Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Why They Support Bush

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Why They Support Bush

Article excerpt

GEORGE BUSH has drawn his line in the searing sands of Saudi Arabia, and his presidency and a good part of the industrialized world's prosperity depends on the outcome.

Bush's opponent, Saddam Hussein, is a thoroughly unpleasant desert despot, with a penchant for using chemical weapons and an appwledgeable American official tells me that President Hussein personally executed one of his cabinet ministers he considered ineffective. Hussein has also issued directives providing that the families of executed army deserters be billed for the bullets used in carrying out the sentences).

But though Hussein represents the forces of evil in his invasion of Kuwait, we cannot pretend that the confrontation between the US and Iraq is alone a crusade on behalf of sweet liberty. Some of the oil-rich sheiks of the Middle East are hardly paragons of democracy and morality. Saudi Arabia itself, on behalf of which we are ready to spill American blood, is a feudal monarchy where the rights of women are slender and which, initially at least, dictatorially banned American journalists from entering the country with American troops.

Moreover, there are other areas of the world where a tyrant could invade a neighboring mini-country without provoking the dispatch of thousands of American combat troops.

The difference here is oil, the lifeblood of the industrialized world. The issue is who is to control it, and who is to set its price. Without oil at an acceptable price, the industrialized world would be thrown into chaos. That issue is understood throughout the world and it has given George Bush a remarkably supportive constituency as he moved so swiftly in his power struggle with Saddam Hussein.

According to the polls, some 75 percent of Americans support the president's policy on Iraq and his dispatch of troops to Saudi Arabia. Congress has rallied to his side. …

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