Retrieving hostages is always a difficult task.
Even when you get your hostages back, there can be serious reprecussions–as President Barack Obama is fast learning.
Several Republican lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate believe that Obama broke the law by exchanging five Taliban leaders for captured U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl.
And they are urging Congress to investigate whether this is grounds for impeachment.
A Federal law requires the Secretary of Defense to notify Congress 30 days before releasing any detainees from prison. He must also explain why they are not expected to again pose a threat to the United States.
“I think in the eyes of many, he broke the law by not informing Congress 30 days before that,” California Rep. Buck McKeon, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said in an interview on MSNBC Monday.
“[National Security Advisor Susan] Rice said Congress has been informed of this along the way. I don’t know who they were talking to. I have not been a part of this, and I’m the chairman of the committee.”
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is highly concerned that the five released Taliban prisoners could will return to wage war against Americans.
Senator Lindsey Graham
In a letter he recently sent to Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Ranking Member Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Graham stated:
“The five terrorists released were the hardest of the hard-core. They have American blood on their hands and surely as night follows day they will return to the fight.
“In effect, we released the ‘Taliban Dream Team.’ The United States is less safe because of these actions.”
Graham predicted that the release will “inevitably lead to more Americans being kidnapped and held hostage throughout the world.”
Meanwhile, in Israel, tensions are high over the kidnapping, on June 12, of three teenagers in the West Bank. They were hitchhiking home near the Palestinian city of Hebron. Two of the teens are Israelis; the third is an American.
Their kidnappers are presumed to be Palestinian militants.
Israeli soldiers scoured the West Bank but, so far, no signs of the missing teens have turned up. And, so far, no one has claimed responsibility for the kidnappings.
Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, warned his countrymen in a televised statement: “We are in the midst of a complex operation. We need to be prepared for the possibility that it will take time.”
Usually, political kidnappings trigger ransom demands and agonizing decisions by high-ranking government officials as to whether they should be met.
But there is another way governments can respond to such terroristic blackmail. It might be called, “The KGB Method.”
On September 30 1985, four attaches from the Soviet Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, were kidnapped by men linked to Hizbollah (“Party of God”), the Iranian-supported terrorist group.
The kidnappers sent photos of the four men to Western news agencies. Each captive was shown with an automatic pistol pressed to his head.
The militants demanded that Moscow pressure pro-Syrian militiamen to stop shelling the pro-Iranian militia in Lebanon’s northern port city of Tripoli.
And they threatened to execute the four Soviet captives, one by one, unless this demand was met.
The Soviet Union began negotiations with the kidnappers, but could not secure a halt to the shelling of Tripoli.
Only two days after the kidnappings, the body of Arkady Katov, a 30-year-old consular secretary, was found in a Beirut trash dump. He had been shot through the head.
That was when the KGB took over negotiations.
Insignia of the KGB
They kidnapped a man known to be a close relative of a prominent Hizbollah leader. Then they castrated him, stuffed his testicles in his mouth, shot him in the head, and sent the body back to Hizbollah.
The KGB then informed the Hizbollah leader: We know the names of other close relatives of yours, and the same will happen to them if our diplomats are not released immediately.
Soon afterward, the remaining three Soviet attaches were released only 150 yards from the Soviet Embassy.
Hizbollah telephoned a statement to news agencies claiming that the release was a gesture of “goodwill.”
In Washington, D.C., then-CIA Director William Casey decided that the Soviets knew the language of Hizbollah.
Both the United States and Israel–the two nations most commonly targeted for terrorist kidnappings–have elite Special Forces units.
These could be ordered to similarly kidnap the relatives of whichever Islamic terrorist leaders are responsible for the latest outrages.
Ordering such action would instantly send an unmistakable message to Islamic terrorist grouops: Screw with us at your own immediate peril.
As Niccolo Machiavelli warned more than 500 years ago: “Men have less scruple in offending one who makes himself loved than one who makes himself feared.
“For love is held by a chain of obligations which, men being selfish, is broken whenever it serves their purpose; but fear is maintained by a dread of punishment which never fails.”
In the United States, the U.S. Navy SEALS, Green Berets and Delta Force stand ready. They require only the orders.