Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey Establishes Research and Essay Competition as a Tribute to the Late Great King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia (With a Mark Fiore Video)

The Late King Abdullah Bin Abdul-Aziz of Saudi Arabia

The Late King Abdullah Bin Abdul-Aziz of Saudi Arabia

By Elaine Magliaro

On January 23rd, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah Bin Abdul-Aziz passed away at the age of ninety. To honor the  memory of this kind and benevolent (?) world figure, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army General Martin E. Dempsey, has established a research and essay competition.  Really! I’m not kidding. The competition is being “hosted” by the National Defense University (NDU).

Writing for DoD News, Jim Garamone said that General Dempsey thinks the “essay competition is a fitting tribute to the life and leadership of the Saudi Arabian monarch.” Garamone noted that the good king “oversaw the modernization of his country’s military during the time he spent as commander of the Saudi Arabian National Guard, a position he held from 1963 until he became king in 2005.”

In a statement announcing the competition, Dempsey said, “This is an important opportunity to honor the memory of the king, while also fostering scholarly research on the Arab-Muslim world, and I can think of no better home for such an initiative than NDU.”


The king was a lifetime supporter of his country’s alliance with the United States. Abdullah ruled Saudi Arabia from 2005 to his death, and served as regent of the country from 1995…

The competition will focus on issues related to the Arab-Muslim world and is designed to encourage strategic thinking and meaningful research on a crucial part of the world. The program will be in place at NDU for the next academic year, officials said.

General Dempsey reportedly met the late King Abdullah in 2001, when he was a brigadier general serving as the U.S. advisor to the Saudi Arabian National Guard. Dempsey said, “In my job to train and advise his military forces, and in our relationship since, I found the king to be a man of remarkable character and courage.”

Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Frederick M. Padilla, the president of NDU, welcomed the opportunity to challenge future students while honoring the late king. Padilla said, “This scholarly research competition presents NDU students with a unique opportunity to focus their research and writing efforts on relevant issues at the intersection of U.S. security interests and the Arab-Muslim world.”

The Guardian said the essay competition “is the latest act of flattery directed towards the kingdom and the reigning al-Sauds in recent days by the US, echoing the heavy praise heaped on the deceased 90-year-old monarch by western leaders.” As pointed out by The Guardian, British prime minister David Cameron praised Abdullah for his “commitment to peace and for strengthening understanding between faiths” and US secretary of state John Kerry called him a “man of wisdom and vision.” IMF head Christine Lagarde, thread of IMF, called Abdullah a “strong advocate for women.”

The late king was such a fine man! Who knew?

Jenna McLaughlin of Mother Jones said that although she wouldn’t have been recognized by the king as a “full human being” because she is a woman, she decided to contribute an entry to the essay competition. You can read McLaughlin’s essay here.

Award-winning political cartoonist Mark Fiore said he “was curious” how someone “could be king of a country that beheads people, doesn’t let women drive and regularly flogs people and be remembered as a ‘reformer'” after death.

Fiore noted that following King Abdullah’s death, “world leaders beat a path to his door to honor his memory.”


Besides women not being allowed to drive, beheadings continuing apace and regular floggings, it should be noted that King Abdullah apparently held four of his daughters under house arrest, um, indefinitely. Let’s just keep in mind who this guy really was before we go sugar-coating him as a great model for the Middle East.

King Abdullah: Royal Pain



Dempsey Sponsors Essay Competition to Honor Saudi King (DoD News, U.S. Department of Defense)

The Pentagon Is Holding an Essay Contest to Honor Saudi Arabia’s Brutal King. Here’s Our Entry. (Mother Jones)

Essay contest billed as tribute to ‘life and leadership’ of Saudi king Abdullah (The Guardian)

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13 Responses to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey Establishes Research and Essay Competition as a Tribute to the Late Great King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia (With a Mark Fiore Video)

  1. Is “Screw him.” too short to be considered an essay?

  2. blouise says:

    “Garamone noted that the good king “oversaw the modernization of his country’s military during the time he spent as commander of the Saudi Arabian National Guard, ”

    What?! Does Garamond think we’re all as dumb as the graduates from our military academies?! Abdullah Bin Abdul-Aziz was the least favorite son of his father, the former king, and it was through his association with the Saudi Arabian National Guard that he managed to beat out his brothers for the throne.

    Hmmm … maybe that’s the way Garamond thinks a nation’s leader should assume power … backed by the military.

  3. Good point, Blouise.

  4. Saudi Wahhabism is the well-spring of Islamic terrorism. 15 of the nineteen 9/11 attackers were citizens of Saudi Arabia. The House of Saud has pumped billions into the exportation of this extremest creed to other poor Muslim nations funding extremist madrasas.. While the European heads of state were putting in their photo-op in Paris for freedom of speech, Saudi blogger Raif Badawi was getting his first 50 lashes for promoting dangerous liberal stuff like freedom of speech. And in the end who got attacked?…Iraq and Afghanistan. Foreign policy functions like the Three Stooges…various permutations of Curly hits Moe who then pulls out Larry’s hair. Petrodollars is the most revered of all the virtues.

  5. Mike Spindell says:

    Sometime in the early midst of Gulf War 1, when the restrictions on American troops based in Saudi Arabia were announced (no alcohol, etc.) I had this epiphany the the US were playing as the Saudi’s “Hessians”, fighting what was their war as proxies. As the years have passed my view of this has only gotten stronger. World leaders paying obeisance to this horrible man only strengthens my belief that this medieval country is among the world’s most powerful. I have heretofore known nothing about General Dempsey, but his proposed essay contests tells me all I need to know and it is not positive.

  6. blouise says:


    I believe we saw the depth of Saudi influence on that awful day in September 2001. First the Saudi nationals mounted a successful attack on NYC and the Pentagon, then, with the help of our Commander-in-chief and our military, the rest of the Saudis got the hell out of Dodge. No questions asked and all within hours of each other.

    In a few short months, more Americans were dying as we removed Saddam, a man viewed as hostile to Saudi interests, from his position of leadership in Iraq helped along by another American military figure carrying the Commander-in-chief’s message of WMB to the United Nations.

    Only a fool would deny Saudi Arabia plays an important role in dictating American foreign policy.

    This essay contest is just another example of boot licking.

  7. Inga says:

    Exactly Blouise, sickening to think an Admiral in our Navy would be elevating this dictator King. How about an essay on why Wahabists are such misogynists? Mike yes, it seems as if the US military has become the modern day Hessian soldiers.

  8. buckaroo says:

    I See Blouise is still living in the pass – this topic is about the present

  9. blouise says:

    Would that be Troll Pass?

  10. I did a bit of internet research and found the Admiral’s picture.

  11. gbk says:


    “I See Blouise is still living in the pass – this topic is about the present”

    And never the twain shall meet?

  12. blouise says:

    Boot licking is very much in the present

  13. gbk says:


    “Boot licking is very much in the present”

    This is true; but boot licking makes the boot seem shinier to the ones that come after the boot licking.

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