Toby Keith, icon of modern country music, began making a name for himself in the 1990s, releasing his breakthrough single “How Do You Like Me Now?!” in 1998. Keith rose to stardom in 2002 with the song “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)” which he wrote in response to 9/11.
That song captured the vengeful militarism that had overcome the U.S., as the Bush regime sought to capitalize on fear and anger to push wars of aggression in the Middle East. A “war on terror” was declared, and Islamophobia soared in the American populace. Facts didn’t matter, as long as U.S. warplanes were dropping bombs on Muslim countries, even if they had nothing to do with 9/11.
“We’ll put a boot in your ass, it’s the American way,” declared Keith in his quintessential song.
Keith began visiting troops on the frontlines in 2002, playing his tributes to nationalism and militarism, helping the Pentagon whip up anger and aggression so the Bush/Cheney cabal could continue using 9/11 to pursue their goals of U.S. military hegemony – as described in the 1997 mission statement of the Project for the New American Century.
It didn’t take much to convince bloodthirsty Americans that "pre-emptive war" was needed in Iraq, based on lies about mythical weapons of mass destruction. Even though 15 of the 19 hijackers involved in 9/11 came from Saudi Arabia, which was known as a hotbed of terrorism and U.S. hatred, Saudi Arabia was completely spared from the so-called “war on terror.”
Keith kept right on, playing for soldiers in Iraq as military leaders heaped praise on him for helping to sustain the hatred and fear needed to destroy Iraq and rebuild it in the U.S. image. To Keith and so many others, being “patriotic” meant supporting whatever the military was doing, even if there was no rational basis for it.
Now, that absurdity has reached epic proportions as Trump visits Saudi Arabia – the biggest state sponsor of terrorism in the world – and Toby Keith is playing a concert there during Trump’s visit.
It will be a men-only concert, as Saudi Arabia’s ultraconservative monarchy segregates men and women in public who are not related. Alcohol is also banned in the kingdom, making Keith’s visit particularly amusing given his many drinking songs such as “Red Solo Cup.”
But the biggest irony is the fact that Saudi Arabia has been exposed as a main culprit behind the 9/11 attacks – which was the impetus for Keith to begin his campaign of jingoistic, war-mongering song writing. Where’s the rage now?
The release of the “the 28 pages” in July 2016 showed that high-level figures in the Saudi government aided the 9/11 hijackers and covered it up – and the U.S. knew about it. Only two months ago, 800 families filed a lawsuit against Saudi Arabia for its role in 9/11.
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Wahhabism, the dominant, state-sponsored faith in Saudi Arabia, is the biggest driver of terrorism in the region, and has much to do with the rise of ISIS – the current manifestation of Islamic terrorism which is wreaking havoc in Syria and elsewhere. Wahhabism has been identified as “the main source of global terrorism.” Riyadh has invested billions to build madrassas and mosques around the world, “in an attempt to replace mainstream Sunni Islam with the harsh intolerance of its Wahhabism.”
Saudi Arabia’s oppression of women, minority religions, political dissidents, homosexuals and many other entities is central to the hatred that drives the terrorism spawned by Wahhabism. If there is a ��radical Islam,” this is it.
Trump's visit comes as the U.S. signs a $110 billion arms deal with the Saudis, signaling the the president is indeed in the neoconservative fold -- propping up Middle Eastern dictatorships while working to dismantle perceived enemy states, to exert military hegemony in the region.
It was reported that Trump intends to unveil an "Arab NATO" with Saudi Arabia for the laughable claim of "fighting terrorism." Its real purpose will be to confront Iran. With the new arms deal and the blessing of the U.S., the hardline Sunni regime will continue destroying its Shia rivals as it's currently doing in Yemen -- complete with human rights abuses -- under the pretext of "fighting the war on terror."
The hypocrisy is almost too much to imagine. President Trump will apparently be attending the Toby Keith concert, along with a crowd of Saudi men who may be aware of Keith’s past as a cheerleader for reaping death and destruction in the Middle East, which has served to fuel the fire of anti-U.S. sentiment.
It’s highly doubtful that Keith will be including “The Taliban Song” in his playlist, which includes the following lines:
“Now we prayed to Allah with all of our might/ Until those big U.S. jets came flyin’ in one night/ They dropped little bombs all over the holy land.”