“Why do you work for a murderer?”

Each year, Saudi Arabia employs, through consultants or otherwise, a host of retired American generals, diplomats, intelligence experts and others. Until now, they could assure themselves this was a win-win: lucrative for them, to be sure, but also enhancing mutual understanding with an important U.S. ally.

Now, as more and more evidence implicates Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, in the reported murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi on Saudi diplomatic property in Istanbul, the equation has changed.

So how might, say, a retired Air Force colonel explain his work when his daughter asks, “Daddy, why do you work for a murderer?”

“Well, it helps to pay your future college tuition,” he might answer. “And besides, I finally get to fly business class. Riyadh is no picnic, but they always spring for a couple of nights in a five-star hotel in London or Abu Dhabi on the way over and the way back. . . . And if I don’t do it, someone else will.”

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