Politics as usual, or act of treason


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.]