Speaking of the Iraq War, you may have heard that VP Dick Cheney was "summoned" to Saudi Arabia recently by the crown prince. You may also have heard that Bush recently resumed his "stay the course" rhetoric, vowing not to withdraw troops no matter what the Baker Commission says.

Seems those two facts are connected. Seems Saudi Arabia really doesn’t want us to leave Iraq, which they apparently communicated to Cheney in no uncertain terms.

Now they’re openly threatening that if the U.S. withdraws they will arm Sunni militias (to back them against Iran-armed Shia militias) and sharply boost oil production, thereby cutting oil prices in half and undercutting Iran’s economy.

This is particularly comforting:

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To be sure, Saudi engagement in Iraq carries great risks — it could spark a regional war. So be it: The consequences of inaction are far worse.

Virtually everyone has acknowledged that Iraq is a horrendous mess. But as Kevin Drum wisely reminds us, and this episode illustrates: it could get much, much worse.

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Oil got us there. Oil threats from autocratic bullies are keeping us there.

Tell me again how expensive renewable energy is?