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 Post subject: Robert Scheer: Those Ungrateful Saudis
PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 6:21 pm 
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Those Ungrateful Saudis

Why is it that George W. Bush gets only a 12 percent favorability rating in Saudi Arabia? Even Osama bin Laden and Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad scored higher in a poll last month by the nonpartisan Terror Free Tomorrow group, which counts both Republican Sen. John McCain and Democrat former Rep. Lee Hamilton on its advisory board. What ingrates those Saudis are. Didn’t the Bush family save them twice from Saddam Hussein?

What more can this president do to curry favor with the Saudis? He forgave them for nurturing the Wahhabism that spawned al-Qaida, and he never embarrasses them with the fact that bin Laden and 15 of the19 hijackers who attacked America on 9/11 were born and raised in the kingdom. Nor did Bush let the inconvenient fact that the Saudi government had backed the Taliban until 9/11 intrude on his cozy relations with the royal family. That warmth, displayed at ranching cookouts in both countries, has now been reinforced by $20 billion in U.S. arms sales to the Saudis and their Persian Gulf allies, officially announced by Bush on Monday.

At first, the Bush administration feared that some pro-Israel members of Congress might be able to derail the arms sale deal, but they solved that one by offering Israel $30 billion in new weapons. That’s a good deal for the Israelis and for U.S. arms manufacturers, although not for U.S. taxpayers stuck with the tab. No problem—neither the media nor Congress notices the cost to taxpayers of anything carrying the label of “national security.” Heck, Iraq’s defense minister was just in Washington with his shopping list for new weapons and didn’t cause much of a stir when he said the United States will have to defend Iraq for at least a decade more. So much for the impact of the $1 trillion already wasted on the Iraq debacle.

At least the Saudis pay their own way and then some, when you look at how our main banks would now be kaput were it not for the almost daily bailouts from Gulf-based holding companies. It’s a good deal all around: The Gulf sheiks get their money by raising oil prices that drive up inflation, thus raising the interest rates on home mortgages, and then, when the banks foreclose on those homes at a loss, the oil money comes pouring in to make the banks whole again. A good deal for everyone, that is, except for the folks who lose the equity in their homes, but they don’t have a lobby that Congress or the president has to worry about.

With Bush’s imperial fantasy fading into dismal reality, our nation saddled with record debt, an immense trade gap and an American public that has seen through his “What, me worry?” con, the president has bizarrely sought validation through visiting the scene of his foreign policy crimes. Just how bizarre a ploy was summarized in a Wall Street Journal news report predicting, “As President Bush tours the Middle East on his first official visit, he will encounter an Arab public deeply critical of his policies in the region and skeptical that the U.S. means what it says.” The WSJ article quotes the editor of a leading newspaper aligned with Lebanon’s U.S.-backed government as stating unequivocally: “Democracy in the Middle East is now part of history. Nobody believes Bush anymore. He has turned the Middle East into a big mess, and you can’t bring democracy and change with instability.”

A big mess! It turns out they hate us not for our success, as Bush once claimed, but for our incompetence, which he has done much to exhibit
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 6:41 pm 
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Remember this?

THE 2000 CAMPAIGN: THE TEXAS GOVERNOR; Bush Would Use Power of Persuasion to Raise Oil Supply

Gov. George W. Bush of Texas said today that if he was president, he would bring down gasoline prices through sheer force of personality, by creating enough political good will with oil-producing nations that they would increase their supply of crude.

''I would work with our friends in OPEC to convince them to open up the spigot, to increase the supply,'' Mr. Bush, the presumptive Republican candidate for president, told reporters here today. ''Use the capital that my administration will earn, with the Kuwaitis or the Saudis, and convince them to open up the spigot.''

Implicit in his comments was a criticism of the Clinton administration as failing to take advantage of the good will that the United States built with Kuwait and Saudi Arabia during the Persian Gulf war in 1991. Also implicit was that as the son of the president who built the coalition that drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait, Mr. Bush would be able to establish ties on a personal level that would persuade oil-producing nations that they owed the United States something in return.

''Ours is a nation that helped Kuwait and the Saudis, and you'd think we'd have the capital necessary to convince them to increase the crude supplies,'' he said.

Asked why the Clinton administration had not been able to use the power of personal persuasion, Mr. Bush said: ''The fundamental question is, 'Will I be a successful president when it comes to foreign policy?' ''

He went on to suggest, as he did in answer to other questions, that voters should simply trust him. :roll:

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