I mention Eichhorn's comments because he is not a rabid political blogger. He is a software guy like me, and while his politics are clearly right-leaning, he seems to consider the possibility of voting for a Democrat. There are lots of people bothered by these photos, I don't mean to pick on Eichhorn.
Why are people bothered by people wearing ceremonial garb? Why not be bothered by a sitting president holding hands with a Muslim monarch ruling a country with virtually no religious freedoms? A country where Bibles may be confiscated at the airport? A country where an illiterate woman is sentenced to death for witchcraft?
As near as I can tell, we are allies with Saudi Arabia for two simple reasons:
- They have plenty of oil to sell, and
- They don't want to kill us.
At the same time we are fighting in Iraq to "spread democracy", Saudi Arabia is a close friend of ours, even though they make absolutely no pretense to democracy, have no freedom of religion, and treat women as second-class citizens, unable even to get driver's licenses. Where's the logic?
I'll take leaders dressing in Muslim garb as a sign of respect for Muslims in democratic countries like Kenya over Bush dressed for casual Friday holding hands with a Saudi royal any day.
And don't worry, I'm not under the illusion that Obama or Clinton would straighten things out. They may not be as chummy with the Saudi royals as Bush is, but I know they are not going to shift Saudi Arabia from the friends column to the enemies column. This failure of reason is deep-seated in US foreign policy.