I still hear, from time to time, people who think – or claim to think – that we should have attacked Saudi Arabia instead of Iraq. I thought about dealing with this issue in my The Iraq War post, but decided that it didn’t really fit, and that I would deal with it separately.
Yes, a lot of Terrorists come out of Saudi Arabia. No, the Saudi government isn’t really our ally. Nevertheless, we don’t want to get into a war with Saudi Arabia for one very simple reason. If we fight Saudi Arabia we will win, and if we win a fight with the Saudis then Mecca and Medina will be our problems.
The Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca that every devout Muslim is supposed to make at least once if he can afford to, has to be the biggest annually recurring administrative headache in the world. Now add to that concern the reaction of Islāmic fanatics if we were in control of two of their three Holy Cities. I would rather try to rule Ireland.
This is, in a sense, my core concern with the War on Terrorism; that we not end up responsible for large tracts of intractable Islāmic territory. I don’t want us running the world, or large parts thereof. We would be bad at it, and unhappy doing it. Further, trying would change us in ways that would not be good. And, truth be told, we don’t need to track down the actual 9/11 planners and punish them; their type wouldn’t learn anything from that and will always want to attack people who don’t share their peculiar worldview. We need to persuade the nations that those vermin hide in that it is in their interest to police their own. Invading Saudi Arabia is a measure of absolutely last resort. Nobody would learn anything useful from the exercise because everyone would be focused on Mecca.