The wheels of terrorism

Sixteen million Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) were sold in the U.S. last year. This represents more than 20 per cent of the motor vehicle market. North Americans, particularly those who drive SUVs, are labelled by some as thoughtless, even selfish, gas guzzlers -- especially in an era when much of the world's problems can be traced to a rising need for oil resources.

According to a television commercial being run by most of the major television networks in the U.S. (ABC refused to carry it), SUV owners are helping the terrorists whose focus is on harming the U.S.

The $200,000 campaign is a tongue-in-cheek parody of a government campaign which suggests that the profits generated by drug abusers may go to terrorist groups.

In the piece, one sees a man filling his vehicle up with gas. A child's voice is heard saying, "This is George. This is the gas that George bought for his SUV." When a map of Iraq and Saudi Arabia is shown, the voice says, "These are the countries where the executives bought the oil that made the gas." Finally, while showing what purports to be a terrorist training camp, the voice tells us, "And these are the terrorists who get money from those countries every time George fills up his SUV."

In another similar commercial, an American is heard to say, "I gave money to a terrorist training camp in a foreign country." At the end of the commercial, the viewer is asked, "What is your SUV doing to our national economy?"

Writer and former Republican Arianna Huffington is a strong voice against corporate and government malpractice in the U.S. She is the spokesperson for the Detroit Project, the group that produced these commercials.

"We believe that the public is ready to connect the dots. . .between gas-guzzling cars and funding terrorists," Huffington says. Although she once owned an SUV, she now drives a hybrid car.