LETTER FROM THE EDITOR: We are all Toby Keith

By JOE GIDDENS 

We are all Toby Keith.

Words that I never imagined I would string together. 

 However, you can see the U.S.’s Middle East policies for both 2019 and 2001 are personified in the singer-songwriter who’s in the closing stretch of his “That’s Country Bro!” tour.

To go back to May 2017, Keith put on a concert in Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh. I’m assuming the set list didn’t include performing his post-9/11 hit “Courtesy Of The Red, White And Blue (The Angry American),” before the country of origin of 15 of the 19 hijackers.

“(My dad) would be so angry right now to know that we’ve gotten so soft,” Keith said in an interview about that song with country-music website The Boot a month before the performance. “You have to be stronger and know right from wrong, instead of right from left.”

American entertainers going to Saudi Arabia is part of that government’s initiative to promote entertainment to create jobs rather than have its citizens leave the country for it.

On Oct. 31, you can catch WWE’s next Pay-Per-View spectacular coming from Riyadh on the WWE Network for $9.99 a month. The first month is free for new subscribers. This comes after creating decades of American-nationalism content and consistent portrayal of Muslims as the villains in story lines. 

Returning to week of Keith’s iconic performance of bro country to his all-male audience, the biggest Bro in all the land also touched down in Saudi Arabia. 

The Trump presidency’s first international visit was to our customers in Saudia Arabia. 

Trump signed an arms deal for $350 billion over the next decade. One of the effects of that locally is Raytheon hiring an additional 1,000 employees in Southern Arizona.   

“Raytheon is one of our state’s most valuable assets,” Gov. Doug Ducey said in a press release. “This high-tech powerhouse is a major jobs creator and its products help to defend freedom around the globe.”

To which the lyrics of country artist Don Edwards come to mind: “Little partner, it’s not my freedom that they’re singin’ about.”

On that list of products defending freedom international include receipts to Saudi Arabia making up 5% of the company’s total sales in October 2018, according to businessinsider.com.

Raytheon munitions are being used in Saudia Arabi’s conflict against Yemen, which is between Houthi rebels who are backed by Iran versus government loyalists backed by a Saudi Arabia-led coalition of 10 countries. 

It’s been going on for the last four years when the Houthis with weapons and money from Iran began their attempts to overthrow Yemen’s Sunni government. 

To be fair to Raytheon and the present administration, actively aiding the conflict isn’t limited solely to them, considering U.S. planes conducted 1,600 refueling missions of Saudi bombers during the Obama administration according to Vox.  

The United States is partially responsible for the misery of 24 million people in Yemen, which make up nearly 80% of the country’s population require protection and assistance. Humanitarian aid is becoming the only support for these people, according to a February United Nations report. 

Congress has been making feeble attempts at curtailing U.S. involvement in the conflict, but it appears the checks must flow.

When I look at the Houston Rockets General Manger Daryl Morey tweeting his support for the pro-democracy protests that have erupted in Hong Kong and the fallout when an American’s free speech butts heads with American’s desire to tap into that sweet sweet Chinese market.

I’m left asking what are our terms of service with capitalism?

Because it looks like free speech jeopardizes profits and capital in communist markets. And it’s looking like unrestrained capitalism is an accessory to war crimes. 

Keith loved to sing about putting the boot to those scary people overseas. Governors love to talk about defending freedom at home and abroad, but the cash must flow.  

“The global demand for our product continues to increase,” said Stephen duMont, vice president of Raytheon Missile Systems, at a Oct. 2 press conference in Phoenix. “And that’s driving hiring at an unprecedented rate of new employees into Raytheon.”

Part of that global demand is actions such as a June 28 strike in Yemen, which killed three children, according to Amnesty International.

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