Today, President Bush will pretend that it is Sept. 10, 2001. At the urging of Colin Powell’s Arabist State Department, he is hosting Saudi Prince Bandar, a senior member of the biggest terror-funding family on Earth at the Bush’s Texas ranch. I am sure our president will stand in front of the cameras and hail Bandar and his repressive Saudi fiefdom as a “staunch friend, a Democratic ally, standing alongside America in the fight against terror.”

The trouble is that exactly the opposite is true. Saudi Arabia has been a staunch ally only to the oil companies, their bankers, their amen corner in the spineless EU and no one else.

In a recent television program, featuring the cross-section of Saudi society, U.S. petrodollar-fed Saudi fat cats repeatedly expressed two fundamental sentiments: They all wanted to be educated at U.S. colleges and they all expressed unconditional hatred of everything America stands for. Bandar is their perfect poster boy.

If one would look at the biographies of the 9-11 perpetrators and their supporters, it is hard to miss the obvious Saudi connection. The tyrannical fiefdom’s fingerprints are all over the horrific deed that puts Pearl Harbor to shame.

Recently emerging reports about the Saudi royals’ payments of hundreds of millions of petrodollars to bin Laden and his ilk only complete the picture.

Let’s look back at history for a moment. What happened following Pearl Harbor? America gathered together her most experienced and smartest scientists, planners, engineers and experts to develop an appropriate response to the most heinous attack on her to that date. We took advantage of all of the best expertise and talent that we had and organized the nation’s best minds to crack our enemy’s codes, penetrate their infrastructure and – by doing so – making our society less vulnerable to enemy attacks.

Are we doing the same today? Are we asking the hard questions that must be asked? What is being done to have a better understanding of exactly what went wrong prior to Sept. 11 that allowed a handful of Saudi-financed and bred savages equipped with nothing but fundamentalist ideas and box cutters to do to us what they did? Who fell asleep at the switch in our $30 billion annual national security system?

Our Philippine intelligence friends gave us ample early warning in August 2001 about possible hijackings by Osama bin Laden. The FBI warned in July 2001 about a pending bin Laden plan to train sleeper Saudi terrorists at U.S. flight schools. Why did we ignore the actions of an al-Qaida man who was trying to learn how to fly, but not land a commercial airliner?

Following Pearl Harbor, America convened the Roberts Commission to learn what went wrong. Now we must do the same!

Instead of entertaining the PR-savvy prince at the presidential home, perhaps our leaders should take a hard look at what was done to us and who were those instigators and perpetrators. If President Roosevelt would have invited PR-savvy Goebbels to the presidential retreat, what message would that have sent to the world?

But sadly, we have a double standard when it comes to the Saudis. Our Arabist State Department and their friends in the oil business make a mockery of our American ideals by advising our president to publicly break bread with this Saudi Goebbels.

Granted, Bandar is popular party-giver inside the Beltway, but ignoring the thousands of dead Americans, the billions lost to 9-11 and American families destroyed by the aftermath, it is plain wrong for our chief executive to break bread with the foreign minister of Evil.

It is time to look in the mirror and realize: We are not responding to 9-11 in an appropriate way by sitting at the table with the chief financier of those who struck at the heart of America. Such a foolish act does not send the right moral message.

Our many enemies are rejoicing in our blindness, and our impotence will only encourage them to do everything in their power to bring about America’s destruction. Sadly, our president rewards state-sponsored terrorism by sending mixed and confusing messages.

The bottom line is, that we cannot win this war against terrorism as long as we continually allow it to be successful. And if we proceed on our current path, terror will be successful because our country rewards it with important concessions and allows double standards when it comes to “friends and allies” like the Saudis.

Impotence is not an option in an age of enemies unsusceptible to concepts like “deterrents.”

We must act for our own good before it is too late! Wake up America! Our enemies are sitting at our presidential dinner table.

Gabriel Erem is a journalist and a member of Americans for Foreign Policy.

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