This is the weirdest story -- but then, stories about talks between the Cheney/Bush administration and the Saudi royals are always the weirdest stories, mainly because we always know that not a single word that anyone approaching sanity is going to be able to publish can possibly come close to the horrifying private truths of that exceptionally sick symbiosis.
I mean, it's sort of cute to learn that the White House kindergarten teacher is presuming to inform the grown-ups of the world press that what all of humanity is panting to be reassured about is Americans and their frikken cars:
Earlier, the White House press secretary, Dana Perino, told reporters aboard Air Force One on the way here from Jerusalem that Mr. Bush was asking for increased production so that American consumers could get some relief at the gasoline pump.
“Clearly, the price of gas is too high for Americans and it is causing a hardship for families with low income,” she said. “We do count on the OPEC countries to keep adequate supplies out there so the president will talk with the king again about that.”
But that's not the strangest thing about that NYT report. Scroll down to the very last, oddly buried sentence:
In exchange, the White House said, the United States will help the Saudis develop civilian nuclear power, as well as new infrastructure to safeguard its energy supplies.
Run that by me again? What's wrong with that sentence? Let us count the ways.
I was alerted to this story earlier today at emptywheel's place, although links have gone strange since good discussion first started there. It's good that EW saved what she did from that first NYT story, because I'm not seeing some of the relevant text when I click through now. It's probably somewhere in the NYT archives, but why don't I just copy from EW:
As Bush flew into Riyadh, the White House said the United States, the world's largest energy consumer, had agreed to help protect the resources of the world's top oil exporter and help it in developing peaceful nuclear energy.
"The United States and Saudi Arabia have agreed to cooperate in safeguarding the kingdom's energy resources by protecting key infrastructure, enhancing Saudi border security, and meeting (its) expanding energy needs," a White House statement said.
"The U.S. and Saudi Arabia will sign a memorandum of understanding in the area of peaceful civil nuclear energy cooperation."
The announcement came as Bush ended a three-day trip to Israel where he vowed to oppose Iran's nuclear ambitions. Tehran says its program is peaceful but Bush said it would be "unforgivable" if Iran were allowed to get the bomb.
And then, all on your own, just try googling "Bush Saudi Arabia nuclear," and you'll discover that the rest of the world is not reporting this story in quite the same way that the NYT does. An example.
Honestly, I have no idea what all this means. The expression "civilian nuclear technology" leaves me kind of slack-jawed, and I'm not quite sure why the Saudis would be wanting that. I mean, there's nuclear energy, and there's nuclear medicine, and then there's nuclear war, but what is this thing called "civilian nuclear technology"? I'm sure it must mean something, and I doubt that I'm in favour, but damned if I know what Dubya and his best boyfriends for life in Riyadh meant by it this week.
And it probably doesn't matter. As bmaz says at EW's place, they're cooking up something for Iran. I wish I were smart enough to get there first, to warn against it effectively, but I'm not. I do think that's what's happening, though.
But it's Friday night. Let's sing and be merry, for any day now we could all be toast, as so many of our fellow human beans will be tonight and tomorrow ... and tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.
Tom Lehrer: Who's Next?
Tom again: We Will All Go Together When We Go