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.
The U.S. Air Force is looking for contractors to start training Saudi Arabian military pilots in the U.S.
— TYT Investigates (@tytinvestigates) August 30, 2018
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."
Procurement 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.
— Ken Klippenstein (@kenklippenstein) August 30, 2018
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."
The US is a willing participant in the Yemen genocide despite claims to the contrary. As @kenklippenstein reports today, the Pentagon will soon be training Saudi troops on US soil. Earlier this week Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman pledged to continue targeting kids.
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— Walker Bragman (@WalkerBragman) August 30, 2018
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."
We are part of the axis of evil https://t.co/HhlQGP47kZ
— rabia O'chaudry (@rabiasquared) August 30, 2018
This is like a headline generator result for how to dynamite your standing in the world.
"Pentagon to [unusually close cooperation] with [authoritarian regional bully] despite [claims to the contrary] after [egregious human rights violation] against [vulnerable group]." https://t.co/NGNZk5oeW5
— Sam Myszkowski (@SamMyszkowski) August 30, 2018
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."