By DOZIE EZEIFE
Special to USAfricaonline.com
A few hours ago, into the closing days of September 2016, the United States Senate and the House of Representatives voted in near unanimity, overriding President Obama’s veto of a legislation they passed paving the way for relatives of those who died in 9/11 to sue the Saudi government for its alleged complicity in the terrorist attacks of that eventful day.
For the record, like my fellow Americans, I mourn the senseless loss of lives and wanton destruction brought on our country by those terrorists. That said, we should not allow our hearts to supplant our brain on the throes of that tragedy. Our grievous loss should not have been a motivation to torpedo a time-honored rule of conduct amongst civilized nations, to wit, Sovereign immunity. Allowing opinion polls and mundane sensitivity to sway our lawmakers to legislatively strip Saudi Arabia of its sovereign immunity is rather regrettable.[slides title=”USAfrica: Obama’s veto, terrorism and danger of congressional overreach” title_url=”” title_icon=”” title_bg_color=”#09126d” title_text_color=”” title_border_bottom_color=”” main_color=”” thumb_bg_color=”” enable_tab=”” count=”6″ orderby=”latest” duration=”all” show_view_all=”on” cates=”” cate_scenario=”combination” authors=”” exclude_authors=”” tags=”” ignore_sticky_posts=”on” exclude_loaded_posts=”” show_comment=”on” show_readmore=”on” show_author=”icon” show_date=”date” meta_item_order=”a_c_d” show_format_icon=”” show_review_score=”” number_cates=”0″ snippet_length=”0″ thumbnail_height=”400″ show_nav=”on” show_dots=”on” speed=”5000″]
The Congress acted the way it did although nobody has offered any concrete evidence linking the Saudi government with this heinous crime. I am not unmindful of the fact that there are insinuations that perhaps there may be some connection between the hijackers and some low level officials of the Saudi government. Some have also argued that the fact that the Saudi government and some prominent Saudis may have donated funds to organizations with possible link with the terrorists, that is proof positive of Saudi complicity.
Well, we have to be very careful with such stretches. Someday an organization that the US aids may be linked to some activities and the chicken will come home to roost. We are currently supplying arms and logistic support to Syrian rebels [who the Syrian and Russian governments designate as terrorists]. What will stop any Syrian family suing the United States government for any losses sustained as a result of the activities of the so-called Free Syrian Army?
My distress is heightened by the fact that apparently our lawmakers did not give serious thought to this legislation. That is why hours after the override of the Obama veto members of the Senate wrote to the leadership requesting that the legislation be revised after the November elections. Our Congressmen are elected by us to protect our interests and legislate for the good governance of our nation.
With such a heavy mandate comes an expectation that they should possess the intellect and unsentimental mien in approaching their tasks. To allow emotions, rank sentiment, public opinions and selfish need to enhance their chances of re-election to sway their consideration of legislation that will yet prove to be very consequential for our government and government officials going forward is a crying shame.
We have our military and CIA engaged in both open and classified operations in all corners of the globe. This legislation has exposed them to grave risks and susceptibility to civil and criminal processes in foreign nations. To what end? So we can please those who are itching to rub the noses of the Saudis in it!
*Ezeife, an attorney in the San Francisco – Oakland bay area, is a contributing editor and columnist for USAfrica since 1994 and USAfricaonline.com