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Ontology on the gone!

The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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06/06/2004 Archived Entry: ""House of Bush, House of Saud" review"

House of Bush, House of Saud
By Craig Unger
Publisher: Scribner
ISBN: 074325337X

Reviewed by Lynn Loper

I ought to define where I stand before I say what I think about Craig Unger's "House of Bush, House of Saud". Under the Bush II administration, I've descended to levels of cynicism I wouldn't have believed possible a few years ago. I was always the optimistic, hopeful one who believed in that people are basically good, basically driven by the desire to do the best for mankind.

Now I'm at the 'They all work for the same company. What's the difference?' point when I think about electoral politics. The politics that matter, I think, happen on levels we don't see, and are entirely driven by the desire of a few people for money and power over others; evil people who don't live in the same world I live in at all.

And the conclusion I carried away from "House of Bush, House of Saud" was oddly reassuring. Almost soothing.

Unger's research is meticulous, and he doesn't often slip over the edge into unattributed comments and bloggish "Bob heard that Bill heard that Steve heard that Bush has a herd of weasels in the basement!" excess. He builds his case steadily, brick by damning brick. I think what Unger wants the reader to see is that the worst dreams of any cynic are true now: the world is being run by a small select group of people whose power is based on money, and on the exploitation of natural resources, and those who aid them.

And that's where what I walked away with surprised me.

I saw a couple of families whose beginnings and destinies are bound by common interests, whose world views are only the ones they'd grow up with growing up as they did, and whose natural tendency is to keep what they have. The Bushes and the Sauds are family friends.

When I say 'family friends', I think almost everybody knows what I mean. Your family had another family that they played cards with, and went on vacation with sometimes. They were always invited to birthday parties and graduations. The children played together and the parents worked together. You had interests in common - the same church and schools, same neighborhood, same tax rates.

The Bushes and the Sauds might not play cards then again, I can imagine some high-stakes games between George II and Prince Bandar - but they vacation together; they fly around the world to celebrate their family anniversaries. Their children travel in the same circles and go to the same schools. And God knows, they have a common interest.

The Saudis live on top of the oil, and the Bushes have the law firms and the oil equipment and the knowledge to get it out of the ground and turn it into money, and jets, and jewels, for themselves and for the Sauds. It's a wonderful relationship. Everyone profits.

That, for me, was the reassuring part: these aren't people with concealed forked tails and cloven hooves. They live pretty much the way you or I would if we'd grown up the way they had. They don't hate us; they need us. We consume what they produce, and we're the tiny little figures swarming over the machines that they see from their palaces and White Houses. They're just folks. Very, very rich folks.

Unger's book details the interrelationship between the Texas oil/law/machinery/government combine and Middle East politics better than anything else I've ever read. It ought to be required reading for anyone who has a political opinion in 2004.

Replies: 2 comments

Okay, maybe they're not devils, but I still think they make immoral decisions based on profit instead of anything resembling respect for their fellow human and/or the environment and/or even the future. I realize the Bush family does not consider itself part of our common future, but we here in reality know better.

I still want the bastards out of power ASAP. I know we're a flawed experiment in Democracy, but I don't need it exploited and thrown in my face by people who are too rich for their own good. Enough already.

Loved your review. Ginger

Posted by Ginger @ 06/06/2004 02:38 PM PST

Bush 1 and 2 are complete morons, thanks to them, their greed and unethical politics we are hated

Posted by albert sanchez @ 07/06/2005 10:39 AM PST

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