James Zumwalt went full Horowitz in smearing murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi in his Oct. 24 WorldNetDaily column. Like the Horowitz-run FrontPageMag, Zumwalt rehashed old links between Khashoggi and Osama bin Laden and the Muslim Brotherhood, treating them as if they were current. Then he declared:
Because of his friendship with bin Laden and his support for bin Laden’s Islamic extremist ideology – perhaps even knowing about 9/11 beforehand – Khashoggi was killed on Oct. 2 after entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, the apparent victim of a Saudi rendition attempt gone wrong. He was no moderate Muslim, nor was he a supporter of the U.S. and its values. For all intents and purposes, Khashoggi was a bin Laden ideological clone who preferred the pen to the sword in promoting a religion mandating Islam’s ultimate world domination.
While Khashoggi’s death may have been ordained by senior Saudi officials – an extrajudicial act which the U.S. cannot condone – it must also be recognized that the man was no innocent victim. The world he sought to create was one in which sharia ruled supreme and non-Muslims pay a price for rejecting conversion – either monetarily or with one’s life.
Zumwalt is engaging in paranoid, misleading speculation. As an actual news outlet reported:
While Khashoggi was once sympathetic to Islamist movements, he moved toward a more liberal, secular point of view, according to experts on the Middle East who have tracked his career. Khashoggi knew bin Laden in the 1980s and 1990s during the civil war in Afghanistan, but his interactions with bin Laden were as a journalist with a point of view who was working with a prized source.
Zumwalt then argued that Khashoggi's death should not interfere with the U.S.-Saudi relationship because it's need to stop Iran:
There have been several times in the course of world events when the U.S. allied itself with less-than-perfect partners to further U.S. interests. For example, in World War II, Stalinist Russia was an ally; during the Vietnam war, Philippines’ President Ferdinand Marcos was more dictator than elected president, but his country’s military bases were critical to our operations in the region; and, later, during the Cold War, we befriended China in a power play against the Soviet Union.
The role the Saudi government played in the death of Khashoggi awaits clarification, and we may not like the results. But, based on the grave threat that Iran poses not only in the Middle East but worldwide, it is critical we maintain a close U.S./Saudi alliance.
Looking behind the liberal dissident mask the media has affixed on Jamal Khashoggi will help us make wise decisions regarding that alliance.
Even though President Trump ultimately embraced that view, Zumwalt has affixed a false extremist mask to Khashoggi and dishonestly claiming it's the real thing and insists that the entire U.S.-Saudi relationship be judged by that mask.