The U.S. Has Negotiated With Terrorists Before, But Never as Foolishly as the Five-for One Deal with the Taliban
I remember back in the 1980s, when Democrats on Capitol Hill were screaming for blood after news surfaced that the Reagan administration had sold arms to Iran in an effort to secure the release of American hostages in Lebanon.
They even started talking about impeaching President Reagan when they learned that money from the arms sales had been diverted to rebels trying to overthrow the Communist government of Nicaragua.
The diversion of funds was apparently in violation of a law pushed through by congressional Democrats banning further military aid to the Nicaraguan rebels, known as the Contras.
Now the shoe is suddenly on the other foot. How are the Democrats going to defend (at least with a straight face) a deal that released five very dangerous Taliban terrorists in exchange for one American soldier who may well prove to be a deserter?
Is this Obama’s way of finally closing Guantanamo, after failing to find any community in America willing to take the prisoners?
There’s no doubt that it’s bad policy for any American administration to negotiate with terrorists in any way. Doing so only encourages terrorists to continue to pursue their activities, because they obviously pay off in the long run.
But of the Iran-Contra mess in the 80s, at least it can be said that administration officials were acting in a way they believed was morally correct.
They desperately wanted to secure the release of seven American hostages in Lebanon. The White House knew the Iranians had strong ties to the group holding the Americans, and hoped the arms sales would convince them to intervene on our behalf.
Administration officials also believed that the presence of the Communist regime in Nicaragua posed a danger to the rest of Latin America, and indeed the western hemisphere. They were convinced the congressional law prohibiting aid to the rebels in that nation infringed on the president’s right to conduct foreign policy.
What they did was wrong, but at least their motives were pure. They believed they were doing the right thing for America.
So what were the people in the Obama White House thinking when they agreed to trade five hard-core terrorists in exchange for one soldier whose disappearance from his unit in Afghanistan remains a mystery?
Clearly laws were violated with this exchange, just like they were in the 1980s.
According to an article on FreeBeacon.com, the National Defense Authorization Act includes several important provisions that were ignored by the White House deal.
The law says the secretary of defense must determine the risk posed by releasing a Guantanamo detainee, and certify that the release “is in the national security interest of the United States.”
How on earth are Obama or Chuck Hagel every going to convince anyone that’s the case?
The administration also forgot about a provision requiring Congressional committees to be notified at least 30 days before the release of Gitmo detainees.
But the law aside, just what did the president think he was accomplishing?
Did he consider how such a deal would affect the morale of American service people?
Five terrorists will again be free to plan and execute atrocities against U.S. military personnel in the Middle East, and American interests all over the world. Instead of being safely tucked away behind bars, they are once again a deep concern for our military and intelligence communities.
Who determined that a five-for-one deal was somehow fair? We released five dangerous killers, who are dedicated to the destruction of the U.S. and Israel, in exchange for one soldier who has been described by several of his fellow soldiers as “more traitor than hero” for his alleged efforts to desert the military.
The administration announced that the desertion question would be dealt with later, pretty much as an afterthought.
That begs a troubling question – does the president and his team even care if soldiers desert the military? Or are they so anti-military that they feel a sense of allegiance with traitors?
Obama must know that his decision is a slap in the face to every frightened solider in every branch of the service who has ever sucked it up and done his or her duty, despite the risks involved.
And it’s a slap in the face to everyone in the defense and intelligence communities who will have to worry about the ugly things that the newly freed terrorists have planned for us.
Congressional leaders were clearly stunned by the deal.
“The five terrorists released were the hardest of the hard-core,” U.S. Sen. Lindsay Graham wrote on the chairmen of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “They held positions of great importance within the hard-core, anti-American Taliban.”
He went on to write that the freed terrorists “have American blood on their hands and surely as night follows day they will return to the fight.”
The President of the United States just made our nation less safe, and for what?
During the Iran-Contra scandal, at least there was rational reason for what happened, even if it was wrong.
What in the world is rational about releasing violent men who are determined to hurt our people and nation?