US reconfirms policy of not paying ransoms to terrorists for abducted Americans

posted at 6:41 pm on August 22, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

But should they? The question has arisen in part because of the grotesque murder of American journalist James Foley, and in part because of an earlier New York Times exposé about our allies against terrorism and the funding they provide by buying the freedom of their citizens.  The White House offered as part of its rebuttal to those questions a rather quick and unequivocal declaration that Foley’s beheading was “absolutely” an act of terror against the United States:

The killing of American journalist James Foley was “absolutely” a terrorist attack, the White House said Friday.

Deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes, briefing reporters from Martha’s Vineyard, said Foley’s beheading by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) — and the release of an online video showing the aftermath — was a direct assault on the United States.

“When you see somebody killed in such a horrific way, that represents a terrorist attack against our country and against an American citizen,” Rhodes said.

“Clearly, the brutal execution of Jim Foley represented an affront — an attack not just him, but he’s an American, and we see that as an attack on our country when one of our own is killed like that,” he added.

That means the issue of whether we pay terrorists for the release of hostages falls under the doctrine repeated yesterday by State Department spokesperson Marie Harf:

“We believe that paying ransoms or making concessions would put all Americans overseas at greater risk” and would provide funding for groups whose capabilities “we are trying to degrade,” Marie Harf, a State Department spokeswoman, said in a briefing Thursday.

Harf said it is illegal for any American citizen to pay ransom to a group, such as the Islamic State, that the U.S. government has designated as a terrorist organization. …

Harf said that ransom payments are “one of the main ways ISIL has been funded. . . .We believe just in 2014 that that’s in the millions of dollars.” ISIL is one of several acronyms that refer to the Islamic State.

That’s been such a cornerstone of American policy for so long that many Americans may not realize that we are now bound to that policy by treaty — at least theoretically.  The Guardian reminds readers of the G8 agreement signed in 2013 that also has a UN Security Council resolution backing it up that prohibits the payment of ransom to terrorist groups as a way to stop funding and incentivizing them, especially when it comes to abductions. Unfortunately, the only two nations that actually abide by that policy are the US and UK:

All major western countries signed a 2013 G8 commitment not to pay ransom to terrorist groups – an accord reinforced by a UN security council resolution along the same lines in January this year. However, only the US and UK have stuck to that commitment, while other European states – including France, Italy, Spain and Germany – have found ways of channelling money to militant groups in exchange for their citizens.

Not only has that incentivized even more kidnappings, but it also has driven the prices out of sight — and certainly out of the realm of possibility for people of modest means to act privately, including the Foleys:

Those ransoms – frequently delivered in the form of cash-filled suitcases handed over in the desert – have had unintended but inevitable consequences. More nationals from those countries have been targeted for kidnap as they represent a guaranteed return, while the intervention of major European states willing to pay millions of euros has inflated the price for other captives, putting the cost beyond the reach of families or employers trying to negotiate privately.

“When states pay vast ransoms, it skews the market, and it’s simply not possible for families to pay that amount,” said David Rohde, a Reuters journalist who was kidnapped in Afghanistan by the Taliban and held for seven months. “The Foleys faced that harsh reality over and over again in this case.”

Those vast ransoms have other consequences as well. The New York Times reported last month that the abduction market has become a critical income stream for terrorist organizations, who need resources to attack the very nations paying the ransoms. In effect, the West is buying its own nooses:

While European governments deny paying ransoms, an investigation by The New York Times found that Al Qaeda and its direct affiliates have taken in at least $125 million in revenue from kidnappings since 2008, of which $66 million was paid just last year.

In news releases and statements, the United States Treasury Department has cited ransom amounts that, taken together, put the total at around $165 million over the same period.

These payments were made almost exclusively by European governments, who funneled the money through a network of proxies, sometimes masking it as development aid, according to interviews conducted for this article with former hostages, negotiators, diplomats and government officials in 10 countries in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. The inner workings of the kidnapping business were also revealed in thousands of pages of internal Qaeda documents found by this reporter while on assignment for The Associated Press in northern Mali last year.

In its early years, Al Qaeda received most of its money from deep-pocketed donors, but counterterrorism officials now believe the group finances the bulk of its recruitment, training and arms purchases from ransoms paid to free Europeans.

Put more bluntly, Europe has become an inadvertent underwriter of Al Qaeda.

And it’s not like AQ is an investment house looking for nothing but compound interest from that cash. That is why the US and UK have remained adamantly opposed to paying ransoms in exchange for hostages. But wait, some might say, didn’t we cut a deal to get Bowe Bergdahl back from the Taliban — or more accurately, the Haqqani network? Isn’t that a distinction without a difference?  Not really, the White House’s Eric Schultz told reporters today:

This actually is a distinction with a difference. The US is engaged in hostilities with the Taliban as one of the combatants in the Afghan civil war, hold Taliban prisoners, and Bergdahl served in the armed forces at the time of his capture. It’s not uncommon for combatants in wars to conduct prisoner swaps, although the wisdom of this particular swap is certainly debatable. (There is also some question about whether it involved cash, although mostly just speculation.)  The US military has a special obligation to those who serve in their ranks to operate within the bounds of war to secure their release when captured, whether through liberation or negotiation. After all, the military put them in a war zone with that risk in place. That doesn’t apply to Americans traveling on their own volition — bravely, certainly — to dangerous areas.

Former abductee David Rohde wants a national and international debate on the no-ransom policy:

This spring, four French and two Spanish journalists held hostage by Islamic State extremists were freed—after the French and Spanish governments paid ransoms through intermediaries. The U.S. government refused to negotiate or pay a ransom in Foley’s case or for any other American captives—including my own abduction by the Taliban five years ago. With the help of an Afghan journalist abducted with me, I was lucky enough to escape. But today Foley is dead and Islamic State militants now say Steven Sotloff, a journalist for Time magazine whom the group also captured, will be killed if the United States does not stop bombing its fighters in Iraq

There are no easy answers in kidnapping cases. The United States cannot allow terrorist groups to control its foreign policy. One clear lesson that has emerged in recent years, however, is that security threats are more effectively countered by united American and European action. The divergent U.S. and European approach to abductions fails to deter captors or consistently safeguard victims. …

In the days and weeks ahead, the Foley family will speak for themselves about their ordeal. But the payment of ransoms and abduction of foreigners must emerge from the shadows. It must be publicly debated. American and European policymakers should be forced to answer for their actions.

That should start by demanding that our partners stick to the treaty they’ve already signed, and explain why they’re undermining that Western unity by paying massive ransoms. They may claim that they can’t sustain that policy politically, but it seems to be sustainable in the US and UK, so that’s not terribly convincing. There’s also nothing wrong with a national debate on the policy — or any policy — but it should take into account the fact that the West would be in essence funding the kidnappings and terrorist attacks that target ourselves, which seems like a very unsustainable policy in the long run.

William Saletan agrees, arguing we should punish terrorism rather than reward it:

David Rohde, a Reuters columnist and former New York Times reporter who was kidnapped in Afghanistan—and escaped after the U.S. refused to ransom him from the Taliban—accepts this framework of enemy-imposed consequences. While blaming ISIS for Foley’s death, he writes that the gap between U.S. and European ransom policies “can doom the Americans” held in captivity. The headline over Rohde’s column asks: “Did America’s policy on ransom contribute to James Foley’s killing?” On Wednesday, Foley’s brother said of ISIS’s hostages, “There’s more that can be done. The footprint has been laid by some of the other nations.” That sounds like an appeal for European-style flexibility. …

James Traub, writing in Foreign Policy, argues that Obama “has an obligation to consider the consequences of his decisions.” The rationale for bargaining, he notes, is that it’s wrong “to place the life of the abductee in a balance with abstract goods, like ‘sending a message’ that kidnapping doesn’t pay.” Traub adds that “the consequences of capitulation are remote and hypothetical; the life is terribly real.”

But the lives of future hostages, and of the Syrians and Iraqis slain by ISIS every day, are just as real. As Vox’s Zack Beauchamp points out, research has shown that kidnapping, like other profit-seeking enterprises, increases in response to payments. Investigative work by New York Times reporter Rukmini Callimachi shows that al-Qaida and its affiliates have followed this logic. They’ve snatched more than 50 foreign citizens in the last five years, and the price for their release has gone up. A decade ago, it was around $200,000 per hostage. Now the highest reported payment is $10 million. For Foley’s release, the New York Times says ISIS demanded 100 million euros, about $132 million.

If you pay the ransom, you’re not just fueling the kidnap market. As Slate’s Josh Keating notes, you’re also funding ISIS’s war and its atrocities against civilians. Callimachi found that al-Qaida and its affiliates reaped a minimum of $125 million in ransoms in the last five years, and $66 million just last year. It’s now al-Qaida’s main revenue stream. And the demands won’t end with money. In addition to Sotloff, ISIS reportedly has at least three more American hostages it’s threatening to kill. It also has some Brits. The New York Times says ISIS “has sent a laundry list of demands for the release of the foreigners, starting with money but also prisoner swaps.” Altogether, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, ISIS and other extremists in Syria have about 20 foreign journalists.

I fear for those reporters. I’m horrified by Foley’s death, and I know Sotloff is probably next. But we have to think about the next 20 hostages, and the 20 after that. Every time we ransom a reporter, we put a price tag on the next one. The only way to extinguish the market in kidnapping is to make it worthless. That means refusing to pay. And what about the Iraqi and Syrian civilians ISIS slaughters every day? If we halt our airstrikes to appease ISIS, as the executioner in the video implicitly demands, aren’t we sacrificing them for a few Americans?

Indeed, and perhaps Rudyard Kipling put it best:

It is always a temptation for a rich and lazy nation,
To puff and look important and to say: –
“Though we know we should defeat you,
we have not the time to meet you.
We will therefore pay you cash to go away.”

And that is called paying the Dane-geld;
But we’ve proved it again and again,
That if once you have paid him the Dane-geld
You never get rid of the Dane.


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Releasing known terrorists to get back captured soldiers is paying ransom, and will only lead to more such captures for ransom.

Wino on August 22, 2014 at 6:49 PM

Something to consider:

When Somalians do this, its called piracy.

When Muslims do it, its called financing.

Make a note.

BobMbx on August 22, 2014 at 6:50 PM

Of COURSE they should!
Then, thousands of Americans will be kidnapped and ransomed!
Genius!

Duh.

Tard on August 22, 2014 at 6:51 PM

I’m sorry, but paying ransom to those animals is insane. Liquidate them instead.

changer1701 on August 22, 2014 at 6:52 PM

Something about millions for defense, not one cent for tribute.

I guess Barry missed that class.

formwiz on August 22, 2014 at 6:52 PM

But should they?

No. And more broadly they shouldn’t negotiate with terrorists either, with money or without.

Stoic Patriot on August 22, 2014 at 6:54 PM

http://quran.com/47/4

Sahih International

So when you meet those who disbelieve [in battle], strike [their] necks until, when you have inflicted slaughter upon them, then secure their bonds, and either [confer] favor afterwards or ransom [them] until the war lays down its burdens. That [is the command]. And if Allah had willed, He could have taken vengeance upon them [Himself], but [He ordered armed struggle] to test some of you by means of others. And those who are killed in the cause of Allah – never will He waste their deeds.

Muhsin Khan

So, when you meet (in fight Jihad in Allah’s Cause), those who disbelieve smite at their necks till when you have killed and wounded many of them, then bind a bond firmly (on them, i.e. take them as captives). Thereafter (is the time) either for generosity (i.e. free them without ransom), or ransom (according to what benefits Islam), until the war lays down its burden. Thus [you are ordered by Allah to continue in carrying out Jihad against the disbelievers till they embrace Islam (i.e. are saved from the punishment in the Hell-fire) or at least come under your protection], but if it had been Allah’s Will, He Himself could certainly have punished them (without you). But (He lets you fight), in order to test you, some with others. But those who are killed in the Way of Allah, He will never let their deeds be lost,

Beheadings, ransoms…

ITguy on August 22, 2014 at 6:55 PM

I live overseas (Dubai), and travel to many middle eastern countries regularly. If I were to be kidnapped, I hope to h3ll that no ransom is paid. I have no desire to be a martyr, but likewise, I don’t wish to be the instrument to facilitate the funding of radicals.

Wino on August 22, 2014 at 6:57 PM

won’t give $$ will just give weapons and release prisoners from gitmo

dmacleo on August 22, 2014 at 6:57 PM

Would staging multiple fake kidnappings around real ones inflate supply and help drive down ransoms?

Christien on August 22, 2014 at 6:59 PM

They wish you would disbelieve as they disbelieved so you would be alike. So do not take from among them allies until they emigrate for [convert to] the cause of Allah . But if they turn away [refuse to convert], then seize them and kill them wherever you find them and take not from among them any ally or helper.

http://quran.com/4/89

It is not hard to understand their motives. Their behavior is rooted in their religion.

And this is NOTHING NEW. They’ve been doing it for well over a thousand years.

As to our own country, prior to 1776 our merchant ships were protected by the British Navy, and during the Revolution we had the assistance of the French Navy, but after the war our merchant ships had no Navy to protect them. Jihadists started hijacking our merchant ships, beheading some crew and holding the rest for ransom.

Take a look at two primary source documents from 1786, involving 4 of our nation’s Founding Fathers:

John Adams and Thomas Jefferson to John Jay, March 28, 1786:

We took the Liberty to make some Inquiries concerning the Grounds of their pretentions to make War upon Nations who had done them no Injury, & observed that we Considered all Mankind as our friends, who had done us no Wrong nor had given us any provocation—

The Ambassador [of Tripoli] answered us, that it was founded on the law of their great Profet: that it was written in the Koran, that all Nations who should not have acknowledged their Authority were sinners: that it was their right & duty to make war upon them whenever they could be found, & to make slaves of all they could take as prisoners; & that every Mussalman who should be slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise

The American Peace Commissioners to John Jay – March 28, 1786

Four and a half months later…

Would to Heaven we had a navy able to reform those enemies to mankind, or crush them into non-existence.

- George Washington to Marquis de Lafayette, August 15, 1786

In 1786, the U.S.A. was operating under the Articles of Confederation, which created a government which was too weak and probably incapable of building a Navy. I wonder how much that played into the formation of a Constitutional Convention the following year (1787).

George Washington clearly wanted a Navy, but it was John Adams who succeeded in getting Congress to fund the building of a Navy, and Thomas Jefferson who used that Navy to carry Marines “to the shores of Tripoli” to “fight our country’s battles”…

Things are really not much different today than they were in 1786, except that now we have a military capable of carrying out George Washington’s desire.

If Muslims refuse to peacefully “coexist” with those of other faiths, then war WILL happen, and we will be forced to either kill or be killed.

ITguy on August 22, 2014 at 7:00 PM

Releasing known terrorists to get back captured soldiers is paying ransom, and will only lead to more such captures for ransom.

Wino on August 22, 2014 at 6:49 PM

That’s a prisoner exchange. It happens in literally every war.

triple on August 22, 2014 at 7:04 PM

Unless the ransom is for a terrorist. We’ll trade terrorists for hostages, just not money.

ButterflyDragon on August 22, 2014 at 7:04 PM

That’s a prisoner exchange. It happens in literally every war.

triple on August 22, 2014 at 7:04 PM

Bergdahl wasn’t a prisoner. He waltzed into their arms.

ButterflyDragon on August 22, 2014 at 7:05 PM

obama’s prisoner swap …

http://www.barenakedislam.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/bergdahl-prisoner-swap1.jpg

Pork-Chop on August 22, 2014 at 7:06 PM

Regardless, he was a soldier in their custody.

You want to talk about releasing terrorists for prisoners, talk to Israel. They’ve released thousands of them.

triple on August 22, 2014 at 7:06 PM

Forget ransoms.

Bounties are best.

$1,000 and a BBQ pork sandwich per skull.

faraway on August 22, 2014 at 7:07 PM

Our son was stationed in Iraq. I thought about this topic many times. These animals are brutes, period. NOTHING will stop them but force.

OK, Glenn Beck wants prayers and love – but sometimes, brute force is needed. HAD the US KEPT TROOPS IN IRAQ, we would NOT be in this mess. We’ve been in Germany for almost 70 years, Japan the same; Korea for 65+ and idiots in the USA said “pull out” of Iraq and Afghanistan. Leftist idiots, all.

We do not want to be the world’s policeman but frankly, we’re the only decent ones around. We are just beginning to see the low extents to which excuses for humans will stoop. And any belief system that perpetuates robbery, slavery, murder and rape is simply wrong, period.

Just remember, the reason this kind of barbaric practice was held at a minimum b/c the USA patrolled the seas and had a presence. This is what happens when a good nation retreats.

you lefties, you’re wrong! They’ll come for you after they get rid of some of us.

MN J on August 22, 2014 at 7:07 PM

The US military has a special obligation to those who serve in their ranks to operate within the bounds of war to secure their release when captured, whether through liberation or negotiation. After all, the military put them in a war zone with that risk in place. That doesn’t apply to Americans traveling on their own volition

Except that Bowe Bergdahl wasn’t “serving” in the military when he was captured (assuming that he even was captured); he had deserted. Bergdahl had put himself in danger by voluntarily walking away from his post and going in search of the Taliban. Much like Foley, Bergdahl chose to travel in a dangerous area on his own volition, and like Foley, no ransom or trade of terrorists should have been made for him.

AZCoyote on August 22, 2014 at 7:08 PM

I have no problem paying ransom.

As long as it’s in the form of small amounts of lead delivered at high velocity.

rbj on August 22, 2014 at 7:10 PM

US reconfirms policy of not paying ransoms to terrorists for abducted Americans

This regime pays ransoms to terrorists to kill Americans.

burrata on August 22, 2014 at 7:15 PM

Bergdahl chose to travel in a dangerous area on his own volition, and like Foley, no ransom or trade of terrorists should have been made for him.

AZCoyote on August 22, 2014 at 7:08 PM

Irrelevant. Never leave a man behind isn’t negotiable, even if we’re going to drag him back to america to put him in jail

triple on August 22, 2014 at 7:15 PM

Love
Joy
Peace
Patience
Kindness
Goodness
Faithfulness
Gentleness
Self-Control

certainly not what we see from the current political right.

everdiso on August 22, 2014 at 9:40 AM

EverRiot promotes rioting, looting, strong arm robberies, punching cops, murder lyrics, rape lyrics, and killing babies.

Please stop.

faraway on August 22, 2014 at 7:17 PM

Irrelevant. Never leave a man behind isn’t negotiable, even if we’re going to drag him back to america to put him in jail

triple on August 22, 2014 at 7:15 PM

What is wrong with leaving a talib behind with the tolleeeebbbaaan , specially when he himself desires to be a talib ?

burrata on August 22, 2014 at 7:20 PM

I think they should keep the 1 for 5 ratio and dispose of 5 terrorists at Gitmo — in an appropriate Islamic method of course — burying alive, bullet in the back of the head. I would allow drowning(by tying an anchor to their feet) too because of the proximity of the ocean.

For the rest of the Gitmo bunch, they should be allowed to escape, Diana Nyad style. I would even give them a headstart on their way to Africa by dropping them 20 miles east of Cuba.

KenInIL on August 22, 2014 at 7:30 PM

After 12 Nepalis were slaughtered in Iraq, massive riot against Muslims. Their businesses trashed and their temple burned. Death toll was two rioters killed by police. Never saw another report of terrorists killing any more of them. Of course, we’re better than that.

Christien on August 22, 2014 at 7:32 PM

James Traub, writing in Foreign Policy, argues that Obama “has an obligation to consider the consequences of his decisions.” The rationale for bargaining, he notes, is that it’s wrong “to place the life of the abductee in a balance with abstract goods, like ‘sending a message’ that kidnapping doesn’t pay.” Traub adds that “the consequences of capitulation are remote and hypothetical; the life is terribly real.”

This fool writes for Foreign Policy?

Refusing to pay ransom isn’t “…abstract goods, like ‘sending a message’ that kidnapping doesn’t pay.” It’s creating the reality that kidnapping doesn’t pay, at least not directly.

novaculus on August 22, 2014 at 7:33 PM

You want to talk about releasing terrorists for prisoners, talk to Israel. They’ve released thousands of them.

triple on August 22, 2014 at 7:06 PM

And they’re still vilified, so why bother. Wipe the savages out. In the end you’ll get much less bad press and much more safety.

Mimzey on August 22, 2014 at 7:41 PM

Obama already contributed plenty. Not only the guns from Libya, but the billion plus dollars’ worth of American materiel abandoned by the Iraqi army, after the Iraqi army was abandoned by Obama. And he didn’t ask for a single hostage, in return.

notropis on August 22, 2014 at 7:44 PM

Show your support for Officer Darien Wilson and send a message to all the race pimps. especially Eric Holder and the despicable MSM.

https://www.gofundme.com/OfficerWilsonFundraiser

they lie on August 22, 2014 at 7:49 PM

Obama already contributed plenty. Not only the guns from Libya, but the billion plus dollars’ worth of American materiel abandoned by the Iraqi army, after the Iraqi army was abandoned by Obama. And he didn’t ask for a single hostage, in return.

notropis on August 22, 2014 at 7:44 PM

Also, we have a Marine in meheecan jail while he uses our money to fund and arm meheecan cartels and illegals.

burrata on August 22, 2014 at 7:54 PM

Irrelevant. Never leave a man behind isn’t negotiable, even if we’re going to drag him back to america to put him in jail

triple on August 22, 2014 at 7:15 PM

New tactic for the Taliban, Al Qaeda, and ISIS: Infiltrate the US military (Nidal Hassan, anyone?), then when you get a chance, desert and be “captured” by your buddies. They then ransom you for 100 prisoners, millions of dollars, and some ice cream under the guise of “no man left behind.”

Here’s your sign.

Wino on August 22, 2014 at 7:55 PM

The President could have used the beheading to rally the nation into war with ISIS, he could have made comments of the thousands beheaded, the children shot dead, the sheer evil of this organization.

Instead he waffles to do nothing but more golf while Michelle plans their next blockbuster vacation. I suspect Greece, if she can just get the American Taxpayer to spend enough on her behalf she might save them from defaulting for another year!

OregonPolitician on August 22, 2014 at 9:07 PM

John McCain with Ebubekir Bagdadi (the leader of ISIS)

http://www.barenakedislam.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Bu0PtiIIUAELoI4.jpg-large.jpeg

Pork-Chop on August 22, 2014 at 9:34 PM

Releasing known terrorists to get back captured soldiers is paying ransom, and will only lead to more such captures for ransom.

Wino on August 22, 2014 at 6:49 PM

Actually it’s not. I’m as furious as the next guy when it comes to the Bergdahl exchange and still think it was all politics.

Ed is right, the fact that Bergdahl is a soldier and Foley wasn’t makes all the difference in the world. It allowed them a tiny lawful loophole so that it technically was a prisoner exchange.

I hate laws that I think are immoral. But I am willing to accept the bad ones to stay civilized (as much as that seems a lost cause these days) in hopes they get changed in the future.

UnstChem on August 22, 2014 at 9:39 PM

That’s a prisoner exchange. It happens in literally every war.

triple on August 22, 2014 at 7:04 PM

Yes. After the war.
See the difference?

Mimzey on August 22, 2014 at 10:19 PM

And they NEVER mess with the organ donation waiting lists either.

WryTrvllr on August 22, 2014 at 10:36 PM

Put more bluntly, Europe has become an inadvertent underwriter of Al Qaeda.

Europe also paid tribute to the Barbary pirates. It took Thomas Jefferson who would not bow down to the Muhammedan, and a marvelous young officer, Stephen Decatur, to whip them

The culture Jefferson fought has not changed

But wait, some might say, didn’t we cut a deal to get Bowe Bergdahl back from the Taliban — or more accurately, the Haqqani network? Isn’t that a distinction without a difference? Not really, the White House’s Eric Schultz told reporters today:

Ridiculous. Just because the WH crowd considered it to be a different case, does not mean islamists consider it to be a different case. To them, it means allah was making the Kufir infidel give them, the true believers, their due

In the context of their beliefs, not the WH beliefs, they were incentivised. The WH is operating like a Chicago wardsman. The islamists are operating under predestination. Everything is already written in the book. God is making the kefir fork up. That is a sign

WH belongs to the too dumb to live crowd

entagor on August 22, 2014 at 11:23 PM

The US military has a special obligation to those who serve in their ranks to operate within the bounds of war to secure their release when captured, whether through liberation or negotiation. After all, the military put them in a war zone with that risk in place.

Huh?

The last sentence should read:
After all, the GI voluntarily joined the military that put them in a war zone with that risk in place.

We should not pay ransoms for military personnel.
We should not do any POW swaps except one-for-one, with no cash involved.

Why?

Read the rest of Ed’s post, which was brilliant & right-on until the part I quoted.

itsnotaboutme on August 23, 2014 at 12:06 AM

Unless they are are deserter that can be traded for five top level commanders of the enemy. Then Obama will green light it. You know because he is so super smart and he doesn’t do stupid $hit.

jukin3 on August 23, 2014 at 1:04 AM

Obama is a damned fool, first of all.

Giving 5 terrorists for 1 deserter is a laughably bad deal.

And is treason, second of all.

Terrorists are not P.o.w.’s, they are captive lawless scum who need to be exterminated, not traded back onto the field of war.

Obama’s treasonous act endangers us all.

He and Bergdahl should both be in the same cell.

Useless s.o.b.’s both

profitsbeard on August 23, 2014 at 2:07 AM

This Marie Harf broad…you can see the snarky smirks even as she speaks of these horrific beheadings. She looks like she should be playing some dumb ditz in a Junior High Grease play.

malkinmania on August 23, 2014 at 9:16 AM


The US military has a special obligation to those who serve in their ranks to operate within the bounds of war to secure their release when captured, whether through liberation or negotiation. After all, the military put them in a war zone with that risk in place. That doesn’t apply to Americans traveling on their own volition — bravely, certainly — to dangerous areas.

Does it also apply to traitors/deserters? Why yes, it seems to.

It also applies to their families, with whom Obama will have a photo-op press conference at the WH, but not Foley’s parents, whom Obama will take a short break from golf in order to tromp on *their* press conference.

Midas on August 23, 2014 at 11:34 AM