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Sword-dancing with the Prince and the Prez

During his recent visit to the Middle East, George Bush joined in a sword dance with Prince Salman, brother of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, where swords are still used to, y’know, chop off people’s heads.

According to Bush’s own State Department:

The [Saudi] government executes individuals who have been convicted of murder, apostasy, narcotics-related offenses, rape, and armed robbery. Twenty of these executions [in 2006] were for crimes related to illegal drugs. There were no executions for apostasy during the year. The authorities punished repeated thievery and other repeated offenses by amputation of the right hand and left foot. The government also punished people for various offenses with lashings, including for alcohol-related offenses or for being alone in the company of an unrelated person of the opposite sex. According to press reports, lashings were generally administered with a thin reed by a man who must hold a book under his arm to prevent him from lifting the arm too high. The strokes, delivered through a thin shirt, are not supposed to leave permanent damage but are designed to leave painful welts that bleed and bruise. According to the NGO National Society for Human Rights (NSHR), there were unauthorized and excessive lashings in the women’s prisons.

On September 9, [2006] a Nigerian man had his right hand amputated after he was convicted of stealing in the Great Mosque in Mecca. He was found guilty of “committing the crime of pickpocketing.”

On November 1, a Nigerian woman was executed in Jeddah for smuggling drugs into the country. Similarly, on November 1, a male citizen was executed in Riyadh for the same crime.

And even after Bush makes a fool of himself for his hosts (admittedly he looks like he can’t wait for it to end), the price of oil still hovers around $90 a barrrel.

Barack Obama took some heat (deserved, in my opinion) for saying that as President, he would be willing to meet with the leaders of hostile countires without conditions. But perhaps a willingness to perform sword dances with the leaders of barbaric “friendly” countries is even worse.