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Cal Thomas: Israel is not America

Posted: June 9, 2014 - 1:36pm

Defenders of President Obama’s release of five Taliban terrorists from the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in exchange for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl cite as justification Israel’s history of swapping hundreds of Palestinian prisoners for one or two Israel soldiers.

As strong an ally and example of democracy as Israel is, especially in a region sorely lacking in either, Israel is not the United States. Israel has its own interests and purpose for its actions. The world looks to the United States for leadership and in this president and his administration it has found little.

There are important distinctions between Israeli prisoner exchanges and the Bergdahl deal. First, according to many who served with him, Sgt. Bergdahl deliberately walked away from his post. The Israeli soldiers were captured while doing their jobs.

Second, because of the proximity to Gaza and the West Bank, Israel presumably is better able to monitor terrorist movements while we have sent the Gitmo five to Qatar, a nation that reportedly funds Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaida affiliates. Next year the released prisoners are likely to return to Afghanistan.

As former Israeli diplomat Yoram Ettinger has written in the publication Israel Hayom: “The Head of Israel’s Security Services, Yoram Cohen, stated that 60 percent of released Palestinian terrorists revert to operational terrorism. Most of the 1,150 terrorists, released via the May 21, 1985 ‘Jibril Exchange’ played a key role during the First Intifada (wave of terrorism). Over 50 percent of the Palestinian terrorists, who were released between the 1993 Oslo Accord and the eruption of the Second Intifada, participated in that wave of Palestinian terrorism.”

Ettinger also notes that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was against prisoner exchanges before he was for them: “In his 1995 Hebrew edition, ‘A Place Under the Sun,’ Netanyahu wrote, ‘the release of terrorists is a mistake the Israeli government repeats time and time again. ... How can Israel preach to the U.S. and the West ... when Israel surrendered herself so shamefully? I was convinced that the release of a thousand terrorists would necessarily lead to a terrible escalation of violence, because these terrorists will be accepted as heroes, as an example to be imitated by young Palestinians. ... It is clear now that the release of a thousand terrorists was one of the factors that provided a pool of fermenting violence and its leaders ignited the fire of the Intifada.’”

This is the thinking President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu should be exhibiting now. We should not have rescued Bowe Bergdahl. His freedom came at too high a price. War is hard and difficult choices must be made. The exchange has now given the Taliban a victory that the U.S. can ill afford to relinquish. One man’s freedom, quite frankly, has resulted in America’s continued bondage to Taliban extremism.

Clearly the president used Bergdahl as a convenience. He has long wanted to close Gitmo. It is one of his unfulfilled 2008 campaign promises. The president has declared the Afghanistan war will be over when American forces leave in 2016. But it isn’t over for the Taliban, who will likely return to their oppressive ways when we are gone, diminishing the sacrifices made by the American military and squandering the investment of American taxpayers. Who doubts al-Qaida will also return to perhaps plot another 9-11 from the same territory? We won’t be there to stop them.

Whose hands will have blood on them if these five released Taliban members kill more Americans? Even the president has said it is “likely” they will rejoin their war. The only thing these people understand is power and resolve, but this administration has displayed weakness and vacillation.

During the just concluded observance of the 70th anniversary of D-Day, a number of commentators noted how different Europe would be had America and its allies not destroyed Nazi Germany and then stood against Soviet communism.

How different will America be if we allow Islamic jihadists to have their way? While we practice tolerance, pluralism, diversity and freedom of religion, they practice the opposite. For them the war will not be over until they win it. For America, packing up and going home isn’t victory, it’s just quitting.

Readers may email Cal Thomas at tcaeditors@tribune.com.

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jford
3597
Points
jford 06/10/14 - 09:22 am
1
0
The Clarion should be ashamed

Cal Thomas invents a supposition, that Obama 'supporters' are citing Israel as justification for an instance of prisoner exchange.

Then he goes on to rail against his own invention.

That's lazy hackery. It's not journalism, it's not editorializing, it's about as relevant as Cal Thomas standing on his porch and yelling at the clouds because it rained somewhere in the world.

Our military code says we will do what it takes to bring home members of our military if they are in the hands of the enemy.

The U.S. Code of Military Conduct says,

'Just as you have a responsibility to your country under the Code of Conduct, the United States government has an equal responsibility—always to keep faith with you and stand by you as you fight for your country. If you are unfortunate enough to become a prisoner of war, you may rest assured that your government will care for your dependents and will never forget you. Furthermore, the government will use every practical means to contact, support and gain release for you and for all other prisoners of war.'

We have tradition of exchanging POWs, Cal Thomas and his ilk see no problem with ignoring our military code if they think it might make a political point for their ideological extremism.

We don't say we're going to bring our military members home, but only if they agree with Cal Thomas. We say we will bring them home.

If Bergdahl has done something wrong, that is to be investigated after we bring him home.

Bringing him home was the right thing to do.

Cal Thomas should be ashamed. The Clarion should be ashamed they gave Cal Thomas editorial space.

leewaytooo
2059
Points
leewaytooo 06/11/14 - 03:31 am
2
0
violence is the first option

violence is the first option of the incompetent

and there you have the [filtered word] party...

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