FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

When It Comes to Having Leaders Who Murder the US is a Pace Setter

Photo Source Supermac1961 | CC BY 2.0

The brutal murder of sometime Washington Post visiting columnist Jamal Khashoogi, apparently on orders from Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has many American journalists and columnists in high dudgeon. How, they ask, can the US be allied to a country run by such a blood-thirsty leader? How can the US ally itself to, and sell $100 billion worth of arms to, a country so medieval in its behavior?

Perhaps a classic example of this professed outrage is Los Angeles Times columnist Jonah Goldberg, who wrote a column headlined “The Khashoggi case is far more complicated than the news media are making it out to be.”

Goldberg is no journalist. He is a neoconservative political analyst and columnist on the staff of the conservative magazine National Review, and rather than condemn Salman as many do, he makes the argument that bin Salman is just one in a line of autocratic leaders who while “reformers” of their countries are also brutal, and that in terms of US foreign policy, “when dealing with murderous regimes, the choice is often between the more tolerable of murderers.”

Okay, fair enough. That’s realpolitik he’s advocating, much like former Sec. of State Madeline Albright’s excusing the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children because of the US ban on chlorine exports to Iraq as “worth it.” But what’s not real is ignoring the reality of which regimes Americans are we labeling “murderous.”

There’s an incredible blindness and intellectual dishonesty in the US media when it comes to such matters.

In truth, for at least the last three US presidencies of George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump, our leaders have been arguably the number one murderers in the world, cooly ordering the offing of people from the comfort of the Oval Office on a weekly basis with the dismissive signing of a “kill” order, to be carried out by Pentagon or CIA drone pilots firing high-explosive Hellfire missiles which have a nasty habit of killing and maiming disturbingly large numbers of innocent bystanders, including children. These three presidents’ many extra-judicial executions have included a number of American citizens too, not just alleged foreign “enemies.”

It would be far more honest, and useful in informing and educating the American people — in other words it would be much better journalism — if our corporate media editors would insist that when criticizing the Cosa Nostra-like behavior of thug regimes like the ones in Saudi Arabia and Turkey, their reporters and columnists include at least a modicum of balance by noting the similarly murderous mob-like actions of our own government over the years.

The reality is that the only difference between the killings ordered by Saudi Arabia’s bin Salman or Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the killings ordered by a President Trump, Obama or Bush — or for that matter an Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — is that our media, if they report on the slayings at all, don’t criticize the latter.

Sadly it is not just autocratic and tyrannical regimes that murder journalists and political opponents. It is governments of the supposed democracies that commit these crimes too — especially powerful ones like the US that rarely have to answer for their actions.

In fact, arguably, what our presidents, with their ongoing drone assassination campaign, are doing is far worse than what autocratic regimes like Saudi Arabia’s or Egypt’s do. That’s because autocratic regimes are just doing what autocratic regimes do. They’re not undermining a system or a rule of law; they’re just keeping a bad thing going. What our presidents, with their “kill lists,” are doing is destroying what little democracy and moral standing we have left in this country.

More articles by:

Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

June 24, 2019
Jim Kavanagh
Eve of Destruction: Iran Strikes Back
Nino Pagliccia
Sorting Out Reality From Fiction About Venezuela
Jeff Sher
Pickin’ and Choosin’ the Winners and Losers of Climate Change
Howard Lisnoff
“Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran”
Robert Fisk
The West’s Disgraceful Silence on the Death of Morsi
Dean Baker
The Old Japan Disaster Horror Story
David Mattson
The Gallatin Forest Partnership and the Tyranny of Ego
George Wuerthner
How Mountain Bikes Threaten Wilderness
Christopher Ketcham
The Journalist as Hemorrhoid
Manuel E. Yepe
Yankee Worship of Bombings and Endless Wars
Mel Gurtov
Iran—Who and Where is The Threat?
Wim Laven
Revisiting Morality in the Age of Dishonesty
Thomas Knapp
Facebook’s Libra Isn’t a “Cryptocurrency”
Weekend Edition
June 21, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Brett Wilkins
A Brief History of US Concentration Camps
Rob Urie
Race, Identity and the Political Economy of Hate
Rev. William Alberts
America’s Respectable War Criminals
Paul Street
“So Happy”: The Trump “Boom,” the Nation’s Despair, and the Decline of Joe Biden
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Ask Your Local Death Squad
Dr. Vandana Shiva
Fake Food, Fake Meat: Big Food’s Desperate Attempt to Further the Industrialisation of Food
Eric Draitser
The Art of Trade War: Is Trump Winning His Trade War against China?
Melvin Goodman
Trump’s Russian Problem
Jonathan Cook
Forget Trump’s Deal of the Century: Israel Was Always on Course to Annexation
Andrew Levine
The Biden Question
Stanley L. Cohen
From Tel Aviv to Tallahassee
Robert Hunziker
Permafrost Collapses 70 Years Early
Kenn Orphan
Normalizing Atrocity
Ajamu Baraka
No Dare Call It Austerity
Ron Jacobs
The Redemptive Essence of History
David Rosen
Is Socialism Possible in America?
Dave Lindorff
The US as Rogue Nation Number 1
Joseph Natoli
The Mad King in His Time
David Thorstad
Why I’m Skipping Stonewall 50
Michael Welton
Native People: Changing Our Ways of Seeing
Peter Bolton
The US-UK “Special Relationship” is a Farce
Ramzy Baroud
‘World Refugee Day’: Palestinians Keep Their Right of Return Alive Through Hope, Resistance
Louis Proyect
The Douma Gas Attack: What’s the Evidence It was a False Flag?
Binoy Kampmark
Nigel Farage’s Grand Tour of Sabotage
Brian Cloughley
Trump’s Sanctions are Sadistic and Spiteful
Norman Solomon
Clueless and Shameless: Joe Biden, Staggering Frontrunner
Tom Clifford
Hong Kong is Far From China’s Biggest Problem
Lawrence Davidson
On the Alleged “Preciousness of Life”
Mel Gurtov
Impeach Trump
Rajan Menon
America’s Suicide Epidemic: It’s Hitting Trump’s Base Hard
Dan Bacher
Oregon Governor Kate Brown Signs Five-Year Fracking Ban Bill
Ralph Nader
Congressional Interns and Congress Redirections—A Meeting
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail