The Obama administration is seeking to sell Saudi Arabia advanced aircraft worth up to $60 billion, in what Pentagon officials say would be the largest-ever single foreign arms deal. According to the terms of the deal, the Saudis will receive as many as 84 new F-15 fighter jets and three types of helicopters: 70 Apaches, 72 Black Hawks and 36 Little Birds. Let’s review what is offensive to the victims of the 9-11 attacks and what isn’t.
When totally innocent moderate Muslim-Americans like Imam Rauf and his wife Daisy Khan try to build an interfaith community center to promote religious tolerance and unity two blocks from Ground Zero, that is supposedly a slap in the face to the victims of 9-11. But selling 60 billion dollars worth of weapons to the country where 15 of the 19 actual 9-11 hijackers were from, whose government helped finance the actual attacks against us, and whose royal family has close ties to the architect of the attacks, barely makes the news. If you’re repulsed by this, do not worry. Obama cannot do this without the support of Congress, and I am sure the watchful protectors in the Republican party who care so deeply about the 9-11 families will step in and prevent the sale of the weapons. Bret Funk, a spokesman for Sen. Christopher S. Bond (R) of Missouri, where parts for the F-15 are made, said that the deal is important to the country’s “strategic, national interests in the Middle East” and that Bond hopes it will preserve jobs for the fighter-jet production lines in St. Louis (So much for the Republicans).
Of course, to be fair to the Saudis, their government is not a single, united, monolithic entity. There are multiple Saudi princes and only some of them are tied to al Qaeda. So only some of the Saudi people have the blood of 3000 dead Americans on their hands. It isn’t like they have been involved in anything else since 9-11, right? Except for the fact that the Saudi people are also funding the Sunni insurgents in Iraq who have killed 4400 American soldiers.
So let’s review American foreign policy over the past few years: We needed to invade and occupy Iraq, which had nothing to do with the 9-11 attacks. We were told they might have had weapons of mass destruction with which to attack us. We needed to invade and occupy Afghanistan because the Taliban government harbored al Qaeda in exchange for the millions of dollars in Saudi oil money with which they were bribed. But we never even discuss invading Saudi Arabia, whose government helped fund the al Qaeda terrorists and whose money was used to bribe the Taliban and also finance the 9-11 attacks. In fact, we make the largest arms deal in history with them to line the pockets of U.S. defense contractors. If those weapons (or the money we give them when we buy their oil) are used to kill thousands of Americans both at home and overseas, who cares?
So here is a question for the people in Washington and their puppet masters in the defense industry: how much Saudi money is an American life worth?
-Yashwanth Manjunath -Rutgers University ’12