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To the Editor:

Freedom of speech is a constitutional right that should never have to be defended by one political faction against another. Unfortunately, we are witnessing that in our current political climate, and here is an example of how critical, vital information gets drowned out when that happens.

The recent murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi is the result of motives that directly involve the U.S. and its relationship with Saudi Arabia.

The U.S. has long had a contentious relationship with Iran, much of it for good reason. However, it has chosen Saudi Arabia as a tool through which to employ hardship on Iran, and site of their conflict is the unfortunate country of Yemen. The result is a humanitarian crisis of historic proportions for the Yemenis, with some 8 million people at risk of starvation alone.

We Americans are complicit in this disaster, as we arm the Saudis with more than $100 billion in weapons, much of which have been poured into the Yemen conflict, the other side of which is sponsored and armed by Iran and its patron, Russia.

This brings us back to the issue of Mr. Khashoggi, who was openly critical of his Saudi homeland and its prosecution of the Yemen disaster. Not only has his voice been silenced, but our president’s stand of weighing the death of one journalist against that huge weapons contract with Saudi Arabia also glosses over the millions of Yemeni casualties we are indirectly responsible for.

This is the real cost of imperiling free speech — hearing only part of the story is sometimes as dangerous as hearing a full-on lie.

Jim Renshaw


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