It really burns me to hear the cheap and irresponsible sniping about the Obama administration’s targeting of Al Qaeda with drones. I’ve never been a fan of the Obama administration and have consistently pointed to its widespread foreign policy failures. But blaming the Obama administration and its military leaders and advisors for the unfortunate deaths of Dr. Weinstein and Italian aid worker LoPorto exhibits such facile and fake indignation.
Talk about cheap shots. And the really tragic aspect of this backbiting is that the cheap shots are coming from both the right and the left. Both “sides” are falling over themselves to outdo each other in the sententious overweening sweepstakes of bogus public compassion.
What does all this public breast beating do for the kidnapping business? It’s almost as if the supposed prosecutors are lawyers for the defendants -- the defendants being kidnappers, murderers of innocent people, and haters.
And why should anyone who opposes paying ransom to terrorists have to “prove” their concern for people who voluntarily go to dangerous places and expect to be rescued by the U.S. cavalry when things go wrong. It’s not as if terrorist kidnappings and the horrors concomitant with them are new. You’d have to live under a rock not to be aware of the possibility of being an American kidnap victim in that part of the world.
Of course, we feel bad for the Weinstein and LaPorto families! But I feel even more sorry for the American troops who would be in the position of risking their lives to rescue them. There are many who die who do not get to choose their fate. Weinstein and LoPorto did. There’s no reason to think Dr. Weinstein and Mr. LaPorto were anything but well intentioned humanists trying to alleviate the suffering in war-torn regions of the world. But it’s also possible that they, like Bowie Bergdahl, were hostile to U.S. policy in the region. That is no reason to die, certainly, even if it were true.
But their deaths were accidental, as were the deaths of American heroes killed by friendly fire, helicopter accidents, or even illness while on duty. Hardly a tear of sympathy for those many forgotten heroes of other wars.
Yet, Weinstein spokespersons like former FBI agent and hostage negotiator Chris Voss can go on Fox TV with Republican pundit Pete Hegseth to blame various government agencies for failing to negotiate. Negotiate what? The terrorists walked off with $250,000 dollars of Weinstein money paid in ransom, and then told the family to bug off. Treated them like chumps. And who did their bidding? What happened? Please tell so that the next unfortunate family of a kidnap victim isn't similarly chumped.
On Fox News, Voss seemed to imply that a better negotiation, or interaction between government agencies would have freed Weinstein. Voss, you see, heads a private company that, among its other activities, consults (think aids and abets the business of kidnapping) with companies, governments, and private individuals to pay ransom to kidnappers. For a steep price, you can bet. So the guy was a salesman.
As for Hegseth, he simply looked intimidated and was weak in expressing what has long been U.S. policy. Don’t feed the animals – especially when it's only the wealthy elite which can afford to do so.