In bed with the devil
There goes a saying when dating: “Watch who you sleep with.” Ironically, the United States, thus American citizens, are bedfellows with Saudi Arabia. Vixens of “Devil’s Tears,” oil, the toxic fluid that will be our country’s economic demise unless we wake up and understand how we westerners along with the Saudis, are contributing to the very problems we blame on Middle East tyrants and terrorism. The best-known part of the story emerged after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Most of the hijackers were Saudi citizens – one of the ironic legacies of U.S. and Saudi support for the radical Muslim fighters who fought and defeated the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980s. This support created a pool of thousands of Muslim radicals, including Osama bin Laden, from which al Qaeda drew its members. With the Soviets out of Afghanistan, the growing American military presence in the Middle East following the 1991 Iraq war helped provoke the radicals to commit a string of assaults on U.S. interests, including the embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, the USS Cole, and the World Trade Center. Saudi support for the charities amounted to an estimated $70 billion over the years. Given the dearth of Saudi income from any source other than sales of crude oil, this money in effect makes western consumers complicit in acts of terror directed primarily against westerners. In this and other ways already mentioned – the military adventurism, alliances with thuggish regimes, resource conflicts – the dependence of the United States on oil imposes a heavy burden on geopolitical risk and moral culpability. As we face $2.50 to $3.00 a gallon gas prices across America this summer, renewed acts of terrorism, deaths of hundreds of U.S. soldiers abroad, billions and billions of dollars spent to fight the war on terrorism, ask yourself: Is this a worthy price to pay to create a distant democracy in Iraq? How has this helped us? And just who is supporting the enemy? Do we feel safer now? Are we living in fear spending every cent in the bank to protect ourselves? Are we our own worst enemy? And just who are we bedfellows with: peacekeepers or devils?
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