Let's Stop Fooling Ourselves

Yet again, we Americans have been caught blissfully ignorant about a part of the world that suddenly has thrust itself most profoundly into our national consciousness. But just as the politicians and the media are rushing to give us (and themselves) a crash course on our enemies in this part of the world, we should also ask them to address a few important realities about our "friends" there.

The focus of America's outrage has been kept on the horrific Osama bin Laden, the repressive Taliban, and the impoverished people of Afghanistan. But what of our rich and repressive oil buddies in Saudi Arabia? George Bush the Elder, Dick Cheney and his Halliburton corporation, and George Bush the Younger all are champions of the elitist regime in Riyahd. The bargain is as straightforward as it is cold-blooded: Our oil companies get their crude; they get the protection of our military might.

Meanwhile, who has been the chief sponsor of the Taliban? Saudi Arabia's royal rulers, whose money, home-grown extremists, and diplomats helped the Taliban maintain control of Afghanistan. Who is Osama bin Laden? The son of one of Saudi Arabia's ruling families. What government has allowed the funneling of essential funds to bin Laden's Al Queda terrorist network? Saudi Arabia's. Of the 19 hijackers who plowed our planes into our people on September 11, where were the majority from? Saudi Arabia.

Our government is demonizing and pounding Afghanistan, which is of zero economic importance to us. But our government is cynically averting its eyes from the support of terrorism, the pervasive corruption, the contempt for democracy, and the extensive human rights abuses that are routinely practiced by Saudi's royalty. The difference is money. The Saudi royalty keeps its oil spigots open, buys our treasury bonds, purchases billion-of-dollars worth of weaponry from our munitions makers ... and professes to be our friend.

This is Jim Hightower saying ... To stop terrorism, our government must stop fooling itself ... and us.

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