Guess Who Isn’t Coming to Dinner

If you say, “King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia,” you’re correct.

Remember Abdullah’s visit with George at the Crawford retreat in April of 2005? The two were seen holding hands as they walked near the ranch house. It was reported that they were talking about the beautiful flowers adorning the grounds. Later, when questioned about the public touchy-feely, Abdullah said:

In our culture, holding hands is a sign of friendship and a sign of loyalty and you do it with people who are dear to you. And President Bush is a friend whose friendship I value and treasure.

Well, what a difference two years make. It seems George and Abdullah will no longer be doing it (holding hands). And the breakup was initiated by the Saudi king. Not only has Abdullah canceled a very important date (think senior-prom significance) with George-an appearance at a dinner in his honor at the White House-he has, for the first time, called the U.S. position in Iraq “illegal.”

Yes, King Abdullah spoke on Wednesday at the opening of the Arab League and said: “In the beloved Iraq, the bloodshed is continuing under an illegal foreign occupation and detestable sectarianism.”

So, why in the fifth year of a war that has killed almost 3,250 U.S. troops and more than 650,000 Iraqis is the Saudi king now jilting Bush? Because Abdullah has reached his limit with the neocons, their policy to support Israel unequivocally, and specifically with Bush disciple Cobralethal Rice, who habitually offers her unsolicited advice-the latest directive is for Arab governments to “begin reaching out to Israel.”

The king is no fool. He has come to realize that when his fingers are entwined with Bush’s, the president is fantasizing about Saudi oil. Especially since the Iraq oil which was supposed to pay for the Iraq war isn’t flowing. Plus, Abdullah understands the tenuous nature of relationships. People use words like “loyalty,” “value,” and “treasure” to explain liaisons but something happens and those words no longer apply. Simply put, friendships are conditional. Anyone can discern this from watching members of the Republican Party who are fleeing Bush. Abdullah sees the migration away from the president and, probably, is telling his brothers that it’s as if George has some flesh-eating bacteria. I’m sure the Saudi king is washing his hands just thinking about it.

The truth hurts-nobody wants to hold the hand of a big loser, especially a loser whose hands are dripping with so much blood. Abdullah comprehends the shifting of the U.S. electorate. And he would much prefer to talk about flowers with someone like, say, Nancy Pelosi.

How long will it take for Abdullah to recognize that, like Bush, Pelosi is a loser, too? I’m sure he is more than a little suspicious.

After all, Pelosi, despite her crowing about the accomplishments of a new leadership, has just given Bush another $125 billion in war funding. The supplemental bill does not close the existing U.S. bases in Iraq, does not end the occupation of Iraq, and does not prevent the president from expanding the war. Eventually, King Abdullah will acknowledge that the Democrats sacrifice American troops and civilian populations as heartlessly as the Republicans do to reach their imperialistic goals. Neocons are alive and well in both parties and they are unconcerned about the mounting death toll on both sides. Because they really believe that the oil underneath Middle Eastern land belongs to the United States of God Bless America.

Missy Beattie lives in New York City. She’s written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. An outspoken critic of the Bush Administration and the war in Iraq, she’s a member of Gold Star Families for Peace. She completed a novel last year, but since the death of her nephew, Marine Lance Cpl. Chase J. Comley, in Iraq on August 6,’05, she has been writing political articles. She can be reached at:


Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail: