Wesley Pruden's Aug. 29 column, 'When saying goodbye means good riddance', starts by commenting on the last American troops pulling out of Saudi Arabia and ends by suggesting that everyone at the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington should be deported to Riyadh. This is the stuff al Qaeda dreams are made of: confrontation between the cradle of Islam and the world's superpower.
As early as 1997, when Peter Arnett interviewed him for CNN, Osama bin Laden criticized Saudi Arabia for its friendship with the United States. By choosing 15 Saudis out of the ranks of his cult, which has members from more than 60 countries, he attacked the United States and laid the blame on its closest ally in the Islamic world.
Now, facts are no longer needed when criticizing Saudi Arabia. Mr. Pruden can state that Saudis are "pouring into Iraq by the hundreds, perhaps thousands, to shoot at American soldiers," even though Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said earlier this week that "we've got a relatively few number of Saudis" and another State Department official told United Press International, "I've heard the ballpark figure of 15." Yet, Mr. Pruden can continue to write what he pleases — and as long as it is critical of Saudi Arabia, almost nobody will bother to check his facts.
Mr. Pruden's litany of demonizing statements is even more offensive when one considers their subtle insinuations, such as when he describes the alleged predicament of President Bush in the following: "It couldn't have been pleasant, for example, to entertain Saudi princes at Prairie Chapel Ranch, particularly when his wife and daughters were there."
There are many different kinds of incitement, and many different ways to preach hatred in public.
Director of information
Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia