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This weblog is mainly concerned with visual art, but the events of 9/11 have necessitated a certain amount of political commentary. The following is of the latter variety. For recent commentary on art, please see the "Weblog Archive" link above.
From a 10/25/01 New York Times article: "Saudi authorities assisted the United States in confirming the identities of the hijackers, helping American investigators reach the conclusion that 15 of the 19 were Saudis. American investigators also say some recruiting, financing and planning for the attacks occurred on Saudi soil."
It's been blindingly obvious since 9/11 that our attackers are dissident elements within a country that is supposedly our "ally." What we should have been doing since 9/11 is vigorously debating how relations with Saudi Arabia, whose citizens killed 3000-plus of our citizens, should be changed. Do we demand more intelligence-sharing from Saudi officialdom, and reforms of their autocratic government? Do we withdraw our military support, leaving the 10,000 playboy princes to be beheaded by the dissidents, and then cut a deal with the new Islamist regime? (Don't think they wouldn't be corruptible.) Do we just go ahead and invade Saudi Arabia--or "annex" it, as we've done with many territories in the past (Mexico, Phillipines, Hawaii)--making "their" copious oil "ours," and be prepared for a long, ongoing guerrilla war with the dissidents, at home and abroad? Do we rehabilitate Saddam Hussein as our ally, as he was during the Iran-Iraq war, and then bomb the Saudi oil fields, in effect shutting in their oil? Or (ha ha) do we discuss ways to become less dependent on Mideast oil, through conservation, greater cultivation of Western hemisphere resources, etc?
What we've been doing, instead of debating these options, is treating Saudi Arabia like the Great Taboo Subject. Instead of confronting our real problem, we're bombing and starving one of the weakest countries on the planet, to satisfy a desire for instant revenge. Our war against Afghanistan, commenced with only four weeks' planning and against a country not one of whose citizens was alleged to have been a hijacker, is just plain stupid, and has all the signs of a Vietnam-style quagmire. I know, bin Laden and his "terrorist training camps" are there, but ordinary Afghans are too poor and hungry to hurt us. "Ordinary Saudis," however, are rich, educated, motivated, and at least 15 have hurt us. Why aren't we focusing our anger where it belongs?