Trump Takes the Right Position (Again) on Khashoggi
Gasp and gasp again! Donald Trump is once more seeming to defend the indefensible. From the AP:
President Donald Trump Tuesday criticized rapidly mounting global condemnation of Saudi Arabia over the case of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi, warning of a rush to judgment.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Trump compared the situation to the allegations of sexual assault leveled against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearing.
“I think we have to find out what happened first,” he said. “Here we go again with, you know, you’re guilty until proven innocent. I don’t like that. We just went through that with Justice Kavanaugh and he was innocent all the way as far as I’m concerned.”
The AP was quick to remind us that the president was again swimming against the tide:
He said it was too early to say whether he endorsed other countries’ actions. “I have to find out what happened,” he said. But his complaint about “guilty until proven innocent” and comparison to the Kavanaugh situation suggested he was giving the Saudis more leeway than other U.S. allies.
Indeed, but which allies? Turkey? In the Despot Derby, their President Recep Erdogan seems to be running at least neck-and-neck with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) and may be out front by a nose or more. Which one has more journalists in jail? Turkey hands down. (They lead the world in that respect.) Which one has beheaded more of its citizens? The nod goes to Saudi Arabia. Equal or ahead of them on all counts -- Iran.
In the Middle East, suffused as it is by the Islamic doctrine of taqiyya -- making it permissible, often required, to lie to the kufr (non-Muslim) for the good of the faith -- it's hard to discern who is telling the truth or anything close.
Trump says he is reacting to vehement disavowals from MBS and his father that they ordered Khashoggi's death, but are they to be trusted? Westerners may have good instincts about the hysterics of Dr. Blasey Ford, but are less likely to be able to comprehend a culture more insular, determined, and bloodthirsty than the Mafia.
The Khashoggi story has no one close to a hero, not even, perhaps especially, its subject, who was for decades part of the Wahhabi government so in love with beheadings. The disappeared so-called journalist -- actually a lifelong activist for the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist organization that sought, and still covertly seeks, world domination through the likes of Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri -- is scarcely someone to be admired, even with his Washington Post byline. (Mr. Bezos, please explain why a man with this history is writing for your newspaper.)