WASHINGTON – The United States Central Command apologized on Thursday for posting racist language in an online welcome booklet for troops deployed in Saudi Arabia, and said it would review other documents posted on its website to ensure that the term – Negro – was deleted.
A section of the pamphlet, titled “People and Population,” described the Saudi population as “primarily made up of descendants of indigenous tribes who have inhabited the peninsula since prehistoric times with subsequent admixture of black blood from slaves imported from Africa.”
The 69-page booklet has since been taken off the internet. It was released in June for the United States Military Training Mission to Saudi Arabia, a small force of around 140 military and middle-level advisers for U.S. arms sales in Riyadh.
In a statement, Central Command spokesperson Capt.Bill Urban said military officials were conducting “an internal review of our release processes and investigating previously released documents to ensure that they didn’t there were more instances of inappropriate material on our website. “
“We regret that inappropriate material has been posted on our website without a more comprehensive review and apologize to anyone who took offense,” said Captain Urban.
Another military official said the language was likely copied from years old versions of the booklet and was not captured when pasted into the updated document on the commandment.
The apology from the US military came after Hasan Minhaj, a comedian, pointed out the offensive language on his Netflix show. This was reported earlier Thursday by the Stars and Stripes newspaper.
Other parts of the booklet included updated language from previous versions, including information about Wi-Fi and data streaming speeds. Other parts of the book talk about Saudi Arabia’s climate and economy, as well as customs and courtesies.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Tuesday called for a ceasefire in neighboring Yemen, where a Saudi Arabia-led coalition has been fighting Iran-backed Houthi rebels since 2015, displacing millions and tens of thousands of dead.