Shame Of Groveling For $100 Oil

INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY

Posted 1/15/2008

Energy Policy: Instead of begging oil sheiks to open the spigots, as the president shamefully did Tuesday in Riyadh, he should be pressuring Congress to open up Alaskan and Gulf Coast refuges to drilling.


Related Topics: Energy


In an unseemly act of desperation during his first visit to Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil producer, President Bush openly pleaded with King Abdullah to help raise OPEC production and tame energy prices.

“It would be helpful,” Bush suggested, noting that $100-a-barrel oil could tip the U.S. economy into recession. His plea was summarily rebuffed. “We will raise production when the market justifies it,” the Saudi oil minister sniffed.

Adding to the humiliation, Bush just hours earlier delivered a major arms sale to the oil-rich kingdom. The $20 billion package, which Congress must approve, includes 900 smart-bomb kits that will lend Saudi highly accurate targeting abilities that could threaten Israel.

All the begging and bribing only proved Saudi Arabia still has us over a barrel of oil — and in the cross hairs of Islamic extremists, we might add.

Despite rhetoric about our so-called ally’s cooperation in the war on terror, it’s still teaching anti-Western hatred in its textbooks and schools, still spreading radical Wahhabism to our shores, still freeing terrorists, still giving immunity to al-Qaida financiers such as Yasin Kadi, and still allowing clerics to rally Saudi’s sons to join the al-Qaida insurgents in Iraq.

In fact, Saudi nationals account for the largest share of foreign al-Qaida fighters in Iraq, according to a study released by the U.S. Military Academy. Of the foreign terrorists entering Iraq between August 2006 and August 2007, 41% were Saudi citizens, and most of them were students. They had signed up to be suicide bombers, just like the 15 young Saudi men who attacked America.

Not much has changed in Saudi Arabia over the past six years. Only now, it’s richer than ever, flush with petrodollars that are helping finance the jihad. Which means Americans are helping finance their own destruction every time they go to the pumps.

Given this chain of events — the bigger bankrolling of jihad, along with a looming recession — the mind boggles that our government’s only recourse is to genuflect before oil sheiks.

This not only projects weakness to a part of the world that hates us. It also confirms to our enemy that we have no better options for resolving high energy prices than to go hat in hand to their suppliers and beg for mercy.

Osama bin Laden, whose No. 1 stated goal is to cripple the American economy, is most certainly taking notes. We are only confirming to him that we have done next to nothing to divest ourselves of dependence on Mideast oil.

We’ve argued in the past, and are still convinced, that popping the lid on Alaskan and Gulf drilling would puncture at least the “war premium” built into crude prices over tensions in Iraq and now Iran. That, in turn, would lower prices at the pump.

Perhaps the president and the vice president are reluctant to more aggressively press the case for increased drilling due to their oil industry backgrounds. But after 9/11, few would have faulted them for trying. They could have used the bully pulpit, a la Reagan, to make the case directly to the American people that we’re financing terrorism by remaining so reliant on Saudi imports.

That would have steamrolled the environmentalist critics in Congress and the media. But for some odd reason they didn’t make the case. Now it appears Bush has been forced to reveal more of his hand than is prudent.

Perhaps he felt he could trust the Saudi sheiks because of his family’s long-standing ties to them. But given their track record, he has to play harder ball. He and the other big oilmen of this administration are going to look mighty negligent if they don’t do something dramatic to fix this energy crisis.

Copyright 2000-2008 Investor's Business Daily, Inc. Click here for copyright permissions!
Copyright 2000-2008 Investor’s Business Daily, Inc.

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