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Are We Giving Saudi Arabia Nukes?

No no, not the bomb. Strictly a peaceful civil program, you understand, just like the Iranians say they’re developing.

As Bush flew into Riyadh, the White House said the United States, the world’s largest energy consumer, had agreed to help protect the resources of the world’s top oil exporter and help it in developing peaceful nuclear energy.

"The United States and Saudi Arabia have agreed to cooperate in safeguarding the kingdom’s energy resources by protecting key infrastructure, enhancing Saudi border security, and meeting (its) expanding energy needs," a White House statement said.

"The U.S. and Saudi Arabia will sign a memorandum of understanding in the area of peaceful civil nuclear energy cooperation."

The announcement came as Bush ended a three-day trip to Israel where he vowed to oppose Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Tehran says its program is peaceful but Bush said it would be "unforgivable" if Iran were allowed to get the bomb.

So we’re giving Saudi Arabia nukes while still refusing to allow Iran nukes.

And for all that, Saudi Arabia isn’t even willing (though I question whether, at this point, they are able) to lower gas prices?

While Bush is likely to find common ground on Iran when he meets King Abdullah, the Saudi monarch is expected to rebuff for the second time this year Bush’s face-to-face call to get OPEC pumping more oil to world markets.

Wasn’t it just yesterday that Bush was decrying negotiations with evil dictators? Does giving them nuclear technology while getting nothing in exchange count as "appeasement"?

The Supplicant to Kings and “Entrepreneurs”

Via email, joejoejoe highlighted a line from Bush’s speech to Saudi "entrepreneurs" that Holden had highlighted.

And one of my concerns was after September the 11th that our visa policy, particularly for Saudis, was tightened to the point where we missed opportunity to show young and old alike what our country is really about.

As joejoejoe points out, we tightened a very permissive visa policy with the Saudis because 15 Saudis used that permissive visa policy to enter the US and kill 3000 Americans. Letting Khalid al-Midhar into the country to see "what our country is really about" apparently did little to persuade him not to get into a plane and kill lots of Americans.

But that wasn’t the only supplication that Bush offered these Saudi businessmen. Here’s the whole statement.

I’m George W. Bush, President of the United States. (Laughter.) Thank you all for joining us. Ambassador, thanks for setting this up. It’s important for the President to hear thoughts, hopes, dreams, aspirations, concerns from folks that are out making a living. And I really appreciate you taking time out of your day to come and visit with me. I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

One thing that’s for certain: The United States benefits when people come to my country. And one of my concerns was after September the 11th that our visa policy, particularly for Saudis, was tightened to the point where we missed opportunity to show young and old alike what our country is really about. I love the fact that some of you were educated in America. I think you’ll find you got a good education there, but more importantly, Americans get to see you, and you get to see them. And the best way to achieve better understanding in the world is for folks just to get together, and get to understand that we share the same God, and we share the same aspirations for children and for our futures. Read more