Friday, July 02, 2004

Another take on Fahrenheit 9/11

First, my thanks to the good folks at Counterbias for republishing my review of Fahrenheit 9/11.

I was directed to an oddly sympatico review of the movie by Laura Dawn Lewis. "Oddly," because Lewis is a conservative. Yet we are very much on the same page, despite the pride I take in being a Liberal Marxist Devil-Worshipper. These are strange times; you can spot many a LMDW nodding in agreement with conservatives of various strains, particularly those of a libertarian bent.

Lewis has some worthwhile things to say about Moore's treatment of the Bush/Saudi connection. Again, let me emphasize: This connection deserves exploration. By all means, read Craig Unger's book on the topic. But read with discretion, because this is an area in which an insufficient appreciation for nuance could have disastrous consequences.

To put the matter bluntly: There is a growing "blame Saudi Arabia" movement among those looking for an alternative theory of 9/11. This movement attracts people on both the right and the left. And it is a simplistic, potentially dangerous weltanschauung.

Alas, the public has a psychological need to affix blame for disaster on a state actor, as opposed to an amorphous entity such as Salafism or Al Qaeda. When (not if) the next big terror attack occurs, the public may direct its fury at the Saudi Kingdom. While no small-d democrat could ever truly like that ruling family, the fact remains that they have nothing to gain from either a destabalization of the American economy or a strengthening of Osama Bin Laden's forces.

Despite the many troubling ties between the Bushes and the Saudis, no-one should presume that the two dynasties (a word the Bushes hate, so let's all use it as much as possible!) see eye-to-eye on all matters. For a good overview of the strains in the relationship, see this piece in the International Herald Tribune. Briefly put, the current administration's unswerving loyalty to Israel is not in Saudi interest. The Saudis expended much political capital in support of a Middle East peace plan which the Bushites scuppered. The Saudis saw through Chalabi long before our government did. They're also, quite understandably, chary of Chalabi's neocon allies -- which is why the Kingdom no longer welcomes reporters from the Wall Street Journal.

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