In an Aug. 1 editorial, The Post questioned whether energy independence is a worthwhile goal: "Oil is an internationally traded commodity; there is no intrinsic value to oil drilled here, as opposed to Qatar or the North Sea; we do not speak of 'plastic independence' or 'textile independence,' so why energy?"

Why energy? Because our society runs on energy, and a large portion comes from imported oil and natural gas. Domestic energy producers are motivated by profit, pure and simple. But many foreign oil producers are motivated not only by profit but by ideology.

Most of the world's proven oil reserves are in the Middle East, the most dangerous and unstable part of the world. Our reliance on foreign energy supplies not only aggravates our chronic trade deficit but requires huge investments in weaponry and material. It also makes us vulnerable to price increases and supply interruptions, whether triggered by terrorist attacks on pipelines and tankers or by political demands of oil-producing states.

Textiles, by contrast, are produced all over the world, including here. We also have a thriving plastics industry, although the feedstock is derived mainly from hydrocarbons -- a dangerous portion of which we import.

JOHN JOSEPH McVEIGH

Columbia