Moment of Reckoning
November 18, 2001
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The "Reckonings" column on the op-ed page of today's New York Times asks, "what's not to like about cheap oil?"
The column answers, "For one thing, it may undermine some of our shakier allies. Everyone now realizes that Saudi Arabia, with its growing debt and soaring population, is an Afghanistan waiting to happen; a falling oil price brings the day of reckoning that much closer."
Well, it seems to Smartertimes.com that the day of reckoning for Saudi Arabia arrived on September 11, 2001, when 15 of its nationals hijacked planes and flew them into the Pentagon and the World Trade Center. Since then the country's government has refused to cooperate in going after terrorist bank accounts; criticized the American bombing of Afghanistan; and refused to allow the use of its airfields for strikes on Afghanistan. Saudi Arabia is not an Afghanistan waiting to happen; it's an Afghanistan that has already happened. Even before September 11, the Saudis had refused to cooperate in the American investigation into the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing that killed 19 Americans. The notion that it is Saudi Arabia's "soaring population" that has anything to do with the matter is silly; the populations of Israel, the United States and Hong Kong have both soared dramatically during certain periods without producing an "Afghanistan." The problem in Saudi Arabia is not the population level, it is the lack of freedom and democracy combined with Islamic fanaticism.
The "Reckonings" column calls for Americans to conserve energy to assure a "stable" Saudi Arabia. Why should Americans risk their lives driving around in smaller cars so that corrupt Saudi princes can continue living in luxury while winking at terrorism so long as it is directed at Israel and America and not at Saudi Arabia?
Leahy's Ends: A front-page article in today's New York Times reports, "And even some members of Congress who are deeply sympathetic to the administration's ends are beginning to rebel at its means. 'I don't know when, in the last 20 years, I've heard so many members of both parties come up and say, what the heck is going on?' said Senator Patrick J. Leahy, the Vermont Democrat who is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee."
Senator Leahy may be deeply sympathetic to the administration's war against terrorism, but to describe him generally as "deeply sympathetic to the administration's ends" is a bit of a stretch.
How Many Dominicans: An article in the city section of today's New York Times refers to "New York's 600,000 Dominicans." In fact the 2000 census recorded 406,806 New York City residents of Dominican origin.
Palestine: An article in the Week in Review section of today's New York Times claims that Saudi Arabia "hopes American intervention will solve the Gordian knot that prevents peace between Israel and Palestine." The article goes on to say that "Yasir Arafat hopes a link to the coalition will give him a stronger hand in the Israel-Palestine peace process, which Mr. Bush seems to have delivered in a speech last week in which he referred to Palestine as a potentially independent state. Israel, for its part, is putting a lid on responses to attacks on its citizens to preserve crucial American support for its negotiations toward a peace."
If "Palestine" is only a potentially independent state, why is the Times news department referring to it as if it already exists? Palestinian Arabs exist; the Palestinian Authority exists; the Palestine Liberation Organization exists. But "Palestine" at the moment is merely theoretical -- to speak of it as being involved in a "peace process" or a Gordian knot is inaccurate.
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