Plan to Train Saudi Fighter Pilots in Idaho Under Fire

Training part of a $60-billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 20, 2011 12:45 PM CDT
Plan to Train Saudi Fighter Pilots in Idaho Under Fire
Under last fall's $60-billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia, the Saudi Air Force would be trained at Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho.   (Getty Images)

It's been nearly a decade since a Saudi pilot crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11, but a plan for the US Air Force to train Saudi Arabian pilots in Idaho has some people outraged, reports al-Jazeera. As part of a huge $60 billion arms deal made last autumn, the Air Force agreed to train Saudi pilots and flight crews for at least five years. In December, Mountain Home Air Force Base was chosen for that training.

"Mountain Home already hosts a similar training mission for Singapore's air force, and the base's abundant ramp space, desert location and premiere training ranges make it the ideal location to host another international partner and ensure interoperability between US forces and our allies," said a statement by Idaho Sen. Jim Risch, who, like fellow Idaho politicians Mike Simpson and Mike Crapo, had spoken out against the so-called Ground Zero mosque in New York City. But not everyone's buying that line of logic: "Americans will die and the people in Washington don't give a damn," said one man whose son died in the World Trade Center on 9/11. (More Mountain Home Air Force Base stories.)

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