The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

No One Left Behind

When Barack Obama traded five senior Taliban commanders for an alleged Army deserter,Bowe Begdahl, his administration claimed that the president was following the "leave no soldier behind" dictum that our military uses in battle. Okay, I get that, even though I think the deal that was "negotiated" was a very bad one.

Now, let's consider the case of Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooress, who has for the past six months languished in a Mexican jail for taking a wrong turn at the border and bringing weapons which are legal to carry in the US into Mexico. You'd think that a country like Mexico, where corruption, violence, and guns are a daily occurrence, would have released Tahmooress after a day or two, given that his offense was clearly inadvertent. When they didn't, you'd think that the hamsters of the mainstream media would be all over the story—human interest and all that. You'd also think that the president and his State Department would demand Tahmooress' release and privately indicate to Mexico that if he is not released, there would be consequences at the border. After all, Mexico has a lot more to lose at the border than we do. But none of that happened.

Yesterday, congressional hearings were held on this travesty—the media (with the exception of FNS) didn't cover them.


The answer, of course, is always the same. For the media, anything that reflects badly on the competence, the focus, and the extreme ideology of Barack Obama is buried.. after all, should the story be played widely, citizens might demand that their representatives do something, and maybe, just maybe, the marine would be released.

For the administration, it's more complex. On the one had it exemplifies their lack of attention to detail. The Tahmooress story is undoubtedly a small one (except to his family and friends), but it deserves attention. It got none. Also, it's a story about guns, and that's one of this administration's many boogie men. After all, how could Tahmooress be a good man if he had guns in his car? Finally, it's an example of incompetence—situations like this can be defused in hours or days, not months, if competent state department personnel are tasked with the job. Apparently, there was little enthusiasm for doing that, and Tahmooress continues to sit in a Mexican jail.

It looks like the Marine will be released shortly, now that even Montel Williams (an ex-Marine) has castigated the president publicly for his inaction.

But this entire episode leaves a bad taste. Tahmooress is at least as good a man as Bowe Bergdahl. The situation is different, but his release should have been negotiated with at least as much effort as we gave to obtain the release of an alleged deserter.