How strange

Posted: Jun 17, 2003 12:00 AM

Isn't it strange that the very same people who were prepared to give the United Nations weapons inspectors months and even years to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq are screaming after just a few weeks that our failure to discover them is proof of a hoax?

And isn't it amazing that the very same people who believe Saddam never had weapons of mass destruction also believe that Hillary found out the truth about Monica only two days before Bill Clinton's grand jury testimony? And isn't it odd that the fierce feminist who bids fair to be the first presidential nominee of a major political party got there by playing up her role as long-suffering wife to a rogue? Her memoir could have been titled "A Rake's Wife's Progress."

And don't you love those slick new TV commercials the hand-chopping, women-oppressing Saudis are running on American television? If there is one thing 9-11 has clarified for most Americans, it is the corrupt bargain that two generations of policymakers (Democrat and Republican) have made with that foul regime. The tagline for these glossy, upbeat spots is something like, "The U.S. and Saudi Arabia: Partners Against Terror."

Ha. Who has bankrolled Al Qaeda and other terror groups? According to a United Nations Security Council report, Saudi Arabia has channeled some $500 million to Al Qaeda over the past decade. Who has sent proselytizers around the world to spread Wahhabism, the Muslim sect that finds purity and godliness in total intolerance and murder of the infidel? Who supplied 15 of the 19 murderers who gave us Sept. 11 and a majority of the detainees in Guantanamo? Who holds telethons for Palestinian terrorists on state TV?

After a Saudi residential neighborhood was hit by Al Qaeda in June, a Saudi spokesman explained that his government had really gotten the message that terror was a serious problem. Funny, why did they not get that message after 9-11?

Yes, yes, it is sometimes necessary to make deals with the devil in international affairs -- witness our alliance with Stalin against Hitler. But Americans have an unfortunate tendency to perfume these arrangements with generous sprays of fiction. Instead of keeping his rhetorical distance from the butcher in Moscow, Roosevelt encouraged a benign view of Stalin. Americans called him "Uncle Joe." And several generations of American policymakers have insisted upon calling Saudi Arabia a "moderate Arab state" and a "friend."

Someone once said a moderate Arab is one who believes in killing only Israeli civilians, not Americans. But even by that standard, it is not clear that Saudi Arabia passes the test. As for friendship, if your friends don't mind seeing your people incinerated in office buildings, who needs enemies?

Our "friends" the Saudis are currently engaged in a number of activities we'd be hard put to describe as affectionate. The Saudi state, according to the Center for Security Policy, currently underwrites the mortgages of about 80 percent of America's mosques, the better to exercise influence over the direction of Islam here. The Saudis are also engaged in a concerted effort to convert felons in our prisons to Wahhabi Islam. These prisoners are fertile soil for the anti-American, absolutist and conspiratorial theories of Wahhabism. And the Saudis also fund a large network of "influence operations," from supposed civil rights groups to charities, whose true function is to further the cause of radical Islam.

Saudi Arabia is a primitive nation. Polygamy is the order of the day, and women are kept in near bondage. Foreign workers are often treated like slaves. Thieves and adulteresses are stoned to death or are beheaded in public squares. The royal family lives in splendor and wretched excess, while the average person has trouble finding a job. The Saudis have experienced neither colonialism nor Enlightenment. Theirs is a 13th century society living with 21st century luxuries.

Strange that we democrats should call them friends.