Judging by the response of President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Saudi Arabia’s apparent murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, as well as its illegal incursion in Yemen, U.S. government policy is not dictated by right and wrong, but rather that which is profitable and expedient.
When asked what the U.S. response to the journalist’s disappearance would be, Trump said, “We don’t like it. But as to whether or not we should stop $110 billion from being spent in this country, knowing they have four or five alternatives, that would not be acceptable to me.”
Trump pointed out that if the U.S. did not sell Saudi Arabia arms, someone else would. “What good does that do us?” Trump asked, pointing out that the Saudis could turn to Russia or China for its weaponry, which would hurt U.S. defense companies.
“We have jobs. We have a lot of things happening in this country,” said Trump. “We have a country that’s doing probably better economically than it’s ever done before. Part of that is what we are doing with our defense system. I think that would be a very, very tough pill to swallow for our country.”
Of course, Trump does not really mean that he wants to do what is profitable for everyday folks. He was referring to the “cabal of death” — U.S. arms suppliers Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics, who worship at the feet of profit and considers money and the making of it absolutely sacred. It is they that would find it “a tough pill to swallow.”
Despite what willing recipients of U.S. propaganda and indoctrination have led folks to believe, morality is not a consideration in U.S. foreign policy. Nor, for that matter, is it a consideration in domestic policy (i.e., the immoral separation of immigrant children from their parents at the U.S. border). How else could one interpret Trump’s initial and callous response to Khashoggi’s disappearance?
If the Saudi Arabian monarchy has indeed “disappeared” Khashoggi, it would be an extreme violation of international law and basic human rights. Yet, the hand-wringing over what to do exposes the sham of doing business with an undemocratic, totalitarian monarchy, while demonizing North Korea and Iran.
Accordingly, Saudi intervention in the internal affairs of Yemen has made a mess of the country and has created a man-made famine. The Saudis have been caught bombing markets and blowing up buses filled with children, incidentally using U.S.-manufactured missiles and bombs. It has been, in short, one continuous crime against humanity, aided by the U.S.
Upon publishing horrific video of such Saudi bombardments on Yemen, BBC reported the images reiterate concern that “the UK and U.S. are putting their lucrative arms sales to Saudi Arabia ahead of safeguarding human lives.”
According to United Nation statistics, coalition air strikes led by Saudi Arabia have caused the majority of the 17,223 civilian casualties — 6,660 dead and 10,563 injured. Save The Children reports an estimated 50,000 children died in 2017, an average of 130 every day due to blocked major ports and airports.
Houthi rebels, who have attempted to overthrow the government, have caused their share of civilian casualties, but Saudi intervention has exacerbated the civil conflict.
U.S. actions in the matter of the journalist and Saudi intervention in Yemen should give well-meaning people pause, or at least cause folks to reassess their perspective on this country. Clearly, it can be surmised from U.S. silence on Yemen and the nearing famine that Yemeni lives do not matter. It can also be deduced that Khashoggi’s life did not matter.
Yet, human beings living in the U.S., when confronted with the callousness of their society toward everyone except rich White men, are quick to point out that “All Lives Matter!”
Every decision this government makes internally, domestically and internationally makes it absolutely clear that it is no beacon of light, but rather “the valley of the shadow of death,” a blot on the human condition which appears to be in enmity with all that is good and decent.
A moral country would have sanctioned Saudi Arabia by now, rather than create false narratives about rogue forces and lies and cover-ups of Saudi crimes conducted in Yemen.
This situation is dripping with irony. U.S. society is, at bottom, Islamophobic and much of its foreign policy is anti-Muslim and anti-Arab. The U.S. not so subtly encourages and propagates anti-Islamic prejudice by its actions and propaganda, but treats the Saudi monarchy with kid gloves.
This exposes U.S. hypocrisy. Iraq was attacked in the first Iraq war for invading Kuwait, yet Saudi Arabia has invaded Yemen and not only has it not been attacked as a result, but the U.S. has aided in the illegal intervention. The U.S. launched the second Gulf War ostensibly because Iraq was said to have “weapons of mass destruction.” However, the Yemenis are being attacked by Saudi Arabia with U.S. weapons causing mass destruction and chaos.
Checking the Saudis should be easy; after all, don’t we hate Mooslems?
Even while Secretary Pompeo claimed in a brief press conference Friday that the Saudis were being transparent about what happened to Khashoggi, he quickly reminded his audience of the importance of Saudi Arabia to U.S. interests. Reading “between the lines,” the U.S. and the Saudis are not preparing an investigation, but a cover-up.
The Saudi kingdom is Arab and Muslim — what could possibly be the cause of this double standard?
The U.S. government, which encourages Islamophobia, doesn’t really hate Muslims. This is simply a trick to further divide human beings who have more in common with one another than with the wealthy elite.
When confronted in August by Yemenis after Saudi military dropped a U.S.-made 500-pound bomb on a school bus in a crowded market in a small Yemeni town, U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said [U.S. assistance] was, “not unconditional” and would require the coalition to “do everything humanly possible to avoid any innocent loss of life.”
But, then he added a caveat. “We haven’t seen any callous disregard by the people we’re working with. So, we will continue to work with them.”
Unquestionably, the entire Saudi intervention in Yemen is an absolute and “callous disregard” of the lives of Yemenis. Their murderous intervention and the murder of Khashoggi and the U.S.’ tepid response tells us all we need to know about the “real” values and morality or the lack thereof of the U.S. government.
Put simply, the Saudi fiasco makes it clear that according to the U.S. government, human beings simply don’t count (unless they are rich). Its top priorities are the acquisition of money, resources and power.
Justice, then peace.
Mel Reeves has a blog fighthepowerjournal.com and welcomes reader responses at email@example.com.