Clicking on banner ads enables JWR to constantly improve
Jewish World Review August 12, 2002 / 4 Elul, 5762

Robert W. Tracinski

JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

Blood for oil | Someone, finally, has stated the truth to the administration and to the world: Saudi Arabia is our enemy.

According to the Washington Post, that was the message of a recent briefing to the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board. The presentation, by Rand Corporation analyst Laurent Murawiec, summed up the situation accurately:

"The Saudis are active at every level of the terror chain, from planners to financiers, from cadre to foot-soldier, from ideologist to cheerleader." According to the Post's summary, the briefing suggested a course of action that is almost correct: give Saudi Arabia an ultimatum to "stop backing terrorism or face seizure of its oil fields."

I agree -- except that it is too late for ultimatums. The events of the past year have demonstrated that we cannot allow the world's largest deposits of oil to be controlled by a gang of medieval religious fanatics.

Those who oppose strong action against the Saudis -- or against anyone else in the Middle East, for that matter -- will no doubt take up their Gulf War protest cry: "No blood for oil." But if they really meant those words, they would be the ones agitating for an invasion of Saudi Arabia, because blood for oil is the gruesome equation that has ruled the Middle East for the past five decades -- our oil, stolen by the Saudis and used to spill our blood.

The Saudis did not create their oil fields. The oil was discovered and drilled for by American, British and French oil companies. These firms were the rightful owners of the oil, and until the 1950s, their rights were mostly respected.

The Arab chieftains who ruled the region had no idea the oil was there and no idea what to use it for; they were still riding camels. But once the West discovered the oil and put it to use -- running our factories and automobiles -- the chieftains began to tax the oil. When that wasn't enough, they simply stole the oil fields, beginning with the de facto nationalization of the Saudi oil fields in 1950. The House of Saud did not seize the oil in the name of the "the people"; they seized it to enrich a small gang of princes and hangers-on.

If someone were to propose, today, that such a vast amount of wealth be seized for the sole benefit of a single family of feudal aristocracy, the Western world would rise up to oppose the idea. So why accept such a situation after the fact?

Worse, consider what the Saudis did with their ill-gotten gains. The Saudi common man is still poor; not much of the oil loot trickles down to him. But plenty of money goes to indolent Saudi princes -- and, through them, to the religious fanatics who attack America.

The fanatics who sponsor and commit terrorist acts can't finance these activities on the strength of their own abilities. Indeed, a recent United Nations report authored by Arab intellectuals decried the economically and technologically backward state of the Arab world. Saudi universities, for example, produce more graduates in Islamic theology than in any other field; the Muslim world as a whole has produced fewer than 1 percent of the world's scientists; students in the Saudi-funded religious schools in Pakistan cannot do elementary arithmetic and do not know that man has walked on the moon. At the heart of Islamic fundamentalism is a profound hatred for knowledge, learning, technology and commerce. Left to its own devices, this ideology produces the starvation-level poverty that the Taliban brought to Afghanistan.

For the Saudis, however, stolen oil changed everything. The wealthier the West became, the more we enriched the anti-Western fanatics in Arabia.

The Saudi rulers are vigorous promoters of Wahhabism, a fanatical Islamic sect that preaches -- among other barbaric doctrines -- that Muslims have a duty to hate non-Muslims. They have exported this hatred to the rest of the region, inspiring and sponsoring the Taliban, paying blood money to Palestinian terrorists, broadcasting anti-Jewish incitement and anti-American propaganda in their state-controlled press, and tolerating the free flow of money to organizations like al-Qaeda.

American ultimatums may help, but they won't neutralize this fundamental threat: oil money flowing into the undeserving hands of Saudi aristocracy -- the wealth created by the West being seized by those who want to destroy the West.

I agree with the rallying cry of "no blood for oil" -- but I think we should really mean it: no oil for corrupt Saudi princes, and no more blood spilled by the terrorists they support.

Enjoy this writer's work? Why not sign-up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment on JWR contributor Robert W. Tracinski's column by clicking here.

08/06/02: The welfare debate we're not having
07/30/02: Newsflash: Hauling CEOs away in manacles makes market soar!
07/23/02: Clearing the way for real airport security
07/16/02: The war on CEOs
07/09/02: Small-time crooks
06/27/02: Martha and the tall poppies
06/21/02: The post-colonialist famine
06/12/02: America's Maginot Line
06/07/02: Time's up for Pakistan
05/28/02: Freedom's defenders
05/22/02: What they knew and when they knew it
05/16/02: The mixed-economy monster
05/08/02: Conference in Cloud Cuckoo Land
04/25/02: The 'Palestinian" victims?
04/18/02: Why Israel must not withdraw
04/09/02: LIVE FROM RAMALLAH: The Theater of the Absurd
03/26/02: Campaign finance corruption
03/21/02: Who is George Bush?
03/14/02: The prophets of defeatism
02/21/02: The war on terrorism and the war on reality
02/14/02: Multilateralism's one-way street
02/05/02: The Powell Problem
01/29/02: A profligate and irresponsible distortion of congressional priorities
01/22/02: Liberal conspiracy theories
01/15/02: Fading shock and fading resolve
01/08/02: Argentina's intellectual collapse
12/31/02: The real person of the year
12/26/01: With friends like us ...
12/19/01: Ending the "peace process war"
12/11/01: The ruthless grip of logic
12/04/01: War powers without war
11/27/01: An Afghanistan Thanksgiving
11/20/01: The end of the beginning
11/06/01: The phony war
10/30/01: A war against Islam
10/23/01: The economics of war
10/16/01: A culture of death
10/11/01: An empire of ideals
10/01/01: Why they hate us
09/24/01: The lessons of war
09/20/01: What a real war looks like
09/17/01: America's war song
09/12/01: It is worse than Pearl Harbor
09/11/01: Out of the fire and back into the frying pan
09/05/01: The UN Conference of Racists
08/28/01: Waging war on profits and lives
08/20/01: The Bizarro-World War
08/08/01: The death toll of environmentalism
07/31/01: Where does America stand?
07/25/01: Barbarians at the G8
07/17/01: The carrot and the carrot
07/11/01: The real Brave New World
07/03/01: The child-manipulators
06/19/01: The scientist trap
06/11/01: The National Academy of Dubious Science