Tuesday, April 20, 2004


David Frum of National Review Online regarding Bob Woodward's alleged bombshell:

After 24 hours, critics agreed that the biggest news to emerge from Bob Woodward's book is the allegation that the Saudis promised to manipulate the price of oil to help President Bush's re-election. John Kerry had this to say yesterday in Florida:

"If what Bob Woodward reports is true -- that gas supplies and prices in America are tied to the American election, then tied to a secret White House deal -- that is outrageous and unacceptable."

But is it true?

Ask yourself this: Who could have been Woodward's source for this claim? Only one person: the canny Prince Bandar, Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States and a frequent purveyor of titillating items to selected journalists.

Next question: If such a deal existed, what motive could Prince Bandar have for revealing it? The revelation could only hurt Bush, the candidate Bandar was allegedly trying to help.

Logical next thought: If, however, Bandar wanted to hurt Bush, then the revelation makes a great deal of sense.

But why would Bandar want to hurt Bush? Don't a hundred conspiracy books tell us that the Bush family are thralls of Saudi oil money? Perhaps the Saudis don't think so. Perhaps they see President Bush's Middle East policy as a threat to their dominance and even survival. What could after all be a worse nightmare for Saudi Arabia than a Western-oriented, pluralistic Iraq pumping all the oil it can sell?

In other words, if what Bob Woodward reports is true, then the Saudis are meddling to defeat Bush, not elect him.

You must admit: he's got a point! The alternate view is that Bob Woodward made up the claim himself, but that's another story.

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