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Rep. Justin Amash Cosponsors Bill to Halt Saudi Arms Sales Over Missing Journalist

The bill may be new, but Amash’s criticism of the Saudi regime is not.

KEVIN LAMARQUE/REUTERS/NewscomKEVIN LAMARQUE/REUTERS/NewscomRep. Justin Amash (R–Mich.) wants to hold Saudi Arabia responsible for the disappearance and possible death of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist critical of his country's government. On Twitter today, Amash said he's cosponsoring legislation that would block U.S. military assistance and arms sales to Saudi Arabia unless the kingdom is found to have had no involvement in Khashoggi's disappearance.

Khashoggi hadn't lived in Saudi Arabia since he moved to the U.S. earlier this year. He visited the Saudi consulate in Istanbul earlier this month to get a document for his upcoming wedding, but never came out and has been missing ever since. As Reason's Elizabeth Nolan Brown explained this morning, "a mounting body of evidence" links the Saudi government to his disappearance.

The legislation cosponsored by Amash would prohibit the Defense Department from providing the Saudi government with "any United States assistance, including security assistance, intelligence, training, equipment, or services relating to maintenance, testing, or technical data." It would also stop U.S. companies from selling any "defense article, defense service, or design and construction service" to the Saudi government. Security assistance and arms sales can only resume, the bill says, if the secretary of state "determines and certifies" that the Saudi government did not carry out or order the kidnapping and/or death of Khashoggi.

The bill was introduced yesterday by Rep. Jim McGovern, the ranking Democrat on the House Rules Committee. It's cosponsored by six other Democrats and two Republicans: Amash and Rep. Thomas Massie (R–Ky.).

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said yesterday he met with Saudi King Salman and his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Both men, according to Pompeo, have denied involvement in Khashoggi's disappearance. Pompeo said he can sense a "serious commitment" from top Saudi leaders "to determine all the facts and ensure accountability."

President Donald Trump has expressed similar sentiments, suggesting to the Associated Press that criticism of the Saudi government is another example of "guilty until proven innocent."

But criticism of Saudi Arabia is nothing new for Amash. As the Michigan representative pointed out earlier today, he's repeatedly called for the U.S. to halt arms sales to the Saudis, in part due to the Saudi government's involvement in the Yemeni Civil War. In fiscal year 2017, the U.S. sold $5.5 billion worth of arms to Saudi Arabia, according to the Defense Security Cooperation Agency.

Amash is not the only libertarian-leaning Republican to call for Saudi Arabia to be held accountable. Reason's Brian Doherty reported last week that Sen. Rand Paul (R–Ky.) said he would try again to block U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia. Paul, like Amash, has been calling for U.S. government action regarding this the issue for some time.

In a Fox News op-ed published yesterday, Paul said "it's time to rethink America's relationship with the Saudi Kingdom." The Kentucky Republican cited the "killing" of Khashoggi, as well as Saudi Arabia's involvement in Yemen, its terrorist ties, and its dismal record of human rights abuses.

Indeed, Saudi Arabia's history of repression probably doesn't get enough attention. While bin Salman has tried to highlight some of his country's recent reforms—like allowing women to drive and work outside the home—the government has also overseen a renewed crackdown on free speech and dissent. The Saudi government put at least 100 people to death last year, according to Amnesty International.

I noted last week that the situation is particularly bad for reporters like Khashoggi, as Saudi Arabia is ranked 169th out of 180 in the press freedom group Reporters Without Borders' latest World Press Freedom Index.

So what should the U.S. do? Defense Priorities fellow Daniel DePetris was absolutely correct when he argued yesterday, in a piece for Reason, that the U.S. shouldn't let Saudi threats dictate our foreign policy.

But does that mean Amash and Paul are right in calling for the U.S. to cut off all arms sales to Saudi Arabia? Not necessarily. On the one hand, selling weapons to foreign governments with checkered pasts presents an ethical dilemma. At the same time, private companies are private companies. The Reason editors discussed this issue in detail on Monday's podcast.

Photo Credit: KEVIN LAMARQUE/REUTERS/Newscom

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  • Just Say'n||

    Massie sponsored an end to Saudi weapon sales months ago with Democratic legislatures in response to the conflict in Yemen. Amash was not a co-sponsor.

    But, now that all the "right thinking people" want to stop Saudi weapon sales due to a journalist being killed, as opposed to just some poor Arabs, Congressman Virtue Signal has jumped on board.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    +1

  • John||

    The Saudis carpet bombed Yemen for years and Amish didn't give a fuck. But they kill a "journalist" and he is not screwing around anymore. Journalists are special.

    I look forward to Reason demanding trade sactions against Mexico where 48 journalists were murdered in 2017 alone. I guess Reason is going to get on the MAGA train afterall.

  • sarcasmic||

    I thought the guy was "special" because he was a U.S. resident.

  • Kivlor||

    US resident who worked for the WaPo. If he'd been a Breitbart journalist I doubt we would be hearing this hue and cry.

    But this one was a member of the official priest class. Something must be done.

  • Just Say'n||

    Amash needs the deep pockets of a certain pair of brothers to ward off primary challenges from the Chamber of Commerce. That explains why he's morphed from a Ron Paul anti-war acolyte to Brink Lindsey.

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    Krass Brothers had deep pockets...

  • Just Say'n||

    Damn Krass brothers

  • MiloMinderbinder||

    Krass Brothers
    937 South Street
    Store of the Stars!

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    Best bad commercials ever.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Do you have evidence the most important leader of Mexico ordered assassination of journalists, or are you just spouting birther-class, disaffected right-wing nonsense to flatter your tiny-dicked hero?

  • Just Say'n||

    Well, obviously he doesn't have any evidence as credible as the notoriously pro-media leader of Turkey

  • Idle Hands||

    Seriously that we're the talking point that we're supposed to take Ergoden word for it is the most eyerolling talking point ever.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    No sensible person is relying on Turkey's statements as essential evidence in this context. Ask an educated person to explain the logical flaw in your argument. Ask a decent person to explain why your appeasement of a murderous, stale-thinking dictator is morally bankrupt.

  • John||

    There is no evidence that happened here you moron. There is no evidence of anything other than the guy disappeared after entering the Saudi consulute. I understand that you are a stupid hick who has no clue how the world works. So, I will cut you a break here and inform you that the Saudi King has intermitant control of his security and intelligence forces at best. The idea that the King must of ordered this rather than it being the result of some rogue elements in the security forces acting on their own is something only some backwoods hick moron like you could believe.

    Moreover, do you have any reason to believe that one guy who had been screwing with the Saudi government for years and would happily have murdered them if he ever had the opportunity is more valuable than the 10s of thousands of civilians the Saudis have killed in Yemen whose only crime was being Shia and in the wrong place at the wrong time?

    Go troll somewhere else you hideous moron.

  • mtrueman||

    "The idea that the King must of ordered this rather than it being the result of some rogue elements in the security forces acting on their own is something only some backwoods hick moron like you could believe."

    Who would know better than the King himself? And HRH agrees with your rogue element analysis. As does Trump. End of story.

  • Sevo||

    One more pile of shit from trueman. End of story.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    No wonder you dumbfucks lost the culture war. Your moral bankruptcy disinclines decent people to associate with you. You are stupid enough to believe you can turn this around.

    Enjoy political irrelevance, clingers.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    MAGA

  • Calidissident||

    Is there another Massie bill you're referring to other than the one described in the press release in the below tweet?

    https://tinyurl.com/y8qlb2xn

    Whether there is or not, it's difficult to conclude Amash is suddenly a hypocrite for not sponsoring that particular bill if he's teamed up with Massie and Dems to sponsor similar bills.

    And for you, John, and LC, here are a couple more tweets with links to a plethora of comments by him over the years criticizing Saudi Arabia, the Yemen War, etc.

    https://tinyurl.com/y98sz8mu

    https://tinyurl.com/ydxlgduu

    I find it hilarious that you constantly bash others for being too purist in criticizing Rand Paul yet you think Justin Amash is an insincere virtue signaler based on absolutely false nonsense.

  • Just Say'n||

    You are aware that all of those references are from this month. I assure you that the War in Yemen did not begin this month

  • John||

    Down goes Frazier. My God Calidissident, you are usually a bit smarter than this.

  • Calidissident||

    Holy shit you guys are incredibly stupid. The tweets with the compilations are from today, if you would take the 10 seconds to click on the links to the actual past tweets, some of them go back to 2015 and none of them are from after the Khashoggi disappearance.

  • John||

    Because him talking out of his ass and never actually doing anything was so significant. He never proposed a bill or tried to stop it. It wasn't until they killed a sacred journalist that things got serious for him.

    Spare me.

  • Just Say'n||

    www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/t.....6c0a8d0918

    Read, before you speak. Amash is late to the party. He doesn't get brownie points for coming to the same conclusion that Rand and Massie have held for over a year.

  • Just Say'n||

    From the article:

    "Over five months ago Gabbard introduced a straight-forward, common-sense bill called the Stop Arming Terrorists Act on the House floor; Paul then joined her in introducing it on the Senate floor. The title of the bill speaks for itself and those who want to end the so-called war on terror should get behind it because if we want to defeat the terrorists, we need to stop arming them and we need to stop sending foreign aid to countries that support them; that is exactly what the bill would do.

    So far the bill has fourteen co-sponsors including non-interventionist Representatives Thomas Massie (R-KY), Walter B. Jones (R-NC) and Ro Khanna (D-CA)."

    No Amash on this bill that has been re-introduced several times under several different names. He has never co-sponsored any of them.

  • Calidissident||

    Dude this is painful, you are humiliating yourself. READ THE ACTUAL PAST TWEETS.

    Amash tweeted about sponsoring a bill ending Saudi arms sales in May 2017, before the HuffPo article you link was even written. He also tweeted about signing a bipartisan letter urging Obama to stop Saudi arms sales in August 2016. There's a bunch of other tweets criticizing the Saudi alliance going back to 2015. There is absolutely zero evidence to support the notion that he did a sudden about-face on the Saudi alliance because of Khashoggi.

  • Just Say'n||

    A "joint resolution of disapproval" is not the same as the numerous pieces of legislation to explicitly end weapon sales to the Saudis.

    I'm not saying Amash made an about face. I'm sure Amash actually disapproves of weapons sales to Saudi Arabia. But, he is a congressman who likes to vote "present" on controversial legislation, probably because his district is not as safe as Massie's or Rand's.

    So, naturally Amash has avoided sponsoring actual legislation to prohibit the Saudi arm sales. But, now it is politically opportune for him to do so.

  • Calidissident||

    The JRD was coordinated with Rand Paul putting out an identical bill in the Senate - under congressional rules a Senator can force a vote on arms sales, a House member cannot, that isn't Amash's fault.

    Your entire case essentially rests on Amash not cosponsoring the Gabbard bill because he was afraid of generating controversy even though he's loudly and consistently taken a stance against the arms sales, sponsored legislation making that position clear, and taken a number of public stances that are far more controversial.

    You really just can't admit you were wrong. Instead of backing down you just have to grasp at the flimsiest of straws to defend your case. If Amash did cosponsor the Gabbard bill you'd insist it means nothing because Ryan would never bring it to a vote.

    Can you at the very least admit that you were wrong about all the references being from this month? That you just saw the date of the compilation tweets and didn't realize the linked tweets were from years back?

  • Just Say'n||

    "Your entire case essentially rests on Amash not cosponsoring the Gabbard bill because he was afraid of generating controversy even though he's loudly and consistently taken a stance against the arms sales, sponsored legislation making that position clear, and taken a number of public stances that are far more controversial."

    Literally none of this is true. Literally not even a piece of it. You continue to pretend as if it is one piece of legislation when that bill is just the latest iteration of the same legislation that she has pushed several times and has been blocked by the majority. Amash never co-sponsored any of that legislation.

    "Can you at the very least admit that you were wrong about all the references being from this month?"

    No. Because criticizing Saudi Arabia is about as effective as voting "present" on controversial cuts to spending (which Amash is also known to do).

  • Just Say'n||

    This is getting ridiculous. We're suppose to give him credit for something that Massie and Rand have been pushing forward while he's just been talking a big game and then shirking every bill of consequence on this matter?

    Come on.

    Tulsi Gabbard deserves infinitely more credit than Amash on this topic. She should be getting praised right now, because she has actually pursued a more radical and non-interventionist foreign policy than anything that Amash has done. Amash has pursued the establishment foreign policy while criticizing it on Twitter.

    Screw that. At some point people need to be judged by their actions. Not some fancy words.

  • Calidissident||

    You are ridiculous. It incredibly obvious that you mistakenly thought all those tweets were from this month and did not realize they were actually from the last 3 years, and now you're shifting the goalposts to avoid admitting the obvious.

    What bill of consequence? As you yourself have conceded, Ryan has refused to bring Gabbard's bill to the floor every time, which was an incredibly obvious outcome from the get go. But somehow that meets your threshold for really caring, while Amash's actions are insufficient despite the fact that neither had any chance of ever making an impact? Amash did the exact same thing Rand did on the JDR but because Senate rules are different Rand actually had the opportunity to force a vote on the arms sales. That isn't Amash's fault. In the House something isn't coming to the floor unless Ryan agrees to it or you get a majority to sign a discharge petition (good luck with that). Gabbard's bill is nice, it also never had any hope of making an impact the same as Amash's resolution, so to base your entire argument on the notion that he was unwillingly to commit when it actually could have made a difference is nonsense. No such bill is getting to the floor as long as Ryan is Speaker so basing your argument on which bills really make a difference is pointless when none of them do.

  • mtrueman||

    Trump and the Saudi King said it was rogue elements. All the rest is opera.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Rogue Warriors?

  • Just Say'n||

    www.thehill.com/policy/defense.....-civil-war

    This article lists the Gabbard bill to end the war in Yemen which was in September (it was the latest incarnation of the same bill that the majority continued to stop from coming to the floor).

    You'll not that Amash isn't on the list of co-sponsors. Massie, Gabbard, Jones (Republican from NC), and nine other Democrats are listed as co-sponsors, though.

  • Just Say'n||

    It's nice that Amash has suddenly come around to the same position that Senator Rand and congressman Massie have held for the past year. But, he doesn't get brownie points for suddenly rediscovering principles, because it's convenient now.

  • Calidissident||

    Read the first tweet I linked. Amash tweeted about sponsoring a similar bill with Massie and Dems in May 2017. And if you had read the compiled tweets, one of them is from last month responding to Secretary Pompeo tweeting support for continued US support of the Saudi coalition by stating: "Here's another idea: Stop selling weapons and providing military assistance to Saudi Arabia. This war in Yemen is unconscionable, and the United States should not be a party to it. "

    But yeah, he totally did a 180 on this over Khashoggi because he didn't happen to sponsor the latest incarnation of the bill cited in that article.

    It's ok to just admit you got this wrong.

  • Just Say'n||

    You need to read the articles.

    The bill to end the war in Yemen has been re-introduced under different names several times for the past YEAR. Amash was a co-sponsor on the legislation a total of ZERO times. Massie was a co-sponsor on nearly each iteration. Rand tried to introduce the legislation in the Senate.

    Like, I said, I applaud Amash for finally coming to the same conclusion that Rand and Massie came to over a year ago, but he doesn't get brownie points for that.

  • Calidissident||

    So your entire argument is that because Amash didn't cosponsor Gabbard's specific bill, he was actually supportive of Saudi arms sales despite a mountain of contemporary evidence to the contrary, including being the primary sponsor of the below bill that coordinated in May 2017 with Rand Paul's actions in the Senate to try to stop Saudi arms sales? That's the argument you're making?

    https://tinyurl.com/ydcqrx85

  • Just Say'n||

    Maybe you should read my comment before you invent my argument.

    My point is that Amash has sponsored exactly ZERO pieces of legislation to end Saudi weapon sales until now when it is politically opportune. Massie and Rand, for over a year have been sponsoring such legislation with Gabbard back when it wasn't popular with the media to do so. Gabbard has had numerous iterations of that legislation that has been frequently blocked by the majority. It's not just ONE piece of legislation. He had multiple opportunities to actually show some principle.

    Like, I said, I applaud Amash for finally coming to the same conclusion that Rand and Massie came to over a year ago, but he doesn't get brownie points for that.

  • Calidissident||

    You're setting an arbitrary standard for "coming to the same conclusion" as Rand and Massie - that he must have sponsored a bill directly ending arms sales to Saudi Arabia - and insisting that your explanation that he didn't do so because of fear of controversy is correct and that he's not changing his mind because a journalist was killed.

    But that argument just doesn't follow. You're using motivated reasoning to reach the predetermined conclusion you already had in mind - that Amash is an insincere virtue-signaler.

    I mean, let's really work through your logic that cosponsoring concrete legislation, unlike a joint resolution (which Amash unlike Paul could not force a vote on because House rules are different than Senate rules) or public statements would have actually required risk and thus Amash chose not to do it. How on Earth does that make sense when there was never a chance in hell that Ryan was ever going to let the bill come to the floor, which you yourself have stated he has repeatedly refused to do so. What extra risk is there in cosponsoring the Gabbard bill that doesn't come with sponsoring the Joint Resolution or making consistent statements for years opposing the Saudi alliance and the Yemen War? Like is that going to be the line which causes a backlash from his constituents or donors? This isn't a logical argument, it's grasping at straws to reach your predetermined desired conclusion.

  • Just Say'n||

    My God, again, a "joint resolution of disapproval" is NOT the same as legislation. Christ.

  • John||

    I think Amish is an opportunistic idiot who is latching on a subject that the US has no real interest in because doing so allows him to score points with the meida.

    What I find hillarious is that people like you who have spend years arguing against US interventionism suddenly think that the US has some grave strategic interest in the Saudi government killing a Saudi citizen in its consulate in Turkey. If you believe it does, good for you. But you need to write an apology for every anti interventionsit comment you ever made because if the US has an interest in this, it has an interest in pretty much everything and was totally justified in play world police.

  • Calidissident||

    The anti-interventionist position is that the US should not stop arms sales to Saudi Arabia? WTF, is the sky red in your world?

  • John||

    Why should we stop selling arms to anyone who isn't our enemy? I thought you believed in free trade. They use steel and about a million other things to run their war machine as well. Shouldn't we stop selling those things too? It is not like they can't buy arms from the Russians and the Chinese.

    What exactly does stopping selling arms to them accomplish beyond costing our industry money and making people like you feel good? But if that is your position, fine. But lets talk about all of the things that we sell to China that go to support their military and security aparatuses.

    I guess you are on the MAGA train too. Either that or you are complete fucking hypocrite.

  • Calidissident||

    Yeah, not embargoing steel is the same thing as not selling advanced weapons systems and providing refueling for their planes in Yemen, you got me there John.

  • John||

    Yeah, not embargoing steel is the same thing as not selling advanced weapons systems

    It is absolutely the same. You need steel and about a million other things to maintain a military. This is especially true when you are talking about a country like China that makes its own weapons. Moreover, any money the government makes can then be used to fund its military. So every barrell of oil you buy from Saudi or consumer good you buy from China in some measure goes to support its military and security aparatus. And we are not the only country in the world that sells advanced weapons systems.

    So if you are really concerned about bad people having advanced weapons systems, then you better stop trading with China, Saudi Arabia and a whole lot of other places because as you know trade creates wealth and wealth is what funds their military and purchases those weapons systems.

    You don't actually believe what you claim. You are just virtue signaling and advocating a utterly pointless act to make yourself feel better.

  • Calidissident||

    So are you in favor of us directly selling our weapons systems to Russia and China? After all, there isn't any difference between that and all the other trade we do with them, so what's the difference?

  • John||

    I am not in favor of that because they are likely to use those weapons on us and selling them is therefore against US interests. The fact that they are bad people has absolutely no role in the calculation.

    If you want to argue that Saudi is going to use these weapons against us and against our interests, then I am certainly sympathetic to not selling them to them. But you want to not sell them because they are whacking their own people and people Yeman, that I frankly don't care about. And if you think that is a good reason, fine. But you need to apply that same reasoning to China as well.

    Moreover, if you think selling China weapons is a bad idea, then why isn't doing trade with them that enables them to afford those weapons, that they will get with our without us, a bad idea as well?

  • Calidissident||

    By your own logic, are you in favor of a complete embargo with China, Russia, and every other non-allied country?

    Getting US weapons (or the equivalent) isn't purely about money. If anyone with enough dollars could buy the same thing there would be no need to tightly control arms and the information about them. Cutting off all trade with China would require strict control over the entire US population (rather than just arms suppliers who develop weapons based on US military contracts), would negatively impact the entire American population, and would ultimately still leave the Chinese with enough to oppress their own people if nothing else (see North Korea) thus failing in the supposed goal. If you seriously can't see the distinctions here I'm done with this bad-faith discussion.

  • John||

    By your own logic, are you in favor of a complete embargo with China, Russia, and every other non-allied country?

    Not unless it was in our interests. I have no problem at all with using trade sactions against those countries if it will get them to behave better such that doing so is in our interests. Saying that doesn't mean I think we should pursue an embargo. It is just saying that I don't object to using trade and markets as a tool in interneational politics.

    Whenever we talk about trade with China and Trump slapping tarriffs on them to get them to back off in the South China Sea, open their markets more and various other things, people like you start yelling TRADE WAR, MEH PRINCIPLES, and all that crap about how free trade is some absolute right and good such that the government should never interfere with it.

    Come to this subject and you are all about restricting trade and refusing to do business with Saudi Arabia because you think it will somehow get them to act in ways you like. Those positions are totally impcompatable. If you want to argue that the circumstances in the two examples are different, fine. They are in many ways. But once you do that, you need to shut the fuck up about PRINCIPLES and the absolute right to trade and all that bullshit because you don't believe that. You believe it is a practical decision based on circumstances and the country's interests. And that is fine. That is what I think.

  • Calidissident||

    Yeah there's no difference between restricting access to weapons systems developed by the US government in conjunction with private contractors and restricting vast swathes of trade because the president doesn't understand the concept of comparative advantage.

  • John||

    Yeah there's no difference between restricting access to weapons systems developed by the US government in conjunction with private contractors and restricting vast swathes of trade because the president doesn't understand the concept of comparative advantage.

    No there really isn't. You either think the US can use trade to influence the actions of other countries or think that the US enabling bad governments to do bad things is wrong or you don't. Everyting else is just a question of degree. If you want to get down in the weeds and talk about what is an is not a good idea, that is great. But stop lying to yourself and pretending that in principle one is any different than the other. They are not.

  • John||

    Calidissident,

    If it is wrong for the US to sell weapons to the Saudis that will then be used to do bad things such that we shouldn't do it at all, it is just as wrong for us to buy their oil that gives them the money to then buy the weapons somewhere else to do those bad things. And it is also wrong for us to do billions of dollars in trade with China the profits from which fund their military and police state. You can't claim it is okay to enable someone to do something as long as you don't sell them the actual tool they use to do it. That is an absurd and meaningless distinction. In both cases you are enabling them. So unless you want to apply that same thinking to China, stop claiming that it is somehow different when it is Saudi arabia because it is not.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Are you against selling arms to the Saudis based on Khashoggi's disappearance, or that the US should not be selling arms, period?

    If the former, then the intent is interventionist. If the latter, then the intent of latching on to this issue to realize that policy is opportunistic.

  • Calidissident||

    I've had the same position on this for years. Khashoggi is just one of the latest incidents of Saudi barbarity, if it's unusual it's only due to the particular circumstances around it.

  • John||

    Great. Then why do you think it is okay for the US to buy billions of dollars in Saudi oil every year, the proceeds of which will go to buying weapons and supporting the security apparatus that is doing these things. Do you think it is okay to suppot them doing this just so long as you don't sell them evil guns?

  • Mickey Rat||

    Not doing business with a country for their internal policies is an inherently interventionist position.

    It may be morally correct, but it is an intervention.

  • Calidissident||

    Not selling arms = not doing business?

    It's absolutely absurd how people are contorting themselves into the position that selling arms to Saudi Arabia is anti-interventionist because Trump supports it.

  • John||

    Not selling arms = not doing business?

    To some degree yes. It is just as much "not doing business" than not selling them anything else. No one is contorting themselves but you. You are the one pretending that selling them arms they could buy from any number of different countries is somehow different than buying their oil knowing they will use the money they make to buy the arms from some other country.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Selling arms is a form of business.

    If you are not doing business with a country as a moral judgement on their policies, then you are trying to influence said policies.

    That may be a defensible stance, but it is not a neutral policy.

  • markm23||

    The libertarian position is that any company should be able to buy and sell anything from and to anyone, including foreign nations, unless there is a very good reason for the government to block a particular deal. If you take that as the baseline, then banning arms sales to a foreign government is intervention, as would be banning purchasing oil from them; the only difference is that banning arms sales only hurts a few Americans, while banning oil purchases from one of the world's largest sources hurts most Americans.

    However, the real world baseline is that arms sales are heavily regulated. A manufacturer can't even sell a single-shot .22 target rifle to an American citizen without going through a federally licensed dealer, who checks with an FBI database whether that particular citizen is allowed to buy a gun. And each foreign sale must be licensed. Against that baseline, perhaps allowing arms sales to a particular foreign government is interventionist...

  • Jerryskids||

    Strange - I'm a little concerned that when I was reading the comments, ^^^this comment^^^ appeared in my commenting box with a notice that the comment contained a word over 50 characters long, the long version of those tinyurl links. At the top it said I was logged in as Jerryskids but now I'm concerned that I might be Calidissident as well as Tulpa.

  • Just Say'n||

    Your name is showing up as Tulpa on my end

  • Dillinger||

    says jerryskids.

  • Just Say'n||

    Shut up, Tulpa

  • Dillinger||

    i wish. dude's a hoot.

  • Don't look at me!||

    Umm, weapons are for killing people, so we should've sell them because they killed someone?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    I am sure that Rep. Justin Amash (R–Mich.) will sponsor a bill to halt all arms sales to every nation that has been accused of something and end trade completely with China.

    Not selling arms to Saudi Arabia is one thing to discuss on those merits.

    Siding with the Lefties on this Jamal Khashoggi guy just makes Amash look foolish.

    I really hope Rand Paul does not jump on this bandwagon.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    I guess the bigoted, authoritarian right-wingers figured they could count on Rep. Amash. As usual, they were wrong.

  • John||

    I guess you war mongering morons who would happily get the US into another war in the middle east because you think it would help your retarded political causes are just going to have to troll somewhere else for support.

  • Ordinary Person||

    There was almost a coup in Turkey. We should support something like that in SA and put more reliable and like minded people in charge. SA is country ruled by less than 1% of the people. It would easier topple a crime family than a more popular govt.

  • John||

    yeah because it is just so easy to predict the consiquences of doing that. How about we stay the hell out of it?

  • Ordinary Person||

    Because we should be the arsenal of democracies and we should treat these depots like we treated the communists. SA is one of the worst depot offenders so we make an example out of them. We make it clear to these might makes rights depots that we're the strongest tribe and we support human rights.

  • Red Tony||

    Except for the minor fact that EVERY coup that has taken place in the Middle East in the last fifty years has led to a religious government preaching a hardcore strain of Islam taking power. Why would a coup of Saudi Arabia end differently?

  • Ordinary Person||

    Didn't we just help depose the guy in Egypt? We do that. We just need to stress to human rights. Make an example if these people. They only respect power.

  • Red Tony||

    Ah, yes. Like how the revolution in Egypt then led to three years of unrest, another coup, a new constitution, and an election won by el-Sisi only after the Muslim Brotherhood was declared a terrorist organization (prior to that, they had one every preliminary election). And the guy currently in power, el-Sisi? He won in 2014 with 96% of the vote, gave the military unchecked power, put up as many obstacles in the way of his opposition as possible so that he'd only face nominal competition, and won the most recent election (2018) with 97% of the vote. On top of that, he's used torture and "enforced disappearances" against his political opponents and criminal suspects, and has been accused by outside observers of being "just another dictator" like previous Egyptian dictators.

    Yes, Egypt turned out really well. < /sarc >

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Why give the Saudis an out involving Pompeo's certification? Pompeo has indicated that he could be gullible enough, or we may learn he is partisan and dishonest enough, to certify just about anything.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Why give the Saudis an out involving Pompeo's certification? Pompeo has indicated that he could be gullible enough, or we may learn he is partisan and dishonest enough, to certify just about anything.

  • Ben_||

    Why is that guy worth more than the arms revenue?

    I thought Amash represented his voters, not the news media.

  • Ordinary Person||

    Pompeo is trash for playing stupid and covering for these animals. How fucking stupid does he think we are?

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    With respect to Trump supporters, very fucking stupid. You don't get to be a Trump supporter with strong education, reliance on reason, good choices and conduct, marketable skills, admirable character, and superior intellect.

  • Reverend Re-donk-u-less||

    I'm with you. Only us ascot wearing buffoons, with our propensity to crap ourselves, know what is correct.

  • Just Say'n||

    I would think the stupid people are the ones who suddenly have a problem with the Saudis. Maybe Amash should have been reading the newspaper while his fellow congressmen were sponsoring legislation to end Saudi weapon sales.

  • Calidissident||

    Before you give in to the urge to go on one of your signature kneejerk contrarian rants you might want to make sure you're basing it off of accurate information.

  • Just Say'n||

    I think you might want to look into what you are saying.

    www.thehill.com/policy/defense.....-civil-war

    This might help

  • Ordinary Person||

    It takes seeing the police dogs on TV chewing on the civil rights marchers for public opinion to turn even though there was worst violence committed a million times before. It takes a shocking event to w
    wake people out of their complacency. Yes, people are hypocrites and generally indifferent to the suffering of others. It's a point to make in passing but in no does it address the issue. Do we continue this sick game with these Saudi monsters or do we bring these animals to justice?

  • John||

    Okay. Then address the issue. Why can't American arms companies sell arms to Saudi Arabia? Is it because they are big meanies? Okay. If that is true, then no one should be selling anything to Saudi Arabia because it all goes to support their military in some fashion. Are you arguing for an embargo? If not, it seems you should be.

    Look, if you think the US has an interest in restraining Saudi Arabia and indeed a duty to do so such it should prevent American companies from selling them arms, then you really can't object to a full on embargo. And you need to also apply these new found principles to countries like China and Mexico. I eagerly await you doing that.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I'm seeing a lot of ignorance coming from a lot of people.

    I'm seeing people who automatically assume that if the Saudis are bad people, then we shouldn't sell arms to them--even if doing so were otherwise in our best interests. They're just stealing a base, logically speaking. Like I keep saying, if people can't explain why doing this or anything else is in our best interests, they don't have a good argument.

    The other ignorant thing I keep seeing from other people is the equation of the Saudi government with various other cliques within the Saudi royal family--which has over 15,000 members. The prince they want to go after isn't even supportive of Wahabism. He's done more to liberate women over the last year than anyone could have reasonably expected.

    Yeah, there's also a big problem with people not being able to tell the difference between the United States selling military hardware to the Saudis and American defense contractors selling them hardware. Just ignorance on top of ignorance with these people. I'd say it's like they're trying to lash out at the Saudis like it's 2002 all over again, but it's really just about the midterms.

    Kavanaugh didn't work out, so now the press is pitching Saudi Arabia as a reason to vote Democrat. Seeing Amash play into that is sickening.

  • John||

    No Ken you are not understanding what I am saying. My point is you can't base policy on some vague moral condemnation of particular nations. You can, but you will wind up being a complete hypocrit. You sell arms and do business with other nations based on what is in the US best interests. That is it. These pretentions about morality is just a bunch of posing bullshit that the speakers themselves don't actually believe or would ever apply to bigger stronger countries where sanctioning them would entail real harm.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I'm agreeing with you, John. They still need to make the case that selling this hardware to the Saudis is NOT in our best interests--even if the Saudis are guilty of murder.

    Proving that the Saudis are bad people proves nothing in regards to the interests of U.S. security.

    I will allow that moral arguments are possible. I can be persuaded that the downside of doing something (that doesn't necessarily violate anyone's rights) isn't worth the upside of doing it because of moral connotations, but that's going to be a really hard case to make.

    Still, if that's what they think, they should make that case, not simply expect us to assume that because the Saudis are mean people who do mean things, we shouldn't sell them military hardware--even if it's in our best interests otherwise.

  • Ordinary Person||

    I get your point. It's a good one. I think we should take out the Royal family through violent means then install a new crew and make human rights a mandatory requirement for our protection.

  • Kivlor||

    The simpler, more effective option would be to eliminate the native populace, and then colonize our new conquest. You mentioned before that the ME folks only recognize strength, and taking their 2 most holy cities, cleansing them and colonizing them is about as strong a move as possible.

    Why bother installing a puppet?

  • Ordinary Person||

    It takes seeing the police dogs on TV chewing on the civil rights marchers for public opinion to turn even though there was worst violence committed a million times before. It takes a shocking event to w
    wake people out of their complacency. Yes, people are hypocrites and generally indifferent to the suffering of others. It's a point to make in passing but in no does it address the issue. Do we continue this sick game with these Saudi monsters or do we bring these animals to justice?

  • Just Say'n||

    Yeah, fair point. But, Amash is late to the game.

    Massie and Rand have been sponsoring legislation to end Saudi weapon sales for over a year. And Amash has only co-sponsored a "joint resolution of disapproval" rather than actual legislation to end the madness in Yemen.

    It's good that he has finally come around now that it is politically opportune, but he doesn't get brownie points for that. Especially not when Rand and Massie have been taking the difficult position on this for over a year.

  • Just Say'n||

    Tulsi Gabbard has been far more libertarian on foreign policy than Amash.

  • SIV||

    Tulsi's not the jackalope Reason is looking for.

  • Nardz||

    I like your argument:
    "It takes the progressive priest caste pointing their cameras and telling us what to care a out, and when to care about it, for us to determine what values to prioritize."

    Question though: is it better to be nearest the pen's gate, or towards the back of the herd?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Apparently Amash wants the Soviets to slip right into the region with their inferior military hardware.

  • John||

    If we stop selling them arms, I am sure the Russians and the Chinese will do the same because they are just that knind of guys who really care about the safety of journalsits.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Some of you disaffected dumbfucks seem to forget periodically that you are attempting to masquerade as libertarians.

    And human beings.

  • John||

    What happened to all of the free trade absolutists? If Lockheed wants to sell its fighter planes to Saudi Arabia, how can the government stop them? That is no different than telling anyone else they can't sell their goods overseas. I thought Libertarians were against that? Or are they just against it when it involves them buying other people's cheap shit but not anyone selling things overseas?

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    The design for Lockheed's fighter planes were paid for by the US Government, which holds the right to decide which foreign governments can have them.

  • John||

    They were "paid for" to the extent Lockheed built them for the US government. The government buys a lot of things. Do you think they should be able to prevent those things from being exported?

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    No, they were "paid for" as the government funded the design and development and owns the plans for the aircraft. They own the design.

    The government buys lots of things. The don't own the IP for all of it, but they do for some of it.

  • John||

    Again, the government pays for the design of a lot of things. If that gives them the right to control its export, then you better be stopping the export of a whole lot more than this.

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    Fine, John. Somewhere in Title 22 lurks the Arms Export Control Act. That gives them the right to stop the export of the hypothetical Lockheed aircraft.

  • John||

    Can they legally? Sure. But you are missing the point. The point is that if free trade is so fabulous and always good, why should they? What is so special about guns?

  • Dillinger||

    >>>unless the kingdom is found to have had no involvement

    the fuck are any of us ever going to know that?

  • Ken Shultz||

    Because Liz Warren says so.

  • Dillinger||

    she *is* Chief.

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    She's more Saudi than Cherokee.

  • Dillinger||

    she is Sheikh?

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    Yes, but not Sheikh Yerbouti, 'cause that's Frank Zappa.

  • Dillinger||

    the torture never stops.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Her word is bond.

  • Don't look at me!||

    James Bond.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Rep. Justin Amash Cosponsors Bill to Halt Saudi Arms Sales Over Missing Journalist"

    This is the way panty-waist progressives play politics. If that headline is accurate, then Justin Amash is either an idiot or a jackass.

    IF IF IF the United States should prevent American defense contractors from selling military hardware to Saudi Arabia, it should only be because it isn't in our best interests to do so--not because the Saudis are bad people.

    Sometimes it's in our best interests to be allies with people who aren't very nice. Pointing out that the Saudis aren't nice people does nothing to answer the question of whether selling them military hardware is in our best interests.
    Do you know who else we defeated by becoming allies with someone nasty?

  • Dillinger||

    Xur and the Ko-Dan Armada

  • Ken Shultz||

    P.S. I understand that Congress cutting off taxpayer funds is fully within their enumerated powers, but I don't think that's what we're talking about here. Does Congress have the authority to prevent arms sales arbitrarily, or does that fall within the purview of the president's powers as commander in chief?

  • Harvard||

    Extremely reliable sources those Turks. What you have here is a group of throat cutters ratting out another group of throat cutters to score points against people they hate. Ferk 'em all, journalist or no.

  • SIV||

    So trade is bad now?

  • John||

    Trade is bad and the US has an interest in the internal affairs of other nations such that it shouldn't trade with countries that do bad things, unless it is China or Mexico because TRADE WAR!!

    This seems to be reason's position these days.

  • SIV||

    Is Khashoggi such a big deal because he worked for the WaPo?

    He was a valuable CIA asset?

    It's another opportunity to make Trump look bad?

    I'm thinking all three but there's something weird going on when Little Marco and Lindthy Graham suddenly turn so hostile to a country they usually refer to as "our friend and ally in the region".

  • John||

    I am thinking all three as well and probably a few more things we can't even guess. Regardless, reason's position is apalling. Like I say below, if they think stopping arms sales is a valid way to promote US interests and get other countries to behave, then they can't then throw a screaming fit when Trump uses access to other US goods and the US market to get China or any other country to act more to our liking. The principle in both cases is exactly the same.

  • Ken Shultz||

    When Trump wants to allow trade it's bad.

    When Trump wants to restrict trade, that's bad, too.

    The midterms are coming up, and they've made it a referendum on Trump.

    So, yeah, according to the press, every time Trump goes to the john, he's polluting our streams and rivers.

    I understand a defenseless chicken recently died--just so that Trump could have something to eat.

  • John||

    The US can interfere with the interal actions of governments by refusing to sell them arms but using access to our markets as a way to get other nations to act in our interests is immoral, an assault on freedom, and TRADE WAR!!

    The Reason staff really seems to be unable to understand the internal logic and logical consiquences of its own views.

  • John||

    Here is one other question for all the reasonites getting their embargo on over this. If it is okay for the US to restrict Saudi Arabian access to US weapons as a way to force them to behave better and stop whacking dissidents, why then is it not okay to restrict Chinese access to US goods and the US market as a way to force them to help us with North Korea or treat their own people better?

    Is there something special about guns that makes it okay to use their sale as a way to bully other countries into acting in ways we prefer where it isn't with any other product? I can't see how but maybe some of you can explain why.

  • Echospinner||

    " OK we need to get this guy, torture him until he tells us everything and then dispose of him"

    " yes boss. Let's see we need a plan"

    " How about the embassy while his fiancé is waiting outside? Nobody would think to look there"

    "Sounds good. I will get us all plane reservations under our real names. They won't think of checking those"

    "And don't forget the bone saw this time Ahmed"

    So now I am wondering where the body parts are. Did they put them in suitcases and fly them home?

    They are even worse at this than the Russians.

  • John||

    It is not like Turkey is some kind of clean living center of good government. Hell, the Turks could have disposed of the body.

    And yes they are much worse at this than the Russians. The Russians would have at least been smart enough to murder the guy somewhere besides their own consulate.

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    Echo raises an interesting point - this was a consulate, not an embassy - thus, not sovereign ground.

    If the Turks were so certain, their security services could have entered to investigate. Sure, there would have been some diplomatic backlash from the Saudis, but nothing that could stop them.

    Why didn't Turkey do this if they were so certain he was murdered there?

    That said, that the Saudis haven't released images of him leaving the consulate (no doubt they have security cameras) is pretty damning.

  • John||

    Why didn't Turkey do this if they were so certain he was murdered there?

    One possibility is that the Turks were in on it as well and are now happily framing the Saudis for full responsibility.

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    In on it? Doubtful.

    However, knew about it and decided to let it happen for their own goals, certainly possible.

  • John||

    However, knew about it and decided to let it happen for their own goals, certainly possible.

    That would make them accessories and most definitely "in on it" by any reasonable definition of the term. Think of it this way, if it came out tomorrow that Turkey knew this was going to happen and did nothing to stop it, even though it was as you point out on their territory, the world would hold Turkey just as responsible as Saudi Arabia.

  • Echospinner||

    Morals have nothing to do with it in realpolitik.

    The Saudis need to be punished somehow for being complete idiots and botching the assasination so badly that now we are forced into a corner where we have to do something.

    If they has done it right and he just disappeared or was poisoned or shot while eating breakfast we could have just shrugged.

    Personally I would just sell them the weapons, maybe some temporary sanctions and squeeze them for more petrodollars if they want to play nice.

  • John||

    That is about the size of it. They need to be punished for being morons causing us trouble not because killing a jouralist is something we must respond to interests be damned.

  • mtrueman||

    "They need to be punished "

    You're just jealous because instead of the constant moaning about traitorous journalists we get out of Trump and his minions, our Saudi partners have the balls to do something about liquidating the scum.

  • Sevo||

    One more pile of shit from trueman. End of story.

  • mtrueman||

    Don't you 'end of story me.' You haven't earned the right.

  • Sevo||

    One more pile of shit from trueman. End of story.

  • Stephen54321||

    Justin Amash tweet: "I've joined as an original cosponsor of @RepMcGovern's bill to prohibit military assistance and arms sales to Saudi Arabia unless @SecPompeo certifies that the Saudi government was not responsible for #JamalKhashoggi's disappearance, imprisonment, or death."

    Is he referring to the same Mike Pompeo who recently had no problem certifying that Saudi Arabia was taking all reasonable steps to prevent civilians being killed in Yemen?

    If he had no problem with that particular certification about he Saudis (notwithstanding damning evidence to the contrary) he will doubtless have no problem at all certifying "that the Saudi government was not responsible for #JamalKhashoggi's disappearance, imprisonment, or death"--even in the face of damning evidence to the contrary.

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