AP NEWS

Where I Stand ‘Making American great again’ by giving pass to murderer?

November 29, 2018

Questioned by reporters as to why he was not taking a firm stand against the Saudis for the grizzly and gruesome murder of Khashoggi, an American resident and journalist who wrote in Washington Post, Trump replied, “It’s America first to me. It’s all about America first.” That is what he wants us to believe. However, the real reason was apparent in the words that followed.

“We are not going to give up hundreds of millions of dollars in orders and let Russia, China and everybody else have them. Saudi Arabia, if we broke with them I think your oil prices would go through the roof. ... It’s a very simple equation for me. I am about making America great again. America first.”

We all want America to be great. The question is whether president Trump’s handling of the Saudi murder of Hashoggi is making America great or is it bringing shame on the nation?

It is essential to remember relevant details. Khashoggi, an American resident, entered the Saudi consulate in Turkey to get some paperwork attended to. He never exited from there. On inquiries being made, the Saudis denied all knowledge. Later they said Khashoggi left the consulate and they had no knowledge as to where he went. Later a video was put out showing the back view of a man of the same height and weight as Hashoggi and wearing what appeared to be Hashoggi’s clothes emerging from the Saudi consulate and walking away. Yet later it was admitted that Hashoggi was killed in a scuffle that broke out in the consulate. Finally it was admitted that he was murdered and that the murder was premeditated. But, it was claimed, it was a rogue operation about which the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) had no knowledge. A hasty “investigation” was held and five high ranking officials were sentenced to death.

During this entire period Trump said there was no evidence that the Crown Prince was responsible. Ultimately the highest investigative body in US, the CIA, announced its conclusion that “it had high confidence” that the murder was ordered by the Crown Prince himself. President Trump bent backwards and belittled the CIA’s finding by saying “Maybe he (MBS) did, maybe he didn’t.”

Worse, he went on to smear the murdered Khashoggi by saying, without any evidence, Khashoggi was an “enemy of the state” and “a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.” Implying that therefore it was of no consequence if he was murdered!

Agreed that this is a complex situation. Agreed that holding the Crown Prince accountable or condemning him or imposing sanctions on Saudi Arabia may result in the alleged “hundreds of millions of dollars” worth of orders being canceled or even Saudi Arabia breaking away from us. Is that enough reason to prevent our government from doing the right thing? From asserting forcefully the long-held reputation of America putting honor above price?

Also consider this. The orders would be for military hardware. True that this would bring in a lot of money and would provide a large number of jobs. It also would result in us exporting weapons of war — planes, drones, tanks, missiles, bombs et al. It would facilitate raining of death and destruction, large areas being devastated, whole cities being flattened. It is often pointed out that America needs wars to keep its economy going. Must we continue down this road?

Just as Saudi Arabia is trying to wean its economy from oil to other ventures, we also must try to wean our economy away from manufacturing weapons of war to other venues.

It is time to pay heed to the words of Dwight Eisenhower: “Every gun that is fired, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.”

Gulamhusein A. Abba is a retired journalist and a Danbury resident.

AP RADIO
Update hourly