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Ben Carson’s Bin Laden Comments Aren’t New — He’s Been Making Them For 11 Years

Energy independence as a cure for cancer and end to terrorism.

Posted on October 20, 2015, at 10:22 a.m. ET

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Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson made some headlines over the weekend when he said U.S. energy independence could have led to the capture of Osama Bin Laden -- an argument Carson has made before, as far back as 11 years ago.

The retired neurosurgeon told ABC This Week's George Stephanopoulos on Sunday, "Well, I think [Arab states] would have been extremely concerned if we had declared -- and we were serious about it -- that we were going to become petroleum independent, because it would have had a major impact on their finances, and I think that probably would have trumped any loyalty that they had to, to people like Osama bin Laden."

Stephanopoulos had asked Carson about comments he made at the at the second Republican debate, where he said, "Declare that within five to 10 years, we will become petroleum independent. The moderate Arab states would have been so concerned about that, they would have turned over Osama bin Laden and anybody else you wanted on a silver platter within two weeks."

In a 2005 video previously noted by BuzzFeed News, Carson, then still a neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins, said going energy independent would not just end terrorism and lead to Bin Laden's capture, but also would cure cancer.

"Our immune systems fight developing cancers," Carson said in September 2005 at a Town Hall Meeting hosted by the Congressional Black Caucus. "However, if our immune systems are so busy fighting pollution coming into the body all the time, they're not going to be able to fight the cancer rates. We need to start concentrating on this environment. We're polluting it with petroleum products that have very long half-lives and all kinds of things and if we don't begin to pay attention to it, we're going to be fighting a losing battle."

"And how am I going to tie all of this up?" Carson asked. He asserted that switching to a new energy source would be a more effective alternative to the Bush administration's War on Terror.

"I personally believe that we could win that war without firing a single bullet if we used this incredible brain that God gave us and the way we would do that," Carson said. "What if the president came out tomorrow and said, 'Within ten years, we are going to become petroleum-independent. We are going to change our energy source.' Think about what the implications of that would be.

"First of all, all the moderate Arab states would be horrified because now, you know, what's going to happen to them? So they would hand Osama and all those guys over on a silver platter. They would not want to deal with them because they would put first things first," Carson said.

He also said shifting energy sources would "begin to clean up the environment so we could do something about the health that's going on here" and would lead to a soaring job market.

"The job market would go through the roof as we changed over from the petroleum industry to, let's say, hydrogen," Carson said. "The production of jobs would be astronomical and they would not be exportable jobs. And the stock market would go through the roof."

"And Osama and all his buddies would have no money to spend and no terrorism to export," Carson predicted. "And, you know, really, maybe that's the reason that God gave us brains, so we could come up with solutions like that. Because we could shoot missiles and bombs at them all day and there will not come a time when they give up and say, 'Okay, we're gonna be good guys.'"

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