My personal cynicism kicked up a notch when I learned that Washington is on board for welcoming thousands of Saudi students to American colleges and universities ["More Saudi Students in U.S."].
WASHINGTON, Dec. 17 - Urgently trying to improve relations with the United States, the Saudi Arabian government has been promoting a scholarship program that has more than doubled the number of Saudi enrollments at American colleges and universities since last year.
The program, aimed in part at reducing widespread hostility in the Saudi public toward the United States, has reversed a steady plunge in Saudi students here that started immediately after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.
The Saudi government offered 5,000 students full four-year scholarships, complete with living allowances. About two-thirds of the 5,000 students enrolled in American schools this fall, the State Department said, and the number would have been higher had the United States been able to process all the visa requests.
See? The Saudi government has an itch, and the State Department asks "Where should I scratch?"
In general, Washington loves foreign students because it believes educating them accomplishes policy goals on the cheap.
No one in Washington bothered to ask American citizens whether they want potentially murderous Saudis filling local campuses. Fifteen of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudis, so one might ask how well these students are vetted. Apparently not thoroughly, since the office help has thinned as a result of five staffers being gunned down during an al Qaeda attack against the Jeddah consulate last December.
Furthermore, a November Senate hearing focused on "Saudi Arabia: Friend or Foe in the War on Terror? " The upshot was that the Saudis are the same terrorist piggy bank they ever were, funding anti-American extremist Islamic publications and other Wahhabi aid.
So the Saudis have not cleaned up their act, and are being rewarded to the detriment of Americans — let's drink to cynicism!