One-page apology

Cal Thomas

9/17/2002 12:00:00 AM - Cal Thomas
Ken Blanchard has written another book in his successful series that began with the best seller "The One Minute Manager." This one, co-authored with Margret (cq) McBride, will be published in February and is titled, "The One Minute Apology." As Dr. Spencer Johnson ("Who Moved My Cheese?") writes in the introduction, "Few things are more powerful than having the common sense, wisdom, and strength to admit when you've made a mistake and to set things right." The Saudi government must have acquired an advance copy of the book. In full-page ads published recently in several major U.S. newspapers and sponsored by something called "The People of Saudi Arabia Allies Against Terrorism," there's one of the finest, most sincere and seemingly contrite apologies I've ever read. Signed by Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Saudi Arabia's crown prince, deputy prime minister and commander of the National Guard, the ad reprints a letter to President Bush expressing "sincere condolences and sympathy of the Saudi people and myself" for the "terrorist attacks against the American people." The crown prince says the hijackers, 15 of whom were from Saudi Arabia, had been "enticed and deluded and their reasoning subverted to the degree of denying the tolerance that their religion embraced, and turning their backs on their homeland, which has always stood for understanding and moderation." (Slight pause while those reading these words to convulse in laughter.) Referring to the fiction that Saudi Arabia embraces religious tolerance, understanding and moderation, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) told Tom Brokaw last week during a 9/11 commemorative program that the Saudis could begin a reformation by allowing their women to ride in the front seat of cars. A true apology means one acknowledges a mistake, vows not to repeat it and makes amends for any injury caused by wrong behavior. No such pledge is contained in the ad-letter, except a vague promise to "stand solidly against terrorism." It seems more like a public relations ploy. A new study by the Saudi Institute and the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies notes that, "Saudi officials disseminate hate literature openly in the United States." The Institute of Islamic and Arabic Sciences in America (funded by Riyadh) has published Abdullah Al-Tarekee's piece, "A Muslim's Relations with Non-Muslims -- Enmity or Friendship." As noted in a recent column, "The Anti-Semitism of the Saudis," by Deroy (cq) Murdock (a senior fellow with the Atlas Economic Research Foundation in Fairfax, Va., whose column is distributed by Scripps Howard News Service), the document states: "The unbelievers, idolaters, and others like them must be hated and despised. We must stay away from them and create barriers between us and them. (The) Qur'an (forbids) taking Jews and Christians as friends, and that applies to every Jew and Christian, with no consideration as to whether they are at war with Islam or not." Examples of the bashing of Jews and Christians with Saudi support (or without opposition) are legion. Sermons pouring out of mosques in Saudi Arabia (and throughout the Muslim world) regularly preach hate toward all things Jewish, Christian and American. In a Sept. 6 sermon on Saudi TV1, Shaykh Salih Bin-Abdallah Bin-Humayd prayed: "O God, destroy the usurper, tyrant Jews...O God, help the mujahidin score victory and elevate the world of Islam." Are we to believe these sermons do not motivate especially young men to commit violent acts? Should we accept apologies when hatred towards America, Christianity and Judaism is promoted by Saudi-controlled television? Last May, ArabNews.com, an English-language on-line Saudi daily, posted an essay by the American white supremacist David Duke about "evil Jewish supremacists." As Scott Peterson wrote from Riyadh in a June 7 story for the Christian Science Monitor: "Despite official pro-American policies...Saudi Arabia is a nation where all citizens are officially adherents of the hardline Wahhabi (cq) branch of Islam, and the punishment for forsaking Islam is death." Our unnecessary dependence on Saudi oil covers a multitude of their sins, but gushing about America's "friendship" with the oppressive anti-Jewish and anti-Christian Saudi government -- as the Bush administration frequently does -- and believing the Saudi newspaper ad in view of the record of that government's continuing behavior, is self-deception in the extreme. Have I hurt anyone's feelings by writing the truth? I apologize.