More Secret Negotiations With Our Enemies Signals Weakness

It seems President Barack Obama’s foreign policy is on full display, for the whole world to see. The President, seeking to capitalize on the killing of 9/11 terror mastermind and founder of al-Qaeda Osama bin Laden, started the conversation by seeking political gain from the one year anniversary by alleging Mitt Romney, the eventual Republican nominee for President, would not have ordered “the raid to capture Osama bin Laden last year.”

Following such an outrageous accusation (without merit or basis), I posted this piece on Obama’s real foreign policy record on accommodation and appeasement, specifically towards Russia and Communist China.

Days later, The Washington Post published an article about secret negotiations with the Taliban, including “secretly releasing high-level detainees from a military prison in Afghanistan.” The Taliban! The same evil, radical Islamist militant and political group (led my Mullah Mohammed Omar) that ruled Afghanistan and who provided aid and comfort to Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda network to plan and carry-out attacks on the U.S. and our allies, including 9/11. You can read more on this here in another ThinkFY post.

I figured that would be the end of the Obama foreign policy discussion for a while. The economy, jobs, debt and deficits are all the rage as we head toward the November elections. In any event, I was wrong. The Associated Press is reporting that the Obama Administration tried, secretly of course, to trade Taliban prisoners to the Haqqani network (affiliated with the Taliban) who are believed to have captured Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl in June 2009.

“Frustrated by what they said are stalled efforts to free a U.S. soldier taken prisoner three years ago in Afghanistan, the man's parents have gone public with previously secret U.S. attempts to trade him for Taliban prisoners in U.S. hands.”  (Anne Gearan, “Parents Reveal Secret Attempts To Free U.S. Soldier,” The Associated Press, 5/10/12)

“Bergdahl, of Hailey, Idaho, was captured in June 2009 and is believed held by the Haqqani network, an insurgent group affiliated with the Taliban, probably somewhere in Pakistan.”  (Anne Gearan, “Parents Reveal Secret Attempts To Free U.S. Soldier,” The Associated Press, 5/10/12)

“He is the subject of a proposed prisoner swap in which the Obama administration would allow the transfer of five Taliban prisoners long held at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.”  (Anne Gearan, “Parents Reveal Secret Attempts To Free U.S. Soldier,” The Associated Press, 5/10/12)

Two things here: 1. It has long been the policy of the United States not to negotiate with terrorists or hostage takers, and 2. We never leave a man behind (but of course we have in many places, like Vietnam for example).

So it would seem that the U.S. is in a bit of a quandary here. On the one hand, we don’t negotiate with terrorists, which the Obama Administration has clearly been doing for quite some time, and on the other hand, we have a soldier who has been captured and his safe return is of utmost importance, particularly to his poor family.

It should not be lost that we are talking about a young man, sent to Afghanistan by the country he has served proudly. But it must also not be lost that negotiating with terrorists is accommodation, and accommodation is appeasement. Appeasement is a sign of weakness. Weakness will bring more sad stories of young men and women, like Bergdahl, being captured, perhaps tortured, because the terrorists will know that we’ll give them what they want.

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