Monday, October 03, 2005

An Open Letter to King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz

Dear King Abdullah,

Please excuse the lack of formality. We are just so democratic over here, still, that it never occurs to us to say "your royal highness" or "your emminence" or "your whatever."

Please also accept our congratulations on your new job as King. Sorry, I was not able to attend the festivities back in August (... was it). The world is happy for you, we think, with some bitterness here and there left over from your Crown Prince days, of course, but, you know, that's life in the big desert.

We understand that you have been in charge of the Saudi National Guard since 1962. The single message of this letter is that it's a good thing you know something about militias, insurgents, and the like, for this is your notice, sir, that we believe 43 years is long enough to prepare yourself for what is about to happen.

Best estimates these days, and our data could be off by a percent or two, Saudi Arabia provides 9% of the petroleum consumed by my country, the United States of America. All told, I think, we get about a third of our petroleum from OPEC nations, of which yours is the most notable and clearly among the most vulnerable. We may have to dispense with that 9%!

This letter has to do with our presence on the Arabian Peninsula lo these past two and a half years! Of course you know from your hand-to-hand comraderie with our Presidents Bush (41 & 43) that U.S. troops are there in Arabie only partly for the reason of capturing WMD and destroying them. It turns out there were none, so booting out that awful man Saddam Hussein was an alternative goal and squelching his contacts with al Qaeda operatives a happy bi-product of that operation. (Yes, I know, we are still looking for them.) You see we like to have nesting goals, sort of like those crazy Russian dolls, inside dolls, inside dolls, etc. (You get the point, I am sure.)

George Bush announced these goals, chatted with you a while before we attacked, and since then we have done our best to keep out of your hair. But, all is not going well, you know, Abdullah. The American people are restive and, although they are capable of unbelievable flights of fancy and carnival-like gullibility, they are catching on.

You probably know that Vice President Dick Cheney held a secret conference to discuss energy for our country back in 2001 or so. It's no secret that U.S. petroleum interests were present and voting and that they told George and Dick that you and your country, sir, had to be protected from the unhappy Wahabists in your extensive unpropertied classes. That's the real reason we are there, as you know. The alternative was that nine or so percent of our petroleum imports AND the petro-assets of Iraq might easily become unavailable to our SUV drivers and even me, who drives an economical (relatively) low problem, high tech Japanese nameplate, built-in-Kentucky sedan.

Well now, sir, it is time for you to protect yourself. We believe that the price of petroleum has gone high enough as we approach 2,000 dead American soldiers, 13,000 wounded, and literally untold scores of thousands of Iraqis, soldier and citizen alike. Yes, the cost is too high, the pretext of our presence there way too thin, and your countryman Bin Laden has not relented one bit. We are thinking that if we just up and decamp next year, maybe he will lay off our buildings, bridges, and nuclear generating plants. (If not, then I think we will ask your friend Pervez Musharraf in Pakistan to get of the pot.)

America has its interests around the world; there's no doubt about that, King. Your petroleum assets are interesting to us, of course, especially as long as we continue to live in our dream world of energy consumption. But, as I have already said, the price is not right and the internal contradictions are just too rancorous ... remember we have an election coming in in just over a year ... for us to continue in this pretend war for democracy, while actually we are there as a bulwark for one of the least democratic regimes anywhere on the planet is just too much. We believe that if there are to be resources wars on planet Earth, then they should be labeled that way right up front, so the people who die in them know why they are dying, even if they don't have a chance to vote on the idea or buy stock in the corporations that we are protecting.

Sorry, Abdullah, we are sure you can hold up for a while under the strain. We recommend that you hire our really wonderful Halliburton people to build your ground infrastructure and maybe the battle-toughened Blackwater people to train your elite guards. The Pfizer and Fox folks should attend to your medical needs and public relations, respectively. Perhaps if you start paying all these companies directly we can get them off our payroll and can rebuild some levees on our lovely Gulf Coast riviera.


James Richard Brett