The Price of Our Values

Saudi national Jamal Khashoggi did not deserve to die. His October 2nd murder was horrific and it shocks almost everyone, except those who would lose from the truth.

I wasn’t there, and I do no know the complete truth, only a small number of people do. A friend of mine said recently, the coverup is always worse than the crime. In this case, they are equally bad.

The United States has looked weak on the Khashoggi murder. Yes, our intelligence agencies have been on the job collecting information on the murder. Members of Congress, including members of the President’s own party, have expressed outrage at the murder, but the President seems willing to say it was rogue agents of the Saudi government.

The President and his supporters, including Trump family members, denounce calls to punish the Saudi government for Mr. Khashoggi’s murder. The Saudis are our friends and you don’t throw out a valuable friendship over the murder of a journalist. They also say there are hundreds of millions of dollars in arms deals at stake. And according to reports, the Saudis are longtime business partners of the Trumps.  National Security Advisor John Bolton has also said there’s no evidence linking the Saudi royal family.  Asked if he had listened to the tape of Khashoggi’s murder he said no, it was in Arabic and he doesn’t speak Arabic.  He’s read a transcription of the tape but had no interest in hearing the horrific sounds of the murder.

Jamal Khashoggi and his fiance; Khashoggi with his family.

The President sent his sons on talk shows to rally around the notion of solidarity with the Saudis as friends and allies of the United States. How could we dump all of that, especially over the life of one journalist.  hqdefault

And then there are reports saying Trump’s son-in-law is working with the Saudi’s to lay the murder onto another individual to protect the Saudi royal family. Unfortunate if true.

America is a great country. I don’t need a red hat sold by the Trump family to tell me that. America has always been about high ideals, liberty and justice. It’s in our Pledge of Allegence, and many other documents, on the Statue of Liberty, in our Bill of Rights and represented in many historic speeches of our leaders. More importantly, our values are the driving force of our actions, abroad and at home. We haven’t always been perfect, far from it. We are mortals, imperfect and with fault. We learn, we overcome and we move forward.

Mr. Khashoggi’s murder is an interesting dilemma because it challenges who we are and what we value. There are those who say he wasn’t an American so it’s not our problem. Others say he brought it on himself, that he was partially at fault. Others want to believe the Saudi’s story and be done with it. Others only look at the money.

Mr. Khashoggi may not have been a U.S. citizen but he was a resident working for a U.S. company. He was also a journalist and he was critical of the Saudi’s in his writing.

His murder was carried out with sophisticated planning, deception and with some high level of official Saudi involvement. Otherwise it couldn’t have happened as it did. The Turkish government investigated and so did our CIA.  State Department Secretary Mike Pompeo says, “there’s no direct evidence linking [Prince Mohammed] to the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.”  CIA Chief Gina Haspel is expected to brief members of several Senate committees this week, so hopefully the picture is much clearer.

Will we ever know the complete story of the murder? Maybe not, but we will know a lot. Will the United States take more substantial action about Saudi Arabia? That is yet to be seen.  Will our country put morality and values ahead of money and risking losing a valuable partner in the volatile Middle East?

A lot of questions, but let’s focus on one.  What are American ideals and values worth? Our country has worked more than 200 years building and forging them with well over a million American lives lost in our various wars. We fought a civil war, two world wars, and many military actions defending them. Many legal battles have been fought over the interpretation of those ideals and values, and millions of teachers have educated and enlightened young minds with them. Parents have explained, corrected and praised generations with our history and our values. These are the fabric and living tissue of our nation. So again, what are they worth?

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