Terror war follies

Here are a couple of good Cato commentaries on follies committed in the name of the war on terror. Ivan Eland writes about how the Defense Department is exploiting the righteous concern with defense to unnecessarily fatten its budget.

And Doug Bandow makes an excellent argument against the United States’ foolish alliance with Saudi Arabia. Of course, Saudi Arabia is an oligarchy with absolutely zero respect for women’s rights. And Saudi Arabia funded extremist Islamic activities all over the Middle East. We all know that. But Saudi Arabia’s supposed trump card — oil –is not the ace in the hole they’d have us believe, as Bandow explains:

True, Saudi Arabia has about one quarter of the world’s resources. However, this figure vastly overstates the importance of Saudi oil, which accounted for about 10 percent of world production last year. Were Saudi Arabia to fall, prices would rise substantially only if the conqueror, whether internal or external, held the oil off of the market.

Such a policy would, however, defeat the very purpose of conquest, even for a fundamentalist regime; in fact, bin Laden has called oil the source of Arab power. A targeted boycott against only the United States would be ineffective, since oil is a uniform product available around the world.
A new regime might decide to pump less oil to raise prices. Yet countries have long found it difficult to coordinate production and limit cheating.

In any case, the economic impact of such a step would decline over time. Sharply higher prices would bring forth new supplies, which have actually increased over the last two decades.

Further, Saudi Arabia’s power and wealth is deeply resented in the Middle East, and the U.S. alliance only exposes our country’s hypocrisy in supposedly favoring democracy and freedom while standing by such an obviously unjust government. In case you needed another reason for why the United States should distance itself from Saudia Arabia, and fast, read Bandow’s column.