Julio Gonzalez, M.D., J.D.
"Okay. Let's just pretend THIS is real. . ."
Judge in Seventeen Again while holding Ned Gold's law degree.
Last night, The Wall Street Journal reported the statement by the Saudi Arabian Attorney General admitting that Saudi Arabian nationalist and Washington Post journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, had been killed in the country's Turkish consulate. Amazingly, the explanation provided by Saudi Arabian news agencies and the Saudi government is so patently absurd that it, in and of itself, speaks to their backwardness.
In short, Saudi Arabia expects us to believe that Mr. Khashoggi, an out of shape, middle aged man who is known for fighting only with his pen and not his fists, actually allowed himself to get into a fight with 15 Saudi Arabian thugs while sitting in a Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey. Even if he was sufficiently foolhardy to allow himself to get into such an altercation, Saudi Arabia next wants us to believe that the 15 "agents" were unable to subdue Khashoggi without killing him. Even if you argue that Khashoggi had suffered some sort of medical emergency such as a heart attack or stroke, the good faith response would have been to immediately transport the victim to a Turkish hospital. We know, of course, that this did not happen.
The Saudi Arabian explanation is (frankly) so stupid and amateurish that it insults the intelligence of the recipient audience. In fact, it may well be that their usual audience, the Saudi Arabian people and their regional partners, are so kept in the dark that they buy this nonsense from their officials, but Saudi Arabia must suspect that their explanation cannot fly in the United States.
Americans are arguably the most media savvy people in the world. Practically every American who has been paying attention to this story is aware of the events leading to Khashoggi's death. They have already heard of the alleged existence of audio recordings depicting Khashoggi's violent death while inside the Saudi Arabian consulate. They are aware that 15 Saudi Arabian nationalists flew into Turkey and made their way to the Saudi Arabian consulate in anticipation of Khashoggi's arrival and left shortly thereafter. They know that Khashoggi only went to the consulate seeking documents that would allow him to marry his fiancé who was waiting for him outside of the building while he was being killed. They know that Khashoggi is hated by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and that the ostensibly progressive Crown Prince is amazingly repressive and intolerant to views opposite his own. They also know that Khashoggi previously left Saudi Arabia because he feared for his life. And they know that Khashoggi went into the consulate building and never came out, at least under his own power.
So, who would ever be stupid enough to posit a story as ridiculous and ill-contrived as this and expect Americans to buy it?
Oh yeah. I forgot. Barrack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Susan Rice as evidenced by the story they contrived when they tried to explain the attack on the American Embassy in Benghazi.
It is very likely that, at this point, President Donald J. Trump knows what happened inside that building. He knows this because Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had to have listened to the recording of Khashoggi's murder while visiting Turkey last week. We can conclude this with certainty because if the tape were not real, Pompeo would have said so publicly. And if he did listen to the tape, he would have been duty bound to report his findings to the President.
So now, President Trump finds himself in an unenviable situation. He has little choice but to preserve a strained relationship with a repressive dictatorship in a region where no one wears a white hat.
There is a reason why the President will likely accept the Saudi's explanation for Khashoggi's death, and it has to do with Iran, and terrorism, and evils greater than being forced to accept a lie.
Dr. Julio Gonzalez is an orthopaedic surgeon and lawyer living in Venice, Florida. He is the author of The Federalist Pages and serves in the Florida House of Representatives. He can be reached through www.thefederalistpages.com to arrange a lecture or book signing.