Right now. That’s when enough is enough.
Let’s get serious. Given the clear and compelling evidence the United States has amassed regarding the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, what would likely happen if our government advised the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia it could no longer deal with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman? King Abdul-Aziz Al Saud would likely determine that the Crown Prince had his shot and blew it, and the Crown Prince would be removed from his current leadership position as heir apparent to the Saudi throne.
The world would not go to pieces. The Saudi’s, in the current world environment, need the goodwill of the United States. Russia is an ally of Iran. Saudi Arabia’s security is tightly linked to the United States.
Everyone who has heard the evidence of his complicity is thoroughly convinced that the Crown Prince approved, if not ordered, the murder of American resident and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. And he had the deed done, in of all places, the Saudi consulate in Turkey.
The inanities spouted by President Trump, Secretary of State Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton are a national embarrassment, actually a national disgrace. “He vehemently denied having anything to do with what happened, maybe, five times when we spoke on the telephone,” President Trump told us. Duh! Most murderers deny their guilt or complicity, some maybe even six or more times.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also chose to punt when asked during a Senate hearing into the matter, “Do you believe that the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, ordered Jamal Khashoggi’s killing?” Pompeo answered, “I do believe I’ve read every piece of intelligence unless it’s come in the last few hours. I think I’ve read it all, and there is no direct reporting connecting the Crown Prince to the order to murder Jamal Khashoggi.”
But here’s the thing, no one in the Kingdom could have ordered the Crown Prince’s men to do the dirty deed except the Crown Prince. The Saudi Public Prosecutor has admitted that several members of Crown Prince Mohammad’s personal security detail were part of the “hit team,” and that they flew to Istanbul on Saudi aircraft, committed the murder and then flew back to Saudi Arabia. The notion that The Crown Prince’s men (and, let’s face it, they were his men) flew to Istanbul to murder Khashoggi without the Crown Prince’s knowledge, and that they were acting on their own as rouges is ludicrous. Everyone knows that. And Mike Pompeo and President Trump know that. The intercepted calls (“tell your boss the deed is done”) also tell us the deed was done and at whose instruction.
Trump Administration defenders are quick to tell us that people get knocked off all the time in the dark, cloak-and-dagger world of foreign intrigue. We’ve had American journalists and others unreasonably detained and confined by our adversaries in the past. They knock off people and we knock off people, etc. etc. Well, maybe. But there comes a time when decent people and decent governments have no choice but to say enough is enough. This is such a time.
When Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT), who serves on the House Intelligence Committee, defended President Donald Trump’s decision to stand by the Crown Prince saying, “We have to have a relationship with some players that we don’t agree with. Journalists disappear all over the country. 20 journalists have been killed in Mexico. You don’t think it happens in Turkey and China? Of course, it does. And yet we have to have a relationship with these individuals, or with these countries.” That’s an interesting distinction…these individuals or these countries.
Trump’s equally inane comment, “I’m not going to destroy the world economy and I’m not going to destroy the economy for our country by being foolish with Saudi Arabia.” What an incredible message that sends – not just about Saudi Arabia or the other countries referenced, but about us. It tells us, and the world, that principle has become the lowest coin in the realm.
Telling the Saudis that we can’t deal with the Crown Prince any longer would not destroy the world economy or our economy. It would probably destroy the Crown Prince’s ability to flit around the globe as an important and respected world leader. He warrants no such respect and therefore he is no longer an important world leader…unless we prop him up and make him one.
National Security Advisor, John Bolton demurred from listening to the murder tape. “What would the point be?” he asked. “I don’t speak Arabic.” We would guess the sound of pain sounds pretty much the same in Arabic as in English. Certainly, the sound of a saw cutting through bone sounds the same. The tape was important, if for no other reason, then to make us think twice about the people we embrace.
Nations, through the men who lead them, have moral compasses. That’s what civilization demands. Like most nations, our moral compass has been compromised on more than one occasion over the years. This should not be such an occasion. When President Trump next visits Saudi Arabia is this the man with whom he wants to hold hands and with whom he wants to dance at Al Murabba Palace?
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