I was torn today between giving the tribunals another go — my position on tribunals being rah-rah — and taking another whack at the Saudis. When in doubt, go for the reliable — our very good friends, the Saudis ...

Remember that Saudi prince who tried to give New York $10 million after Sept. 11, but tied it to a declaration that the attacks were the result of some U.S. policies — namely, Israel? (In other words, it's America's fault.) Remember him?

Well, Prince Walid is now floating around the stunningly original idea that maybe the people of Saudi Arabia should be allowed to vote. He's being hailed as a revolutionary thinker.

Here's what he actually said:

"If people speak more freely and get involved more in the political process, you can really contain them, and make them part of the process."

Did you like that 'contain them' part?

They do have a problem with containing people in Saudi Arabia. Two of the most salient facts of the Sept. 11 disaster prove that:

• Three-quarters of the hijackers were Saudi

• Usama bin Laden is a Saudi, even though the country has tried to disown him

So now the far-thinking, avant-garde prince is spouting democracy for the kingdom?

Another quote:

"What I'm saying could be too much for Saudi Arabia."

Wow. Democracy is over the top for Saudi Arabia. I guess I should have known. I can tell from all of the emails I get telling me how wonderful the Saudi royals are that these people are much more accustomed to kowtowing than speaking their minds.

I think those emails are the force of habit. It's against the law to speak out against the royal family in Saudi Arabia. I don't have to be nice because I'm an American, but the Saudis are in a tight spot. They still chop off heads over there, you know …

And for the record, I don't think the Saudi royal family is that royal at all. I think they're a made-up royal family of people who simply laid claim to the oil, and promised everybody else in the Muslim world that they would take care of the holy cities.

But hey, no skin off my nose if the Saudis can't handle democracy. Americans should buy more SUVs. Let's just use up their oil as fast as we can so we can get these guys out of our hair.

That's My Word.

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