Hot Air

The Chopping Block

Let’s ponder for a moment our very, very good friends, our dear pals, the Saudis.

Saudi Arabia is one of this holy land’s staunchest allies. American diplomats for years have touted the “special relationship” our two nations share. “Special relationship,” BTW, being a term used historically to describe our coziness with the United Kingdom. So, you see, we’re now starting to look upon the Saudis the way a philanderer will view his mistress.

“Honey, you’re special, honest. Sorry, I gotta go now.”

Our last two presidents, Barack Obama and George W. Bush both have crowed about their close personal friendships with members of the Saudi royal family. Oh, see, Saudi Arabia is a kingdom. That means, all legislative, executive, military, and judicial functions in the country are dictated by royal decree. And the decree-er, natch was, is, and always will be, a man. Women, those silly things, aren’t even allowed to drive a car there, much less run the government — or even have the least say in the running thereof.

The name of the place, for pete’s sake, comes from the surname of the royal family. For all intents and purposes, the Al Saud family owns Saudi Arabia. No wonder we feel such an affinity for them.

The only difference between us and the aforementioned philanderer is that we flaunt our relationship with Saudi Arabia. Oh, sure, the UK knows all about it. How open-minded! Then again, in keeping with these more indulgent times, the UK also is having an affair with Saudi Arabia.

Leaders

US & UK Leaders Woo Saudi Kings

Anyway, I thought you might be interested in knowing that our darlings who dominate the Arabian Peninsula — as well as much of the world’s oil and other hydrocarbon reserves — just this past week executed their 100th citizen by beheading this year.

Beheading Victim

And He Smokes, Too, The Fiend

Yup. Saudi Arabia chops the heads off people who give it a pain, pun intended, in the neck. This 100th fellow, acc’d’g to the government-run (read: Al Saud-run) press agency, had been trafficking in amphetamines. That’s a no-no in S.A., as it is here, although amphetamine traffickers in the United States are far less likely to be executed and, in fact, would be hailed as saviors in certain precincts such as sports team locker rooms, college dormitories, commodities trading floor break rooms, and the like.

Amphetamine traffickers here, should they be caught, charged and found guilty (and, of course, should their skin be dark) may be sentenced to serve a five- to 25-year sentence under federal criminal guidelines. Now that’s no kiss from your sister but it ain’t getting your coconut lopped.

Think about beheading. You might say, hell, what’s the diff. between chopping off someone’s head and executing him or her via lethal injection? Both are state-sanctioned killings. Fair enough, but at least we acknowledge the barbarity of head-chopping, hanging, the firing squad, and other pastimes of the executioner set. Chopping off a guy’s head involves splat noises, gushing blood, the clunk of the disembodied bean into a basket, and perhaps the twitching for a brief moment of the disem-headed body. We may be killers, but we have gentility.

Hypo-ing a condemned man with a fatal mickey makes us feel better about the whole sordid affair. We can pretend we’re just sending the guy off to a peaceful sleep — from which he’ll never wake up.

It’s a damned sight better than that of the butcher shop tableau seen a hundred times thus far in 2015 in Saudi Arabia.

You and I might become sick to our stomachs imagining all those beheadings but to our leaders, our diplomats, and our oil company executives, that’s just one of the silly little things our special friend does.

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