Aug 30, 2018
Just 48 hours after Defense Secretary James Mattis attempted to obscure America's direct role in Saudi Arabia's ongoing massacre of Yemeni civilians by proclaiming that the U.S. is merely "watching" the deadly conflict, journalist Ken Klippenstein reported for The Young Turks (TYT) on Thursday that the Pentagon is currently preparing to train Saudi military pilots on U.S. soil.
"Saudi pilots have shown a reckless disregard for human life in the countless atrocities they've caused in Yemen; at this point, we need accountability for war crimes, not more training."
--Sarah Leah Whitson, Human Rights Watch
"Federal procurement documents reviewed by TYT show that the U.S. Air Force is actively soliciting private contractors for training of Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) personnel to be 'conducted in the U.S. at contractor's facility,'" Klippenstein reported.
Klippenstein noted that if the training of Saudi pilots to fly F-15 fighter jets takes place, it would appear to be the first such activity on American soil since the U.S.-Saudi coalition intervened in Yemen's civil war in 2015.
\u201cThe U.S. Air Force is looking for contractors to start training Saudi Arabian military pilots in the U.S.\n\nRead our exclusive report by @kenklippenstein here: https://t.co/Guxg9pwvF2\u201d— TYT Investigates (@TYT Investigates) 1535652596
Despite the Pentagon's threat on Tuesday to withhold military support and intelligence from Saudi Arabia after the kingdom killed 29 children in an airstrike on a Yemeni school bus--an attack carried out with a U.S.-made bomb--Klippenstein notes that the "Pentagon's solicitation for training Saudi pilots... was posted on August 23, two weeks after the school bus bombing, the procurement records show. What's more, the training will be for warplanes including the F-15 fighter jet, which the Saudis are using in Yemen."
\u201cProcurement document I found shows US Air Force is seeking a private contractor to train Saudi Royal Air Force pilots *specifically* in F-15 weapon systems.\n\n"We need accountability for war crimes, not more training," HRW's @sarahleah1 tells me.\nhttps://t.co/OueCJbHF6r\u201d— Ken Klippenstein (@Ken Klippenstein) 1535638803
Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director for Human Rights Watch's Middle East and North Africa Division, called the Pentagon's reported plans to train Saudi fighter pilots on U.S. soil "disturbing."
"Saudi pilots have shown a reckless disregard for human life in the countless atrocities they've caused in Yemen; at this point, we need accountability for war crimes, not more training," Whitson told TYT.
Independent journalist Walker Bragman--who helped start a social media campaign to pressure America's corporate media outlets to cover the U.S. role in Saudi Arabia's assault on Yemen--argued that Klippenstein's reporting provides further evidence that the "U.S. is a willing participant in the Yemen genocide despite claims to the contrary."
Other progressive commentators echoed Bragman, noting that despite its feigned concerns for Saudi atrocities, "U.S. complicity in the most brutal human rights abuses in the world is increasing."
\u201cThis is like a headline generator result for how to dynamite your standing in the world. \n\n"Pentagon to [unusually close cooperation] with [authoritarian regional bully] despite [claims to the contrary] after [egregious human rights violation] against [vulnerable group]."\u201d— Sam Myszkowski (@Sam Myszkowski) 1535644662
Alluding to the fact that 15 of the 19 September 11 hijackers were Saudi citizens, some of whom trained at U.S. flight schools in preparation for their attackm, writer Karen Geier declared sardonically, "training Saudi pilots has never been a problem for America."
Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.