Apr. 29, 2002: Saudi Arabia Needs to Get With the Program

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Abdullah, who runs a country that thinks we still live in the 14th Century, came to Texas recently to lecture President George W. Bush, on how to run his country. He told the president that if the United States doesn’t back off from its support of Israel, our relationship with the Arab nations would suffer. As far as the majority of Americans are concerned, that falls in the category of a big, fat Who Cares? Arabs don’t like us now and never will. According to every poll I have seen to date, we aren’t too crazy about them, either.

Instead of inviting this tinhorn dictator to stick his unwanted nose in our business, why didn’t the president ask him if some Arabian cat got his tongue after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11? I don’t remember hearing a peep out of him or anybody else in the Arab world – except for the flag burners who cheered loud and long in the streets – and that is as disgusting as it is unconscionable. The president should have suggested to His Royalness that he explain his country’s deafening silence to the thousands of American parents, widows and orphans who lost loved ones in the senseless attacks and to the rest of us as well.

Since President Bush seems to be in a mood to take advice from anybody these days, let me offer some of my own. Tell the Arabs to take their oil and shove it. Maybe that will move us out of our gas-guzzling SUVs and into energy-efficient automobiles. Maybe that will force us to obey the speed limits. Maybe that will prompt us to turn out the lights when we leave a room. Maybe the Arabas can learn to drink the stuff.

Here is some more advice. Tell the prince that it’s a free world and if he is upset with Israel, then he and his buddies can invade them whenever they feel like it. The war that would result would last about as long as it takes to boil an egg. The Jews lost 6 million people in the Holocaust and nobody lifted a finger to prevent it, and they have been persecuted by everybody from the Cossacks to the Crusaders. What is one more enemy to them? If the Arabs think they are tough enough to take on Israel, then they should do it and quit blaming their problems on us. If the Israelis are lucky, maybe the Arabs will elect Saddam Hussein captain of their side.

In the meantime, the Saudis have begun a new kind of battle. According to news reports, they have hired a Washington PR firm for $200,000 a month to convince us they are the good guys and that the 1973 oil embargo was just their idea of a practical joke. Frankly, the campaign isn’t off to a roaring start. Senator Joseph Biden (D-Del.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, took to the Senate floor recently and, in the finest traditions of Zell Miller, ripped the Saudis six ways from Sunday for their anti-Semitism and other assorted sins. You pay two hundred grand a month and you get savaged by one of the U.S. Senate’s most powerful members. Maybe the Saudi Arabian minister of public relations and jihad development should ask for his money back.

The PR campaign was doomed before it started. Actions speak louder than words. The American public doesn’t want to see feel-good advertisements. We want to see Saudi Arabia openly and actively helping us close down the terrorists’ money flow. The Saudis don’t need to appear on our television networks to telling us that we don’t appreciate them. They need to explain to the American people how a Saudi telethon that raised almost $100 million for Palestinian “martyrs” isn’t worsening an already bad situation in the Middle East.

Most of all, the Saudis don’t need to be telling us how to make nice with the Arab world. They need to be telling Arabs how to get along with us. Those weren’t Arab buildings destroyed and Arab citizens killed on Sept. 11. They were ours. The American people are angry, and no PR campaign or lectures from a self-important Saudi prince is going to change that. Not by a long shot.