WASHINGTON â The United States Central Command apologized on Thursday for posting racially offensive language in an online welcome booklet for troops deploying to Saudi Arabia, and said it would review other documents posted on its website to ensure that the term â Negro â was deleted.
A section of the booklet, titled âPeople and Population,â described the Saudi population as âmainly composed of descendants of indigenous tribes that have inhabited the peninsula since prehistoric times with some later mixture of Negro blood from slaves imported from Africa.â
The 69-page booklet has since been taken off the internet. It was published in June for the United States Military Training Mission to Saudi Arabia, a small force of roughly 140 military advisers and conduits for American arms sales to Riyadh.
In a statement, Capt. Bill Urban, the spokesman for Central Command, said that military officials were conducting âan internal review of our posting processes, and are conducting a survey of previously posted material to ensure there is no further instances of inappropriate material on our website.â
âWe regret that inappropriate material was posted to our website without a more fulsome review and apologize to anyone who took offense,â Captain Urban said.
Another military official said that the language had probably been copied from years-old versions of the booklet and not caught when it was pasted into the updated document on the commandâs website.
The American militaryâs apology came after Hasan Minhaj, a comedian, pointed out the offensive language on his Netflix show. It was reported earlier on Thursday by the newspaper Stars and Stripes.
Other parts of the booklet included language that was updated from previous versions, including information about Wi-Fi and data streaming speeds. Other parts of the book talk about Saudi Arabiaâs climate and economy, as well as customs and courtesies.
On Tuesday, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis called for a cease-fire in neighboring Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition has been fighting Iranian-backed Houthi rebels since 2015, leaving millions displaced and tens of thousands of people killed.