OP-ED: Homage to a beheading royal--really?

By Tom H. Hastings
Tom H. Hastings
Tom H. Hastings

The Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs--the military sworn to defend democracy and the same military currently bombing the snot out of ISIS thugs who have been rightly vilified for beheadings--now wants his members to honor a Saudi royal whose regime beheaded countless dissidents and allowed flogging women for flirting.

Seriously.

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah Bin Abdul-Aziz passed away at age 90 on January 23, 2015. His people were never citizens; they were all subjects. With his oil riches he maintained the occasional illusion of tiny reforms, all of which really strengthened his grip on power. He usually ran the most misogynistic regime on Earth (OK, the Taliban in Afghanistan had him beat for a few years), and he made sure the common Saudis did not share in the fabulous oil wealth he reserved for his extended royal family. 

Honestly.

The honor comes in the form of an essay contest and research initiative into the future of US-Arab security. "Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey said the essay competition is a fitting tribute to the life and leadership of the Saudi Arabian monarch." The contest will be conducted through the National Defense University.

The New Surrealpolitik

How is a monarch who owned slaves a suitable subject for honor, a suitable partner for an alliance, and an acceptable recipient of massive amounts of US military hardware and training? The war profiteers in the US have shoveled in the funds from this arrangement for decades. The fluid dynamics are these: 

·       The US wants Saudi oil.

·       Saudi royals need US guns, planes, bombs and materiel to control their own people.

·       US war profiteer corporations don't care if they sell to terrorists, democracies, military juntas, or kings. They don't care if innocent people are repressed with their products and they don't care if journalists are jailed for writing the truth. They care about one thing: making blood money hand over fist. They lobby Congress, they lobby the Pentagon, and they get their way. 

·       Everybody wins (everyone in the elites, never mind everyone else). 

Congratulations, Dempsey. You have shared that big vat of Ghoul-Aid with your students and researchers. No wonder the average Saudi loathes his rulers and tends to believe in the Wahabi radicalism borne of decades of violent repression made possible by US military collaborators like you. Another proud moment for the US in the Arab world.

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Tom H. Hastings is Founding Director of PeaceVoice

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