Let's get this election over so we can go back to the issues that are important: Al Qaeda, Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld glossed over the latest Saudi outrage. He isn't an official diplomat, but there are times he has to act like one. I don't, and I won't.

The Saudis' latest jaw dropper is that they won't let us use the air bases we built to attack Iraq, even if the U.N. okays a U.S. military action against Iraq.

From the Saudi point of view, this isn't as stupid as it seems. That's because nobody in the Arab world likes the Saudi Royals. They're fat and rich and aloof and untouchable — make that out of touch. Almost everybody in the Arab world would like to see that monarchy brought down to sand level — millions of teensy particles that get in our shoes, but don't cause much else in the way of difficulty.

So helping the U.S. attack Iraq — even if the Arab street were to come around to thinking that was a good idea — would still give the Arab street another reason to hate the Saudis... and there are so many reasons already.

When that happens, where are the Saudis going to run? They'd like to go to New York and Houston and Los Angeles to hang out with the movie stars, but they may get stuck with damp, old London.

We have long memories. Remember how the Germans got snubbed for using George W. Bush as a punching bag in their election?

What if the Saudi royal family actually had to stay in Saudi Arabia during a revolution? What if they had no friends?

Remember the shah?

That's My Word .

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