Obama to Islamic terrorists: hostage-taking season is now open!

June 24, 2015
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Not to put it *too* strongly…

One of the worst things one can do with people engaged in bad behavior is to give in to it in the hope that a concession will satisfy them. Instead, concessions just tell them that bad behavior works and gets rewards, encouraging them to do it again.

This is exactly what our president has done, putting in danger every American traveling overseas:

The White House is set to release the results of its hostage policy review, which will make clear the U.S. will not stop American families who are willing to negotiate with or pay ransoms to terror groups holding their loved ones hostage.

The administration will create a new office that will work with the American families of hostage victims, but will not change the law regarding the U.S. ransom policies, administration officials said today. A senior official said the hostage interagency fusion cell will be physically housed at FBI headquarters and initially will be run by a senior FBI official. Officials from other agencies and departments may rotate in to run the program in the future.

President Obama is set to meet on Wednesday with the families of hostages held overseas and make a statement on the review.

Though the excerpt doesn’t say so, the “terror groups” alluded to are ISIS and other Islamic jihadist organizations.

Look, I understand and sympathize with the families’ position here: having loved ones held hostage by maniacal, murderous terrorists must be a living Hell. If I were in that boat, I’d want the law to get out of my way, too, as I try to arrange their release.

I even get Obama’s position: he’s had a hostage rescue go bad in the past, resulting in the deaths of the hostages. The victims’ families are terribly sympathetic, and it’s a natural human urge to want to do something to help. So, if action on our part does no good –or even harm– then why not clear the way (1) by not enforcing the law against negotiating with terrorists?

Because the president, any president, has much more to worry about than the peril of one or a few individuals. His responsibility is to the nation as a whole, including the safety of Americans not yet taken hostage. By telling these families it’s okay to pay ransom, he has also told the jihad organizations that hostage-taking works. Kidnap an American, get some money, US won’t interfere… rinse and repeat. Robert Spencer explains why this will only encourage jihadists:

I would be very happy if this were true [that hostage-taking is against Islamic law. –PF], but I have to ask: if it is only an “extreme radical fundamentalist element” that believes this, why does it show up in Islamic legal manuals? Why does Al-Azhar University, the most respected institution in Sunni Islam, endorse ‘Umdat al-Salik, a manual of Islamic law that says this: “When a child or a woman is taken captive, they become slaves by the fact of capture, and the woman’s previous marriage is immediately annulled” (o9.13)? If the capture of non-combatants is forbidden by Islam, are we to believe that these captured women and children were acting as soldiers? If the vast majority of Muslims reject this sort of thing, why does Al-Azhar say that ‘Umdat al-Salik “conforms to the practice and faith of the orthodox Sunni community (ahl al-Sunna wa al-Juma’a)”?

If the killing of these hostages is likewise forbidden, why does the same manual stipulate that prisoners can be killed, exchanged for ransom (why exchanged for ransom, if they are not hostages?), enslaved, or released, depending on what is best for the Muslim community (o9.14)?

I have the Umdat al-Salik on my bookshelf and can attest the above quotes are accurate. Jihad-terror groups know this, too. It can reasonably be argued that their religion endorses hostage-taking.

It’s said the road to Hell is paved with good intentions; this is an on-ramp. By making this decision, I fear Obama has declared it open season on Americans all through the Middle East and across the globe.

And yes, I know Reagan negotiated for the release of hostages in Lebanon back in the 80s. We’ve done it since, too. It was a mistake then and a mistake ever after. Harsh as it may be to say “no ransom” knowing full well the possible consequences, it is still a decision that has to be made for the safety of others.

The proper course is to let hostage takers know two things: first, that they will never be paid ransom. Second, that if they harm our people, we will hunt them down and kill them, no matter how long it takes. Let them know there is no reward, but instead a terrible price to pay for kidnapping Americans.

They’ll learn.

via Biased Girl

Footnote:
(1) By unilaterally deciding to not enforce a law passed by the legislature, in defiance of his constitutional duties. Again.


Iraq: Is Obama holding American citizens “hostage” to force Democrat support?

August 12, 2014
Liar.

Barack Machiavelli?

That’s the startling, even shocking implication of an article in today’s Free Beacon: that the President of the United States is refusing to evacuate American civilian personnel from Iraq, in spite of the crisis caused by the advance of ISIS, because he needs the threat to them to convince his left-wing base to go along with the air strikes underway:

The administration’s decision to bypass Congress before taking military action is reminiscent of its behavior in Libya, where air strikes also were authorized without congressional approval.

“They didn’t provide any firm answers or decisions,” said one senior Senate source apprised of the briefing. “The administration is saying that they’re going to authorize air strikes if ISIS gets close to U.S. personal or stationed personal, which in [our] mind, if there is a threat in the region you get your people out unless they’re military.”

This rationale from the White House is leading some to speculate that U.S. personnel in the region are being left in harms way “as collateral” because the Obama administration “can’t get his party and donor base to support further action in Iraq,” according to the source.

“That’s where a lot of the confusion is coming from” on Capitol Hill, the source added. “When there’s an imminent threat you get your civilian employees out of the region.”

As Noah Rothman at Hot Air points out, the administration is in a difficult spot with its legal justifications for action in Iraq: they’ve argued since the American withdrawal from Iraq that the Bush-era AUMF is outdated and should be repealed, so it’s very difficult to use that as a justification for new action. Instead, they’re using “danger to Americans” as the casus belli:

The White House appears to be claiming simply that the president has the constitutional authority to protect and defend American citizens, and he is legally empowered to execute strikes on ISIS targets if they present an immediate threat to U.S. interests or personnel. American military officials are, however, apparently prepared to interpret that which constitutes an “immediate threat” in a loose fashion.

And that, in turn has lead some to wonder if those personnel are being used as –and there’s no better word for it– hostages. I can almost see the pitch: “Look, we both agree that the Iraq War was stupid and wrong, but we can’t do nothing. You don’t want us to abandon Americans in danger, do you? The Republicans would have a field day with that. Remember how they reacted after Benghazi?”

It’s something so ruthless, so coldblooded, that I don’t want to believe it could be true of any American administration. Bear in mind also that the Free Beacon’s source is anonymous. And yet, on the other hand, the administration has taken such a hit over its failures in foreign policy, especially in the Mideast in the last two years, that some top adviser (Axelrod? Jarrett?) may have convinced the president he can do this to make sure he isn’t seen as the one who “lost Iraq” (newsflash: too late), that he can use the presence of Americans as leverage against a rebellion by his base without too much risk. If there’s one place this generally incompetent administration has shown any competence at all, its in “base politics.”

And, if true, this would be pretty base.


#IranDeal: It wasn’t just the Israelis and the Saudis Obama backstabbed

November 26, 2013
"Left to rot."

“Left to rot.”

There’s been a lot of talk since the weekend about the deal brokered between Iran on the one hand, and the US and its European partners on the other, that supposedly somehow represented a breakthrough in the quest to prevent the Iranian mullahs from getting their hands on nuclear weapons. Discussions have centered around diplomacy and grand strategy, and the motives of the Iranian and US governments. Matter of “high politics,” as they might have said in the 19th century.

But the agreement touches people on a very personal level, too. Left unmentioned in any of the negotiations are Americans trapped in Iranian prisons, men such as Saeed Abedini, an Iranian-American pastor from Idaho who was accused of the horrid crime (in Iran, under Islam) of preaching the Gospel and helping to establish home churches (1). Abedini was yanked off a bus, his passport taken from him, and he was consigned to Iran’s notorious Evin prison.

And, in the negotiations leading to this wonderful deal, the US never mentioned him once:

Two words are nowhere to be found in the pages of text that spell out a new interim nuclear deal with Iran: Saeed Abedini.

Now some supporters of the American pastor, who’s been detained in Iran for more than a year, are accusing U.S. officials of betraying Abedini by signing off on an agreement that doesn’t get him out of prison.

“We were across the table from the Iranians, and we did not bring home Americans. To me that’s a tragedy and that’s outrageous,” said Jay Sekulow, the chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, which represents Abedini’s family in the United States.

While analysts debated the nuclear agreement’s pros and cons, Abedini’s wife, Naghmeh, said she was trying to comfort her two young children.

“It’s very painful,” she told CNN’s “The Lead” on Monday. “My kids were crying this morning, saying, ‘God, don’t let Daddy die. Bring him home.’ “

One would think an American government, leading a nation founded on principles of freedom of speech and freedom of religion, would have raised a stink about Abedini at these negotiations, something along the lines of “You want sanctions lifted and your sequestered cash released? Give us Abedini and we’ll talk.” (2)

But then one would remember Barack Obama is in charge. Defending Americans in danger abroad is a bit alien to him, as we learned in Libya.

Via Bryan Preston, who connects Abedini’s abandonment to his Christianity and draws a parallel to the Obama administrations attacks on religious liberty here. I disagree with Bryan on this: nations have often sacrificed individuals for “reasons of state” when a higher goal was at stake. In the Obama administration’s case, the nuclear deal with Iran was paramount, and if the government was willing to blindside Jewish Israel and Muslim Saudi Arabia with this, they weren’t going to let the fate of Saeed Abedini (or Robert Levinson) stand in the way. It’s shameful and cynical, to be sure, but not religiously motivated.

RELATED: There are several good articles explaining why this deal stinks. At The Weekly Standard, John Bolton calls this “abject surrender.” Writing at PJM, Michael Ledeen points out, among other excellent observations, that the Iranian treasury was almost empty, but we’ve now agreed to give them billions. Genius. Eli Lake at The Daily Beast quotes an expert who says this comes close to a “nuclear 1914 scenario.” How fitting, with the hundredth anniversary of World War I approaching. James Carafano calls this a deal based on a dangerous fantasy — Munich II. My own observation is this: Regardless of the restrictions placed on the Iranian public nuclear program by this deal, if you think there isn’t a secret program run in parallel by the military that is still going full-speed, you’re high.

This deal makes war more likely, not less.

PS: There’s a support page for Pastor Abedini at Facebook, and a web site for Robert Levinson.

Footnote:
(1) Abedini’s offense was compounded by being himself a convert to Christianity from Islam. Under Islamic law, that is the crime of apostasy and is punishable by death. I suppose the Iranians thought they were being merciful for just sticking him in jail for eight years.
(2) Not that I’m a religious person, but I believe very strongly in the natural right of all humans to freedom of speech and religion, and, within very broad bounds, government should stay the heck out. No law is legitimate that oppresses those rights, and an American government that won’t stand up for its citizens’ rights in the face of a tyranny that tramples both is craven.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)