Pentagon sponsors essay contest to honor memory of Saudi king … seriously?

Pentagon sponsors essay contest to honor memory of Saudi king … seriously?

You could make this stuff up, but it probably wouldn’t be nearly as ridiculous. From the Department of Defense website:

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has established a research and essay competition in honor of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah Bin Abdul-Aziz hosted by the National Defense University.

The king, who died Jan. 23 at age 90, oversaw the modernization of his country’s military during the time he spent as commander of the Saudi Arabian National Guard, a position he held from 1963 until he became king in 2005.

Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey said the essay competition is a fitting tribute to the life and leadership of the Saudi Arabian monarch.

Modernization, schmodernization. In its 2014 rankings, Freedom House — the independent watchdog organization — rated Saudi Arabia one of the ten worst nations in the world when it comes to political rights and civil liberties. If the Pentagon was going to sponsor a competition to salute the late king as “a man of remarkable character and courage,” they might have at least waited until his government finished administering its sentence of 1,000 lashes, ten years in prison, and a fine of $250,000 to Raif Badawi, a Saudi blogger convicted of the “crime” of “insulting Islam.”

Despite effusive praise for Abdullah from world leaders, who variously called him “a strong advocate of women” (IMF head Christine Lagarde) and a man who had “strengthened understanding between faiths” (UK Prime Minister David Cameron), the country he ruled was as backward and intolerant as any place on earth.

Saudi women under Abdullah, as with the Wahhabists who preceded him, were forbidden to perform virtually any official action, from agreeing to surgery to signing up to a class, without the consent of a male guardian, either the husband or father. As for promoting “understanding between faiths, last September, Saudi Arabia’s Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (Haia) arrested 28 Christians for using a home as a church.

The contest seems to have Barack Obama’s fingerprints all over it, but, suffice it to say that whoever came up with it is delusional.

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Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy has written for The Blaze, HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, Smart Life with Dr. Gina, and The George Espenlaub Show.


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