive war worked out so well in Iraq that Washington last week launched another. The new preventive war -- the government responding forcefully against a postulated future threat -- has been declared on behalf of polar bears, the first species whose supposed jeopardy has been ascribed to global warming.
The Interior Department, bound by the Endangered Species Act, has declared polar bears a "threatened" species because they might be endangered "in the foreseeable future," meaning 45 years. (Note: 45 years ago, the now-long-forgotten global cooling menace of 35 years ago was not yet foreseen.) The bears will be threatened if the current episode of warming, if there really is one, is, unlike all the previous episodes, irreversible, and if it intensifies, and if it continues to melt sea ice vital to the bears, and if the bears, unlike in many previous warming episodes, cannot adapt.