Other than the togas worn in the days of the Holy Roman Empire (which was not holy, nor Roman and, in due course, not an empire) we've never cared much for men wearing bed sheets as clothing, including or especially, the Ku Klux Klan and the Saudis.
American presidents, especially Clinton, historically could not have treated the Saudi monarchs better had they expected to find that their sheets covered the curves of an 18-year-old belly dancer. But of course, it was not daydreams of desert suntanned flesh that tilted American policy towards the Saudis; rather it was our national thirst for a black liquid.
Successive American presidents, excluding the present one, have acted as if Saudi oil were more important that Israeli blood. Even spilt American blood was also dishonored in our quest for oil. During World War II, Roosevelt compromised our national integrity and honor when, in pursuit of Arabian oil, he cozied up to the Arabian leader, the pro-Nazi Ibn Saud.
It is time to heed Lincoln's advice that "the dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate for the stormy present." In this case it has been a past only made "quiet" by this country simply ignoring a Saudi national policy that affronts the sensibilities of Western civilization.
One thing should be abundantly clear, even to the Arabists in our State Department: The Saudis are no friends of the United States. It was not by some geographic accidents that 15 out of the 19 terrorists that attacked the United States on September 11 were Saudis, and bin Laden himself is a Saudi citizen, not to mention that a majority of the gangsters who are enjoying our hospitality in the pens at Guantanamo Bay are Saudis. The Saudis celebrated when we were attacked and still continue to fund the terrorists' training schools. Saudi foreign minister Prince Saud al-Faisal officially announced that they would not permit their country to be utilized by the United States in a war against Iraq.
The Rand Corporation, a respected independent think tank, rendered an opinion to the Pentagon:
"The Saudis are active at every level of the terror chain, from planners to financiers, from cadre to foot-soldier, from ideologist to cheerleader...Saudi Arabia supports our enemies and attacks our allies."
Certainly, the responsible leaders of our government see Saudi Arabia for what it is: a repressive, autocratic state unfriendly and hostile to the United States -- indeed hostile to the principles of Western civilization itself -- a culture more devoted to the Koran's teaching, "Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them," than to any desire for a reasonable relationship with the West.
The Saudis' control of 25 percent of the world's oil reserves has historically allowed them to blackmail us. Now, President Bush seeks to improve domestic production and increase our national reserves. Added to this is the possibility of Alaskan drilling in previously protected lands. Russian oil will eventually become available to us at competitive rates. But all of these things lie in the future. Now, the Saudis supply us with 15 percent of our oil. It is unrealistic to believe that any near-term conservation measures will allow us to save this much oil from domestic and military consumption. Oil is to our civilization as water is to our bodies.
As our country expanded westward, the settlers were initially devoted to farming and cattle-raising. Not infrequently, situations arose where, unless payment was made, the owner of a water source denied the flow of water to those further on downstream. Putting aside the morality of demanding such tribute for the utilization of, in the last analysis, a God-given natural resource, things resolved themselves on a practical basis: if the amount demanded was reasonable and within the ability of the person downstream to pay, payment was made. If this were not the case, the water way would be opened by force, so that all might enjoy its necessary benefits.
If oil is as essential to us to allow the continuum of our way of life, in much the same way water was to our early settlers, there is no good reason why we cannot simply take over the oil fields with force of arms, distribute the oil to the world at fair rates, and establish a democratic government in Saudi Arabia, under our protection, to forever insure the flow of the black gold. The entire world would benefit from the trickle-down effect of the establishment of fair oil prices. It is one thing for DeBeers to artificially control the price of diamonds, since diamonds are hardly a necessity -- give or take assorted wives and girlfriends -- it is quite another to do this with oil, a commodity at the core center of modern civilization.
The common refrain that America is not in the nation-building business is nonsense. We are in precisely that business. We did it with Germany and Japan and assorted other regimes, from Nationalist China to Vietnam, where the recipients of our efforts were known to us to be corrupt scoundrels.
There is a tendency to make orgies of inaction in the name of geopolitics and the pleasures of contemplating actions and reaction. Here the course is simple and the rewards immediate and direct. Somebody should let the Saudis know that if they do not act sensibly and clean up their act, the engines of war will be warming up and the various Sheiks should start making appointments to meet their money in Switzerland.
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