Tulsi has more to say to Trump about Saudi Arabia

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Between the United States and Saudi Arabia, which has the bigger military? Economy? And which country has military bases all over the damn world and is embroiled in conflict literally everywhere with no end in sight? Yeah, that would be the USA. She is a government representative of country that has a foreign policy of 1. Do what we say. 2. Blow shit up. 3. Profit. Let's not pretend that Saudi Arabia is at the controls of Donald Trump's moldy dormant brain remnants that he keeps warm under that roadkill tumbleweed on his head. Donald Trump and this administration are doing what American presidents have always been doing, which is pretty much anything that secures a payday for the MIC and their donor base. The United States isn't a Timid Forest Creature that has been innocently pulled into a Saudi Arabian war that America had nothing to do with.

I haven't been able to stop thinking about Caitlin Johnstone's descriptions of American privilege and Tulsi Gabbard fits the bill for me right now. How many other countries' soldiers get dragged into America's wars? And how many civilians end up dead as a result? And how much money that makes for American companies? Is the rest of the world just a stage for American imperialism, and we don't matter? To me, this tweeting and provocative language is grandstanding to get some attention on the back of attention-seeking Donald Trump. My expectations are a lot higher for candidates that I like, and perhaps this is why I'm rolling my eyes into Saskatchewan, but this is Beto O'WhoCares level stuff.

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snoopydawg's picture

@Le Frog

Everything you said! Tulsi is hit and miss on foreign policy. She knows that we don't need to be in every country in the Middle East and elsewhere because we went there on false pretenses to further our exceptionalistic murderous ways. And she never talks about bringing the troops home. You want to protect your brothers and sisters Tulsi? Bring them home and close the 800+ bases. And just once talk about the innocent civilians that your brothers and sisters have killed. If Trump does attack Iran congress won't do jack about it. If Israel attacks Iran then congress will make sure we come to its defense. This is why Lindsay is getting the bill passed ASAP. Bibi needs to get his war on.

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America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

@snoopydawg it occurs to me that the prostitutes comment is quite fitting for the time he addressed Congress a few years ago.

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gulfgal98's picture

@snoopydawg @snoopydawg Let's give some credit here. Tulsi has talked about the millions of people we have killed in all of our regime change wars. She has also talked about withdrawing our military from these countries. It has not been as forceful as her rhetoric about our troops and the fiscal costs of war, but at least she has mentioned it in her speeches. Name one other candidate who has spoken out as forcefully on foreign policy and against intervention like Tulsi has.

We Americans ALL indulge in and suffer from American privilege. Every one of us, and some to a greater degree than others. It is called American exceptionalism.

Based upon my own experience of four and a half years with a weekly Peace vigil, I understand why Tulsi frames her public statements against regime change wars. I cannot say what is in her mind beyond her public statements, but I can understand the rationale for them.

In order to engage in a real dialog with people, we had to avoid moralizing. Telling people that they are bad, if only by inference, will immediately lose their engagement. I personally found that the most effective way to engage with people was to focus on the costs of war, both fiscally and to our service people. This is exactly the tact that Tulsi is taking. And we must remember that she is a politician.

So some may see it as American privilege for her to speak as she did. But at least she is speaking out against these follies, something that no other major politician has shown the courage to do so. And she has been paying the price for speaking out.

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"I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~Dr. Cornel West

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." John F Kennedy

@Le Frog what about all the devastation we’ve wrought, what about all the non-Americans dead? But I have yet to see anyone better regarding the war machine. Certainly better than that idiot Coons. Which doesn’t speak well for this nation.

I think her last two sentences are in error. They are, and he is.

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Centaurea's picture

@tle

I think her last two sentences are in error. They are, and he is.

At present, you are correct.

However, keep in mind that Tulsi Gabbard is running to become POTUS and commander in chief of the US military. She wasn't making that statement as an off-the-cuff comment by an ordinary citizen. She was making it as a candidate.

I read it to be an implied campaign promise that, if she becomes president, she will take action to change the situation.

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"Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep."
~Rumi

"If you want revolution, be it."
~Caitlin Johnstone

gulfgal98's picture

@Centaurea that if she becomes President, she will immediately withdraw from Afghanistan.

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"I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~Dr. Cornel West

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." John F Kennedy

@Le Frog I read that as, don't make decisions to send living breathing people into harm's way simply to satisfy the prerogative of another country. We (troops) are not "worthless stuff" that you lend out to your buddies. Our lives matter. We are here to serve and protect America, period.

Is that really so hard to understand?

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snoopydawg's picture

@laurel

Do the troops really protect us when they get sent to another country? Or are they just there to further this country's hegemonic plans? Did Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen or any of the other countries that they were sent to after 9/11 threaten us in any way? Is Venezuela and Iran threatening us? We are trying to overthrow both country's government. Not because they are a threat, but because they have oil that we want. Or any country after WWII? Or any before WWI? What exactly are they fighting for? I'm told that they are fighting to defend our freedoms, but since Bush passed the patriot act and Obama passed the NDAA and both expanded the spying industrial complex and our 4th amendment lies in tatters just which freedoms do we have left? The first gives us the right to protest, but since long before OWS was brutally dismantled by Obama it's also in tatters. So exactly why does Tulsi think that she is fighting for our country? She has the inside scoop on why our military does what it does. I want to know if her brothers and sisters will protect us from the militarized police when the PTB order them to round us up. It's unconstitutional for the military to do that and that's why they have been militarized.

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America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

@snoopydawg , they follow orders. Tulsi knows this; she's using her position as a congressional representative and presidential candidate to speak to those who issue the orders. She's looking out for the troops and for the rest of us. I'm glad she's doing it. It may sound "cheap" to some, but it takes courage.

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@laurel that she was saying anything at all about troops making decisions. What she does point out is the American fallacy of thinking our troops are fighting for our freedom. Please. They do no such thing but most of them who go and do the fighting and dying have no idea of just what a lie that whole fighting for freedom thing really is - and why would they be encouraged to even think about just what a lie that is, that goes against the whole point of lying the public into war after war. While Tulsi may indeed by sticking up for our troops she is still using the same old paradigm that somehow our sending troops can be a good thing because they're fighting for freedom? Freedom for who? Freedom to do what?

While I should not even mention it I was in the US Army, albeit not during our wars, and I was once called a potential communist because I questioned a few tiny things (Grenada as PR stunt...) although I certainly did not yet see just what the true purpose of our wars really was then. I also remember when my ex husband went to Gulf One we both knew it was about OIL, period, but one dare not say that on a military base at that time. And my how things have really not changed in that regard, for me to say what I've said out here could and probably would be construed by far too many as maligning the troops when it is no such thing.

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@lizzyh7 that the troops' purpose is to fight for our freedoms? I've only heard her couch it in terms of defense, of protecting America if and when we come under direct attack. She's protective of the troops, but she doesn't seem to glorify war; in fact, her primary message always includes ending "regime change" wars.

I agree with you 100% that Grenada was a PR stunt and the Gulf War was all about oil. I too was shocked by the open hostility toward any who dared question Reagan's little pretend war -- or, for that matter, Reagan himself. The 80s were an unnerving time in this country.

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@snoopydawg in country. That approach is in adherence to the Posse Comitatus Act. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Posse_Comitatus_Act

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Centaurea's picture

The US and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have an arrangement that has been called "unique" among nations.

From the US State Department website's fact sheet on US - Saudi Relations (emphasis supplied by me):

https://www.state.gov/u-s-relations-with-saudi-arabia/

Saudi Arabia’s unique role in the Arab and Islamic worlds, its possession of the world’s largest reserves of oil, and its strategic location all play a role in the long-standing bilateral relationship between the Kingdom and the United States. The United States and Saudi Arabia have a common interest in preserving the stability, security, and prosperity of the Gulf region and consult closely on a wide range of regional and global issues.[...]

It [Saudi Arabia] works closely with U.S. military and law enforcement to safeguard both countries’ national security interests.

That didn't work so well on 9/11, did it? As we now know, the 9/11 actors were Saudi nationals.

Further from the State Dept. fact sheet:

U.S. Assistance to Saudi Arabia

The United States and Saudi Arabia have a longstanding security relationship. Saudi Arabia is the United States’ largest foreign military sales (FMS) customer, with nearly $100 billion in active FMS cases. Through FMS, the United States has supported three key security assistance organizations in the Kingdom—the Saudi Ministry of Defense, the Saudi Arabian National Guard, and the Ministry of Interior. Since the 1950s, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has also played a vital role in military and civilian construction in Saudi Arabia.

"FMS" means "foreign military sales", and it's not limited to equipment such as weapons and drones. It also includes the provision of military services to foreign governments. The FMS program is administered by the US Dept. of Defense. The stated purpose for the FMS program is to enhance the national security of the US.

Some of the services sold to foreign countries are directly provided by the US military, thus making our military akin to mercenaries. ("Prostitutes" *cough*)

Much of the FMS sales are made by American defense contractors; Raytheon, DynCorp, and Boeing, for instance, and of course there's Betsy DeVos's brother Erik Prince aka Blackwater. There are megabucks being made via FMS.

Although the US sells to nations globally, according to the US State Dept., the Royal Saudi government is THE biggest FMS customer, to the tune of many billions of $$$. That 100 billion dollar figure in the State Dept fact sheet pertains specifically to current FMS projects with Saudi Arabia. One hundred billion dollars.

Raytheon and DynCorp certainly would not want POTUS pissing off the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In fact, they probably expect a lot of kissing butt to be done.

Bilateral Economic Relations

The United States and Saudi Arabia enjoy a strong economic relationship, as the United States is Saudi Arabia’s largest trading partner, and Saudi Arabia is one of the United States’ largest trading partners in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia is the second leading source of imported oil for the United States, providing more than one million barrels per day of oil to the U.S. market

The Middle East may be a complex situation, but with respect to the role and actions of the US, the bottom line is one thing:

Oil.

Saudi Arabia has it and we want it.

Given the above, how could the US not be prostituting itself in everything it does with the Saudis?

They have us over a barrel, so to speak, and will continue to do so as long as Big Oil and Big Defense Contractors have big power over what the US government does.

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"Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep."
~Rumi

"If you want revolution, be it."
~Caitlin Johnstone