Earlier today President Trump issued a statement on the barbaric murder of an American resident, Jamal Khashoggi. It’s a statement that should send chills down the spine of every American. Or at least those Americans who believe in the rule of law.
The facts are not in dispute. Mr. Khashoggi was brutally slain, and his body dismembered, in the consulate of Saudi Arabia in Turkey by agents of the Saudi government. The CIA has concluded that which seems obvious on its face: the execution was ordered or sanctioned by the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammad bin Salman.
In his written statement, President Trump made clear to the world that he — and, by extension, the United States of America — stands with Saudi Arabia, despite its murdering ways. He cites the following reasons:
- Saudi Arabia has agreed to spend $450 million to buy American goods, including $110 billion of military equipment;
- The U.S. has already sanctioned (which, of course, isn’t the same as punished or otherwise held accountable in any fashion) 17 Saudis known to have been involved in the murder and disposal of the body;
- The denials of the Crown Prince (surprise, surprise, the guy who gave the orders didn’t fess up); and
- Saudi Arabia is a “great ally in our very important fight against Iran.”
In other words, if you’re an ally that buys lots of stuff from us, then you get a pass, even if you murder one of our residents.
This is what America stands for apparently. This is what America has become.
None of this is the least bit surprising, of course. I never expected Donald J. Trump to be troubled by murder so long as there was money to be made.
I hope this isn’t the last we’ve heard of this crime. Come January, when the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives is sworn in, I hope the House immediately commences an investigation into the slaughter of one of our residents and the lawlessness of one of our “great allies.” And I further hope the investigation extends into the myriad of ways the Saudis effectively bribe American politicians and policy influencers (on both sides of the aisle).
I’ll believe it when I see it.
Update: In summing up the situation to reporters this afternoon, the president remarked, “It is what it is.” I guess he’s right. It’s just that he and I have very different views about “what it is.” And how much the “what is” stinks.