Writing in Friday's New York Post, a frequent guest of this program, retired Col. Ralph Peters, blasts President Bush for making nice to the Saudis after news surfaced of a briefing to a Pentagon advisory board that characterized the Saudis as the enemy and suggesting we might want to occupy the Saudi oil fields someday.
I think Colonel Peters is wrong about this and here's why.
The Defense Policy Advisory Council, a group of elders who advise the secretary of Defense about all kinds of stuff, is appointed by the Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. As such, it is absurd to believe somebody from the Rand institute just shows up and gives a briefing that embarrasses the secretary of Defense and the president.
This public flogging of the Saudis was on purpose and on orders of the administration -- a way for the Bush administration to tell the Saudis, "hey guys, we're really ticked off at you."
So, the story of this inflammatory briefing is leaked to the press. About the same day, by the way, that the front page of a New York paper shows a satellite photo of air bases being built in Qatar. And if you are "Mr. Saudi ambassador" you wake up and hear the country that came to your aid to protect your from the evil Saddam is now talking as if you are the enemy and it might be worthwhile to seize your oil fields. If you're "Mr. Saudi ambassador," maybe you phone home in a hurry.
And if you're the president of the United States and the secretary of Defense, maybe that's just what you want. Maybe you want this erstwhile ally on notice that we've had just about enough of their stupid America hating, West-hating shenanigans and we know darn well the so-called princes can just put a stop to it.
And then to make sure all is well diplomatically, the president makes certain the secretary of State calls to apologize and the press spokesman says we don't subscribe to these views in any way.
I applaud the president for letting the Saudis know they get to keep their palaces and their golden thrones because we let them. I applaud him for letting them know that we aren't going to take their crap indefinitely and we can do something about these outrageous offenses of theirs.
I hope I'm right. I hope the president had the guts to remind the Saudis that they are not the tail that wags the dog.
That's My Word.
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