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Politics as usual, or act of treason

Bonnie Willis's picture

By now everyone has heard of the trade of five Taliban leaders formerly detained in Guantanamo Bay, for one American soldier, who is suspected of being a deserter.

Upon hearing the news, I was angry and outraged, because, as I have written in previous columns, I was in New York City on 9/11. The war against al Qaeda and the Taliban — both radical Islamist groups — is very real for me.

Seeing the smoke billow from the World Trade Center as I crossed the Brooklyn Bridge has marked an indelible warning in my heart that this war is far beyond politics or economics or nations – this is a spiritual fight against radical Islamists who kidnap and rape young girls to force them to convert as they did with the school girls of Chibox Village in Nigeria and would easily do the same to my own children or worse if given the chance.

So, it was unbelievable to me that the President and some within his administration negotiated the release of “the Taliban Dream Team” — five of the highest ranking terrorists in the world personally selected by the Taliban during this negotiation.

Over the past week, my outrage has turned to profound disbelief and great sadness. Are we not still actively engaged in a global war against terrorism? Are we not still actively engaged against the Taliban in Afghanistan? Do we not still have our military fighting overseas?

Do we still not experience casualties of our precious sons and daughters who are standing against the Taliban and al Qaeda? Do these organizations not still desire to slaughter us, as was evidenced by their jubilant reaction when we lost four citizens in Benghazi, or the propaganda footage of them beheading an American citizen, or the excitement they expressed — which was minimally covered by the media — when we lost approximately 30 members of Seal Team Six (the unit that killed Osama Bin Laden) in a helicopter accident?

Whether we think so or not, for our enemies, this global war on terror is still very real. But, it seems the President and anyone who would defend this negotiation would have us believe that this war is not real and that it is either winding down or that this latest act of appeasement would soften the hearts of these murderous regimes.

How else could anyone defend releasing five such terrorists to the state of Qatar for a simple agreement that they would be detained and monitored for one year?

Am I supposed to believe that these terrorist leaders, who never repented or relented during the 12 years they were detained in Guantanamo Bay, will no longer pose a threat to us? Am I supposed to believe that a government that did not successfully detain two previous Guantanamo prisoners, and warmly greeted this “Taliban Dream Team” with hugs upon arriving in their country, will now detain and reform them from terrorist activities against the U.S. within one year?

Am I supposed to believe that they will not go right back to their terrorist networks and use any intelligence they have gathered to inflict harm on U.S. interests in general, and on our soldiers, in particular?

The fact that the President, who solemnly swore, “I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States,” could do something so ideologically naive (at best), and blatantly treasonous (at worst), as negotiate the release of five, active and unrepentant terrorists, is simply beyond me.

Rarely, has any president negotiated with terrorists, and none, to my recollection, has negotiated for the release of prisoners during a time of war.

I am thankful that there are politicians on both sides of the aisle who are pointing out how this “trade” was a bad deal; for this is not a partisan issue, it is an American issue. But their rhetoric, especially in this case, is cheap.

This negotiation was not simply “ill-advised” or a “miscalculation.” It was obscene and an outright offense to anyone who looks upon our nation with felicity.

So, it is truly with a heavy heart that I write these final words. I hope the citizens of this nation do not allow this issue to go by and chalk it up to politics as usual.

Again, the decision to negotiate the trade of terrorist leaders during a time of war is not a partisan issue. It is, in essence, an act that directly aids and abets known enemies of this country. This is treason, and those who made this decision need to be held accountable.

Indeed, our nation is in greater danger than it was two weeks ago, and the blood shed by those who have sacrificed and died for this country cries out for better than this. I just hope we don’t have another act like that of 9/11 for those blinded by partisan politics to see this simple truth.

[Bonnie B. Willis is co-founder of The Willis Group, LLC, a Learning, Development, and Life Coaching company here in Fayette County and lives in Fayetteville along with her husband and their five children.]


brooksdad's picture

Thank you once again for expressing the truth of what is really going on in our country. It is sad that many Americans (especially our lawmakers) do not see, or do not care to consider the consequences we will continue to endure as a result of this assault on our constitution. May God help us.

What would have been the story if we had turned down the deal; left one American soldier behind; and had the enemy proudly showing his decapitated body? In my opinion, one American is worth more than an army of the enemy. Our justice system or the military system will deal with the Sgt. on our soil. Our drones and intelligence organizations have dealt more effectively with those who plot to kill us than incarceration in GITMO . Our Constitution allows us to respect and protect our own.

G35 Dude's picture

Good question. What was the worth of the Americans at Benghazi? Or the Marine in prison in Mexico? Or the Americans that will be put at risk in the future by these released Taliban commanders? Or those vets that died waiting for the VA to act?

Priceless - in any situation. We dealt with the enemy better OUTSIDE OF GITMO than 12 years incarcerated. . IMO

brewster's picture

Don't think you can engage in warfare with the attitude of every soldier being priceless.

Maybe we just shouldn't engage in 'warfare'. I know - unrealistic - but as a grandmother who was grateful a grandson came home alive - it's a thought.

Interesting that far more embassy attacks occurred under Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush than have under Obama, and that Republicans in Congress never investigated Reagan or Bush for their failures. I guess those lives lost weren't worth as much as lives lost under Obama. Or maybe its just the Republicans unfortunately using these lives lost for political purposes?

1. The US embassy in Athens, Greece, was attacked in 2007.

2. The US embassy in Serbia was burned down early in 2008?

3. The US embassy in Sanaa, Yemen, were attacked in September 2008

4. A suicide bombing at the US consulate in Karachi, Pakistan, in 2006 killed a US diplomat.

5. In 2006, a car bomb was set off outside the US embassy in Damascus.

6. Assailants set off bombs outside the US embassy in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, in 2004, at a time when the Uzbek government was allied with Bush in the ?__war on terror?__ and was trying 15 persons it accused of al-Qaeda ties. Bush should have known.

7. The US consulate in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, was attacked in 2004.

8. Anti-American Iraqis were regularly shelling the Green Zone in Baghdad where the US embassy is, in 2008.

9. In April 1983, radical Shiite suicide bombers blew up the US embassy in Beirut, killing 63. Reagan did nothing to prevent this attack, and his ultimate response to it and a later deadly attack on US Marines in Beirut was to quietly withdraw from Lebanon (he called it ?__redeploying offshore?_?). Democrats at the time controlled Congress but they didn?__t have endless hearings on how Reagan failed our diplomats by not being prepared, not about whether it was wise for Reagan to shell Lebanese villages from the sea and kill 1,000 people.

10. The American embassy in Kuwait was attacked under Reagan in 1983 by radical members of the Da`wa (Islamic Mission) Party. George W. Bush later presided over the election of one of the bombers to the Iraqi parliament. The Da`wa Party, which has since given up terrorism and become a democratic party, has ruled Iraq since 2005, courtesy of Bush.

G35 Dude's picture

OK so you're saying that 2 (or more) wrongs make a right?

I'm not saying the Obama administration should be absolved of any thing they should have done. But this "moral outrage" by the Repubs is nothing more than political grandstanding. This is all about stopping the Hillary presidential bid. There have already held 13 public hearings and over 250,000 documents have been submitted from the White House and State Department. And so far, no smoking gun. But yet here we go again with another hearing. It's bad enough that Ambassador Stevens and the three others lost their lives in such a tragic and horrendous way. But to exploit their deaths for nothing more than pure political gain as the Repubs are doing....well, there is a special place in hell for people with that kind of mentality.

"Rarely, has any president negotiated with terrorists, and none, to my recollection, has negotiated for the release of prisoners during a time of war."

You may want to bone up on your history before making such a silly statement. The US has a long history of negotiating with terrorists.

After the North Koreans captured the U.S.S. Pueblo in 1968, President Lyndon Johnson apologized for spying as part of negotiations to secure the release of 83 American prisoners.

In 1970, President Richard Nixon pressured Israel, Switzerland, West Germany and Britain to release Palestinian prisoners after two airlines were hijacked by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

During the Iran hostage crisis of 1979 to 1981, President Jimmy Carter agreed to unfreeze $8 billion in frozen Iranian assets after more than a year of negotiations with the Iranian revolutionaries.

President Bill Clinton?__s administration sat down with Hamas in attempts to negotiate peace with Israel. His administration also worked directly with the Taliban nearly two decades ago on several occasions to see if the group would hand over Osama bin Laden and other al-Qaida leaders.

But perhaps the most famous example of the United States negotiating with terrorists was the Iran-Contra affair when the patron saint of conservativism Ronald Reagan sold missiles to Tehran to secure the partial release of seven American hostages held in Lebanon. In fact, it was known at the time as the ?__arms-for-hostages?_? deal.

Under President George W. Bush, Charles "Cully" Stimson, a security expert at the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank, helped coordinate the Pentagon's detainee operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and other places around the world. He said presidential administrations of both political parties routinely have been forced to deal with terrorist groups for "information, supplies, personnel ?__ a lot of different topics.

So while we can debate whether or not the price paid for Bergdahl's release was too steep and whether or not Obama violated the law with his actions by not notifying Congress within the 30 day window as required, the truth is we have a long history of negotiating with terrorists....both during and not during war.

What if that was your son? Would you feel the same way? Would you disapprove of the swap? Would you want to see your son remain in captivity and tortured everyday of his existence? Would you want your son to die at the hands of terrorists? No...I didn't think so. Moral outrage is so easy when it's not personal.

G35 Dude's picture

What if one of the men killed looking for Bergdahl or one of the men that will be killed by these Taliban commanders was your son? Will/would you still feel the same way? Will/would you still approve of this swap? You are correct. Moral outrage is easy when it's not personal.

Gamma Sherri's picture

where they can be executed via drone, bomb, or sniper?

brewster's picture

I'm partial to secret tracking implants to see where they go, then snipe the whole congregation.

Nope! :-)

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